HC Deb 02 March 1936 vol 309 cc993-4
45 and 46. Mr. LEACH

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether his statement at Glasgow 15 months ago, that a col- lective peace system is impracticable, no longer represents the views of His Majesty's Government;

(2) whether his statement to the House on 18th May, 1934, that there is no such thing as a sanction that will work that does not mean war, now represents the view of His Majesty's Government or forms the basis of British action at Geneva?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

If the hon. Member will read the whole of the passages from which he is quoting, I think he will see that in each case I was making a plain statement of a manifest truth. The League is not world-wide, and though the organisation of a completely effective collective system is therefore impracticable, His Majesty's Government will be second to none in their intention to fulfil, within the measure of their capacity, the obligations which the Covenant lays upon them.


May we understand from that answer of the Prime Minister that he will take whatever steps are open to him to allay the public mystification to which these quotations have given rise, and to make it perfectly clear that his support of the League of Nations is not for an instant in question?


The only mystification arises from reading sentences taken from the speech. On reading the whole speech—I have just read it again—I think it contains more than the usual amount of common sense.


In the existing circumstances, at that time, in which two nations were outside the collective system, can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it was impracticable, and does that still represent his view?


I should be glad if the hon. Gentleman would do me the honour of reading that speech.


I have read it many times.

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