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Truce of Peace.

Genoa Conference. – in the House of Commons on 25th May 1922.

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That was the position in Genoa. The first thing we had to do, if we were to continue the Genoa examination, was to ensure that the peace of Europe should be maintained during that period. That is why we have the Truce of Peace, which embodied a solemn declaration on the part of 34 nations that they would be guilty of no act of aggression against their neighbours during the period of these examinations, nor would they be guilty of any act of aggression against the institutions of each other during that period. I hope that once the sense of security, which comes from a fact of that kind, begins to take root, the fears which cause wars will be dispelled, and that it will end in a real pact of peace.

When the Hague Conference have examined the propositions which are submitted to them, if they make recommendations, and the Governments take them up, and consider whether they will adopt them, and if they be favourable and acceptable, then I hope there will be a peace which will be permanent. Boundary questions will then he determined, and, for the first time, you will have peace in Europe. There was nothing more striking at the Genoa Conference than the deep, passionate anxiety of the nations represented there to have peace. Whenever there was anything which looked like a rupture, there was an anxiety to prevent it. It is all very well for us here, hundreds of miles away from these things, to feel thankful to have peace, with the sea between us and any trouble. It is a different thing when you look across a passable stream at a country with 1,500,000 revolutionaries under arms and a hungry population behind them. It causes a sense of fear and a sense of insecurity, because each of these countries is a country which has actually seen the marchings of armies within the last six or seven years.