Prime Minister, March 31, 1939
Statement in the House of Commons announcing assurance given to Poland
Anglo-Polish Communiqué , April 6, 1939
Unilateral British assurance to Poland replaced by reciprocal assurances
Agreement of Mutual Assistance between the United Kingdom and Poland, August 25, 1939
Herr Hitler, April 1, 1939
Speech at Wilhelmshaven
Herr Hitler, April 28, 1939
Extract from Reichstag speech
German Government to His Majesty's Government, April 27, 1939
Memorandum denouncing the Anglo-German Naval Agreement
Viscount Halifax to Sir N. Henderson (Berlin), June 16, 1939
Conversation with the German Ambassador in London
His Majesty's Government to the German Government, June 23, 1939
Memorandum replying to No. 22
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, June 29, 1939
Speech at Chatham House
48 THE BRITISH WAR BLUE BOOK
The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain): The right hon. gentleman the leader of the Opposition asked me this morning whether I could make a statement as to the European situation. As I said this morning, His Majesty's Government have no official confirmation of the rumours of any projected attack on Poland and they must not, therefore, be taken as accepting them as true.
I am glad to take this opportunity of stating again the general policy of His Majesty's Government. They have constantly advocated the adjustment, by way of free negotiation between the parties concerned, of any differences that may arise between them. They consider that this is the natural and proper course where differences exist. In their opinion there should be no question incapable of solution by peaceful means, and they would see no justification for the substitution of force or threats of force for the method of negotiation.
As the House is aware, certain consultations are now proceeding with other Governments. In order to make perfectly clear the position of His Majesty's Government in the meantime before those consultations are concluded, I now have to inform the House that during that period, in the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence, and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty's Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power. They have given the Polish Government an assurance to this effect.
I may add that the French Government have authorised me to make it plain that they stand in the same position in this matter as do His Majesty's Government.
ANGLO-POLISH AGREEMENT 49
The conversations with M. Beck have covered a wide field and shown that the two Governments are in complete agreement upon certain general principles.
It was agreed that the two countries were prepared to enter into an agreement of a permanent and reciprocal character to replace the present temporary and unilateral assurance given by His Majesty's Government to the Polish Government. Pending the completion of the permanent agreement, M. Beck gave His Majesty's Government an assurance that the Polish Government would consider themselves under an obligation to render assistance to His Majesty's Government under the same conditions as those contained in the temporary assurance already given by His Majesty's Government to Poland.
Like the temporary assurance, the permanent agreement would not be directed against any other country but would be designed to assure Great Britain and Poland of mutual assistance in the event of any threat, direct or indirect, to the independence of either. It was recognised that certain matters, including a more precise definition of the various ways in which the necessity for such assistance might arise, would required further examination before the permanent agreement could be completed.
It was understood that the arrangements above mentioned should not preclude either Government from making agreements with other countries in the general interest of the consolidation of peace.
THE Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Polish Government:
Desiring to place on a permanent basis the collaboration be-
50 THE BRITISH WAR BLUE BOOK
tween their respective countries resulting from the assurances of mutual assistance of a defensive character which they have already exchanged:
Have resolved to conclude an Agreement for that purpose and have appointed as their Plenipotentiaries:
The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:
The Rt. Hon. Viscount Halifax, K.G., G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs;
The Polish Government:
His Excellency Count Edward Raczynski, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Polish Republic in London;
Who, having exchanged their Full Powers, found in good and due form, have agreed following provisions:-
Should one of the Contracting Parties become engaged in hostilities with a European Power in consequence of aggression by the latter against that Contracting Party, the other Contracting Party will at once give the Contracting Party engaged in hostilities all the support and assistance in its power.
(1) The provisions of Article I will also apply in the event of any action by a European Power which clearly threatened, directly or indirectly, the independence of one of the Contracting Parties, and was of such a nature that the Party in question considered it vital to resist it with its armed forces.
(2) Should one of the Contracting Parties become engaged in hostilities with a European Power in consequence of action by that Power which threatened the independence or neutrality of another European State in such a way as to constitute a clear menace to the security of that Contracting Party, the provisions of Article I will apply, without prejudice, however, to the rights of the other European State concerned.
ANGLO-POLISH AGREEMENT 51
Should a European Power attempt to undermine the independence of one of the Contracting Parties by processes of economic penetration or in any other way, the Contracting Parties will support each other in resistance to such attempts. Should the European Power concerned thereupon embark on hostilities against one of the Contracting Parties, the provisions of Article I will apply.
The methods of applying the undertakings of mutual assistance provided for by the present Agreement are established between the competent naval, military and air authorities of the Contracting Parties.
Without prejudice to the foregoing undertakings of the Contracting Parties to give each other mutual support and assistance immediately on the outbreak of hostilities, they will exchange complete and speedy information concerning any development which might threaten their independence and, in particular, concerning any development which threatened to call the said undertakings into operation.
(1) The Contracting Parties will communicate to each other the terms of any undertakings of assistance against aggression which they have already given or may in future give to other States.
(2) Should either of the Contracting Parties intend to give such an undertaking after the coming into force of the present Agreement, the other Contracting Party shall, in order to ensure the proper functioning of the Agreement, be informed thereof.
(3) Any new undertaking which the Contracting Parties may enter into in future shall neither limit their obligations under the present Agreement nor indirectly create new obligations between the Contracting Party not participating in these undertakings and the third State concerned.
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Should the Contracting Parties be engaged in hostilities in consequence of the application of the present Agreement, they will not conclude an armistice or treaty of peace except by mutual agreement.
(1) The present Agreement shall remain in force for a period of five years.
(2) Unless denounced six months before the expiry of this period it shall continue in force, each Contracting Party having thereafter the right to denounce it at any time by giving six months' notice to that effect.
(3) The present Agreement shall come into force on signature.
In faith whereof the above-named Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Agreement and have affixed thereto their seals.
Done in English in duplicate, at London, the 15th August, 1939. A Polish text shall subsequently be agreed upon between the Contracting Parties and both texts will then be authentic.
(L.S.) EDWARD RACZYNSKI.
DEVELOPMENTS IN ANGLO-GERMAN RELATIONS 53
GERMANS! Volksgenossen und Volksgenossinnen!
Whoever wishes to estimate the decline and regeneration of Germany must look at the development of a city like Wilhelmshaven. A short time ago it was a dead spot almost without any title to existence, without any prospect of a future; to-day it is filled again with the hum of work and production. It is good if one recalls again to memory this past.
DEVELOPMENTS IN ANGLO-GERMAN RELATIONS 53
When the city experienced its first rise to prosperity, this coincided with the regeneration of the German Reich after its battle for unification. This Germany was a Germany of peace. At the same time as the so-called peace-loving virtuous nations were carrying on quite a number of wars, the Germany of that time had only one aim, namely, to preserve peace, to work in peace, to increase the prosperity of her inhabitants and thereby to contribute to human culture and civilisation.
This peace-time Germany tried with unceasing industry, with genius and with perseverance to set up its inner life and to assure for itself a proper place in the sun through participation in peaceful rivalry with other nations.
In spite of the fact that this Germany was for decades the surest guarantor of peace and devoted herself only to her own peaceful business, other nations, and particularly their statesmen, could not refrain from persecuting this regeneration with envy and hate and finally answering it with a war.
We know to-day from historical records how the encirclement policy of that time had been systematically pursued by England. We know from numerous established facts and publications that in that land one was imbued with the conception that it was necessary to crush Germany militarily because its annihilation would assure to every British citizen a larger measure of this world's goods.
Certainly Germany at that time committed errors. Its worst error was to see this encirclement and to take no steps in time to avoid it. The only reproach which we can level at the regime of that day is the fact that it had full knowledge of the devilish plan for a surprise attack on the Reich, and even so was unable to make up its mind to avoid in time such an attack, but allowed this encirclement to mature right up to the outbreak of the catastrophe.
The result was the World War.
In this war the German people, although they were in no way armed the best, fought heroically. No nation can claim for itself the glory of having beaten us to our knees, least of all those whose statesmen to-day are boasting.
Germany at that time remained unbeaten and unvanquished on land, sea and in the air. And yet we lost the war. We know
54 THE BRITISH WAR BLUE BOOK
the power which at that time vanquished Germany. It was the power of falsehood, the poison of a propaganda which did not shrink from distortion and untruthfulness and which caught the German Reich because it was unprepared and defenceless.
When the Fourteen Points of President Wilson were announced, many German "Volksgenossen," particularly the leading men of the time, saw in those Fourteen Points not only the possibility for ending the World War but for a final pacification of all nations of this world. There would come a peace of reconciliation and understanding, a peace which would recognise neither victors nor vanquished, a peace without war indemnities, a peace of equal rights for all, a peace of equal distribution of colonial territory and of equal consideration for colonial desiderata. A peace which would finally be crowned with a league of free nations. A peace which, by guaranteeing equal rights would make it appear superfluous for nations in future still to endure the burden of armament which, as is known, previously weighed down so heavily on them.
Disarmament, therefore, and in fact disarmament of all nations.
Germany was to give a good example by taking the lead and all undertook to follow her disarmament.
The era of so-called secret diplomacy was to come to an end as well. All problems were to be discussed and negotiated openly and freely.
The right of self-determination for nations was to be finally established and be regarded as the most important factor.
Germany believed these assurances. Relying on these declarations Germany laid down her weapons. And then a breach of faith began such as world history has never seen.
At the moment when our people had laid down their arms a period of blackmail, oppression, pillage and slavery began.
No longer any word of peace without victors and vanquished, but a sentence of condemnation for the vanquished for time without end.
No longer any word of equal rights, but rights for one side and absence of rights and injustice for the other. One robbery after another, one blackmail after another were the results.
No man in this democratic world bothered about the suffering
DEVELOPMENTS IN ANGLO-GERMAN RELATIONS 55
of our people. Hundreds of thousands fell in the war, not through enemy action, but through the hunger blockade. And when the war came to an end this blockade was continued still for months in order to bring still further pressure on our nation. Even the German prisoners of war had to remain in captivity for indefinite periods. The German colonies were stolen from us, German foreign securities were simply confiscated, and our mercantile marine was taken away.
Then came financial pillage such as the world has never up to this day seen. Payments were imposed on the German people which reached astronomical figures, and about which English statesmen said that they could only be effected if the whole German nation reduced its standard of living to the utmost and worked fourteen hours a day.
What German spirit and German diligence had created and saved in decades was now lost in a few years. Millions of Germans were torn away from the Reich, others were prevented from returning into the Reich. The League of Nations was made not an instrument of a just policy of understanding, but a guarantor of the meanest dictate that human beings had ever thought out.
A great people was thus raped and led towards the misery that all of you know. A great people was deprived of its rights by breach of promise and its existence in practice was made impossible. A French statesman gave sober expression to this by declaring: "There are 20 million Germans too many in the world!"
There were Germans who, in despair, committed suicide, others who lethargically submitted to their inevitable fate, and others again who were of the opinion that there was nothing left to do but to destroy everything; others again ground their teeth and clenched their fists in impotent rage, others again believed that the past must be restored as it had been.
Every individual had adopted some sort of attitude. And I at that time, as the unknown soldier of the World War, took up my position.
It was a short and simple programme; it ran: removal of the domestic enemies of the nation, termination of the internal division of Germany, co-ordination of the entire national force of our people in a new community, and the smashing of the Peace
56 THE BRITISH WAR BLUE BOOK
Treaty in one way or another ("so oder so!") For as long as this dictate of Versailles weighed upon the German people, it was actually doomed to go under.
When other statesmen talk about the necessity of justice reigning in this world, then I may tell them that their crime is not justice, that their dictate was neither rightful nor legal, and that the permanent vital rights of peoples come before this dictate.
The German people was created by Providence, not in order to obey a law which suits Englishmen or Frenchmen, but to stand up for its vital right. That is what we are there for!
I was determined to take up this struggle for standing up for German vital rights. I took it up first of all within the nation. The place of a number of parties, classes and associations has now been taken by one single community, the community of the German people!
It is the duty of us all to realise this community and to continue to intensify it. In the course of this time I have had to hurt many an individual. But I believe that the happiness shared to-day by the entire nation must more than compensate every individual for the things which were dear to him and which he individually had to give up.
You have all sacrificed your parties, your clubs, your associations, but you have instead received a great and strong Reich!
And this Reich is to-day, thank God, sufficiently strong to take under its protection your rights. We are now no longer dependent upon the favour or disfavour of other States or their statesmen.
When over six years ago I came into power, I took over a pitiful heritage. The Reich appeared to possess no possibilities for existence for its citizens. At that time I began work with the only capital which I possessed. It was the capital of your power to work! It was your power to work, my "Volksgenossen," that I began to put into use. I had not foreign exchange and no gold; I only had one thing: my faith and your work! We have now founded a new economic system, a system which is called: capital is power to work, and money is covered by our production. We have founded a system based upon the most noble principle in existence, namely, form your life yourself! Work for your existence! Help yourself, then God will also help you!
We thus began a gigantic work of reconstruction, supported
DEVELOPMENTS IN ANGLO-GERMAN RELATIONS 57
by the confidence of the nation, filled with faith and confidence in its permanent values. In a few years we tore Germany from its despair. The world did not help us in doing so!
If an English statesman to-day believes that all problems can and must be solved by frank discussion and negotiations, then I would like to say to this statesman: an opportunity to do so existed for fifteen years before our time! If the world to-day says that one must divide the nations into virtuous and non-virtuous categories-and that the English and French belong in the first place to the virtuous nations and the Germans and Italians to the non-virtuous-then we can only answer: the decision as to whether a nation is virtuous or not virtuous can hardly be made by a mortal human being, and should be left to God!
Perhaps this same British statesman will reply: God has already delivered judgment, for he has given to the virtuous nations one-quarter of the globe and has taken away everything from the non-virtuous! In answer to that, one may be permitted to ask: by what means have the virtuous nations acquired this quarter of the globe? And the answer must be, they have not been virtuous methods!
For 300 years this England has acted only as an unvirtuous nation, and now in old age she is beginning to talk about virtue. It was thus possible that during the British non-virtuous period 46 million Englishmen have conquered almost a quarter of the world, while 80 million Germans, on account of their virtue, have to exist at the rate of 140 to the square kilometre.
Yes, twenty years ago the question of virtue was not yet quite clear in the minds of British statesmen, in so far as it touched conceptions of property. At that time it was still thought to be compatible with virtue simply to take away from another people the colonies which it had acquired by contract or by purchase because one had the power to do so.
A power which now it is true is to count as something disgusting and contemptible. In this respect, I can only say one thing to these gentlemen: we do not know whether they believe that sort of thing themselves or not. We assume, however, that they do not believe it. For if we were to assume that they really believed it themselves, then we would lose every feeling of respect for them.
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For fifteen years Germany had borne this fate patiently. I also tried at the beginning to solve every problem by discussion. At every problem I made offers, and they were every time refused! There can be no doubt that every people possesses sacred interests, simply because they are identical with its life and its vital right.
If a British statesman to-day demands that every problem concerning vital German interests should first be discussed with England, then I could make precisely the same claim and demand that every British problem must first be discussed with us. Admittedly, this Englishman would answer: Palestine is none of your business! But, just as Germany has no business in Palestine, so has England no business in the German Lebensraum! And if the problem is claimed to be a question of general rights, then I can only agree to this opinion if it were regarded as universal and obligatory. One says we had no right to do this or that. I would like to ask a counter-question: what right-just to quote only one example has England to shoot down Arabs in Palestine, only because they are standing up for their home? Who gives England the right to do so?
We at any rate have not slaughtered thousands in Central Europe, but have solved our problems in a peaceful and orderly manner! There is one thing, however, that I must say: the German people of to-day, the German Reich of the present time, are not willing to sacrifice interests, and they are also not willing to stand up to rising dangers without taking action! When the allies at one time changed the map of Europe with no consideration for expediency, justice, tradition or even common-sense, we did not have the power to prevent them from doing so. But if they expect the Germany of the present day patiently to allow vassal States, whose only duty consists in their being set to work against Germany, to carry on as they like until the day comes when their services are to be actively employed, then they are confounding present-day Germany with the Germany of pre-war days. Those who declare that they are prepared to pull chestnuts out of the fire for these Great Powers must also expect to burn their fingers in the course of the process.
We have really no feelings of hatred for the Czech people, we have lived together for years. English statesmen do not know
DEVELOPMENTS IN ANGLO-GERMAN RELATIONS 59
that. They have no idea that the Hradschin was built not by an Englishman but by Germans, and that the St. Veit's Cathedral was also not built by Englishmen but by Germans. Frenchmen also were not active there. They do not know that already, at a time when England was still very small, homage was done to a German Emperor on this hill, and that, a thousand years before I did so myself, the first German King stood there and received the homage of this people. This the English do not know, they cannot know it and they need not know it.
It is sufficient that we know it, and that it is true that for a thousand years this area belonged to the Lebensraum of the German people. We would, nevertheless, have had nothing against an independent Czech State if this State had not, firstly, oppressed Germans, and, secondly, if it had not been an instrument for a future attack on Germany.
But when a former French Air Minister writes in a newspaper that it is the task of this Czechia, because of her splendid geographical position, to strike at Germany's industry by air attacks in a war, then one will understand that it is not without interest to us, and that we drew certain conclusions therefrom.
It would have been a matter for England and France to defend this air base. It was our affair, at any rate, to prevent the possibility of such an attack taking place. I believed that I could achieve this end in a natural and simple way. It was not until I saw that such an attempt was doomed to fail, and that the anti-German elements would once more gain the upper hand, and it was not until I also saw that this State had for a long time lost its inner capacity to live and that it had already collapsed, that I re-enforced ancient German right and reunited what had to be united by history, geographical position and all rules of common-sense.
Not for the purpose of suppressing the Czech people! It will have more freedom than the oppressed peoples of the virtuous nations!
I have, so I believe, thereby rendered a great service to peace, for I have in good time made valueless an instrument that was designed to become effective in time of war against Germany.
If people now say that this is the signal for Germany's desire to attack the whole world, then I do not believe they mean it seriously; such a statement could only be the expression of the
60 THE BRITISH WAR BLUE BOOK
very worst of consciences. Perhaps it is anger at the failure of a far-reaching plan; perhaps it is belief that the premises can thereby be created for a new policy of encirclement? Whatever the case may be, I am convinced that I have thereby rendered a great service to peace.
And it is from this conviction that I determined three weeks ago to give the coming Party Rally the name of "Party Rally of Peace." For Germany does not dream of attacking other nations.
What we do not, however, desire to renounce is the extension of our economic relations. To this we have a right, and I do not accept orders in this respect from any statesman inside or outside Europe!
The German Reich is not only a great producer, but also a tremendous consumer. In the same way as we become an unreplaceable commercial partner as consumer, so are we suited as a producer honestly to pay for what we consume.
We do not dream of waging war on other nations, subject, of course, to their leaving us in peace also. The German Reich is, however, in no case prepared permanently to tolerate intimidation, or even a policy of encirclement.
I once concluded an agreement with England-the Naval Agreement. It is based on the ardent desire, shared by us all, never to be forced to fight a war against England. This desire can, however, only be a reciprocal one. If it no longer exists in England, then the practical premises for the agreement have been removed. Germany would accept even a situation of this kind with calm composure! We are so sure of ourselves because we are strong, and we are strong because we are united, and also because we keep our eyes open! And in this town more than elsewhere I can only urge you to look at the world and all happenings therein around us with open eyes. Do not deceive yourselves regarding the most important prerequisite which exists in life, namely, the necessary power at one's own disposal. He who does not possess power loses the right to live! We have had fifteen years' experience of such a condition. That is why I have made Germany strong again and why I have created a defence force on land, on the waters and in the air.
But when there is talk in other countries of present rearmament and of continued and still greater rearmament, then I can
DEVELOPMENTS IN ANGLO-GERMAN RELATIONS 61
only say to these statesmen: it will not be me whom they will tire out!
I am determined to continue to march along this road, and I am convinced that we shall advance faster than the others. No Power in the world will ever wheedle our arms from us by mere words. But should anyone at any time show any desire to measure his strength against ours by force, then the German people will always be in a position and ready and determined to do the same!
And our friends think just as we do, especially the State with which we are closely bound and with which we march, now, and in all circumstances, and for all time. When hostile journalists do not know what else to write about, then they write of cracks in the Axis. They can be at ease.
This Axis is the most natural political instrument in the world. It is a political combination of ideas which owes its existence not only to reason and the desire for justice, but also to strength inspired by idealism.
This structure will hold out better than the present alliances of non-homogeneous bodies on the other side. For if anybody tells me to-day that there are no differences in world outlook or ideologies between England and Soviet Russia, I can only say: I congratulate you, Gentlemen.
I believe we shall not have long to wait before we see that the unity in world outlook between Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany is, after all, different from that between democratic Great Britain and the Bolshevik Russia of Stalin.
But if there should really be no ideological difference between them, then I can only say: how right is, after all, my attitude towards Marxism, communism and to democracy! Why two apparitions, when after all they are made of the same substance?
We are experiencing in these days a very great triumph and a feeling of deep inner satisfaction. A country that was also devastated by bolshevism, in which hundreds and thousands of human beings, women, men, children and old people, were slaughtered, has liberated itself, and liberated itself in spite of ideological friends of bolshevism who sit in Great Britain, France and other countries.
We can only too well understand this Spain in her struggle,
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and we greet her and congratulate her on her victory. We Germans can say so with special pride, for many young German men have done their duty there.
They have helped as volunteers to break a tyrannical regime and to recover for a nation its right to self-determination. We are glad to see how quickly, yes, how extremely quickly, here also a change in the world outlook of the suppliers of war material to the Red side has come about, how extensively one now suddenly understands National Spain and how ready one is to do business with this National Spain, perhaps not ideological business, but at least economic business!
This also is an indication of the direction developments are taking. For I believe that all States will have to face the same problems that we once had to face. State after State will either succumb to the Jewish Bolshevik pest or will ward it off. We have done so, and we have now erected a national German People's State.
This People's State desires to live in peace and friendship with every other State, it will, however, never again permit itself to be forced to its knees by any other State.
I do not know whether the world will become Fascist! I do not believe that the world will become National Socialist! But that the world will in the end ward off this worst form of bolshevistic threat in existence, of that I am absolutely convinced.
And, therefore, I believe in a conclusive understanding among peoples which will come sooner or later. There is no point in bringing about co-operation among nations, based upon permanent understanding, until this Jewish fission-fungus of peoples has been removed.
To-day we must depend upon our own power! And we can be satisfied with results of this confidence in ourselves! At home and abroad!
When I came into power, Germany was torn and impotent at home, and abroad a toy of foreign will. To-day we have order at home and our economy is flourishing. Abroad we are perhaps not popular, but we are respected. That is the decisive factor. Above all, we have given millions of our "Volksgenossen" the greatest happiness they could have wished for: their home-coming into our Great German Reich. And, secondly, we have given great happiness to Central Europe, namely, peace, peace pro-
DEVELOPMENTS IN ANGLO-GERMAN RELATIONS 63
tected by German power. And this power shall not be broken again by any force in the world. That shall be our oath.
We thus realise that the "Volksgenossen," more than 2 million in number, who died in the Great War, did not die in vain. From their sacrifice a new Great German Reich has arisen. From their sacrifice this strong young German Reich of the "Volk" has been called to life and has now stood its test in life.
And in the face of this sacrifice, we would not fear any sacrifice if it should ever become necessary. This the world should take note of!
They can conclude agreements, make declarations, as many as they like: I put my trust not in scraps of paper, but I put my trust in you, my "Volksgenossen."
Germans have been the victims of the greatest breach of promise of all time. Let us see to it that our people at home may never again become easy to break up, then no one in the world will ever be able to threaten us. Then peace will be maintained for our people or, if necessary, it will be enforced. And then our people will flourish and prosper.
It will be able to place its genius, its capability, its diligence, and its perseverance at the disposal of the work of peace and home culture. That is our desire; it is that which we hope and in which we believe.
Twenty years ago the party was founded, at that time a very small structure. Recall the distance covered from that time until to-day. Recall the extent of the miracle that has been worked upon us. And have faith, therefore, by the very reason of our miraculous progress, in the further road of the German people in the coming great future!
Germany: Sieg-Heil! Sieg-Heil! Sieg-Heil!
I believe that it is a good thing for millions and millions of people that I, thanks to the last-minute insight of responsible men on the other side, succeeded in averting such an explosion, and
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found a solution which I am convinced has finally abolished this problem of a source of danger in Central Europe.
The contention that this solution is contrary to the Munich Agreement can neither be supported nor confirmed. This agreement could, under no circumstances, be regarded as final, because it admitted that other problems required and remained to be solved. We cannot really be reproached for the fact that the parties concerned-and this is the deciding factor-did not turn to the four Powers, but only to Italy and Germany; nor yet for the fact that the State as such finally split up of its own accord, and there was, consequently, no longer any Czecho-Slovakia. It was, however, understandable that, long after the ethnographic principle had been made invalid, Germany should take under her protection her interests dating back a thousand years, which are not only of a political but also of an economic nature.
The future will show whether the solution which Germany has found is right or wrong. However, it is certain that the solution is not subject to English supervision or criticism. For Bohemia and Moravia, as the remnants of former Czecho-Slovakia, have nothing more whatever to do with the Munich Agreement. Just as English measures in, say, Northern Ireland, whether they be right or wrong, are not subject to German supervision or criticism, this is also the case with these old German electorates.
However, I entirely fail to understand how the agreement reached between Mr. Chamberlain and myself at Munich can refer to this case, for the case of Czecho-Slovakia was settled in the Munich protocol of the four Powers as far as it could be settled at all at that time. Apart from this, provision was merely made that if the interested parties should fail to come to an agreement they should be entitled to appeal to the four Powers, who had agreed in such a case to meet for further consultation after the expiration of three months. However, these interested parties did not appeal to the four Powers at all, but only to Germany and Italy. That this was fully justified, moreover, is proved by the fact that neither England nor France have raised any objections thereto, but have themselves accepted the decision given by Germany and Italy. No, the agreement reached between Mr. Chamberlain and myself did not relate to this problem but exclusively to questions which refer to the mutual relationship between Eng-
DEVELOPMENTS IN ANGLO-GERMAN RELATIONS 65
land and Germany. This is clearly shown by the fact that such questions are to be treated in future in the spirit of the Munich Agreement and of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, that is, in a friendly spirit by way of consultation. If, however, this agreement were to be applied to every future German activity of a political nature, England too should not take any step, whether in Palestine or elsewhere, without first consulting Germany. It is obvious that we do not expect this; likewise we refuse to gratify any similar expectation of us. Now, if Mr. Chamberlain concludes from this, that the Munich Agreement is for this reason annulled, as if we had broken it, then I shall take cognisance of the fact and proceed accordingly.
During the whole of my political activity I have always expounded the idea of a close friendship and collaboration between Germany and England. In my movement I found innumerable others of like mind. Perhaps they joined me because of my attitude in this matter. This desire for Anglo-German friendship and co-operation conforms not merely to sentiments which result from the racial origins of our two peoples, but also to my realisation of the importance for the whole of mankind of the existence of the British Empire. I have never left room for any doubt of my belief that the existence of this empire is an inestimable factor of value for the whole of human cultural and economic life. By whatever means Great Britain has acquired her colonial territories-and I know that they were those of force and often brutality-nevertheless, I know full well that no other empire has ever come into being in any other way, and that in the final resort it is not so much the methods that are taken into account in history as success, and not the success of the methods as such, but rather the general good which the methods yield. Now there is no doubt that the Anglo-Saxon people have accomplished immeasurable colonising work in the world. For this work I have a sincere admiration. The thought of destroying this labour appeared and still appears to me, seen from a higher human point of view, as nothing but the effluence of human wanton destructiveness. However, this sincere respect of mine for this achievement does not mean forgoing the securing of the life of my own people. I regard it as impossible to achieve a lasting friendship between the German and Anglo-Saxon peoples if the other side does not
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recognise that there are German as well as British interests, that not only is the preservation of the British Empire the meaning and purpose of the lives of Britishers, but also that for Germans the freedom and preservation of the German Reich is their life purpose. A genuine, lasting friendship between these two nations is only conceivable on the basis of mutual regards. The English people rules a great empire. It built up this empire at a time when the German people was internally weak. Previously Germany had been a great empire. At one time she ruled the Occident In bloody struggles and religious dissensions, and as a result of internal political disintegration, this empire declined in power and greatness, and finally fell into a deep sleep. But as this old empire appeared to have reached its end, the seeds of its rebirth were springing up. From Brandenburg and Prussia there arose a new Germany, the second Reich, and out of it has grown at last the German People's Reich. And I hope that all English people understand that we do not possess the slightest feeling of inferiority to Britishers. Our historical past is far too tremendous for that!
England has given the world many great men and Germany no fewer. The severe struggle for the maintenance of the life of our people has in the course of three centuries cost a sacrifice in lives which far exceeds that which other peoples have had to make in asserting their existence.
If Germany, a country that was for ever being attacked, was not able to retain her possessions, but was compelled to sacrifice many of her provinces, this was due only to her political misdevelopment and her impotence as a result thereof! That condition has now keen overcome. Therefore, we Germans do not feel in the least inferior to the British nation. Our self-esteem is just as great as that of an Englishman for England. In the history of our people, now of approximately two thousand years' standing, there are occasions and actions enough to fill us with sincere pride.
Now, if England cannot understand our point of view, thinking perchance she may look upon Germany as a vassal State, then our love and friendly feelings have, indeed, been wasted on England. We shall not despair or lose heart on that account, but-relying on the consciousness of our own strength and on the
DEVELOPMENTS IN ANGLO-GERMAN RELATIONS 67
strength of our friends-we shall then find ways and means to secure our independence without impairing our dignity.
I have heard the statement of the British Prime Minister to the effect that he is not able to put any trust in German assurances. Under the circumstances I consider it a matter of course that we no longer wish to expect him or the British people to bear the burden of a situation which is only conceivable in an atmosphere of mutual confidence. When Germany became National Socialist and thus paved the way for her national resurrection, in pursuance of my unswerving policy of friendship with England, of my own accord I made the proposal for a voluntary restriction of German naval armaments. That restriction was, however, based on one condition, namely, the will and the conviction that a war between England and Germany would never again be possible. This wish and this conviction is alive in me to-day.
I am, however, now compelled to state that the policy of England is both unofficially and officially leaving no doubt about the fact that such a conviction is no longer shared in London, and that, on the contrary, the opinion prevails there that no matter in what conflict Germany should some day be entangled, Great Britain would always have to take her stand against Germany. Thus a war against Germany is taken for granted in that country. I most profoundly regret such a development, for the only claim I have ever made, and shall continue to make, on England is that for a return of our colonies. But I always made it very clear that this would never become the cause of a military conflict. I have always held that the English, to whom those colonies are of no value, would one day understand the German situation and would then value German friendship higher than the possession of territories which, while yielding no real profit whatever to them, are of vital importance to Germany.
Apart from this, however, I have never advanced a claim which might in any way have interfered with British interests or have become a danger to the Empire and thus have meant any kind of damage to England. I have always kept within the limit of such demands as are intimately connected with Germany's living space and thus the eternal property of the German nation. Since England to-day, both by the press and officially, upholds the view that Germany should be opposed under all circumstances, and con-
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firms this by the policy of encirclement known to us, the basis for the Naval Treaty has been removed. I have therefore resolved to send to-day a communication to this effect to the British Government. This is to us not a matter of practical material importance-for I still hope that we shall be able to avoid an armaments race with England-but an action of self-respect. Should the British Government, however, wish to enter once more into negotiations with Germany on this problem, no one would be happier than I at the prospect of still being able to come to a clear and straightforward understanding.
WHEN in the year 1935 the German Government made the British Government the offer to bring the strength of the German fleet to a fixed proportion of the strength of the naval forces of the British Empire by means of a treaty, it did so on the basis of the firm conviction that for all time the recurrence of a warlike conflict between Germany and Great Britain was excluded. In voluntarily recognising the priority of British interests at sea through the offer of the ratio 100:35 it believed that, by means of this decision, unique in the history of the Great Powers, it was taking a step which would lead to the establishment of a friendly relationship for all time between the two nations. This step on the part of the German Government was naturally conditional on the British Government for their part also being determined to adopt a political attitude which would assure a friendly development of Anglo-German relations.
On this basis and under these conditions was the Anglo-German Naval Agreement on the 18th June, 1935, brought into being. This was expressed in agreement by both parties on the conclusion of the agreement. Moreover, last autumn after the Munich Conference the German Chancellor and the British Prime Minister solemnly confirmed in the declaration, which
DEVELOPMENTS IN ANGLO-GERMAN RELATIONS 69
they signed, that they regarded the agreement as symbolical of the desire of both peoples never again to wage war on one another.
The German Government has always adhered to this wish and is still to-day inspired by it. It is conscious of having acted accordingly in its policy and of having in no case intervened in the sphere of English interests or of having in any way encroached on these interests. On the other hand it must to its regret take note of the fact that the British Government of late is departing more and more from the course of an analogous policy towards Germany. As is clearly shown by the political decisions made known by the British Government in the last weeks as well as by the inspired anti-German attitude of the English press, the British Government is now governed by the opinion that England, in whatever part of Europe Germany might be involved in warlike conflict, must always take up an attitude hostile to Germany, even in a case where English interests are not touched in any way by such a conflict. The British Government thus regards war by England against Germany no longer as an impossibility, but on the contrary as a capital problem of English foreign policy.
By means of this encirclement policy the British Government has unilaterally deprived the Naval Agreement of the 18th June, 1935, of its basis, and has thus put out of force this agreement as well as the complementary declaration of the 17th July, 1937.
The same applies to Part III of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of the 17th July, 1937, in which the obligation is laid down to make a mutual Anglo-German exchange of information. The execution of this obligation rests naturally on the condition that a relationship of open confidence should exist between two partners. Since the German Government to its regret can no longer regard this relationship as existing, it must also regard the provisions of Part III referred to above as having lapsed.
The qualitative provisions of the Anglo-German Agreement of the 17th July, 1937, remain unaffected by these observations which have been forced upon the German Government against its will. The German Government will abide by these provisions also in the future and so make its contribution to the avoidance of a general unlimited race in the naval armaments of the nations.
Moreover, the German Government, should the British Government desire to enter into negotiations with Germany, in re-
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gard to the future problems here arising, is gladly ready to do so. It would welcome it if it then proved possible to reach a clear and categorical understanding on a sure basis.
Berlin, April 27, 1939.
Sir, Foreign Office, June 16, 1939.
THE German Ambassador called at the Foreign Office this morning to sign a technical agreement of no great importance between the two Governments, and I had a few moments' conversation with him afterwards. In part this followed the familiar line of assertion on his part of the effect that was being produced in Germany by encirclement. The Ambassador expressed the view that, just as the old phrase "The Fleet in being" suggested pressure even without overt action, so now the regrouping of Powers that we were organising was, in fact, designed to operate as coercive pressure on Germany, and it was this which was resented. His Excellency said, and made the same observation at a later stage in our conversation, that much of the feeling at the present time was due to all the discussion about our anti-aggression negotiations with Russia. In his view the situation would be easier when these negotiations were settled one way or the other. I thought this observation perhaps not without significance.
2. I replied by saying that, if anybody was encircling Germany, it was herself by the policy that she persisted in pursuing. Whatever might be thought about the policy now being pursued by this country, it seemed to us quite plain that the German Chancellor had broken the china in Europe and it was only he who could put it together again. We repeatedly made efforts from this side to open the way to a diminution of tension and improvement of relations, but this had so far elicited nothing in the nature of response from Herr Hitler.
3. I told Herr von Dirksen that I hoped he would let me know if at any time he had anything that he might wish to communicate
DEVELOPMENTS IN ANGLO-GERMAN RELATIONS 71
to me that he thought of value, and he replied by expressing a similar wish that I would not hesitate at any time to send for him.
I am, &c.
IN their memorandum of the 27th April last the German Government state that, in making their offer in 1935 to limit themselves to a percentage of the British naval forces, they did so "on a basis of the firm conviction that for all time the recurrence of a warlike conflict between Germany and Great Britain was excluded."
2. The German Government justify their action in terminating the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935, the Supplementary Declaration of 1937, and Part III of the Naval Agreement of 1937, on the ground that the attitude of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom showed that they now held the view that, in whatever part of Europe Germany might be involved in warlike conflict, Great Britain must always be hostile to Germany even in cases where English interests were not touched by such a conflict.
3. The question whether the attitude of His Majesty's Government can in any case justify the German Government in terminating these instruments without, at least, previous consultation between the two Governments is dealt with hereafter. It is not the case that in whatever part of Europe Germany might be involved in warlike conflict Great Britain must always take up an attitude hostile to Germany. Great Britain could only be hostile to Germany if Germany were to commit an act of aggression against another country; and the political decision, to which it is understood the German Government refer in their memorandum
* No. 22.
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involving guarantees by Great Britain to certain countries, could only operate if the countries concerned were to be attacked by Germany.
4. In the memorandum from the German Government the claim is made to describe British policy as a policy of encirclement. This description is without any justification, and indicates a misunderstanding and misreading of British purposes which must be corrected.
5. The action recently taken by the German Government to incorporate certain territories in the Reich, whatever may have been held by them to be the justifying reasons, has undoubtedly resulted in a great increase of anxiety in many quarters. The actions subsequently taken by the United Kingdom Government have no other purpose than to contribute to the removal of this anxiety, by assisting smaller nations to feel secure in the enjoyment of their independence, to which they have the same right as Great Britain or Germany herself. The commitments which Great Britain has recently undertaken in pursuance of this purpose are limited, and as stated above could only become effective if the countries concerned were the victims of aggression.
6. Nor have His Majesty's Government either the intention or the desire to restrict the development of German trade. On the contrary, under the Anglo-German Payments Agreement a considerable supply of free exchange has been made available to Germany for the acquisition of raw materials. This agreement is as favourable to Germany as any which has been concluded, and His Majesty's Government would look forward to further discussion of measures for the improvement of Germany's economic position, if only the essential pre-condition could be secured, namely, the establishment of mutual confidence and goodwill which is the necessary preliminary to calm and unprejudiced negotiation.
7. The consistent desire of His Majesty's Government, far from being the promotion of a war with Germany, has been and is to establish Anglo-German relations on the basis of the mutual recognition of the needs of both countries, consistently with due regard for the rights of other nations.
8. But, while for these reasons His Majesty's Government cannot agree that there has been any change in their policy or
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attitude which would justify the recent action of the German Government, they must add that in their view the main object of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement was to introduce an element of stability into the naval situation and to avoid unnecessary competition in armaments.
The Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935.
9. For this reason the Agreements contained no provision for unilateral denunciation at the instance of one of the parties alone, but clearly contemplated termination or modification only by mutual consultation-a procedure which His Majesty's Government regret that the German Government have not seen their way to adopt in the present case. The Agreement of 1935, indeed, was expressly stated to be permanent in character, and His Majesty's Government would draw the attention of the German Government to the actual terms of the Exchange of Notes of the 18th June, 1935, which constituted the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of that year, from which both the character of the Agreement and the circumstances in which its modification was contemplated are made absolutely clear.
10. In the opening Note, Sir Samuel Hoare referred to the conversations which had taken place "the primary purpose of which has been to prepare the way for the holding of a general conference on the subject of the limitation of naval armaments." He then referred to the German proposal for a ratio of 100:35 between the fleets of the British Commonwealth and Germany and said that "His Majesty's Government regard this proposal as a contribution of the greatest importance to future naval limitation." He expressed the belief that the Agreement would "facilitate the conclusion of a general agreement on the subject of naval limitation between all the naval Powers of the world."
11. In his reply of the same date, Herr von Ribbentrop recapitulated the terms of Sir Samuel Hoare's Note and confirmed that it correctly set forth the proposal of the German Government. He expressed the opinion that the Agreement "will facilitate the conclusion of a general agreement on this question between all the naval Powers of the world."
12. The wording of the notes thus shows clearly that the
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Agreement was regarded as a contribution to the solution of the problem of naval limitation. If the German Government now allege that the Agreement has a different meaning, His Majesty's Government must observe that such an allegation finds no warrant in the terms of the Agreement itself, comprehensive and detailed though they were.
13. The Agreement was equally clear on the subject of its duration. In Sir Samuel Hoare's Note it is stated to be "a permanent and definite Agreement as from to-day." Herr von Ribbentrop in his reply stated that the German Government also regarded it "as a permanent and definite agreement with effect from to-day."
14. In paragraph 2 (a) of the Notes it is stated that "the ratio of 35:100 is to be a permanent relationship, i.e., the total tonnage of the German Fleet shall never exceed a percentage of 35 of the aggregate tonnage of the naval forces of the members of the British Commonwealth."
15. In paragraph 2 (c) of the Notes it is stated that "Germany will adhere to the 35:100 in all circumstances, e.g., the ratio will not be affected by the construction of other Powers. If the general equilibrium of naval armaments, as normally maintained in the past, should be violently upset by any abnormal and exceptional construction by other Powers, the German Government reserve the right to invite His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to examine the new situation thus created." This was the only provision which contemplated any general modification (i.e., apart from the special case of submarines) of the terms of the Agreement; and it will be observed that the only condition foreseen that might entail modification was a violent disturbance of the general equilibrium of naval armaments. Moreover, under the terms of the Agreement modification could even then only take place after the situation had been examined in consultation with His Majesty's Government.
16. The German Government, however, do not maintain that such a condition in fact exists. Still less have they invited His Majesty's Government to examine the situation before taking their action. That such consultation was essential is further clear from paragraph 3 of the Notes, which states that His Majesty's Government recognised Germany's right to depart from the 35
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per cent. ratio in the circumstances contemplated by paragraph 2 (c) "on the understanding that the 35:100 ratio will be maintained in default of agreement to the contrary between the two Governments."
17. Even if the memorandum which the German Government have now addressed to His Majesty's Government is intended to be read, not as a denunciation, but as a statement of the opinion of the German Government that His Majesty's Government have so acted as to cause the Agreement to lose its force, His Majesty's Government cannot admit that such a plea could properly be advanced without any prior consultation between the two Governments as a reason for non-compliance with the express terms of the Agreement.
The Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1937.
18. Considerations of a similar character apply to the German action regarding Part III of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of the 17th July, 1937. This Agreement also makes no provision for unilateral denunciation or modification apart from the special cases contemplated by the so-called "escalator clauses" which are not here relevant. Apart from these, the Agreement is expressed to "remain in force until the 31st December, 1942."
19. This Agreement is, moreover, complementary to the London Naval Treaty of 1936, to which France, Italy and the United States are also parties, and to similar agreements between His Majesty's Government and other naval Powers. All these instruments have as their object the avoidance of a useless and expensive competition in naval armaments. This may arise by one country producing special types of ships to which others feel they must reply; or by uncertainty as to the actions and intentions of others and the suspicion that large numbers of ships are being built which must then be matched by competitive building on the part of those affected. The qualitative limits of these agreements are therefore designed to prevent useless competition in types, and the provisions for exchange of information are designed to destroy unfounded suspicions of excessive building. Even if the relations between two countries were not good, this would not
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appear to His Majesty's Government to afford ground for terminating an agreement which eliminates unprofitable competition, and prevents a wasteful race in armaments which can benefit neither party.
20. It is in the light of these considerations, presumably, that the German Government desire the "qualitative provisions of the Anglo-German Agreement of the 17th July, 1937, to remain unaffected." In principle, His Majesty's Government would share this desire: but they are bound to point out that the retention of the qualitative provisions alone will not suffice to create that feeling of mutual security, to which it was the purpose of the Anglo-German Agreement to contribute, and of which the provisions for the exchange of information were the expression. His Majesty's Government would, however, at all times be ready to consider with the German Government the possibility in the words of their Note of reaching "a clear and categorical understanding" on a sure basis.
21. From the terms in which the German Government announced their decision to retain the qualitative limits of the 1937 Agreement, it is not clear what are the exact limitations by which they consider themselves to be bound in the matter of cruisers. The qualitative limits of cruisers are fixed by Article 6 (1) of the Anglo-German Agreement of 1937 as 8,000 tons displacement with guns not exceeding 6.1-inch calibre, and it is by this limit that all signatory Powers of the London Naval Treaty of 1936 are also bound. Although Article 6 (2) of the Anglo-German Agreement of 1937 permitted Germany under certain circumstances to increase her 8-inch gun cruiser tonnage, she was in practice precluded from building more than five such cruisers by the limits of her quota under the 1935 Agreement. Now that the German Government have terminated the latter Agreement, the position with regard to cruiser limits is no longer clear, but it is presumed that the limit to which the German Government intend to adhere is that of 8,000 tons and 6.1-inch guns. The German Government are requested to confirm this assumption.
22. The past forecasts of strength at the end of 1942 and 1943
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that His Majesty's Government have made to the German Government have been given solely for the purpose of implementing the provisions of the 1935 Agreement. It is clear that no further forecasts will be necessary since they were designed merely to allow Germany to make full use of her 1935 quota. But if Germany is to be no longer bound to the limit of 35 per cent. specified in the Agreement, it should be clearly understood that His Majesty's Government can no longer be bound by their past forecasts of strength, which must therefore be considered to be cancelled.
23. In the last paragraph of their memorandum the German Government declare that they are ready to enter into negotiations in regard to future problems, if His Majesty's Government desire to do so. As indicated above, there results from the recent German action a situation which is in some respects uncertain, and an exchange of views would help to clarify it. For instance, besides the question of tonnage and gun limits for cruisers, it is desirable to know whether the German Government intend to regard themselves as bound by all the articles of the Agreement of 1937 other than those in Part III.
24. If, however, what the German Government contemplate is the negotiation of another Agreement to replace those provisions which they have now terminated, His Majesty's Government would be glad to receive some indication of the scope and purpose which the German Government would consider appropriate to such an Agreement.
25. In particular His Majesty's Government desire to know, first, when, in the German view, discussions for the conclusion of such an Agreement should take place. Secondly, His Majesty's Government desire to know how the German Government would propose to ensure that any action in the shape of denunciation or modification of the new Agreement during the terms of its validity should carry the consent of both parties.
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WHEN I look back to the speech which I delivered at the Chatham House Dinner in June a year ago, I am conscious, as we all are, of the great changes that have taken place. A year ago we had undertaken no specific commitments on the Continent of Europe, beyond those which had then existed for some considerable time and are familiar to you all. To-day we are bound by new agreements for mutual defence with Poland and Turkey: we have guaranteed assistance to Greece and Roumania against aggression, and we are now engaged with the Soviet Government in a negotiation, to which I hope there may very shortly be a successful issue, with a view to associating them with us for the defence of States in Europe whose independence and neutrality may be threatened. We have assumed obligations, and are preparing to assume more, with full understanding of their causes and with full understanding of their consequences. We know that, if the security and independence of other countries are to disappear, our own security and our own independence will be gravely threatened. We know that, if international law and order is to be preserved, we must be prepared to fight in its defence.
In the past we have always stood out against the attempt by any single Power to dominate Europe at the expense of the liberties of other nations, and British policy is, therefore, only following the inevitable line of its own history, if such an attempt were to be made again. But it is not enough to state a policy. What matters is, firstly, to convince the nation that the policy is right, and secondly, to take the steps necessary for that policy to succeed. I believe that at no time since the War has there been such national unity on the main essentials of our foreign policy, and that with this spirit of unity goes a deep and widespread determination to make that policy effective. But I believe, too, that among all classes of our people who, in virtue of their common citizenship, are being called upon to defend their country, and the causes for which it stands, there is an increasing desire to look beyond the immediate present, and to see before them some goal for which they would willingly sacrifice their leisure and, if need be, their lives.
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We are already asking for great sacrifices from all ages and classes in the call for national service. In one way and another, every man and woman has a part to play, and I know is prepared to do so. The immense effort that the country is making in equipping itself for defence at sea, in the air and on land is without parallel in peace time. We have an unchallengeable Navy. Our Air Force, still undergoing an expansion which has outstripped all expectations of a few months ago, has now nothing to fear from any other. I have little doubt that its personnel, in spirit and in skill, is superior to all others. Our army, once derided, but which survived to prove its worth so that it made a boast of that derision, is, no doubt, small in comparison with that of some other countries. But, as happened once before, we are creating here also a powerful weapon for the defence of our own liberty and that of other peoples. With every week that passes, that effort gains momentum, and on every side of life, political, administrative, industrial, we have abundant evidence of how firmly this national effort is driven and supported by the people's will. Behind all our military effort stand the British people, more united than ever before, and at their service their wealth and industrial resources. These, again, are the object of contemptuous reference, but they have been earned by the labour, skill and courage of our people. None of this formidable array of strength will be called into play except in defence against aggression. No blow will be struck, no shot fired. Of the truth of that, everyone in this country is convinced. I believe, myself, that most people in other countries really accept it in spite of the propaganda that dins into their ears the contrary. What is also now fully and universally accepted in this country, but what may not even yet be as well understood elsewhere, is that, in the event of further aggression, we are resolved to use at once the whole of our strength in fulfilment of our pledges to resist it.
These great changes in our national life could not, indeed, be brought about, were they not backed by deep conviction, which is immensely strengthened by what we hear and read almost daily from other parts of the world. We are often told that, though once we were a great nation, our ways are now old-fashioned, and that our democracy has no life in it. We read the mischievous misrepresentations of our actions and of our motives, which some people in countries holding a different international philos-
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ophy from our own think fit to make. We read them with resentment, knowing that they are false and knowing that those who make them know it, too. These things do not pass unnoticed here, nor, I may say, do provocative insults offered to our fellow-countrymen further afield. I can say at once that Great Britain is not prepared to yield either to calumnies or force. It may afford some satisfaction to those who have pronounced our nation to be decadent to learn that they themselves have found the cure-and one most effective. Every insult that is offered to our people, every rude challenge that is made to what we value and are determined to defend, only unites us, increases our determination and strengthens our loyalty to those others who share our feelings and aspirations. Over a large part of the world the old standards of conduct and of ordinary human decency, which man had laboriously built up, are being set aside. Things are being done to-day which we can hardly read without amazement; so alien are they to our conception of how men should deal with their fellow-men. Rules of conduct between nations are overridden with the same callous indifference as rules of conduct between man and man.
The first thing, therefore, which we have to do is to see that our own standards of conduct do not deteriorate. On that point there must be-and I know there is-complete national unity. We respect our fellow-men. We know that without that there can be no real self-respect either for individuals, or, in the long run, for nations. The day that we lose our respect for our fellowmen, our democracy would have lost something on which its vitality depends, and would justly become what our critics like to think it, moribund, and dead, for it would, indeed, have lost the right to live. If, then we hold fast to these principles, what is the application of them to our foreign policy? At a time when our aims are being constantly misrepresented, it is perhaps well to restate them boldly and with such plainness of speech as I can command. And I would try to deal briefly both with our aims in the immediate present, and our aims in the future; what we are doing now and what we should like to see done as soon as circumstances make it possible.
Our first resolve is to stop aggression. I need not recapitulate the acts of aggression which have taken place, or the effect they
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have had upon the general trust that European nations feel able to place in words and undertakings. For that reason, and for that reason alone, we have joined with other nations to meet a common danger. These arrangements we all know, and the world knows, have no purpose other than defence. They mean what they say-no more and no less. But they have been denounced as aiming at the isolation-or, as it is called, the encirclement-of Germany and Italy, and as designed to prevent them from acquiring the living space necessary for their national existence. I shall deal with these charges to-night, and I propose to do so with complete frankness.
We are told that our motives are to isolate Germany within a ring of hostile States, to stifle her natural outlets, to cramp and throttle the very existence of a great nation. What are the facts? They are very simple and everybody knows them. Germany is isolating herself, and doing it most successfully and completely. She is isolating herself from other countries economically by her policy of autarky, politically by a policy that causes constant anxiety to other nations, and culturally by her policy of racialism. If you deliberately isolate yourself from others by your own actions you can blame nobody but yourself, and so long as this isolation continues, the inevitable consequences of it are bound to become stronger and more marked. The last thing we desire is to see the individual German man, or woman, or child suffering privations; but if they do so, the fault does not lie with us, and it depends on Germany and Germany alone whether this process of isolation continues or not, for any day it can be ended by a policy of co-operation. It is well that this should be stated plainly so that there may be no misunderstanding here or elsewhere.
I come next to Lebensraum. This word, of which we have not heard the last, needs to be fairly and carefully examined. Every developed community is, of course, faced with the vital problem of living space. But the problem is not solved simply by acquiring more territory. That may indeed only make the problem more acute. It can only be solved by wise ordering of the affairs of a country at home, and by adjusting and improving its relations with other countries abroad. Nations expand their wealth, and raise the standard of living of their people by gaining the confi-
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dence of their neighbours, and thus facilitating the flow of goods between them. The very opposite is likely to be the consequence of action by one nation in suppression of the independent existence of her smaller and weaker neighbours. And if Lebensraum is to be applied in that sense, we reject it and must resist its application. It is noteworthy that this claim to "living space" is being put forward at a moment when Germany has become an immigration country, importing workers in large numbers from Czecho-Slovakia, Holland and Italy to meet the needs of her industry and agriculture. How then can Germany claim to be over-populated? Belgium and Holland, and to a less extent our own islands, have already proved that what is called over-population can be prevented by productive work. The wide spaces and the natural resources of the British Empire and the United States of America were not able to save them from widespread distress during the great slump of 1929 to 1932. Economically the world is far too closely knit together for any one country to hope to profit itself at the expense of its neighbours, and no more than any other country can Germany hope to solve her economic problems in isolation. It is no doubt impossible at present for us to foresee the day when all trade everywhere will be completely free. But it is possible to make arrangements, given the opportunities, which would greatly enlarge the area of freedom. Through co-operation-and we, for our part, are ready to cooperate-there is ample scope for extending to all nations the opportunity of a larger economic life with all that this means, which is implied in the term "Lebensraum."
If the world were organised on such lines, neither Germany nor Italy need fear for her own safety, and no nation could fail to profit from the immense material benefits which the general application of science has brought within universal reach. But no such society of nations can be built upon force, in a world which lives in fear of violence, and has to spend its substance in preparing to resist it. It is idle to cry peace where there is no peace, or to pretend to reach a settlement unless it can be guaranteed by the reduction of warlike preparations, and by the assured recognition of every nation's right to the free enjoyment of its independence. At this moment the doctrine of force bars the way to settlement, and fills the world with envy, hatred, malice
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and all uncharitableness. But if the doctrine of force were once abandoned, so that the fear of war that stalks the world was lifted, all outstanding questions would become easier to solve. If all the effort which is now devoted to the senseless multiplication of armaments, with the consequent increase of insecurity and distrust, were to be applied to the common peaceful development of resources, the peoples of the world would soon find an incentive to work together for the common good; they would realise that their true interests do not conflict, and that progress and well-being depend upon community of aim and effort. The nations would then be in a position to discuss with real promise of success both political grievances and economic difficulties, whether in the international or colonial field.
This brings me to say something about the principles of our colonial administration. There was a time when in the British Empire, as elsewhere, colonies were regarded merely as a source of wealth and a place of settlement for Europeans. You have only to read any of the colonial literature of those days to see for how little counted the rights and welfare of the natives. But during the last half century a very different view has gained ground, a view which has been finely expressed in Article 22 of the Covenant, namely, that the well-being and development of "people not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world" is "a sacred trust of civilisation."
That trust has been steadily fulfilled since the War in the case of the Mandated Territories, on which the operation of the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant has conferred immense benefits. The British Commonwealth is fully aware of the heavy responsibility resting upon it to see that, through respect for these principles, continuity and development is assured to the native populations. The mandatory system, in fact, derives from exactly the same inspiration as that which governs British colonial administrative policy. We have applied the same principles to India and Burma, where they are now steadily at work on a scale that twenty or thirty years ago would have seemed far beyond the bounds of reasonable expectation. Within the last few years we have seen the transformation of Eire into a separate and independent member of the British Commonwealth, enjoying with
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our other partners of the Empire full Dominion status. For many years we tried, as the phrase went, to hold Ireland, under the mistaken belief, which is to-day invoked to justify the subjection of Czecho-Slovakia, that it was indispensable to our national security. But we have now realised that our safety is not diminished, but immeasurably increased, by a free and friendly Ireland. And so both here and in every country for which we have been responsible we have steadily moved in one direction. The whole picture is a significant and faithful reflection of British thought, projected into political form, and expressing itself, through history and now, in the development of institutions. We recognise, as the United States have recognised, that self-government should be the ultimate goal of colonial policy, a goal which is near or distant, according to the capacity of the peoples concerned to manage their own affairs. In one of your own studies, "The Colonial Problem," the type of research which enhances the name and reputation of Chatham House, you have considered the question whether colonies pay. You drew attention to the benefits of cheap imports which the consumers of a country possessing colonies obtain as the result of the relatively low cost of production of certain commodities in colonial territories. But under an international system, under which the present trade barriers were to a great extent abolished, those benefits, already shared as they are to a considerable extent by many countries not possessing colonies, would be shared still more widely. On all sides there could be more free and ready access to markets and raw materials of the world; wider channels of trade down which would flow the goods which nations require to buy and sell. Such are some of the possibilities within everybody's reach.
How does all this affect our wider problems? One of the most significant facts in world history is the extent to which the principle of trusteeship has come to be adopted in the British Commonwealth during the last thirty years, and there is surely something here that can be used for the great benefit of mankind. Can we not look forward to a time when there may be agreement on common methods and aims of colonial development, which may ensure not only that the universally acknowledged purpose of colonial administration will be to help their inhabitants steadily to raise their level of life, but also that colonial territories may
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make a growing contribution to the world's resources? On such an agreed foundation of purpose we hope that others might be prepared with us to make their contribution to a better world. If so, I have no doubt that in the conduct of our colonial administration we should be ready to go far upon the economic side, as we have already done on the political side, in making wider application of the principles which now obtain in the mandated territories, including, on terms of reciprocity, that of the open door. Whatever may be the difficulties of the colonial problem, or of any other, I would not despair of finding ways of settlement, once everybody has got the will to settle. But, unless all countries do, in fact, desire a settlement, discussions would only do more harm than good. It is, moreover, impossible to negotiate with a Government whose responsible spokesmen brand a friendly country as thieves and blackmailers and indulge in daily monstrous slanders on British policy in all parts of the world. But if that spirit, which is clearly incompatible with any desire for a peaceful settlement, gave way to something different, His Majesty's Government would be ready to pool their best thought with others in order to end the present state of political and economic insecurity. If we could get so far, what an immense stride the world would have made! We should have exorcised the anxiety which is cramping and arresting business expansion and we should have brought back an atmosphere of confidence among nations and assurance for the future among the youth of this and every other European country. Our next task would be the reconstruction of the international order on a broader and firmer foundation. That is too large a topic for me to embark upon this evening, but I should like to commend it to your thinking.
We must ask ourselves how far the failure of the League was due to shortcomings in the Covenant itself, or how far it was the absence of some of the greatest countries at every stage of its history that has crippled both its moral authority and strength. Is it beyond the political genius of mankind to reconcile national individuality with international collaboration? Can human purpose rise high enough to solve the riddle? An examination of the history of the Covenant may perhaps disclose that some of its obligations were too loose and others too rigid. It has been suggested, for instance, that some system of specific regional guar-
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antees for the preservation of the peace would be more effective than the indefinite but universal obligations of Articles 10 and 16, and it is not impossible that the grouping of the Powers as it exists to-day, instead of dividing Europe, might be so moulded as to become the embryo of a better European system.
That is one side of the problem. But it is not enough to devise measures for preventing the use of force to change the status quo, unless there is also machinery for bringing about peaceful change. For a living and changing world can never be held in iron clamps, and any such attempt is the high road to disaster. Changes in the relations, needs, and outlook of nations are going on all the time. And there is no more urgent need, if we are ever to find a workable system of international organisation, than to invent peaceful means by which such changes can be handled. To-day when the European nations, forgetful of their common civilisation, are arming to the teeth, it is more important than ever that we should remind ourselves of the essential unity of European civilisation. European minds meet across political frontiers. With the same background of knowledge, with the same heritage of culture, they study the same problems; the work of the great masters of science, and literature or art is the common property of all peoples; and thinkers in every land exchange knowledge on equal and friendly terms. Truly is a divided Europe a house divided against itself. Our foreign policy must, therefore, constantly bear in mind the immediate present and the more distant future, the steps we are now taking and the goal to which they are meant to lead.
I have strained your patience, but if you will allow me a few moments more I will endeavour to pick up the threads of my thought and perhaps make a few points more explicit. British policy rests on twin foundations of purpose. One is determination to resist force. The other is our recognition of the world's desire to get on with the constructive work of building peace. If we could once be satisfied that the intentions of others were the same as our own, and that we all really wanted peaceful solutions-then, I say here definitely, we could discuss the problems that are to-day causing the world anxiety. In such a new atmosphere we could examine the colonial problem, the questions of raw materials, trade barriers, the issue of Lebensraum, the
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limitation of armaments, and any other issue that affects the lives of all European citizens.
But that is not the position which we face to-day. The threat of military force is holding the world to ransom, and our immediate task is-and here I end as I began-to resist aggression. I would emphasise that to-night with all the strength at my command, so that nobody may misunderstand it. And if we are ever to succeed in removing misunderstanding and reaching a settlement which the world can trust, it must be upon some basis more substantial than verbal undertakings. It has been said that deeds, not words, are necessary. That also is our view. There must be give and take in practical form on both sides, for there can be no firm bargains on the basis of giving something concrete in return for mere assurances. None of us can in these days see very far ahead in the world in which we live, but we can and must always be sure of the general direction in which we wish to travel. Let us, therefore, be very sure that, whether or not we are to preserve for ourselves and for others the things that we hold dear, depends in the last resort upon ourselves, upon the strength of the personal faith of each one of us, and upon our resolution to maintain it.