15 DECEMBER 1944, Page 10

The recurrence of this principle in our foreign policy is

due to something far more important than any ideological sympathy ; it has a basis far more realistic than any natural affinity to countries who possess and maintain political systems similar to our own ; it is founded on the fact that democracies are by their very nature more pacific than dictatorships or oligarchies. It is thus a principle which

is in accord with what will always remain the central interest of this Empire and Commonwealth, namely, the preservation of peace: and it becomes important to consider whether this admirable prin- ciple is not in danger of becoming distorted by a misconception of its essential nature. Why is it, therefore, that democracies are more pacific and less dangerous than any other folm of government? Because a democracy is based upon such essential foundations as freedom of the Press, freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of criticism. These four great elements insure that no Government is in a position to plan aggression secretly and un- checked. These are tremendous safeguards, and any polity which does not contain these safeguards is not a democracy but something else. Thus to define as a " democracy " any system which seeks to abolish these safeguards and to establish a single-party Administra- tion on totalitarian lines is to indulge in a false definition. And to assume that we should always support the Jacobins against the Girondins is to distort a valuable principle of foreign policy to an extent which renders it, not salutary, but the reverse.