1 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 16

As I write these words the twilight of peace still

lingers in the west. On Saturday night it was feared that a German aggression on Poland was a matter of hours only. Nothing happened. Anxiety was renewed on Sunday night when all manner of rumours spread through the hot August night. Again we were granted a respite. Herr Hitler had con- sented, if not to a discussion, then at least to an argument. It is still possible that the Fiihrer may make suggestions upon which free negotiation might be resumed. It will be then that true diplomacy will find her opportunity.

None of those who were present in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon can have failed to have been en- couraged by the calm manifested on all benches. We ad- journed with the feeling that our determination, our unity, our faithfulness and our strength had all been demonstrated by that careful under-statement which is characteristic of our race.

It may well be that this gleam of hope which has come at the last hour to illumine our darkness will shortly be ex- tinguished. It may well be that war will ensue. If peace be secured, then we can flatter ourselves that its achieve- ment has been due to the fortitude of the French and British peoples. If war comes, then we can rest assured that the guilt does not lie with us and we can face the con- sequences with clear hearts and steady eyes.