15 DECEMBER 1961, Page 14


Sm,—None of your correspondence on Mr. Brian Inglis's review of Mr. Macleod's book on Neville Chamberlain has referred to his despair of any alternative to • the Baldwin-Chamberlain Govern- ment's policy of appeasement. Unfortunately, Mr. Inglis weakens his case against the appeasement policy of the 'National' Governments by dismissing the 'blind Left' as hopelessly pacifist. Furthermore, Mr. Inglis exonerates the Baldwin Government of 'all the blame' when he states : 'His [Baldwin's] evasiveness before the 1935 election can just be defended on the excuse that if the Conservatives had lost, the country would have been in an even worse pass under a—pacifist--Labour Government.'

In fact, the Labour Party contested the 1935 general election on a programme of collective security based upon the foreign policy principles contained in the policy statement For Socialism and Peace. Furthermore, at its annual conference at Margate in 1935, the Labour Party was virtually unanimous in its view that the obligation to support sanctions was an inescapable result of membership in the League of Nations and that a government which refused to meet this obligation had no business belonging to the League. By this decision, the Labour Party made it abundantly clear that it was determined to stand firmly by the policy to which it had been pledged since the Geneva Protocol (1924) and which it had subsequently reaffirmed in the statement For Socialism and Peace, in the resolutions of the Socialist and Trade Union Internationals and in the support which it had given to sanctions in the National Peace Ballot.

Such a record provides no basis for the charge that a Labour government would have been 'pacifist' or 'that the country would have been in an even worse pass.