18 AUGUST 1939, Page 19


Six,—Mr. Reid finds it difficult to understand why, at this moment, I should accuse the Labour leaders of " war-monger- ing," and says that, had I taken up this attitude earlier, it would have been more intelligible. May I say, in reply, that I took up this attitude in a letter to the Daily Herald published on September 27th, 1938—that is, in the middle of the crisis— and that I have advocated it consistently in speeches and writings ever since?

On that occasion I urged that the one hope of peace lay in the Labour Party becoming once more the Peace Party and considering German claims on the basis of their inherent justice. Since then—as the party policy became more and more " Arm at full speed for a war against Fascism " and the speeches of the Labour leaders became increasingly bellicose, unconstructive and misleading—it has been impossible for many of us who care for peace and international justice to escape the dilemma that it was Mr Chamberlain and not Transport House who was genuinely anxious for peace.

You, Sir, in your editorial, called attention to Sir Arthur Salter's suggestions for a settlement, which include a recog- nition of Germany's right to economic expansion by legitimate means in regions that form her natural markets, her right to be a partner in the administration of colonies, and her right to expect neutrality from the " Peace Front " if she is the object of aggression (as she would be if Poland attacked her). You commented, rightly, that some of these proposals would almost certainly not be acceptable even to those who approve of some form of statement being issued. My point is that none of them would be acceptable to the official Labour Party, whose leaders are concerned not to give justice to Germany but to provoke a crisis—either by external war or by internal revolu- tion—which will result in the overthrow of the present German regime.

That, and that alone, is the explanation of their enthusiasm for the Russian Alliance, and when they blame Mr. Chamber- lain for having adopted the policy reluctantly and for con- cluding it with every possible safeguard, they are surely paying him the highest compliment that any statesman could wish. For he, surely, sees the danger of splitting Europe into two armed camps and allowing ideological prejudices to usurp the place of rational diplomacy.

May I, in conclusion, offer this line of thought to Mr. Reid and those who may be in agreement with him in the Labour ranks? It will be, I think, agreed by everybody that the Eons et origo of our present danger was the settlement arrived at in 1919 on the assumption that Germany must accept the ruling of her enemies as to what she might or might not do or claim. In order to force her to abide by our decision (which no one then or now could, impartially, consider just) we confronted her with overwhelming force. As long as we had this superiority we paid no attention whatever to her requests for justice. Now she has armed and, as an equal capable of en- forcing her rights, demands it. And what is our answer? To restore the status quo of 1919 by trying once more to bring into play against her another overwhelming military force so that " she will not dare to fight," but must again accept meekly our decision as to what her " just " claims are and what she may or may not be allowed to do.

That is the Labour policy which seems to be, apart from its wickedness, the policy of bedlam.

Mr. Chamberlain, on the other hand, by " appeasement " has tried to treat Germany as an equal and to bring peace by negotiation. A Four Power Pact between the Western Powers means, reduced to its simplest terms, a just negotiation and a probable peace. The " Peace Front and Russian Alliance " means a threat of superior force and an almost certain war.

The Labour leaders fear that Mr. Chamberlain may try to fall back to the Four Power Pact policy. Let us hope that, in this case at least, they are right.—I am, &c.,