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Policy Of His Majesty's Government

Volume 339: debated on Thursday 6 October 1938

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Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [5 th October].

"That this House approves the policy of His Majesty's Government by which war was averted in the recent crisis and supports their efforts to secure a lasting peace."—[Sir John Simon.]

Which Amendment was, in line 1, to leave out from "House," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

"while profoundly relieved that war has been averted for the time being, cannot approve a policy which has led to the sacrifice of Czechoslovakia under threat of armed force and to the humiliation of our country and its exposure to grave dangers; and realising the intense desire of all peoples for lasting peace, demands an active support of the method of collective security through the League of Nations and the immediate initiation by His Majesty's Government of proposals for the summoning of a world conference to consider the removal of economic and political grievances which imperil peace."—[Mr. Greenwood.]

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

12.38 p.m.

I rise to support the Amendment moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) yesterday afternoon. Last week Europe was on the brink of war, and the grand inquest on how we came there has only just begun. We believe that the true cause lies in the abandonment of the rule of law which began seven years ago, and in the progressive demoralisation of the institutions and procedures by which that law had been upheld. Our Amendment, or at least the positive, important part of it, demands a return to the principles of the Covenant of the League, to a system which was built up—which, if I may say so, I saw being built up—during the first decade of the history of the League of Nations by Lord Balfour, by Lord Cecil, by Sir Austen Chamberlain, by Mr. Arthur Henderson, and by a long line of other statesmen from the Dominions and from foreign countries, who worked with them. By that system the methods of this House, of democratic government, were introduced into the conduct of international affairs. Public debate was substituted for private bargaining, government by reason for government by force. Debates were carried out in accordance with the rules of fixed, binding constitutional procedure, as much a guarantee and as indispensable a guarantee for justice and liberty in international affairs as it is in this House in our own national affairs.

Disputes were dealt with by public debate, with impartial, non-governmental inquiry into the merits of the case, and verdicts were rendered and decisions were made on the basis of accepted treaties and the rule of law. If those verdicts or decisions were challenged by the use of force, as they were on four or five occasions, members of the League of Nations were prepared to act together to uphold them. Those are the principles on which all progressive government is based. They are indeed the fundamentals of the dynamic civilisation in which we live. They are the principles by which Lord Balfour and his successors were building up, to a remarkable extent, a new system of stable peace and order in international affairs. It is the retreat from those principles that brought us last week to the edge of war, and it is in the return to those principles that there lies the sole hope of "peace in our time."

I do not want to retrace the history of the last seven years by which this system has been virtually destroyed. That has been done, as I think with devastating effect, by other hon. and right hon. Members earlier in the Debate, but let me add one word. That system has shown surprising vitality whenever it has been used. The Minister of Transport asked us, with some contempt, if we could tell him one single thing which the League of Nations could have done in the recent Czechoslovakian dispute. I say at once that it is no use his speaking as if the League of Nations were some supernatural being with which His Majesty's Government have no connection or concern. If His Majesty's Government had asked the League of Nations six months ago to intervene in this Czechoslovakian dispute, as they had a treaty right under the Minorities Protection Treaty to do, if they had proposed the sending to the Sudeten areas of a strong, impartial, international commission to examine the merits of the dispute, if they had set up, a s they had a right to do and as President Benes very certainly would have agreed to do, a strong and numerous corps of independent international observers in the Sudeten regions, British and Americans among them, to investigate any incidents that might arise, if they had announced six months ago that we would lead the members of the League in upholding this procedure by whatever means might be required, and if we had made our position absolutely plain at every stage, we should now, I profoundly believe, have had justice for the Sudeten Germans, justice for the Czechs, and stable peace for them and all the world.

That is what we asked the Government to do, but they chose another course. I am not going to examine the new foreign policy which they have substituted for that of the League of Nations or its application in the last few weeks. The Minister of Transport made a speech in which he asked us to believe that the substance of the Munich Treaty, the transfer of territory which has been made, is simply an application of self-determination. To hear his speech, one might have thought the Germans were a pitiful, depressed minority, torn from the bosom of the German Reich, that they were unanimously longing for reunion with the Reich, that this policy was dictated by impartial justice, and that it was one on which the Sudeten Germans, His Majesty's Government and the country had been long agreed. That is a fantastic travesty of the facts. These people, these Sudetens and Czechs, have lived together for a thousand years, and much of that time they have been not only neighbours, but they have been friends. Herr Henlein's own mother is a Czech. In the new Republic they have played their full part in the life of the State. Until February of this year they had three Cabinet Ministers in the Government by which the land was ruled. Herr Henlein's programme was the Prime Minister's programme—"reasonable concessions within the framework of the constitution of the Czechoslovak State." He was negotiating on that programme until three days from the time when Herr Hitler made his speech at Nuremberg.

Indeed, the first time Herr Henlein ever asked for secession from the Czechoslovak State was the day on which the Prime Minister flew to Berchtesgaden. The immediate response to Herr Henlein in Prague was the constitution of the new Sudeten council to negotiate with President Benes, and on the day when the Anglo-French Agreement appeared and was temporarily destroyed the organisers declared that it had behind it the majority of the Sudeten people. I am certain that the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. Acland) was right when he told us, in a wealth of personal experience gained in the last few days, that if we could have a free vote of the Sudetens this morning a great majority would still stand for remaining as they were. This Munich Treaty, this transfer of territory, has not brought natural justice, as the Minister of Transport and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have told us. It has not brought release to an oppressed minority. It is not self-determination. It is naked conquest, justified, as the Chancellor had the grace to admit, only by surrender to the sword. Is there greater justice in the means by which the transfer is being carried through?

The Prime Minister gave us an elaborate explanation why the Munich Treaty was an improvement on the Godesberg ultimatum. On paper the case looks pretty well. Indeed, it sometimes looks too well, for it is forgotten that Godesberg was dated 23rd September to 1st October—eight days. Munich was dated 29th September to 10th October—11 days. The Prime Minister gained 72 additional hours for the Czechs to give up this land. Time is the very essence of the matter. The Czechs have 11 days until Monday next to evacuate an army of 1,000,000 men from defences which they have held for 20 years. I remember that at the Hague in 1929, when we were negotiating the evacuation of the Rhineland, the French asked for six months and the British War Office told us it was reasonable and fair. The Czechs have had 11 days to get away personal and other property which they are allowed to move. The Prime Minister talked about the peasants and their cows. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) I was in the retreat from Caperetto, and I remember the condition of the roads. General Goering has driven all Europe to choose between butter and guns. The staff of a retreating army must make that choice at one remove; they must choose between cattle and guns. In 1917 on the Alonzo Isenzo and the Tagliamento the Italian staff left the peasants' cattle on the roads and they lost 5,000 guns. That does not surprise the Prime Minister. Refugees who are arriving in Prague to-day are virtually without a penny in the world, as the hon. Member for West Leicester (Mr. H. Nicolson) said last night.

At Godesberg Herr Hitler had two purposes in view, to throw the Czechoslovak Republic into financial, economic and social chaos, and to leave it at the mercy of the German armies whenever Herr Hitler decided that his drive towards the Rumanian oilfields should be resumed. Whatever the Prime Minister's paper safeguards, no one can deny that those two purposes were achieved at Munich. There is still much we could do to help the Czechs. More money and much more is required. There must be strong help to these unhappy refugees, especially those who must go to foreign lands overseas, and a strong stand in the so-called international commission for the rights of the Czechs under the Munich Treaty. I hope all that will be done. Whatever we do, neither in its substance nor in its execution does the Munich Treaty bring justice to the Czechs, to the Sudeten Germans, or to the world. It is not a triumph of negotiation but a triumph of the sword. It is said that it has brought us peace in our time. I am afraid that it has brought us the kind of peace which there has been in the Mediterranean from Spain to Palestine since the Prime Minister made his Treaty with Signor Mussolini six months ago.

I want, with all respect, to put some questions to the Prime Minister. Did he at Munich ask for or secure the stopping of the German propaganda against the gallant people who have been abandoned in their hour of need? Did he obtain or did he ask for the cessation of the wireless propaganda inciting Slovaks, Hungarians and others to break up the State? Did he say a word for President Benes, the greatest man in Europe, and never greater than in the hour of his resignation? Did he ask for or did he obtain the demobilisation of the German Army, or has he left it as a still standing menace to Europe and the world? Did he secure the hope of any check to the arms race which Herr Hitler has forced upon us all? We know the answers to these questions. We know that the German war machine in all its parts—propaganda, military and the rest—is still in operation. We know that the Prime Minister himself has asked us to make good the present deficiencies in our forces. Among those deficiencies, if the Government continue their present policy, we must reckon the loss of 1,000,000 Czechoslovak soldiers, 1,000 Czechoslovak aircraft, 3,000 modern Russian aircraft, 2,000 Russian tanks, and a vast Russian mechanised army, which the "Times" told us last Monday week is mobilised on the Polish frontier.

The Prime Minister has brought back at least the Anglo-German Pact, and, like my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland, I put that in its proper framework of "Mein Kampf." I would like to add a detail to the picture. If the Prime Minister will read the speech of Herr Hitler in the Sports Palace in Berlin 10 days ago, he will find the wording of it accords remarkably with the declaration which he signed in Munich. Herr Hitler spoke of the Naval Treaty, and said:
"It is impossible that we should say, 'We will never fight England,' and that England should say from time to time, 'We will fight you if we want you'"
This Pact in Munich is an attempt by Herr Hitler to get us committed never to take part in any collective action against aggression again. An enlightening comment was made in the Nazi paper "Angriff" a few days ago. It says that the German diplomatic offensive in recent years has destroyed or rendered inoperative the following institutions and treaties—the League of Nations, the Little Entente, the Locarno Treaties, the Rome Agreement, the Franco-Belgian Military Agreement, the Polish-Czech Military Agreement, the Franco-Czech Pact and the Franco-Russian-Czech Pact of Mutual Assistance—all treaties against aggression, all founded on the Covenant of the League and controlled by the League, and all swept, as Herr Hitler hopes, into the limbo of forgotten things.

Our Amendment says that the Munich Treaty has brought us not peace and justice but shame and danger. It goes on to say that there is still a way out from the danger in which we stand. I want to ask the House whether the Covenant system is really dead for good and all, and I believe that the answer to that question may fix the course of history for centuries to come. We do not believe it is. We believe that in that system lies the one hope for ourselves and for our children, and that that hope is still alive. May I support that view by a reference to events at the culmination of the crisis a week ago? I was profoundly struck by the statements made by the late First Lord of the Admiralty and by the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) that one of the things which helped to stop Herr Hitler from going to war was the authorised declaration on Monday night in which it was said that France, Britain and Russia would stand together if aggression occurred, and that another was the mobilisation of the British Fleet. They asked why it was that at Berchtesgaden and at Godesberg the Prime Minister had received two brutal ultimata, and that last Wednesday and Thursday, for the first time, Herr Hitler seemed prepared to hold his hand.

After the Anglo-French declaration, as we all remember, Poland and Hungary jumped in. Czechoslovakia seemed to be, as she is to-day, surrounded by a ring of hungry foes. The situation looked desperate. It was then that Hitler made his second, or Godesberg, ultimatum. We hesitated or, rather the Government hesitated about its answer to that ultimatum. Then at last, we made our authorised declaration of which I have spoken. On Wednesday morning we had not only Great Britain, France, Russia and Czechoslovakia on our side, we had Rumania's declaration that she would be with us, a declaration of vital importance; we had the warnings given by the Little Entente to Hungary; we had the warning given to Poland by Russia; we had at least some hope that Turkey would stand in; we had President Roosevelt evidently trying to make Herr Hitler believe that he would throw the moral strength, and perhaps the economic resources, of the United States against him if he went to war.

On the other side we had the withdrawal of Poland, of which I have spoken, the withdrawal of Hungary, the very evident decision of Signor Mussolini to stand aside. Even General Franco said he would be neutral if war should come, which shows how desperate must have seemed Herr Hitler's prospects. Far more important we knew that the barrier between Herr Hitler and the Rumanian oilfields could not be broken for many months. We had an oil sanction. I have not found a military expert who does not think that that oil sanction would have prevented Germany sending her air power into the air after a period at most of six months. Then the Chancellor of the Exchequer has referred to the evident feeling of the German people against the policy which Herr Hitler was pursuing. I do not want to overstate the case. I only say that I find it difficult to believe that any general staff, faced with that vast array of military, economic and moral forces against it, standing quite alone, uncertain even of its own civilian morale, would have allowed its Government to go to war. As to that we cannot know, but I am sure there were many factors operating. I yield to no one in my admiration for the Prime Minister's personal self-sacrifice and effort, but it may well be true that when the records are opened historians of the future will say, "Herr Hitler could not make his war last week; his own staff would not have let him," and that it was our stand for collective security against aggression which was perhaps decisive in securing peace.

Now I want to ask the House why this stand was made. It was not made because the Governments in France and Great Britain were standing firm and demanding that the peoples should follow their lead. It was because the peoples demanded that the Governments should stand firm. We have seen uprisings of the public conscience against Governments in times gone by. I think of the peace ballot after the failure of the Disarmament Conference, I think of the Hoare-Laval Agreement, but I do not think we have ever seen anything like the universal expression of public opinion 10 days ago—calm, determined, ready for every sacrifice but determined that armed aggression should not succeed. It is not in Governments, it is in that spirit of the peoples, that our hopes are founded. We know that it is going to be incomparably more difficult to rebuild the League of Nations than it would have been a week ago. We know that democracies everywhere are demoralised and discouraged. President Benes, who had become a great symbolic figure of our cause, has gone. We know that doubting Governments are hastening to make their peace with Hitler.

But we do not yet despair. There are many senses in which the aggressor Governments have feet of clay. I have been in several of what I may call the marginal countries in the last few months and in every one, beneath the surface, there is a seething cauldron. Not only the politicians and the professional classes but the workers and the peasants everywhere understand these issues. They detest, consciously and violently detest, the new scourges of internal slavery and of international injustice and aggression. Beneath the calm outward surface there is a vast gathering of feeling which, with every defeat and disappointment, grows only more intense. That feeling, I profoundly believe, is a volcano which will erupt the very day when real leadership appears. We believe that with the moral forces which were unleashed a week ago we can still create a great combination to prevent aggression and to make the League of Nations a real instrument of peace, and that when we have checked the fear of war we can on that basis of security re-establish the machinery of the League for dealing with international disputes, using it, as we might have done in the case of the Sudeten question. We could revitalise the system of minority protections, eliminate the fears and the suspicions which poison international relations at the present time; we could not only recreate the institutions of the League but, more important, could reanimate its soul.

There is a second and no less urgent part related to the task of which this Amendment speaks. We believe that we must deal at once with the economic forces which have helped to bring us to our present pass. Unfortunately, we may never be able to persuade the Government to believe that one of the major causes of the present chaos is the grinding poverty of great masses of mankind. Herr Hitler came to power in Germany largely because of the 7,000,000 unemployed and of the fearful sufferings of the people during the economic crisis. Herr Henlein was strong largely because the Sudeten country was a depressed area such as those we have here. Poverty has made the vast majority of all the violent revolutions, and we shall have to deal with the problem of poverty. We believe that by inviting all nations to the conference which we suggest we shall be able to go forward with those nations who choose to come, and that we can make a group of powerful peoples who are agreed to restart the wheels of international trade, restart the flow of international lending sufficiently to finance great public works and to carry out a programme of international economic reconstruction for which there has for years been at Geneva all the preparatory material, ready to be used. Under British leadership such a group could, we believe, be set up and perhaps within a few months the credit created would have an attractive force for peoples who might at first choose to stand aside.

That is our case and our programme. In the last six years we have been brought to the edge of war. The last three weeks have brought us and the Sudetens and Czechs not peace and justice but shame and danger. The new technique of negotiation imposed by the dictators has multiplied the risks of a policy founded on surrender to aggression. We believe that the Government, confronted with those risks and dangers and without any shadow of policy to arrest them, having scrapped for all serious affairs, the League of Nations, have done nothing to replace it in order to restore the rule of law. Indeed, this issue of law versus violence has hardly been mentioned from the Treasury bench this week. The Government are certainly flirting with the Four-Power concert like that which met in Munich a week ago, but the concert is without basis of authority in morality or law, and I believe that the world, and even Europe, will not long accept it. The Government seem content to drift from crisis to crisis until the final catastrophe engulfs us all.

We ask this House and the country to turn their faces in a new direction and to give the lead for which people have been waiting all these years; to call on men and women everywhere to stand at last for law and justice, to work together for their common welfare and to start to reconstruct the system so as to bring to suffering multitudes of mankind the things for which they long—justice, bread arid peace.

1.10 p.m.

I should have hesitated to enter this Debate had it not been that I have been a Member of this House for a long time, that I have listened to this Debate, covering as it has done a wide field, and that I recall the circumstances in which this House has met on previous occasions of great crisis. It is easy to make a case on the great hardships which have been suffered by a very gallant people. It is one of those matters which go to the heart and conscience of the British people, and we should do everything that we can to mitigate some of the difficulties which they have to face. But when we have to consider these problems we must at least be practical in our outlook, and I venture to say that while we may regret the methods of domination and brute force and the imposition of dictatorship, with all that it means to many people in Europe and elsewhere, and while many of us, like myself, have been honest supporters of the League of Nations hoping that discussing through that organisation many of those problems, with an honest effort to find a solution for them, would bring greater peace to the world, it is nevertheless of no use deluding ourselves with the idea that that result has been achieved.

Having been a party man, I am yet conscious that there are occasions in this House and in the world when party politics are of no account, and when the essence of what this great people has to consider is far outside the bounds of party differences. I listened with great pleasure to the speech delivered the other day by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). In my judgment, it went to the roots of what is in the hearts and minds of countless millions of people, whether in this country or in other parts of the world. If the institution of new methods of Government has brought difficulties into diplomatic relationships, who is there, considering what has happened in the last few weeks, who will not agree that some of those difficulties have been overcome by the action of our Prime Minister and M. Daladier? As the Chancellor of the Exchequer said yesterday in this House, the terms, and the methods by which those terms were imposed, upon those who had to deal with this matter, were grossly extravagant and had all the idea of force and brutality, yet is it not true that the door is open to-day to the possibility of negotiation and discussion which will save the world from catastrophe?

Some of us who had experience of the last Great War were here in this House when war was declared, and those of us who know enough about what has happened have realised how near we were to catastrophe. It was not in scare that this House rose to its feet in pleasure when that message came which made it possible for the Prime Minister, speaking for this country, to go and meet Herr Hitler in person. It was not scare. Moreover, the young generation, on whose shoulders the responsibility of struggle is bound to lie, those who are our sons, were not scared. And yet, throughout the whole country, was there not an honest feeling that there was some other method to be achieved than force, and that, had we repeated what happened in 1914, and ended in a peace which, admittedly dictated, as it was bound to be, by the victors, had elements of insecurity in it, there would be no hope for that generation in the times that were to come if we were actually involved in war?

I have every sympathy with the Czech people, but no one who has read the report of Lord Runciman can have failed to note that he, working on the spot and impartial as undoubtedly he was, admitted that there were hardships and unfairnesses, and that these things had been long standing. I do not believe there is anyone in this House or outside it who was a party to the Treaty of Versailles who would not admit in honesty that that Treaty should have been revised. Human nature being what it is, we have failed to make that revision. We, for our part, have given an example to the world, which we thought and hoped might be followed, of disarmament. The risks that we took were serious risks; it is only within recent times that we have realised that, even without being in any measure a country of aggression, it was essential that we should rearm, and we have been trying to do so. The position surely is that Czechoslovakia, gravely as we may feel for her, is yet to-day not suffering what she would have suffered had war taken place. It is indisputable, I think, that, whatever our sympathy for the Czech people, undoubtedly we could not from this country have reached them in time to prevent the very gravest overrunning of their territory. It may well be that a great tragedy is taking place to-day. The feelings of countless thousands may be very difficult for them to face. But, all the same, their women and children have not been slaughtered, as undoubtedly they would have been had war been declared.

In my view, what this House has to consider is not so much what has happened, and the mistakes that have been made admittedly in the past, but what lies before us for the future. In the first place, is it not a possibility, indeed, more than a possibility, that the door has now been opened for conversations of a direct and close nature between those who speak for the great people of France and for ourselves, backed by the influence and authority of public opinion in the world, in order to try to find a solution for some of these problems. In the meantime, I am of opinion that one of the first things the Government have to do is to see that our armed forces, not used for aggression but for defence, are put into an adequate state of order. We live in an age of mechanisation. Every country is changing its forms of warfare, and, terrible and horrible though some of the warfare of the last Great War was, in my judgment the next is going by far to exceed it. But if we are to be fair to our young men, and if we are to stand up for what we consider to be justice and fair dealing, we must at least make sure that those young men have the opportunity of learning how to use these mechanised instruments. I have seen the horror of war, and I thank God that it has been averted. I think the man in the street, irrespective of party, shares that feeling. I would make an appeal to my hon. Friends on the other side of the House. May I say to them with what pleasure one read the account of what has happened in the French Chamber? The French Government, placed in a more difficult position than ours, having been the allies of Czechoslovakia, having bound themselves by treaties to defend those people, and then realising that it was impossible in the circumstances to reach them in time, had the courage and the common sense to advise them to take the course that they did, and in the Chamber by an overwhelming majority the Government has received support for its action. This is not a party question—

A vote of shame? A vote of common sense. If we follow this problem up, we see to-day that these people are not slaughtered. It may be that they are losing a great deal of their employment, but, on the other hand, we have given a gesture of help by way of loan, and I do not doubt that, by conversations between our Government and that of France, that help might be extended. I come back to what has been said in this House more than once, namely, that a great part of these difficulties has been due to unemployment, has been due to the methods and habits in which people have had to live, almost on the point of starvation in many cases. There is no doubt that one of the first things to which any government looking with hope to the future must turn their minds must be trying to improve trade conditions and the interchange of trade. I know, having been engaged in some conversations, even with our own Empire, on these problems of trade, that it is easy to assert that these problems must be faced and not easy to reach agreement, but when this world of ours has been brought to the edge of a catastrophe, when the common men and women of every nation have been brought to realise what is the alternative to something of common sense, I realise, I feel in my bones, that this is the opportunity to find that solution. I am one of those who think it is right that this House should rise to-day and yet be free to be called back at any point of urgency, but—and I say this as a late Minister to my friends on the Front Bench—I hope and trust they will realise that, great as have been the efforts which they have made to improve armaments and to meet deficiencies, we must accelerate in that direction.

On the other hand, when I think what the position of the men, women and children of this country has been in the last few weeks, and that in connection with air-raid precautions, the distribution of gas masks and the like, there have been devoted men and women giving their services to the public and yet inadequately supported by many people, I feel that the time has come when some review of that must be made. I am not one of those in favour of military conscription, except in time of war; but I am in favour of some form of registration, so that the men and women in our country, whether in the cities or the countryside, may have some idea of what they may do in an emergency. I have in recent days had many letters from old comrades and friends in business asking what they can do. Many of them are too old to fight in a war, yet, with the spirit which is typical of our people, they say, "We do not wish to be left out if there is anything that can be done." Yet they do not know what they can do. Some form of registration and some kind of organisation for helping in this way would be of vital importance. I look to the future, not without anxiety yet with greater confidence than I could have thought possible a short time ago. If I feel gratitude to our Prime Minister, it is not because he is my party leader but because, in my view, he has done something which represents what this world really desires. It may be that he has broken certain traditions, that he has gone outside those methods which have been our habit in the past. I thank God for it, and I think this House ought to-day to give him the strongest vote of confidence, because by that means alone we can show the world that we work for peace, for the development of trade and commerce, and for mediation with the dictatorships—because I think that is one of the things to which we must direct our minds.

1.28 p.m.

The right hon. Baronet the Member for Pollok (Sir J. Gilmour) said that the Prime Minister might, in his recent achievement, have broken a tradition. I do not think these are days in which we ought to stand on tradition. I regret that to-day we are standing very much on the old tradition in having a Motion on the Paper and an Amendment. We might well have been content with getting the maximum amount of agreement and unity at this time of great difficulty. I do not propose to dwell on that long series of mistakes, blunders and miscalculations over the last seven years, on the part of ourselves and our friends, which have brought us to the pass from which we were only extricated at the last moment by the action of the Prime Minister. Nor do I propose to review that failure to relate, either in volume or time, our preparations for defence with the deterioration in our international relations. We are left at this moment with time to think, with time to hope, but we must admit that we find ourselves, in spite of everything that has been done, in a position where the old dangers have been increased and new dangers surround us. We had a very remarkable example of a new danger referred to by the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Harold Macmillan), when he instanced the attack which has apparently been launched on our export trade. Against these dangers we have to set hopes—and they are hopes which, measured by the history of those concerned in them, are not such as to engender any great amount of confidence. I do not think there is any merit at this time in being optimistic, any more than there is demerit in being pessimistic. The only merit is in facing the facts, and seeing what can be made of them.

The right hon. Gentleman said he saw a new hope in opening up contacts and negotiations. I hope he is right. Certainly nobody can quarrel with the desire and intention to establish better relations with the dictatorial States. They are living on the earth with us. It is inescapable. The Prime Minister thinks he can establish such better relations in a wider order. He may be right. I do not think we shall have long to wait to see whether he is right or not. There are plenty of ways in which the totalitarian States can speedily show whether they are in earnest or not, and whether they desire our friendship. I very much regret the suggestion made in some quarters that we should not say anything to irritate those in totalitarian States and that we should conceal our feelings. No friendship which is worth having can be got by concealing anything. On the contrary, let us have no concealment. But I would suggest that, if it takes two to make a quarrel, it is equally true that it takes two to make a friendship. It takes two to make even a passing acquaintance into a working friendship. Therefore, I hope that I am not saying anything to irritate those dictators when I say that even acquaintance is not helped by talk of "the poison of democracy" and "the decadent democratic system" and the like. The position is one in which a little common courtesy might help matters. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the openings represented by the new opportunities for negotiation and contacts. I sincerely hope that his anticipations are well founded, but I must confess that at the moment it seems to me that the omens are not particularly favourable. I notice to-day that it is reported in the "Times" that Herr Hitler, speaking naturally in a tone of some jubilation, as he was entitled to do, and referring to the methods of foreign policy, said:
"Their method of solving their own problems and helping themselves was manlier than that of peddling from conference to conference."
Merely looking at the matter in the plain light of facts, that seems to be an omen which is none too favourable. When I consider the foreign policy which is adumbrated, it brings to mind the powerful statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday, when he said that the policy which we had adopted, and which he was trying to justify and which has relieved our immediate anxiety, was settled on a basis of ultimatum and threat, and I am driven to ask myself whether the peace for which we are all longing and which the whole world is anxious to obtain at this moment, is to be a peace dictated on the same terms as the last one. When these negotiations are opened I hope that we shall be able to secure a peace in which we ourselves will have had some say. I hope that the outlook and these unfavourable omens which are already appearing to-day may not be justified in that event.

I feel obliged to refer to one other matter. We have tried in this House to soothe our consciences by thinking that we have obtained, by the processes of negotiation at Munich, terms which were much better than those which were laid down by Herr Hitler at Godesberg. I must confess that I am disturbed to see, as reported by the "Times" correspondent in Berlin to-day, that there has been considerable discussion and dispute on the International Commission in Berlin, and I am profoundly disturbed when I read this sentence:
"While the exact limits of the so-called Fifth Zone designated by the International Commission … are not yet known, the Official News Agency to-night gives details of the zone, as coming from a well-informed source, which, if correct, would indicate that after the occupation of this zone the area held by German troops would not differ materially from the area Herr Hitler demanded in his Godesberg memorandum."
I hope that the Government, in handing this matter over to the Commission, have not let it pass altogether out of their jurisdiction. We have won little or nothing from the terms of the ultimatum, and do not let us give way in that respect. It will take all the hope that we can get in a situation of this kind. My relief that we were not at war last week was perhaps greater than that of many people because for weeks I had believed that war was inevitable. I could not discover, and in fact I have not been able to discover since the end of July, the slightest intimation or wish on the part of the German Government to settle this dispute peacefully. We all know that whatever negotiations may have been proceeding and whatever dÉmarche may have been made, the German Press never ceased to hurl a cataract of vilification and abuse at the head of the Czechoslovak State, which, I think, is without parallel. I cannot help feeling that the restrained dignity with which the head of the Czechoslovak State and the people of Czechoslovakia endured all that they have experienced, and are experiencing at this moment, seems to have established a new standard of human conduct. Our hearts go out to them in the new task which lies before them—a great and grievous task.

I welcome the announcement of all the financial help that we can give them, and I associate myself with the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) on the first day of our discussion, that we should give as a free gift something which would be the equivalent of the cost of one or two days' mobilisation. There is some doubt about these matters, and I would like to ask what it is that we have undertaken to do financially for the Czech Government. Earlier to-day we had a short discussion to clarify the position with regard to the £10,000,000 credit which has been given by the Bank of England. Is it right to suppose that we are giving, on the guarantee of this country, a loan of £30,000,000, of which £10,000,000 is the first credit? If it is to be a loan guaranteed by the credit of this country, the rate of interest upon it will be whatever our credit may be at the moment. It may be 3 per cent., 3½ per cent., or 4 per cent., but not 8 per cent., which is the current rate of interest on the existing Czech loan. I press for a little more attention to be given to the matter when the loan comes to be dealt with by discussion between the two Governments. Is it to be a free credit and a free loan for all purposes, or are there to be any conditions imposed which would prevent it finding its way more or less speedily into the coffers of the German Reich? That is a matter which calls for attention.

There are many ways in which Germany could give, if she were so minded, and I hope she may be, immediate proof of her good will and her desire to turn the world back into the ways of peace. I wish that Herr Hitler could see that whatever achievement he has made, it would be quite incomparable with the position he might take up at this moment if he were to set himself resolutely at the head of the peace forces of the world. If the Germans, instead of demanding compensation for destruction carried out in Czechoslovakia, were to make every effort to facilitate and help the refugees who are fleeing into the Czech country, if they would really undertake this great humanitarian task and give some evidence that they are prepared to alter the whole arrangements of their economic system, which is based upon war and upon war only—it is only by some evidence of being willing to abandon that policy—they can convince the world of their desire to be peaceful. And also, if at the same time they will give some evidence that they are willing to abandon the armaments race.

That is the kind of evidence of friendship which Germany could give, and it would do more to alay the fear which is still ruling in the hearts and minds of men in all countries. We must keep all the hope we can and build on it all that we can. In my lifetime I have never seen anything more impressive than the intense desire of the whole world that war should not break out. Let us remember what happened in Germany and what we have heard from one's acquaintances in Germany. What happened there is perhaps the most hopeful thing in the whole situation. There was a great manifestation of hatred of war and the desire for peace. The question is, can we do anything to harness that desire and sentiment to some practical purpose?

The Amendment refers to an international conference. The hon. Member who spoke last in favour of that Amendment said that preparations had been made very largely for it. I cannot speak with his knowledge, but it will certainly require a great deal of preparation before a conference of that kind can take place. I do think, however, that we should take the peace initiative. It is not for me to say how and under what terms it should be done, but I can only speak from my own previous contact with that subject. An abiding peace in the world can be kept only when every country has a common incentive to keep the peace. If that principle be accepted, as I hope it may be, there will be a chance for this further proposition of a world peace conference. We must make a start, and statesmen to-day in all countries should make it their duty to consider how the raw materials of the world, the resources of the world and the open spaces of the world can be made available on equal terms to the common people of the world. That is the only basis on which the great longing of mankind for peace can be realised at this moment. At any rate, we must take the initiative.

It is lamentable that none of those who have spoken in the Debate have seen any possibility of reducing our efforts in regard to armaments. I agree that the situation is one in which no effort can be relaxed. Especially I think that our efforts should be intensified and devoted to air-raid precautions which should be carried through to the most complete extent possible. I believe that is a move in favour of peace, because nothing is more likely to discourage air attack than the knowledge and belief that it is likely to fail.

I should like to refer to what was said by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook and to ask that the allocation of money for air-raid precautions should be done with a little more imagination than up to now. Why should not the evacuation plans be connected with permanent holiday plans for all school children? Why should not a great deal of this necessary work, which must be done, be specially allocated for the rehabilitation of the long-term unemployed? In conclusion, I would say that we must keep all the hope that we can, and get all the unity that we can in the difficulties which lie before us. We find ourselves confronted with new dangers. All the old safeguards of Europe have been swept away, and we are in an entirely new and alarming situation. I have tried to indicate the directions in which I think hope can be found.

1.51 p.m.

In the speech of the hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White) hope was expressed that in spite of the anxiety and worry, and the anxious thoughts that have been going through all our minds during the last few days, the last few weeks and also for months, there is good hope. The hon. Member said, let us now take the initiative for peace. I can only reply, let us continue to take the initiative for peace that we have taken. Anyone who has the privilege of speaking in this Debate knows that it is necessary to take as little time as possible, so that other people may get a chance of expressing their opinion. I speak not with humiliation but with pride, because the people of the world, as the hon. Member said, have looked at war and, having found it hateful, there is a greater determination throughout the world than ever before to see that quarrels are settled not by bloodshed on the battlefield, not by bombs from the sky, not by misery, but by human beings coming together in conciliation and negotiation, each trying to see the other's point of view, each willing to put forward the view that up to the last moment the hand of friendship should be extended, and not the mailed fist.

Over and over again, and especially in the speech of an hon. Member who sits for one of the divisions of Lancashire last night, reference has been made to women, their feelings towards war and peace and their gratitude that war has been averted. Having the opportunity to speak here to-day I should like to convey to the Prime Minister what we all know he realises, the fact that we women Members of Parliament have received many messages from associations of women, from married and single women all over the world, the enormous majority of whom are thanking God that a way of averting the disaster of war has been found, and that men and women of good will have been given once again the chance of working for peace.

When we survey the scene and examine the position that confronted us such a short time ago and which was viewed with extreme anxiety, it is for us, as far as we can, to face the facts. Out of all the speeches we have heard and out of all the worries and anxieties, let us try to see what are the main facts, in order that we may go forward with a clearer knowledge of the experience through which we have come. It must be agreed in all parts of the House that we had come to the conclusion that there must be a cession of territory. When we look at the alternative of war devastating Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Britain and the others, each one of us has to decide whether by going to war, by taking the responsibility of encouraging Czechoslovakia to go to war we should have been doing the right or the wrong thing. I believe that we all realised for the first time what war did really mean, and we had to balance up what was the right thing to do. I wonder whether other hon. Members felt as I did. Never before had I realised what war was going to mean. We, calling ourselves a civilised people, in the year 1938 were making plans to send children, the under-fives, away from home telling them to put on their warm coats, and putting their names and addresses on labels. How many of us thought that if war came these names and addresses on these labels would be of much avail? I know that over and over again when British mothers put their children into these warm clothes with their names and addresses on labels and said "Goodbye" to them, they were not thinking of themselves and their families alone but of homes and families in other parts of the world, the babies in Czechoslovakia and in France and Germany.

Was it right that we as trustees for the future of the world should let loose the forces of destruction? Each one of us had to balance the matter in our own mind. We must know for what we are called upon to pay such a price and whether it was right to pay it. When we consider what would have been the result, when we calculate that we could not save the people in Czechoslovakia, when we knew in our hearts that there must be a cession of territory, we said, "No." We have been told that other propositions were before us, that it was not only the boundaries of Czechoslovakia for which we should be fighting, but that we should be fighting against tyranny and against the alarm of the future when the dictator Powers got stronger. We were told of the growing strength of the dictator Powers, but when the men and women of this country faced war did they feel that they would be letting loose this flood of destruction in order to keep down the dictator Powers? No. The people of this country and of the world believe that force is not inevitably going to win. They saw that there was a sign of a rift in the clouds, and that there was a need for humbling ourselves if necessary in order to go and ask that we should negotiate. If we have seen in the horrors of war a chance of peace, then as a nation we should be leading the world into peaceful days and get rid of all the bitterness however much we may detest the government of a country. Is not that the only hope for the country which is going to make this appalling sacrifice? Is not that the way to help that gallant people who have expressed their feelings far more gallantly than some Members of this House who sympathise with them? They are going to build up a strong and united nation.

We are starting to win for peace, and the first victory has been won. It has been suggested that there should be a world conference of all the nations. I would ask hon. Members who have made speeches in this House full of bitterness against other countries whether that is the way to get the dictators to such a conference. Is it really trying to get them to come in when we talk as one hon. Member did about supping with the Devil and having a long spoon? Is that the way to get people round a table to negotiate? What is the use of looking back? What is the use now of talking about broken promises and saying that we do not believe their word? When we heard that the Prime Minister was going to meet Herr Hitler was there one of us who said, "Do not negotiate with him because we do not believe a word he says"? No. We wished the Prime Minister God speed. We must do all we can to bring all nations together in conference. That is our task. I have been at the League of Nations and worked there. The League of Nations is a thrilling and glorious ideal. During the last year or two I think the words "collective security" have been used wrongly by many of us. It is not the road to peace: it is the end of that road. It is the ideal which we must reach, and when we have reached the idea of collective security we shall have reached peace.

The ideal of the League of Nations is to settle all our quarrels by negotiation, that there should be a pause before the awful step of war is taken. In the past I think that the spirit of the League has been lost in the ceremony and ritual connected with the League. The spirit of the League is negotiation up to the last moment, to try whether persuasion will do—not force. In my opinion the Prime Minister has taken the spirit of the League out of the ceremony and ritual into which it had become involved. He took it out of the machinery of the League and went himself to the dictator countries. If we could build up a League of Nations, not necessarily thinking that all nations must be brought into one body straight away, but build it up by units and then by adding further units, we shall have a great prospect of success.

I had hoped at the beginning of this week, although we may have our differences on detail as well as our anxieties, that we should be able to show a united front in the British House of Commons. I had hoped that as we have been through these terrible times we would say that on this question we would leave the next few months to see whether the Prime Minister's policy was right or wrong, whether the policy which he initiated a year or so ago was right or wrong, but that in the meantime the world should know that the British House of Commons represented this great peace-loving nation and stood together. That is not to be. Each one of us has an enormous responsibility. I know that there are some hon. Members who belong to the same party as I who have expressed their disagreement, but who also think that it would be an appalling thing to have a general election at this time. I do not want a general election. We do not need a general election, because I believe the country is behind the Prime Minister. But I would suggest to those hon. Members who have said that a general election would be a bad thing for this country and for Europe, to remember that if one could imagine that the Government would be defeated in the Division there would be a general election. The right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), after all the force of his brilliant argument, realizes the Division is to take place and although he thinks to have a General Election would be wrong feels he can stay out of it quite calmly as he knows that he has converted to his opinion so few of the great party who will support the Prime Minister's Motion.

But a man has gone out to the world to declare what I believe the ordinary people in this country are saying, "We want friendship, we want negotiation, we want to stretch out our hand to every nation. If all this fails, we will fight, but it will only be when we are absolutely certain that everything has been tried." To the people of any nation in future who say to us, "War at any cost," the answer, I believe, will be the answer of a nation which wished to negotiate and which looked first to what are the ideals of Christianity; and only when faced with failure of those efforts will reply, not merely with a mailed fist, but with the might and power of a great nation trained and disciplined, devoted to peace, but determined to serve not only its country but a great ideal.

2.6 p.m.

Every hon. Member will agree with the passionate feeling for peace in the speech of the hon. Lady the Member for Dundee (Miss Horsbrugh). There is no doubt that if we think back to those five minutes before the clock struck, we shall agree that there must have been a most terrible revulsion against the idea that we were to be plunged into war. There is no dispute between the two sides of the House about that; but I suggest to the hon. Lady that that is not the case which hon. Members on this side are making. What we say to the Prime Minister is that we object to his personal policy which landed this country in such a position that only by some dramatic improvisation in the last five minutes, and by throwing away practically everything for which this country cared and stood, could he rescue us from the results of his own policy. That is the real issue, and I do not think the Prime Minister should have to bear that burden alone.

No hon. Member would rise to speak if he had nothing new to contribute and wanted only to go over the past or to sentimentalise about it; but we have a right to ask what other people, apart from the Prime Minister, were doing to land us in that dreadful situation. The Prime Minister told us that one of the reasons why he went by air to Berchtesgaden—and it was a reason with which everyone sympathized—was that he was afraid Herr Hitler was not being told the truth about this country and did not really know what the feeling of the Government was. The former First Lord of the Admiralty has said that this country should have given a clear lead. I suggest that one of the difficulties which the Prime Minister found when he went to Berchtesgaden was that other people in this country had been giving a clear indication as to what Britain was likely to do. I am referring to a number of very influential people in this country who have been saying to Herr Hitler, and still more to Herr von Ribbentrop, who was German Ambassador to this country, that they could rely on the fact that in no circumstances would Great Britain fight for either Czechoslovakia or Austria. That may be true, but I think we ought to realise now, as we look back—I appreciate, as the Prime Minister said, that it is always easy for us to be wise after the event—that one of the great difficulties this country had to face was that when the Reichswehr officers and leading people in Germany represented the feeling that Germany could not afford to stand up to this country, and was not prepared to face a combination of Britain, France and Russia, Herr Hitler was always able to say that his Ambassador to Great Britain had informed him that he could go ahead and that in no circumstances would Great Britain fight for these people. Whatever the Prime Minister may have said to Herr Hitler, he was always faced by the difficulty that at Herr Hitler's elbow there was a man who said "I know."

It is no use talking about the past; we have to talk about the future. I maintain that the difficulty in which some people have put the Prime Minister is a serious matter. We all know how often the question has been asked, with a sneer, "Where is Czechoslovakia?" The higher aristocracy of this country have given the impression that they do not care two hoots about Czechoslovakia or Austria. I am convinced that one of the troubles the Prime Minister had to face was the fact that there were strong and powerful elements in this country who had made that clear. It is the usual thing, in situations of this kind, to accuse the Left and to say that our activities are inimical to our country. I say that there are people in very much higher positions whose activities have been very inimical in this country and whose activities have not ceased. We have been faced with that position in regard to Austria and Czechoslovakia, and we shall be faced with it in regard to Spain. All the time there are those influences which are playing the game of the Fascist Powers against the national interests of this country.

I think it is time that that should be said in this House and that something should be done firmly to counteract the mischievous activities of these individuals. It is not a trivial matter. It was a very serious thing that one very prominent American airman was being lunched by these people, and all sorts of influential people were asked to meet him. He assured them that it was quite impossible for this country to do anything because Germany's air force was better than those of Russia, Britain, and France combined. Faced with a serious cross-examination, he could not give facts to back up this opinion, but the mischief was done. That was a case of organised defeatism. Let nobody deny that this country is now faced with a very grave situation. I believe that situation need not have come about if we had been willing to organise the collective security system. The hon. Lady the Member for Dundee has said that mothers, as they buttoned up their children in warm coats, thought that they might never see them again. What is happening to the mothers in Czechoslovakia to-day?

I think of some of the mothers who are taking their children along crowded roads, which they have been given very little time to do. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is not war!''] For Czechoslovakia it is practically war. After all, whether their husbands are to be killed by being shot or hammered to death in concentration camps, it does not make much difference. There is a thick veil of secrecy over what is really happening. The hon. Member opposite is one of the people to whom I am alluding, whose activities were inimical to the interests of this country.

Is the hon. Lady levelling any form of accusation against me? If so I shall be glad if she will specify. If she cannot specify she ought to withdraw her remark.

I cannot do that, but the hon. Member's general activities with regard to Spain and his approval of Fascism prove what I am saying.

I want to make my position very clear. I know what I am saying is possibly rather unpleasant at this time. Those who talk about national unity always assume that the people on this side are the ones who stand in the way. We do not feel that the issue before the country on that Wednesday ought ever to have arisen or need have arisen. It was very largely the policy of the Government which put us in that extremely unfortunate position. Some of us wonder whether Spain is to be another Czechoslovakia or Austria, and whether we are again to be faced with the appalling position that we have alienated our friends and broken up the one hope that we have of collective security. We want peace; those on this side of the House want peace just as much as the hon. Lady or anyone opposite does, but we say that the policy that the Government are following is not going to lead us to peace. It is obvious that it cannot. Every step that has been taken by the Government since the present Prime Minister came into power has landed us nearer and nearer to war, until we have been brought to the abyss. Where are the Government to stop? Are they going to continue on the same lines? The only hope for this country is to build up a collective security system through the League, and no improvisation, however well meant or followed by the prayers of the people or the Prime Minister, can take its place.

2.19 p.m.

Having listened to the Debate of the last few days I must confess that, to my mind, many of the speeches have displayed complete political dishonesty and a refusal to face up to the circumstances that surrounded the crisis through which we have just passed. I say frankly that if the Government had placed on the Order Paper a simple Motion approving of the Prime Minister's discussions and the settlement that was made, there are Members of the House who would have had great difficulty in abstaining from voting for it this afternoon. I speak quite frankly and without fear when I say that I approve wholeheartedly of the efforts that the Prime Minister made. In some quarters we have been taunted because my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) has generously and honestly stated a point of view that we believe to represent the opinion of the man and woman in the street. There seems to be a feeling in public life, and I regret it, that because you differ from a man in politics you must never admit that anything he does is right, that if a man in politics disagrees with you, even if he is a good father or husband, you must make him out to be a thorough blackguard in order to satisfy your conscience and your party. I refuse to subscribe to that view. There have been occasions when I have agreed with many Members of different parties in this House. I have agreed in an overwhelming number of cases with the Labour party. I have agreed sometimes with the statements made by members of the Government and with the action they have taken, and I believe that at least twice in the last eight years I have agreed with the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander). When there is condemnation of such acknowledgment of what we believe to be right, we ought openly and honestly to meet any attacks made from any direction.

I was in the heart of the country that was involved during the crisis. I have always believed that the best way to get to know things that are happening to nations and their people is to go through the areas concerned and to meet not only people in high places but those in the cafes, in tea rooms and in homes. I have travelled over 1,000 miles on a bicycle, have passed through Prague and Vienna and have ridden to Berlin. I had intended to go right down to Rome in order to meet people there and to make a study of the point of view of those who are regarded as our enemies, or at least as our opponents. I have never been afraid of hearing any man's point of view. I have always been prepared to listen to him in public meeting, in debate and in argument. I can become an intelligent opponent of such a man only if I know his case and have tried to understand it. Time and time again I have gone home after engaging in combat of that kind, and for hours in the night have turned over in my mind the question whether I was right or he was right. If a man is too cocksure of his own position in a changing world his opinions are not worth very much.

As I say, I went through the countries affected by the crisis and I was staggered at the immensity of the forces that were moving, not only on the German-Austrian side but on the Czech side. I went right over the frontier. I saw guns, I saw every form of modern weapon. There were trains, trains, trains, moving with troops and tanks, field kitchens and all the implements of war. A week last Thursday in the afternoon 305 transport wagons passed us on the great autobahn road outside Berlin, packed with troops. That was at 3 o'clock, and we were told by the proprietor of a cafÉ that from 2 o'clock the previous day the movement of that transport had been continuous. I say frankly that I shuddered at the prospect for humanity if that machine was let loose.

I was engaged in discussion with people for at least 18 hours a day, and my mind was in a state of utter despair because of what I thought humanity was to be plunged into. I pictured men disembowelling each other, blinding each other, blowing the limbs off each other, driving each other insane. I pictured bombs raining from the sky and death and destruction everywhere. I could not face such a situation. I will be honest and say that when I heard for the first time in Vienna that the Prime Minister was coming to Germany to enter into discussion, I thanked God that some effort was being made. In saying that I do not subscribe to the system or the policy of the Government. But we are entitled to say to the man at the head of affairs in a difficult situation, even though the system may have brought us right up against that situation, if he averts war and gives a breathing space to the world for reason to operate—we are entitled to say to him generously, as I say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."

I can understand some Members on this side of the House laughing because I say this and I have been told of the forces that were to be behind the Government but I am scared of those forces. Dr. Krofta, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs in Prague, told me about them. I called the Czechoslovak Republic of 1918 "the Versailles cocktail," as it appeared to me to be made up of various races, but let me say this, quite frankly, to the Labour Party and to others who take an opposite point of view from me. I regret that reason and discussion did not produce a proper settlement of the trouble there which would have enabled Jews and Social Democrats and Catholics and others who wanted to move out of the disputed territory into Czechoslovakia to do so, and to get some form of compensation, even with an exchange of populations. I regret that that did not take place, but I also say this. I was told that Russia was going to aid them, that France was coming in, that Britain would come in to support France, that America would give financial aid, and that Rumania would stand aside and let the Russian army pass through. I doubted it, and I said "In theory all that looks very well, but I have grave doubts."

I may be pardoned, too, for saying this to the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher). I remember when he took part in a meeting in Glasgow during the Great War, and welcomed Russia's desertion of the Allies. [An HON. MEMBER: "He would."] I am going to argue this matter out reasonably, and I say that if Russia was to be congratulated on having left the last War, which we were told, was fought to save little Belgium, which was to save democracy, destroy the Kaiser and destroy militarism, what guarantee is there that Russia would have carried out her obligations in a war for Czechoslovakia to-day? There is an old saying which has always appealed to me to the effect that it is much better to ride on the tail of a lion than on the head of a fox. I disagree entirely with the policy of war, and, if war had come, I make no bones about saying that no matter what the result, I would not have supported that war, and the party to which I belong would not have supported that war. But we are not goading the Government into war and then running away when we have done so.

We make our position thoroughly plain. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) last night spoke of the struggle for democracy. I remember the present Home Secretary standing at that Box for weeks engaged in the task of giving a limited constitution to India, but the right hon. Gentleman's talk then was that no democratic Government should be given to the people of India in any shape or form. He talked last night about pagan Germany, and said that we must not bargain with them. He talked about the Germans having driven out the Jews and attacked the Catholics and the Social Democrats. But he made the same kind of speeches about "atheistic Russia" when he spent £100,000,000 of the British taxpayers' money in trying to destroy the Soviet Republic. His love of democracy is, to my mind, a very unreal one. Some people get slogans to suit the times and I think in the right hon. Gentleman's slogan last night he was simply speaking with his tongue in his cheeck. I am not carried away by this talk about a struggle for democracy. I see this struggle in an altogether different light. I see it as a struggle between two contending groups in this country. When the hon. Lady the Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) speaks of collective security I would ask her where is her collective security to come from? If there had been a struggle over the Sudeten territory and there had been a League, Germany, Italy, Poland and Hungary would all have taken sides. There are two sides in this world whether you like it or not. There are "the haves" and "the have nots."

This country does not want war. I recognise that fact. She has a great Colonial Empire and wants to pursue a policy which will ensure the continuation of that Empire in a very fine and orderly way. But Germany and Italy are bound to challenge the supremacy of the older Empires. I am told that we must accept that challenge and stand up to the bullies right away. I loathe the type of mind that is at the head of the German Government which persecutes and tortures its opponents. I could tell the House a well authenticated story of conditions in Germany that would be revolting to the mind, the conscience and the heart of every human being. I could tell of Jews, old men, being gathered together in public thoroughfares on a Sunday afternoon and being ordered by secret police and the Brownshirts, on pain of being sent to the Dachau concentration camp, to spit in each other's faces and call out twelve times, "I am ashamed to be a Jew."

That kind of conduct is revolting, but realising that, realising to the full its brutality, when we are told that in order to try to end it we must go to war and stand up to Hitler, we say that standing up to Hitler probably means the sacrifice of millions of the lives of the working class. Nobody dreaded war more than the Jews in Vienna and Berlin. They said, "If war comes we will be the first victims, because every disaster will be blamed upon us, and bad as our lot is to-day, it will become a great deal worse." I saw the response of the German people to the recent situation and it astounded me. When they talk about Hitler in the cafes there they disguise it by calling him "Uncle." Indeed, the first I heard of the Prime Minister's visit was in Vienna when a friend of mine said to me, "McGovern, I have news for you." When I asked him what it was he said, "Your uncle is coming to see our uncle."

I have been watching developments there. I have been going among people like bookkeepers, porters in hotels, and men in cafes. I went into hundreds of houses. I was in Labour Nazi camps, in workshops and factories, in public schools, I saw housing schemes, I was in the leading Nazi club in Berlin, I was on the great "Autobahn" road, on which I went over 230 miles in one day, I was in the new town which they are building for the production of motor cars, I saw various phases of activity—the Hitler youth movement, and all the rest—in order to try to understand the type of mind in that country. After my experience, I say this —that when the Prime Minister first came, there was a complete uplifting of the minds and hearts of every person I met. I could observe it in the cafes. When they heard that the Prime Minister was coming they thought there was some prospect of avoiding war though the military bands, the youth organisation, and all the various bodies were being mustered, for the great holocaust that was to take place. But when the Prime Minister came hack the second time I was told by the porter in the hotel, "The Prime Minister of Britain has gone back, the talks are broken off and it looks very black indeed." I could see the deep pessimism again among the public all around Berlin and the great fear that war was inevitable, and at that time I thought, in my own mind, it was inevitable. But I am glad that the Prime Minister broke through the traditions, that he stepped right out of the ordinary hidebound methods of settling disputes, went straight to the heart of the matter, met Hitler, and attempted to get some solution, because, although it is a ruthless solution or settlement in some measure, at least there is a haven of security, if only temporary, for those who want to move in, instead of the State being smashed, as it would have been, if war had taken place and civilisation itself endangered.

I say here, to the right hon. Member for Epping and to those who say "Stand up to Hitler," Do they suggest that we should have gone to war in these circumstances, with the tremendous loss of life that would have taken place in that catastrophe? I am honest enough, and I will face any man on any platform in the country, put my case to the public, and get endorsement for it. I think that under the circumstances the right thing was done. You have either to make war on the dictators or to try and make some form of agreement, because the feeling internally is that if more friendship were shown instead of the type of speeches and of passion we have here, you would get a modification of the internal brutality and bring them into the councils of the world. I am for trying it, and I say, in conclusion, that I believe in that which was done to preserve peace. I believe that the people, the men and women in the street—and this is where I disagree with a large number of the leaders of the working-class movement—did not care what the terms were. They were thankful that peace had been ensured. They did not reason it out. Many of those who did reason it out would have fought with the other man's body. I am not for fighting with other people's bodies, and I am glad that peace was established.

2.38 p.m.

One of the most striking features of this Debate is the rather disquieting fact that there obviously exists a profound division, not only of opinion, but of feeling, between men who feel the same way politically. If the House will bear with me for a minute, I will give an example of that from the Debate yesterday afternoon, an example which came home to me in a very special way. In the past three or four years there has been a group of us which has dealt with, and discussed, mainly subjects of national defence. The House may remember, or it may have forgotten, that three years ago or so that group spent a week-end at a country house, which for some reason or other which we never discovered was very well advertised in the Press. It was supposed to be a conspiracy, but, of course, it was not. Some of the members of that group are now gone. Sir Austen Chamberlain, whose loss, I think, is never more heavily felt than at a moment of crisis like this, is, alas, no more with us; Lord Horne has been elevated to another place; my Noble Friend the right hon. Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) is in the Cabinet.

But what happened yesterday afternoon? Among the two of us who remain on the back benches speeches were made which showed the deepest possible division of feeling, and I have heard enough from the country and from my own constituency to realise that that reflects a division among Conservative newspapers and elsewhere in the country at the present time. I am not going to attempt to mediate between my two old friends. Only Sir Austen could have done that, because he had an unerring and unfailing instinct for right, not only in personal but in national affairs, which appealed immediately to everybody. But I am going to suggest that the existence of this division, if it is to continue, will be most dangerous to this country at a very critical time, and I am going to urge that national unity is now essential if this country is to play its part in standing up for the things in which it believes. Therefore, I want to speak mainly about the second part of this Motion, the future. But before I come to the future, I must in honesty say a word about the past.

I have always held the view that we should have had a speedier rearmament and a more thorough organisation of this country in order to meet the crisis which was obviously coming. I therefore hold the opinion that this crisis would not have become so acute so suddenly if our preparations had been more advanced. That is my view, but that is not, as it seems to me, the crux of the question on which we are asked to vote to-day. The crisis did occur. It came upon us like a whirlwind, and it reached its climax with hurricane velocity. In the circumstances, every day and night in August, and still more in September, I asked myself this question: Would the Prime Minister be right in these circumstances, in the conditions which we are in and which he must know better even than we do, to lead the people of this country and of the Empire into war? I am bound to say that my answer, every day and every night throughout that period, right to the end, was, "No." I therefore wish to express, like 99 per cent. of the people of this country, my gratitude to the Prime Minister for having kept us out of war, for having shown that tenacity, that patience, that resource which were necessary in a very critical time to keep us out of war.

I now come to the second part of the Motion. We are in a very grave emergency, and the future is dark in some respects, but this country is not defeated yet. I believe that it can still rally behind it the nations which want decent behaviour. I believe it can still build up peace on a broader basis, and I believe that it can—I am sure that it can—develop the strength which is indispensable to make that policy possible. The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) last night seemed to think that a policy of developing strength was incompatible with a policy of appeasement. I should like to cross a lance with him on that on another occasion, but we have now, as it seems to me, to pursue a policy built up on two pillars. One pillar is unquestionably appeasement. I believe the Prime Minister is right when he says that there is a new dawn and a new hope in Europe at the present time, and I believe that to be true for two reasons, mainly. In the first place, I think he has managed to make, for the first time, a direct contact with the German people. I have been associated in the past with statesmen who have failed to do that. I believe the Prime Minister has done that, and that it is going to count.

The other thing, as Lord Baldwin said in another place yesterday or the day before, is that the nations have looked into the abyss. There has been an awakening, a realisation, throughout the world, and I believe that when the Prime Minister went to Munich the war lords at that time felt a wind upon their foreheads which boded them no good. On that basis, I believe we can build, and therefore I am all for the policy of appeasement, and I hope it will be pursued on the broadest basis possible. But it needs a broad basis. I was private secretary to a Prime Minister many years ago, during the last 18 months of his tenure of power, and this is what I learned. When a Prime Minister has behind him a really undivided country, when it is known that popular opinion is strongly with him, he is powerful abroad, but, as I discovered in the period during which I served the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) as private secretary dealing with Imperial and foreign affairs, his power falls, and falls very rapidly, as people begin to think that opinion is divided behind him. I saw that in every conference to which we went. I am sure it remains true. I can remember personal and private conversations with two men—M. PoincarÉ, who was then Prime Minister in Paris, and President Benes—which made that abundantly clear at a time when the right hon Gentleman was trying to deal with the problem which has nearly brought Europe to war now.

There must be a great measure of unity in regard to foreign policy if that policy is to succeed. I plead for that all the more strongly because unity in foreign policy seems to me to be necessary also to the real strengthening of our defences and the organisation of this country which is required. I can see no hope of getting the things which we need for the strengthening of this country without absolute genuine national co-operation, and I do not see how we are going to get that without a very large measure of unity on foreign affairs. I hope that the Government are going to tell us more in the near future about their plans than they have told us in the past. It seems to me that we need a greater acceleration of production and the mobilisation of industry, as Lord Baldwin said, whatever that may mean. We need military reorganisation on a very large scale. I am not going into that, but I do not believe that it involves compulsory military service. I think it does mean organisation and training on totally different lines from what we have had in the past. We also need organisation of the civil population against the many-sided dangers of air attack, and that, it seems to me, calls for something in the nature of a national register. I beg the Prime Minister in the critical weeks ahead, when he has had what everyone agrees he is entitled to, a holiday, to address all his splendid qualities to getting in this country the greatest possible measure of unity on defence and foreign affairs.

2.48 p.m.

If I have to say a few words which may not be in accordance with the views of the majority of the House, I hope the House will appreciate that I do it from a sense of conscience and conviction. I want to add my tribute to the great part which the Prime Minister has played in preserving peace. I think that he had to make a decision from which other men would have shrunk. We are told that it is easy to criticise when there is a period of greater safety. We had, however, no chance of criticising before. I wrote to the Prime Minister telling him my apprehensions, and it says much for his forbearance and kindness that in the time of his greatest difficulty and anxiety he wrote me a personal letter thanking me for my frankness and asking me to withhold judgment. I have listened to the Debate with the greatest attention and the greatest desire to be converted, and if I have not been converted I know the Prime Minister will understand it is only out of conviction. Before the Prime Minister made his last journey he made a reference to Hotspur:

"Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.'
An author friend sent me a little rhyme which rather neatly describes the present position:
"He proved his mettle in freedom's black hour.
But who got the nettle, and who plucked the flower?"
I am not sure that we can say that we have plucked the flower. There is not time now to go into the past. I would like to point out, however, that we have suffered an act of catastrophic disaster, and I would ask the House to realise that we must use all our united efforts if this country and civilisation are to be saved. I cannot help thinking that in the last two weeks Herr Hitler has won a victory as momentous as Gettysburg, as dramatic as Waterloo and as decisive as Tannenberg. He has gained a frontier which will release divisions from that frontier equal in number to any divisions we ourselves could possibly raise under conscription. By the penetration of Czechoslovakia, by the extension of the Nazi influence, I think it hard to resist the conclusion that the weapon of effective blockade has been taken from our hands. We shall require a colossal national effort if the forces of democracy are to be rallied. My hon. and gallant Friend who has just spoken realises as well as I do that we cannot expect to get a national effort or rearmament unless every section of the community is wholeheartedly in favour of it.

Therefore, I plead with the Prime Minister that we must have a foreign policy which every Member of this House and every party endorses. I do not ask for a foreign policy of hatred for the Nazi rÉgime, but a policy of friendship of all dictators, either Right or Left, and a policy which will also safeguard the interests of democracy. We can talk to dictators, but we must be able to talk to them on terms of equality. One of the most remarkable parts of the Debate was when the Prime Minister told us that when he was very frank with Herr Hitler, Herr Hitler was on the warmest terms with him. That is the mentality of the Germans; they do not appreciate you unless you are prepared to stand up to them.

We may sooner or later have to face the probability of setting up a new league which will contain all the nations. I believe that in this House there is an undercurrent of national unity, and it seems to me from the speeches of hon. Members opposite—I may be wrong—that the party opposite is ready to make some offer which the Government could accept. I hope that the Prime Minister will explore every avenue, to use a hackneyed phrase, in order to get national unity. The Home Secretary has promised us an inquiry into Air Raid Precautions. The House is entitled also to an investigation into the whole of the Defence services. It is no excuse to say that we had to allow the disaster which we have just witnessed because our defences were weak. The Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence has time and again refused to mobilise industry. I do hope that it will be possible for the Prime Minister to announce a foreign policy which can unite the nation, and make it easy for us who at this moment are estranged from his policy to unite in our efforts to make this country of ours strong and of firm counsel in the nations of the world.

2.55 p.m.

We are now coming to the last stages of a Debate which is, I am sure, an historical Debate. It was suggested that four days was too long a time to give to this subject. I did not agree, and I do not agree. There are many Members in this House who have not been able to address it. We have had an important discussion of the events of the immediate past and of the more remote past, and I do not intend to go over that ground again, but listening to the Debate I think that it has brought out clearly the truth of a point I made in the early stages of it, and that is that we have to consider not merely the dramatic events of the last few weeks which caused the country so much anxiety, but the course of policy which has been followed year after year and which has led us from a position of peace and security into an uncertain position to-day, with war averted but with the conditions which might lead to a war still present.

Most Members have sought for the causes of the crisis in the errors of the past. Some of them have gone a very long way back, many of them have gone back to the Peace Treaties and there have been remarkable speeches by those who recognise now the mistakes that we made then. I heard Conservatives use all the arguments which were used by Socialists in 1918 and which subjected them to such abuse by Members who had "the coupon," and who took part in what I think was the most disastrous election this country ever had, an election which took away the opportunity of getting a good peace—

—and yet led to conditions which are certain—not certain, but likely—to lead to another war. The Prime Minister of that day had his hands strengthened not for justice but for vengeance. I have heard Members making speeches and applauding speeches the logical result of which would only be that we should take up precisely the same attitude towards war and armaments as that taken by the right hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury). If they really take that view then they should not be asking in the same breath for more armaments. When reviewing the past I think one must say that in 1931 many of the worst features of the Peace Treaties were being removed. There was in 1931 a beginning of peace in the world. I think that then the German nation were beginning to come back into the full councils of the world. I would that the policy then had been followed up. The fact remains that for the last seven years foreign policy has been in the hands of the party opposite. They have had complete power in this House and in another House. They have been able to do what they would, and in any discussion on armaments they have had complete power in this House to provide what armaments, to raise whatever money for armaments they wished.

The present situation is, if you like, the result of world events. I am not suggesting for a moment that this Government or its predecessors could control world events, because if I did so I should fall into the error of those who say that the great depression of 1931 was entirely due to the Labour Government. But the fact remains that the Government were the people in charge of the destinies of this great country, and whatever line of policy they took ought not to have been a drifting with events but should have been an assuming of power over events. We on this side have consistently opposed the policy of this Government wherever we considered it was departing from the principle of the League of Nations and the principle of collective security. The Government party must take responsibility for the present situation and we cannot approve a policy which has led to such results.

So much for the past. The Government are now asking for a Vote of Confidence and ask us to support their efforts to secure a lasting peace. Everybody in this House and in the country will want to see efforts made for a lasting peace. Everyone wants to see those efforts succeed. Everyone will agree with the objective, but the implication is that lasting peace can be secured by following the methods and policy which they have pursued for the last seven years, and there is nothing in their past record to suggest that that is so. It is clear that their present policy has not brought it, and a continuation of it will not bring it, and what we are seeking is to find out what the Government's policy is. I think there has run through all the speeches a note of apprehension for the future, not only of this country but of civilisation, and with that apprehension goes a demand for a great national effort. Therefore, at this stage of the Debate, our minds, though naturally considering the terrible position at the present time—because the reports from Czechoslovakia are not too encouraging—must turn to the future, and the question which everyone is asking is, How can we secure lasting peace?

So far no Government spokesman has outlined a policy. We have had some valuable negatives. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has repudiated the idea of a Four-Power Pact. Beyond that repudiation I have heard nothing at all, except the need for increased armaments. Armaments by themselves are not a policy—they are not even anything without strategy. We want a policy of peace, and with that peace we must have freedom. When the present controversies have passed away a bit, Czechoslovakia may have peace, but she has lost her freedom and civilisation will have lost an outpost. Civilisation may go down in a war or it may be destroyed from within by losing all its moral values. I want to stress that point because I believe in the immense importance of moral values in international affairs and in any appeal to the people of this country. This people will respond to an appeal for effort and sacrifice. They will be ready to stand not only for this country but for this country as a repository that contains the jewel of freedom.

I want to stress this point of the vital importance of the morale of the nation. Armaments are useless without it, and you will never get a response in this country by imitating the methods of dictatorship. You get a utilisation of all our forces only by calling out the moral and spiritual energies of our people. What we need to discover is how our country can give to the world a lead back to sanity. You do not do that just by piling up armaments. You want strength and justice at home and the removal of grievances. It requires a policy in home affairs directed to social justice, strength and the happiness of the people.

The burden of many speeches has been that we ought to have met those difficulties before. We have put down our Amendment because we think that our difficulties have arisen because people have put off facing those difficulties. We have put out our suggestions for collective security and for a world conference in order to deal with the causes of war. I have heard from the benches opposite one extremely dangerous argument about the artificial Czechoslovak State. If you accept Herr Hitler's point of view, Czechoslovakia is a very artificial State, but you are then accepting his extreme nationalism and his totalitarian conceptions, and if you are going to accept them, what is the British Empire? Surely it is the chief glory of the British Commonwealth that we are not just one nation but a group of self-governing nations, a group of people who have found the way to combine without destroying the spirit of many nationalities. Those who use that argument have, in fact, surrendered their minds to the Nazis' conception of society. I therefore stress the dangers of accepting views which are inimical to everything for which this country stands.

We have had the argument as to whether Czechoslovakia ought to have been changed earlier or later and what changes should have been made, but the important point is the method of the change. I stress here, as we have stressed very often from these benches, the importance of peaceful change. Take the difference in the effect on the world between the peaceful change effected by this country when the Liberal Government of the day gave back full self-government to South Africa, and, on the other hand, the terrible weakening of our influence throughout the world and the difficulties occasioned to us by the long continuance of the struggle in Ireland. That brings me to a consideration of the kind of changes that we need in the world. We want a world conference; we want to consider minority grievances. But let no one consider that minority grievances are easy to deal with; our own history has taught us that they are not; and yet on the whole we have, I think, a better tradition of tolerance here than they have in other parts of the world. It will never be an easy thing to get rid of minority grievances, and I am sure they are not cured by one exercise of force which will call out another exercise of force. That is one of the morals that we can draw from the present situation.

The second point brings me to the question of what we are prepared to give to the world in order to obviate the dangers of war. We have the demand for colonies. Is that going to be met and dealt with, or are we going to wait until we are faced with a claim about colonies? We in the Labour party have put forward our views on the colonial problem. We do not believe in Imperialist exploitation of colonies; we want the colonial territories to be held under the principle of a mandate, first for the benefit of the peoples of those territories, and, secondly, for the whole world. We believe that determinations must be reached with regard to raw materials and markets; we believe that, if you want this permanent peace, you must have some kind of world economic planning. You therefore have to deal with trade barriers.

Above all, if the world is to have peace, it must get back to the rule of law. In the minds of so many people in this country, quite apart from the deep sympathy they have felt with the Czech people, there has been the feeling that moral ideas have gone down before brute force, and the apprehension in the minds of so many people is just this: They welcome the relief afforded by the Prime Minister's efforts; they approve of his efforts; but they are asking where we stand now, because although those efforts have averted immediate war, the ultimate effect of the whole episode has been to strengthen the conviction of the world that force, and force alone, holds sway. That is the danger that is at the back of people's minds. I hope the Prime Minister will be able to say something to us both as regards collective security and as regards the removal of grievances, because the world is waiting for some way which is going to lead people out of the terror of war which hangs over them all.

3.14 p.m.

The Leader of the Opposition remarked a few minutes ago that in his view the four days which have been occupied in these discussions have been fully justified. Although I confess that I did not share his view before the Debate began, that three days was too little, I must say, having listened to a great part of it, that I feel inclined to agree with him and to say that it was worth while to carry on our discussion for another day, if only for this reason. It seems to me that as the Debate has progressed, so has the general tone of it tended to leave more passionate aspects and more partisan aspects of the problems on one side and to approach a more serious and more thoughtful review of the situation. There is a great contrast between the speech to which we have just listened and some of the speeches from the Front Opposition Bench to which we listened only a day or two ago. I suppose that, in discussing recent events in which I have taken a prominent part, it was inevitable that the speeches should take a somewhat personal tone, and, indeed, I do not remember a Debate in which there were so many allusions to a single Minister, some of them complimentary—for which I am sincerely grateful—and some of them which could not be described by that name. I have been charged with cowardice, with weakness, with presumption, and with stupidity. I have been accused of bringing the country to the edge of war, and I have been denied the merit of having snatched it back to safety.

It seems to me that some of those who threw these accusations across the Floor of the House have very quickly forgotten the conditions of last week, and the thoughts and the emotions which then filled our minds and hearts. Anybody who had been through what I had to go through day after day, face to face with the thought that in the last resort it would have been I, and I alone, who would have to say that yes or no which would decide the fate of millions of my countrymen, of their wives, of their families—a man who had been through that could not readily forget. For that reason alone, I am not yet in a mood to try to see what I can do by way of retort. When a man gets to my age and fills my position, I think he tends to feel that criticism, even abuse, matters little to him if his conscience approves of his actions. Looking back on the events, I feel convinced that by my action—I seek no credit for my action; I think it is only what anyone in my position would have felt it his duty to do—I say, by my action I did avert war. I feel equally sure that I was right in doing so.

War to-day—this has been said before, and I say it again—is a different thing not only in degree, but in kind from what it used to be. We no longer think of war as it was in the days of Marlborough or the days of Napoleon or even in the days of 1914. When war starts to-day, in the very first hour, before any professional soldier, sailor or airman has been touched, it will strike the workman, the clerk, the man-in-the-street or in the 'bus, and his wife and children in their homes. As I listened I could not help being moved, as I am sure everybody was who heard the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) when he began to paint the picture which he himself had seen and realised what it would mean in war—people burrowing underground, trying to escape from poison gas, knowing that at any hour of the day or night death or mutilation was ready to come upon them. Remembering that the dread of what might happen to them or to those dear to them might remain with fathers and mothers for year after year—when you think of these things you cannot ask people to accept a prospect of that kind; you cannot force them into a position that they have got to accept it; unless you feel yourself, and can make them feel, that the cause for which they are going to fight is a vital cause—a cause that transcends all the human values, a cause to which you can point, if some day you win the victory, and say, "That cause is safe."

Since I first went to Berchtesgaden more than 20,000 letters and telegrams have come to No. 10, Downing Street. Of course, I have only been able to look at a tiny fraction of them, but I have seen enough to know that the people who wrote did not feel that they had such a cause for which to fight, if they were asked to go to war in order that the Sudeten Germans might not join the Reich. That is how they are feeling. That is my answer to those who say that we should have told Germany weeks ago that, if her army crossed the border of Czechoslovakia, we should be at war with her. We had no treaty obligations and no legal obligations to Czechoslovakia and if we had said that, we feel that we should have received no support from the people of this country.

There is something else which I fancy hon. Members are a little too apt to forget. They often speak of the British Empire. Do they always remember how deeply and how vitally the great self-governing nations of the British Empire are affected by the issues of peace and war? You may say that we are the country that is directly affected in such a case as that which we are considering, but must not the very loyalty of the Dominions to the Empire, their consciousness of their sympathy, make them feel that where the mother country stands they would wish to stand, too. They have a right to be brought into consultation before we take a step which may have incalculable consequences for them. Although it is not for me to speak for them, I say that it would have been difficult to convince them that we should have been justified in giving such an assurance as has been suggested.

I am told that if you were not prepared to put the issue of peace and war out of the hands of this country and into someone else's hands in that way, you should have told Czechoslovakia long ago that in no circumstances would you help her and that she had better make the best terms she could with the Sudetens or with Germany. Was the issue as simple as that? Consider France, who was under Treaty obligations to Czechoslovakia to go to her assistance by virtue of her Treaty. Were we to say that we would not go to the assistance of France if in consequence she became involved in conflict with Germany? If so, we should have been false to our own obligations. Therefore, it would not have been enough for us to tell Czechoslovakia that we would have nothing to do with her and that she must make the best terms she could. It would have been necessary for France also to say that. Is anybody prepared to suggest that France, who was bound by solemn treaty to give aid and assistance to Czechoslovakia if she was the subject of unprovoked aggression, should repudiate this obligation beforehand? I would not have cared to have been the one who made such a suggestion to a French Minister.

It was impossible for us to take either of these courses, either to say that we would stand by Czechoslovakia if she were attacked, or to say that in no circumstances would we be involved if she were attacked and other countries were involved. What we did do, and it was the only course we could take, was twofold. We advised the Czech Government repeatedly to come to terms with the Sudeten Germans, and when Germany mobilised we uttered no threats, but we did utter a warning. We warned her again and again that if as a consequence of her obligations France was engaged in active hostilities against Germany we were bound to support her. When we were convinced, as we became convinced, that nothing any longer would keep the Sudetenland within the Czechoslovakian State, we urged the Czech Government as strongly as we could to agree to the cession of territory, and to agree promptly. The Czech Government, through the wisdom and courage of President Benes, accepted the advice of the French Government and ourselves. It was a hard decision for anyone who loved his country to take, but to accuse us of having by that advice betrayed the Czechoslovakian State is simply preposterous. What we did was to save her from annihilation and give her a chance of new life as a new State, which involves the loss of territory and fortifications, but may perhaps enable her to enjoy in the future and develop a national existence under a neutrality and security comparable to that which we see in Switzerland to-day. Therefore, I think the Government deserve the approval of this House for their conduct of affairs in this recent crisis which has saved Czechoslovakia from destruction and Europe from Armageddon.

That is all I want to say of the past. I come to the present and the future. First of all I want to say a word or two about some allusions which have been made, I understand, to rumours current in a portion of the Press that it is intended to have a General Election at an early date. It is evident that some hon. Members do not desire a General Election; they are anxious, and, if I may say so, suspicious of my intentions. It is not usual for a Prime Minister to give long notice of the date when he proposes that a General Election should take place, but on this occasion I will say this. I do not want a General Election now, although I cannot agree with my right hon. Friend, if I may still call him so, the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill)—

—that it would be constitutionally indecent; but I have two reasons why I should prefer not to have a General Election now. One is that that feeling of relief and thankfulness, which everyone knows has been so conspicuous, goes far beyond the reach of any party. I do not at all want to capitalise a feeling of that kind for the sake of obtaining some temporary party advantage. The second reason is this. Hon. Members may have noticed the tendency of a General Election to magnify differences. It is possible that we may want great efforts from the nation in the months that are to come, and if that be so, the smaller our differences the better. There are only two conditions which I can see that would lead me to change my mind. One is if some new issue arose which I felt required a new mandate from the country, and the other would be, of course, if I felt that I had lost the confidence of my supporters. Neither condition has arisen yet. I have no reason to suppose that either will arise.

As regards future policy, it seems to me that there are really only two possible alternatives. One of them is to base yourself upon the view that any sort of friendly relations, or possible relations, shall I say, with totalitarian States are impossible, that the assurances which have been given to me personally are worthless, that they have sinister designs and that they are bent upon the domination of Europe and the gradual destruction of democracies. Of course, on that hypothesis, war has got to come, and that is the view—a perfectly intelligible view—of a certain number of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen in this House. I am not sure that it is not the view of some Members of the party opposite. [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes."] Not all of them. They certainly have never put it in so many words, but it is illustrated by the observations of the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker), who spoke this afternoon, and who had examined the Agreement signed by the German Chancellor and myself, which he described as a pact designed by Herr Hitler to induce us to relinquish our present obligations. That shows how far prejudice can carry a man. The Agreement, as anyone can see, is not a pact at all. So far as the question of "never going to war again" is concerned, it is not even an expression of the opinion of the two who signed the paper, except that it is their opinion of the desire of their respective peoples. I do not know whether the hon. Member will believe me or attribute to me also sinister designs when I tell him that it was a document not drawn up by Herr Hitler but by the humble individual who now addresses this House.

If the view which I have been describing is the one to be taken, I think we must inevitably proceed to the next stage—that war is coming, broadly speaking the democracies against the totalitarian States—that certaintly we must arm ourselves to the teeth, that clearly we must make military alliances with any other Powers whom we can get to work with us, and that we must hope that we shall be allowed to start the war at the moment that suits us and not at the moment that suits the other side. That is what some right hon. and hon. Gentlemen call collective security. Some hon. Members opposite will walk into any trap if it is only baited with a familiar catchword and they do it when this system is called collective security. But that is not the collective security we are thinking of or did think of when talking about the system of the League of Nations. That was a sort of universal collective security in which all nations were to take their part. This plan may give you security; it certanly is not collective in any sense. It appears to me to contain all the things which the party opposite used to denounce before the War—entangling alliances, balance of power and power politics. If I reject it, as I do, it is not because I give it a label; it is because, to my mind, it is a policy of utter despair.

If that is hon. Members' conviction, there is no future hope for civilisation or for any of the things that make life worth living. Does the experience of the Great War and of the years that followed it give us reasonable hope that if some new war started that would end war any more than the last one did? No. I do not believe that war is inevitable. Someone put into my hand a remark made by the great Pitt about 1787, when he said:
"To suppose that any nation can be unalterably the enemy of another is weak and childish and has its foundations neither in the experience of nations nor in the history of man."
It seems to me that the strongest argument against the inevitability of war is to be found in something that everyone has recognised or that has been recognised in every part of the House. That is the universal aversion from war of the people, their hatred of the notion of starting to kill one another again. This morning I received a letter not written to me, but written to a friend by a German professor. I cannot give his name, because I have not asked whether I might do so. I think it is typical of feeling in Germany, because I have heard the same from many other sources. I would like to repeat to the House one or two phrases from it. He writes:
"'Never again.' That is the main idea, not only among the professors, but also among the students who did not share the experience of 1914, but heard enough about it. That is the idea of the rich and of the poor and even of the army themselves. As an officer of the Reserve I know what I am speaking about."
Later in the letter he says:
"Now peace has been secured, and not only for the moment. Now the end of the period of changes and treaties of 1918 can be foreseen and we all hope that a new era will begin in Anglo-German relations."
What is the alternative to this bleak and barren policy of the inevitability of war? In my view it is that we should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analysing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and good will. I cannot believe that such a programme would be rejected by the people of this country, even if it does mean the establishment of personal contact with dictators, and of talks man to man on the basis that each, while maintaining his own ideas of the internal government of his country, is willing to allow that other systems may suit better other peoples. The party opposite surely have the same idea in mind even if they put it in a different way. They want a world conference. Well, I have had some experience of conferences, and one thing I do feel certain of is that it is better to have no conference at all than a conference which is a failure. The corollary to that is that before you enter a conference you must have laid out very clearly the lines on which you are going to proceed, if you are at least to have in front of you a reasonable prospect that you may obtain success. I am not saying that a conference would not have its place in due course. But I say it is no use to call a conference of the world, including these totalitarian Powers, until you are sure that they are going to attend, and not only that they are going to attend, but that they are going to attend with the intention of aiding you in the policy on which you have set your heart.

I am told that the policy which I have tried to describe is inconsistent with the continuance, and much more inconsistent with the acceleration of our present programme of arms. I am asked how I can reconcile an appeal to the country to support the continuance of this programme with the words which I used when I came back from Munich the other day and spoke of my belief that we might have peace for our time. I hope hon. Members will not be disposed to read into words used in a moment of some emotion, after a long and exhausting day, after I had driven through miles of excited, enthusiastic, cheering people—I hope they will not read into those words more than they were intended to convey. I do indeed believe that we may yet secure peace for our time, but I never meant to suggest that we should do that by disarmament, until we can induce others to disarm too. Our past experience has shown us only too clearly that weakness in armed strength means weakness in diplomacy, and if we want to secure a lasting peace, I realise that diplomacy cannot be effective unless the consciousness exists, not here alone, but elsewhere, that behind the diplomacy is the strength to give effect to it.

One good thing, at any rate, has come out of this emergency through which we have passed. It has thrown a vivid light upon our preparations for defence, on their strength and on their weakness. I should not think we were doing our duty if we had not already ordered that a prompt and thorough inquiry should be made to cover the whole of our preparations, military and civil, in order to see, in the light of what has happened during these hectic days, what further steps may be necessary to make good our deficiencies in the shortest possible time. There have been references in the course of the Debate to other measures which hon. Members have suggested should be taken. I would not like to commit myself now, until I have had a little time for reflection, as to what further it may seem good to ask the nation to do, but I think nobody could fail to have been impressed by the fact that the emergency brought out that the whole of the people of this country, whatever their occupation, whatever their class, whatever their station, were ready to do their duty, however disagreeable, however hard, however dangerous it may have been.

I cannot help feeling that if, after all, war had come upon us, the people of this country would have lost their spiritual faith altogether. As it turned out the other way, I think we have all seen something like a new spiritual revival, and I know that everywhere there is a strong desire among the people to record their readiness to serve their country, wherever or however their services could be most useful. I would like to take advantage of that strong feeling if it is possible, and although I must frankly say that at this moment I do not myself clearly see my way to any particular scheme, yet I want also to say that I am ready to consider any suggestion that may be made to me, in a very sympathetic spirit.

Finally, I would like to repeat what my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said yesterday in his great speech. Our policy of appeasement does not mean that we are going to seek new friends at the expense of old ones, or, indeed, at the expense of any other nations at all. I do not think that at any time there has been a more complete identity of views between the French Government and ourselves than there is at the present time. Their objective is the same as ours—to obtain the collaboration of all nations, not excluding the totalitarian States, in building up a lasting peace for Europe. That seems to me to be a policy which would answer my hon. Friends' appeal, a policy which should command the support of all who believe in the power of human will to control human destiny. If we cannot here this afternoon emulate the patriotic unanimity of the French Chamber, this House can by a decisive majority show its approval of the Government's determination to pursue it.

Division No. 331.]

AYES.

[3.58 p.m.

Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.Conant, Captain R. J. E.Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N. W.)
Albery, Sir IrvingCooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)Guinness, T. L. E. B.
Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W.Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.
Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.Hambro, A. V.
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. J. (Armagh)Cox, TrevorHammersley, S. S.
Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)Craven-Ellis, W.Hannah, I. C.
Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Sc'h Univ's)Critchley, A.Hannon, Sir P. J. H.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J.Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. PageHarbord, A.
Aske, Sir R. W.Crooke, Sir J. SmedleyHarvey, Sir G.
Assheton, R.Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)
Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover)Croom-Johnson, R. P.Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)Cross, R. H.Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)Crowder, J. F. E.Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.
Baillie, Sir A. W. M.Cruddas, Col. B.Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.
Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.Culverwell, C. T.Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.
Balfour, G. (Hampstead)Davidson, ViscountessHepburn, P. G. T. Buchan
Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)Davies, C. (Montgomery)Hepworth, J.
Balniel, LordDavies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)
Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.De Chair, S. S.Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)
Barrie, Sir C. C.De la Bère, R.Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.
Baxter, A. BeverleyDenman, Hon. R. D.Holdsworth, H.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Denville, AlfredHolmes, J. S.
Beauchamp, Sir B. C.Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)Dixon, Capt. Rt. Hon. H.Hopkinson, A.
Beechman, N. A.Doland, G. F.Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.
Beit, Sir A. L.Donner, P. W.Horsbrugh, Florence
Bennett, Sir E. N.Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H.Howitt. Dr. A. B.
Bernays, R. H.Dower, Major A. V. G.Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)
Birchall, Sir J. D.Drewe, C.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)
Bird, Sir R. B.Duckwerth, W. R. (Moss Side)Hulbert, N. J.
Blair, Sir R.Dugdale, Captain T. L.Hume, Sir G. H.
Blaker, Sir R.Duncan, J. A. L.Hunloke, H. P.
Boothby, R. J. G.Dunglass, LordHunter, T.
Bossom, A. C.Eastwood, J. F.Hurd, Sir P. A.
Boulton, W. W.Eckersley P. T.Hutchinson, G. C.
Boyce, H. LeslieEdmondson, Major Sir J.Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.
Brass, Sir W.Ellis, Sir G.Jarvis, Sir J. J.
Briscoe, Capt. R. G.Elliston, Capt. G. S.Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)
Broadbridge, Sir G. T.Elmley, ViscountJones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)
Brocklebank, Sir EdmundEmery, J. F.Jones, L. (Swansea W.)
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)Emmott, C. E. G. C.Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)
Brown, Rt.-Hon. E. (Leith)Entwistle, Sir C. F.Kimball, L.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)Errington, E.Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)Erskine-Hill, A. G.Lamb, Sir J. Q.
Bull, B. B.Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.
Bullock, Capt. M.Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)Latham, Sir P.
Burghley, LordEverard, W. L.Leech, Sir J. W.
Burgin, Rt. Hon. E. L.Fildes, Sir H.Leigh, Sir J.
Burton, Col. H. W.Findlay, Sir E.Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Butcher, H. W.Fleming, E. L.Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.
Butler, R. A.Fox, Sir G. W. G.Levy, T.
Caine, G. R. Hall-Fremantle, Sir F. E.Lewis, O.
Campbell, Sir E. T.Furness, S. N.Liddall, W. S.
Carver, Major W. H.Fyfe, D. P. M.Lindsay, K. M.
Cary, R. A.Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.Lipson, D. L.
Castlereagh, ViscountGledhill, G.Little, Sir E. Graham-
Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)Gluckstein, L. H.Llewellin, Colonel J. J.
Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.Lloyd, G. W.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)Goldie, N. B.Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)Gower, Sir R. V.Loftus, P. C.
Channon, H.Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)Lyons, A. M.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)Grant-Ferris, R.Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)
Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)Granville, E. L.MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.
Chorlton, A. E. L.Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.M'Connell, Sir J.
Christie, J. A.Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)McCorquodale, M. S.
Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)
Clarry, Sir ReginaldGridley, Sir A. B.Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)
Clydesdale, Marquess ofGriffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)Grigg, Sir E. W. M.McKie, J. H.
Colfox, Major W. P.Grimston, R. V.Macnamara, Major J. R. J.
Colman, N. C. D.Gritten, W. G. HowardMacquisten, F. A.
Colville, Rt. Hon. JohnGuest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)Magnay, T.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 369; Noes, 150.

Maitland, A.Rankin, Sir R.Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Makins, Brigadier-General Sir ErnestRathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)Straus, H. G. (Norwich)
Manningham-Buller, Sir M.Rawson, Sir CooperStrickland, Captain W. F.
Markham, S. F.Rayner, Major R. H.Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)
Marsden, Commander A.Reed, A. C. (Exeter)Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Maxwell, Hon. S. A.Reid, Captain A. CunninghamSutcliffe, H.
Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)Tasker, Sir R. I.
Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)Tate, Mavis C.
Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)Reid, W. Allan (Derby)Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)Remer, J. R.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Mitchell, H. (Brantford and Chiswick)Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Rosbotham, Sir T.Titchfield, Marquess of
Mitcheson, Sir G. G.Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)Touche, G. C.
Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)Train, Sir J.
Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.Rowlands, G.Tree, A. R. L. F.
Moreing, A. C.Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.
Morgan, R. H.Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)Russell, Sir AlexanderTurton, R. H.
Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)Wakefield, W. W.
Morris-Jones, Sir HenryRussell, S. H. M. (Darwen)Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)Salmon, Sir I.Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Salt, E. W.Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Munro, P.Samuel, M. R. A.Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Nall, Sir J.Sandeman, Sir N. S.Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.
Nicholson, G. (Farnham)Sanderson, Sir F. B.Warrender, Sir V.
O'Connor, Sir Terence J.Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.Waterhouse, Captain C.
O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir HughScott, Lord WilliamWatt, Major G. S. Harvie
Orr-Ewing, I. L.Selley, H. R.Wayland, Sir W. A.
Palmer, G. E. H.Shakespeare, G. H.Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Patrick, C. M.Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)Wells, Sir Sydney
Peake, O.Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
Peat, C. U.Shepperson, Sir E. W.Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Perkins, W. R. D.Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Peters, Dr. S. J.Simmonds, O. E.Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Petherick, M.Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Pickthorn, K. W. M.Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Pilkington, R.Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Plugge, Capt. L. F.Smith, Sir Louis (Hallam)Wise, A. R.
Porritt, R. W.Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)Withers, Sir J. J.
Power, Sir J. C.Smithers, Sir W.Womersley, Sir W. J.
Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir AsshetonSomervell, Rt. Hon. Sir DonaldWood, Hon. C. I. C.
Procter, Major H. A.Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Purbrick, R.Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.Wragg, H.
Radford, E. A.Spens, W. P.Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Raikes, H. V. A. M.Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Ramsbotham, H.Stewart, William J. (Belfast, S.)

TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—

Ramsden, Sir E.Storey, S.Captain Margesson and
Lieut.-Colonel Kerr.

NOES.

Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)Dobbie, W.Jagger, J.
Adams, D. (Consett)Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)Ede, J. C.John, W.
Adamson, W. M.Evans, E. (Univ. Of Wales)Jones, A. C. (Shipley)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.Jones, J. J. (Silvertown)
Ammon, C. G.Foot, D. M.Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Frankel, D.Kelly, W. T.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.Gallacher, W.Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.
Banfield, J. W.Gardner, B. W.Kirby, B. V.
Barnes, A. J.George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Carn'v'n)Lathan, G.
Batey, J.George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)Lawson, J. J.
Bellenger, F. J.George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)Leach, W.
Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.Gibson, R. (Greenock)Lee, F.
Benson, G.Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)Leonard, W.
Bevan, A.Green, W. H. (Deptford)Leslie, J. R.
Broad, F. A.Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.Logan, D. G.
Brown, C. (Mansfield)Grenfell, D. R.Lunn, W.
Burke, W. A.Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)Macdonald, G. (Ince)
Cape, T.Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)McEntee, V. La T.
Charleton, H. C.Groves, T. E.Maclean, N.
Chater, D.Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)
Cluse, W. S.Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)Mainwaring, W. H.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)Mander, G. le M.
Cocks, F. S.Hardie, AgnesMarklew, E.
Collindridge, F.Harris, Sir P. A.Marshall, F.
Cove, W. G.Hayday, A.Milner, Major J.
Cripps, Hon. Sir StaffordHenderson, A. (Kingswinford)Montague, F.
Daggar, G.Henderson, J. (Ardwick)Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)
Dalton, H.Henderson, T. (Tradeston)Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)Hicks, E. G.Nathan, Colonel H. L.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Hollins, A.Naylor, T. E.
Day, H.Hopkin, D.Noel-Baker, P. J.

Oliver, G. H.Seely, Sir H. M.Tomlinson, G.
Owen, Major G.Sexten, T. M.Viant, S. P.
Parker, J.Shinwell, E.Walkden, A. G.
Parkinson, J. A.Silkin, L.Watkins, F. C.
Pearson, A.Silverman, S. S.Watson, W. McL.
Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.Simpson, F. B.Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Poole, C. C.Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)Welsh, J. C.
Price, M. P.Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)Westwood, J.
Pritt, D. N.Smith, E. (Stoke)White, H. Graham
Quibell, D. J. K.Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)
Richards, R. (Wrexham)Smith, T. (Normanton)Wilkinson, Ellen
Ridley, G.Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Riley, B.Stokes, R. R.Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Ritson, J.Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)Summerskill, Dr. EdithWoods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)Thorne, W.
Rothschild, J. A. deThurtle, E.

TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—

Sanders, W. S.Tinker, J. J.Sir Charles Edwards and Mr.
Paling.

Question put,

"That this House approves the policy of His Majesty's Government by which war was

Division No. 332.]

AYES.

[4.12 p.m.

Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.Cary, R. A.Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.Castlereagh, ViscountEllis, Sir G.
Albery, Sir IrvingCayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)Elliston, Capt. G. S.
Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W.Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)Elmley, Viscount
Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)Emery, J. F.
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. J. (Armagh)Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)Emmott, C. E. G. C.
Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)Channon, H.Entwistle, Sir C. F.
Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Sc'h Univ's)Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)Errington, E.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J.Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)Erskine-Hill, A. G.
Aske, Sir R. W.Chorlton, A. E. L.Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)
Assheton, R.Christie, J. A.Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)
Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover)Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)Everard, W. L.
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)Clarry, Sir ReginaldFildes, Sir H.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)Clydesdale, Marquess ofFindlay, Sir E.
Baillie, Sir A. W. M.Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)Fleming, E. L.
Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.Colfox, Major W. P.Fox, Sir G. W. G.
Balfour, G. (Hampstead)Colman, N. C. D.Fremantle, Sir F. E.
Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)Colville, Rt. Hon. JohnFurness, S. N.
Balniel, LordConant, Captain R. J. E.Fyfe, D. P. M.
Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.
Barrie, Sir C. C.Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)Gledhill, G.
Baxter, A. BeverleyCooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)Gluckstein, L. H.
Beamish Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.
Beauchamp, Sir B. C.Cox, TrevorGoldie, N. B.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)Craven-Ellis, W.Gower, Sir R. V.
Beechman, N. A.Critchley, A.Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)
Beit, Sir A. L.Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. PageGrant-Ferris, R.
Bennett, Sir E. N.Crooke, Sir J. SmedleyGranville, E. L.
Bernays, R. H.Crookshank, Capt. H. F. CGrattan-Doyle, Sir N.
Birchall, Sir J. D.Croom-Johnson, R. P.Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)
Bird, Sir R. B.Cross, R. H.Gridley, Sir A. B.
Blair, Sir R.Crowder, J. F. E.Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)
Blaker, Sir R.Cruddas, Col. B.Grigg, Sir E. W. M.
Bossom, A. C.Culverwell, C. T.Grimston, R. V.
Boulton, W. W.Davidson, ViscountessGritten, W. G. Howard
Beyee, H. LeslieDavies, C. (Montgomery)Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N. W.)
Brass, Sir W.De Chair, S. S.Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N. W.)
Briscoe, Capt. R. G.De la Bère, R.Guinness, T. L. E. B.
Broadbridge, Sir G. T.Denman, Hon. R. D.Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.
Brocklebank, Sir EdmundDenville, AlfredHambro, A. V.
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.Hammersloy, S. S.
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)Dixon, Capt. Rt. Hon. H.Hannah, I. C.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)Doland, G. F.Hannon, Sir P. J. H.
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)Donner, P. W.Harbord, A.
Bull, B. B.Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H.Harvey, Sir G.
Bullock, Capt. M.Dower, Major A. V. G.Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)
Burgley, LordDrewe, C.Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)
Burgin, Rt. Hon. E. L.Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)
Burton, Col. H. W.Dugdale, Captain T. L.Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.
Butcher, H. W.Duncan, J. A. L.Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.
Butler, R. A.Dunglass, LordHeneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.
Caine, G. R. Hall-Eastwood, J. F.Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-
Campbell, Sir E. T.Eckersley, P. T.Hepworth, J.
Carver, Major W. H.Edmondson, Major Sir J.Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)
Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)

averted in the recent crisis and supports their efforts to secure a lasting peace."

The House divided: Ayes, 366; Noes, 144.

Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.Mitcheson, Sir G. G.Shepperson, Sir E. W.
Holdsworth, H.Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.
Holmes, J. S.Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.Simmonds, O. E.
Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.Moreing, A. C.Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.
Hopkinson, A.Morgan, R. H.Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.
Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Horsbrugh, FlorenceMorris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)Smith, Sir Louis (Hallam)
Howitt, Dr. A. B.Morris-Jones, Sir HenrySmith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)Smithers, Sir W.
Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald
Hulbert, N. J.Munro, P.Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Hume, Sir G. H.Nall, Sir J.Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.
Hunloke, H. P.Nicholson, G. (Farnham)Spens. W. P.
Hunter, T.O'Connor, Sir Terence J.Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)
Hurd, Sir P. A.O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir HughStewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Hutchinson, G. C.Orr-Ewing, I. L.Stewart, William J. (Belfast, S.)
Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.Palmer, G. E. H.Storey, S.
James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.Patrick, C. M.Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Jarvis, Sir J. J.Peake, O.Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)Peat, C. U.Strickland, Captain W. F.
Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)Perkins, W. R. D.Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)
Jones, L. (Swansea W.)Peters, Dr. S. J.Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)Petherick, M.Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Kimball, L.Pickthorn, K. W. M.Sutcliffe, H.
Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.Pilkington, R.Tasker, Sir R. I.
Lamb, Sir J. Q.Plugge, Capt. L. F.Tate, Mavis C.
Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.Porrit, R. W.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Latham, Sir P.Power, Sir J. C.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Leech, Sir J. W.Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir AsshetonThomson, Sir J. D. W.
Leigh, Sir J.Procter, Major H. A.Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Leighton, Major B. E. P.Purbrick, R.Titchfield, Marquess of
Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.Radford, E. A.Touche, G. C.
Levy, T.Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.Train, Sir J.
Lewis, O.Ramsbotham, H.Tree, A. R. L. F.
Liddall, W. S.Ramsden, Sir E.Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.
Lindsay, K. M.Rankin, Sir R.Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Lipson, D. L.Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)Turton, R. H.
Little, Sir E. Graham-Rawson, Sir CooperWakefield, W. W.
Llewellin, Colonel J. J.Rayner, Major R. H.Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Lloyd, G. W.Reed, A. C. (Exeter)Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Loftus. P. C.Reid, Captain A. CunninghamWard, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Lyons, A. M.Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.
Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)Warrender, Sir V.
MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.Reid, W. Allan (Derby)Waterhouse, Captain C.
M'Connell, Sir J.Remer, J. R.Watt, Major G. S. Harvie
McCorquodale, M. S.Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)Wayland, Sir W. A
MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Macdonald, Capt. T. (Isle of Wight)Rosbotham, Sir T.Wells, Sir Sydney
McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
McKie, J. H.Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Macnamara, Major J. R. J.Rowlands, G.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Macquisten, F. A.Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Magnay, T.Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Maitland, A.Russell, Sir AlexanderWindsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Makins, Brigadier-General Sir ErnestRussell, R. J. (Eddisbury)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Manningham-Buller, Sir M.Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)Wise, A. R.
Markham, S. F.Salmon, Sir I.Withers, Sir J. J.
Marsden, Commander A.Salt, E. W.Womersley, Sir W. J.
Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.Samuel, M. R. A.Wood, Hon. C. I. C.
Maxwell, Hon. S. A.Sandeman, Sir N. S.Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.Sanderson, Sir F. B.Wragg, H.
Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)Scott, Lord WilliamYoung, A. S. L. (Partick)
Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)Selley, H. R.
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)Shakespeare, G. H

TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—

Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)Captain Margesson and Lieut.-
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)Colonel Kerr.

NOES.

Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)Bevan, A.Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)
Adams, D. (Consett)Broad, F. A.Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)Brown, C. (Mansfield)Day, H.
Adamson, W. M.Burke, W. A.Dobbie, W.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)Charleton, H. C.Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)
Ammon, C. G.Chater, D.Ede, J. C.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Cluse, W. S.Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.
Banfield, J. W.Cocks, F. S.Foot, D. M.
Barnes, A. J.Collindridge, F.Frankel, D.
Batey, J.Cove, W. G.Gallacher, W.
Bellenger F. J.Cripps, Hon. Sir StaffordGardner, B. W.
Bonn, Rt. Hon. W. W.Daggar, G.George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Carn'v'n)
Benson, G.Dalton, H.George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)

George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)Leslie, J. R.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Gibson, R. (Greenock)Legan, D. G.Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)Lunn, W.Sanders, W. S.
Green, W. H. (Deptford)Macdonald, G. (Ince)Seely, Sir H. M.
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.McEntee, V. La T.Sexton. T. M.
Grentell, D. R.Maclean, N.Shinwell, E.
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)Silkin, L.
Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)Mainwaring, W. H.Silverman, S. S.
Groves, T. E.Mander, G. le M.Simpson, F. B.
Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)Marklew, E.Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)
Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)Marshall, F.Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)Milner, Major J.Smith, E. (Stoke)
Hardie, AgnesMontague, F.Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Harris, Sir P. A.Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)Smith, T. (Normanton)
Hayday, A.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)Nathan, Colonel H. L.Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Henderson, J. (Ardwick)Naylor, T. E.Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Henderson, T. (Tradeston)Noel-Baker, P. J.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Hicks, E. G.Oliver, G. H.Thorne, W.
Hollins, A.Owen, Major G.Tinker, J. J.
Hopkin, D.Paling, W.Tomlinson, G.
Jagger, J.Parker, J.Walkden, A. G.
Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)Parkinson, J. A.Watkins, F. C.
John, W.Pearson, A.Watson, W. McL.
Jones, A. C. (Shipley)Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Jones, J. J. (Silvertown)Poole, C. C.Welsh, J. C.
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Price, M. P.Westwood, J.
Kelly, W. T.Pritt, D. N.Wilkinson, Ellen
Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.Quibell, D. J. K.Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Kirby, B. V.Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Lathan, G.Richards, R. (Wrexham)Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Lawson, J. J.Ridley, G.Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Leach, W.Riley, B.
Lee, F.Ritson, J.

TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—

Leonard, W.Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)Sir Charles Edwards and Mr.
Whiteley.

Resolved, "That this House approves the policy of His Majesty's Government by which war was averted in the recent crisis and supports their efforts to secure a lasting peace."

Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to the Resolution of the House of 5th October, until Tuesday, 1st November, pursuant to the Resolution of the House this day.

Adjourned at Twenty - four Minutes after Four o'Clock.