Jump to content
 

Speech Archive

Leader's speech, Llandudno 1956

Anthony Eden (Conservative)

Location: Llandudno

Commentary:

This was Eden’s last conference speech as leader. A key issue at the time was inflation, which the government was fighting with an increase in exports at the expense of the domestic market. Eden acknowledged that this approach was unpopular, but he claimed it was working because the average monthly gap between imports and exports was narrower than it had been the previous year. However, the Suez crisis dominated the speech. This crisis arose after Britain and the US reneged on their promise to finance the construction of the Aswan Dam, and Colonel Nasser of Egypt retaliated by nationalising the Suez Canal. Britain, France and Israel then planned to go to war on Egypt, in order to retake the canal and – if possible – effect regime change. The plan failed, and the Suez crisis ultimately marked the end of the British Empire.

Let me first congratulate all of you here, and the speakers both from the body of the hall and from the platform on the outcome of this most successful Conference. Your resolutions have covered all the great issues of the day at home and abroad I am sure that the nation as a whole will have noted the wisdom and the sense of responsibility with which you have discussed them. The Party is the stronger for our meeting here together.

You have discussed our economic problems against the background of present world events. In this you were wise. For it is useless to discuss our economic problems against the background of the British Isles alone. That is why the Socialist doctrine of equality makes no sense. The world has moved on since the nineteenth century when so much Socialist theory was developed.

Scientific progress has become a gallop instead of a trot. Our own position – our country’s position - no longer rests on its old foundations which seemed so secure. By now everyone should know that our life depends on our ability in brains and skill to do better than our competitors in world markets. There is no other way by which we can live. We cannot insulate British life from world competition, and try to build here some academic society all at one level regardless of the challenge of the world outside.

It is from that world outside that we have to get much of our food and most of our raw materials. Nobody is going to give them to us. They have all to be bought and paid for, and we can pay only if we sell our goods in the face of keen and growing competition.

It is only if our own people are more intelligent, more adaptable, more eager, better taught than our rivals that we can hope to maintain the present standard of life of our people. And no nation can maintain these qualities in a rigidly equal Socialist state. What we need is opportunity by means of education, incentive and reward, all three. It is a favourite phrase of the Socialist Party that ‘Socialism is about equality.’ I distrust most sweeping generalisations. But there is a sense in which we can say that ‘modern Conservatism is about opportunity.’ And please note how sharp the contrast is. The nearer one approaches to complete equality the more limited the opportunities of life must become. So it is that our aim is the very opposite of the Socialist equality state. There is nothing whatever to be gained for anybody from the old gag ‘soak the rich.’ That is not the way to move forward. To make progress there must be confidence that the harder we work the more ingenious our skill, the richer the returns, not merely in money, but in a fuller way of life for all. That also is the way in which to impress the world both with the energy and the enterprise of our people.

Nobody - no Party - wants to see unemployment in this country. There is one certain way to bring it about and that is to fail to compete and sell our goods abroad.  In this country an individual who falls behind in the race can look for help to the State in many directions. That is right. But a nation which fails to keep up, that nation has to bear as best it can all the heavy penalties of failure. And that is not just a party doctrine or prejudice I am expressing. It s the harsh, inescapable fact of our island life, which no theory and no wishful thinking can alter.

Most damaging to our country are the Socialist statements at their last Party conference. They amount to encouragement of Middle Eastern countries to nationalise oil and other undertakings which we - British brains and skill and capital - have done so much to develop. Any such action would, of course, be disastrous to the countries themselves. The Mossadeq experiment showed us that. But it would he disastrous to us all. There is an utter inconsistency - reckless inconsistency - between Socialist foreign and domestic policy, as they outlined it at Blackpool. How can we at one and the same time abandon our interests abroad, invite foreigners to nationalise them, and improve our social services at home? Greater nonsense has never been uttered.

We have now to consider what can be done nationally to increase both opportunity and incentive. This is the aim of our Party. It is unjust to pretend that in the period of Conservative Government, we have not made efforts to create opportunity and to encourage incentives. We would have liked to do more. I admit it. We are now trying - the Chancellor labours at that constantly with a persistence for which we should be grateful - to improve our national finances and to encourage savings to make this possible. I must recall to you that in four years, you, Mr. Chairman, three times reduced direct taxation at all levels. This was all the more remarkable when we recall the crumbling inheritance left to you by the present Leader of the Opposition. Mr. Macmillan, in his first Budget this April, did something equally important. He gave new incentives to saving. I know some people scoffed at Mr. Macmillan’s plans to make savings more attractive. Well, now you know that they were wrong.

Lord Mackintosh, the Chairman of the National Savings Movement, has just told us that in the last six months small savings have been a record, the best for eight years. Mr. Macmillan’s Budget, Lord Mackintosh says, has had a tonic effect. And, I add, the most lively - that is the most controversial of the new projects - is not due till next month.

The Budget did something else. It made more possible for the self-employed and others to provide for their retirement, and that’s a matter of the greatest importance to a very large number of people. Don’t doubt this, we want to do more to reduce the burden of taxation. The Chancellor knows, as we all know, that this weighs heavily on those with fixed incomes and what are loosely called the middle classes. The spending power of our money affects them too.  The Chancellor of the Exchequer might have given more of his surplus away this year, as it was tempting to do, before he had built up our reserves and strengthened our balance of payments. The result in the short run would have been encouraging to you, but in the long run it would have proved no help but a further blow to those on fixed incomes most affected by the fall in the value of money.

The position is now improving, thanks to the Chancellor’s sternness and his efforts. Now we shall take the first opportunity to give whatever further help we can. But all action must be governed by the national interest. This has never been, and is never going to be, as long as I have anything to do with it, a class Party. We have been handicapped, it’s true, in certain respects by a legacy which we have to carry, even though it is a proud one. Half the world’s trade is still being carried on in sterling with a margin of reserves much below what we would wish. That is a direct consequence of the sacrifices of two world wars. It is also a condition which constantly limits our ability to do what we want to do at home because of its effect on the world exchanges.

Since I last spoke to you, the Government has been fighting a grim battle against inflation, which means encouraging exports at the expense of the home market. We have had some success in this. Despite all difficulties, many of our industries are showing a splendid example. In these last months we have been winning a growing number of orders in the highly competitive dollar market, and this year our earnings of dollars have increased steadily.

Of course, we knew that none of the steps we took to improve the balance of trade - none of them - could be popular. They haven’t been. But they are working. Our exports, which are the real test of our nation’s life, are ten per cent above last year, our imports this year are only one per cent above last year. Or, to put it another way, the gap between our exports and our imports has on the average been £22,000,000 a month less than it was last year. In other words, the credit squeeze is working as it was intended to work. It is, in fact, forcing the inflation out of the economy. The process is extremely disagreeable - I know that - but it is healthy, and it is going to have this result. We shall be more competitive with other nations, but we shall no longer enjoy - and we have to face it - easy money or increases in profits or in wages which have not been earned. That is the answer to those who have said that our measures were ineffective.  It is also the answer to those who clamour for them to be relaxed. They cannot be until the cure is carried further.

This is always a difficult time of the year for our gold and dollar reserves. But we can at least note an improvement on 1955. The reserves since January have increased by £74,000,000. Last year in the same period they fell by £148,000,000. It is quite true - I must immediately add this - that in the total this year must be included the sale of the Trinidad Oil Company. This sale hit the headlines. But news which does this sometimes distorts the picture. What is less well known is what I am going to tell you now - that during this year our investment in the oil industry overseas, including the Commonwealth, will much more than offset the Trinidad sale. At the end of the year our stake in the oil industry overseas outside this country will show a very considerable increase over 1955.

However unpopular the credit squeeze, it is all part of the battle against rising prices. Victory here finally depends upon the soundness of our economy. And it is the long-term results that count. That is why we have abolished some food subsidies, notably that on bread. We have done that in the interests of the soundness of our economy. It cannot be right indefinitely to subsidise one food, however important, and to allow everybody, however wealthy, to gain personally thereby. Despite the abolition of the subsidies, the cost of living has remained more stable than it did last year, and, of course, much more stable than it did in 1951, when the Socialists were last in office. In that year the rise was 12 per cent. So far this year the rise has been two per cent. And that at a time when the cost of living has begun to rise in other countries, including the United States and Canada.

Indeed, some prices are falling. The farming industry has suffered from a fall in fat-stock prices. This was much sharper than we had expected when our price system was worked out. We therefore felt it right to see at once what we could do to put matters right more speedily. We have decided to work out an improved system with the farmers’ representatives, as a result of which the Government will authorise a substantial supplementary payment. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has agreed to provide a sum of about £l0,000,000, with the aim of bringing the average return to the industry for the current livestock year closer to the standard price of 151/- a cwt. I am sure you will agree that it is only just that we should bring immediate help to an important section of that industry.

This wretched substitute for a summer has enormously increased the difficulties of all engaged in agriculture. They have made a most gallant effort to bring in the harvest against all odds.

Over the general field of the cost of living, the essential now is to keep the steadiness in prices which is being so hardly won. We can do it. But we can do it only if we put an end to the constantly rising spiral in wages and prices forcing each other up. The real test of the wage packet is what it will buy, and the only way to make it buy more is to produce more.  There isn’t any other. And what is true of wages is just as true of profits.

I have spoken of incentive. And now about opportunity. Here we have been creating throughout the land educational opportunities far exceeding anything that this country has ever known. Despite all the pressures upon the economy and many other claims on our resources, we have maintained high priority for education. I am sure that this is a good national investment. We are opening ten new schools every week. Most of these are secondary schools, because it is there that the need for increased accommodation will chiefly be felt in the next few years. In five years time one child out of every three over the age of 11 will be receiving his education in a new school. That’s not all. Through the ingenuity of two successive Ministers of Education, we are doing this at little more than half the cost per school place under the Socialist Government.

We have also multiplied the opportunities for careers for boys and girls in the many spheres of technical education. We have not been dawdling either. We published our White Paper, you may remember, on Technical Education this spring. It allowed for £80,000,000 of capital expenditure for the next five years. I can report to you that £50,000,000 worth of these building projects, which represent commitments of local authorities as far ahead as March 1959, have already been approved. This includes the help we are giving to the colleges of advanced technology, most important for the future of our industrial life, but not the additional help which we are giving to universities. We don’t believe in too much central control in development of this kind. The men on the spot best know the needs of local industry. We do believe in encouraging and guiding this programme, which is so fateful for our future, and surely all this work is better than arguing the point, so dear to the Socialist heart, whether every boy, or no boy - they are not sure which - can go to a public school?

It is in this same spirit of working for the future that we have approached the problem of the development of nuclear power, most exciting of all topics at the present time. We have deliberately given these projects a certain privileged position. Already we have earned a reward because the two new atomic power stations now soon to be built, will produce about twice as much power as seemed likely when the project was being discussed eighteen months ago.

This is 1956. It is not 1906 and the period of Taff Vale.  Nor is it 1926 and the General Strike. It is in the consciousness of this that we have had repeated and, I think, useful discussions with representatives of the Trades Union Congress since we came into power. We think that it is right for the Government to keep in touch with the representatives of organised labour.  But I am sure that responsible trade union opinion understands as well as we do what are the realities of our respective positions in the State.  It is not for me to define the responsibilities of others. But we, as the elected Government of this country, are answerable through Parliament to the electors of this country and only to them. It is our duty to put forward the policies which we believe to be right. This we shall do. And as long as Parliament supports us, we will carry them through.

I am very glad of the welcome which the Conference gave yesterday to the idea of the contract of service. This is absolutely in accordance with the principles we believe in here. We wish the Minister of Labour all success in his efforts to make this proposal a reality in British industry.

There are all sorts of forecasts about the future of our Party. We are very grateful for them. I am sure they are all givers with the best intentions. People amuse themselves by taking our temperature for us several times a month. They don’t often get it right. But all this is of little importance provided we hold to our principles, know where we are coming and are determined to get there. This Government has every determination to fulfil its mandate, which is for the whole life of a Parliament. When that work is done it will be the time to judge us. In the meanwhile, what matters most to us, and, if I may say so, to me as Leader of the Party, is the virility and imagination of the support we are receiving from the younger generation. I believe that to be growing, and from natural causes.  What is the good of saying to a young man: ‘Work hard, seize your opportunities.  And at the end of 20 years of brilliant effort you may hope to gain equality, or, perhaps, if you are very fortunate your industry may be nationalised?’ For those are to this day the purposes of Socialist policies. It is only in their ranks that anyone can still be found so reactionary as to want to extend nationalisation to any other industry. But make no mistake about it. They still exist, and if the Socialists were ever elected they would still carry out that policy. Their left outside - I beg pardon - their outside left wing, now centre forward, would see to that. Yet if there is one issue upon which the overwhelming majority of this country is united, it is this: no more nationalisation. In our ranks we want to create for our ‘younger’ supporters an atmosphere in which they can instinctively feel that they are at home in a national Party.

A Party which believes in our nation’s future can inspire our people to put its strength into what it seeks to do. If the younger generation knows this, if it knows it is going to be given better opportunities, if it is tingling with technical skill, if it knows that greater effort will win greater reward, then young people are going to join our ranks. They will understand that we, and not the embittered equalisers, are their hope.

I am glad, therefore, that the Young Conservatives among you are going back from this Conference to start a new drive for membership on Monday. You are losing no time about it. And please, even in your drive for membership, look for quality rather than quantity. You are already the largest political youth organisation in the country - indeed, I believe, in the free world.  It is good, even so, to add to your members. Go out and search for new recruits. But make sure that they are the young men and women who really share your faith, your vision and your determination for your country’s future. There we have the emblems of the campaign upon which you are shortly to start.  We all wish you luck in that effort.

I look forward to meeting thousands of you at the Festival Hall in London next month at the end of your campaign. I take this opportunity to urge all the senior branches of our Association to do everything in their power to lend a hand in this campaign.

I will now speak to you about the situation in respect of the Suez Canal dispute. Before we examine the political implications of this event I must record in plainest terms the economic impact upon our life in this country of any hostile interference in the free passage of the Canal. It is no exaggeration to say that this is a matter of survival for us as a trading nation. It concerns the employment, the standard of living and the pay packet of every man and woman in the land.

Many charges have been brought against the Government by our critics in this country. The most fantastic of them is that we have not acted in accordance with the United Nations Charter. Nothing could be further from the truth, and no such accusation can be maintained by anybody who has either read the Charter or followed our course of action. To prove this I must briefly recall to you what we have done.

First, we consulted with our two principal Allies. Then we called together the 24 principal users of the Canal. With two exceptions only, Egypt and Greece, they accepted the invitation to London.  The conference was brilliantly conducted with the Foreign Secretary in the Chair.  Within a week, eighteen nations agreed to a set of proposals put forward by the United States in agreement with France and ourselves. They were designed to ensure the efficient operation, maintenance and development of the Canal in co-operation with Egypt, and with due regard to her rights and interests. The eighteen nations also agreed that these proposals should be presented to Egypt as a basis for negotiation.

All of this was entirely in accord with the Charter, Article 33 of which enjoins us to attempt to reach a settlement through negotiation. We did so. A mission was then selected to go to Cairo on behalf of the eighteen nations. Five countries were chosen, recall them: Australia, the United States, Persia, Ethiopia and Sweden, representing the four corners of the earth. Is anybody going to call those colonial powers? I would not. They were in fact representatives of the 18 users of the Canal, whose total traffic forms more than 90 per cent of the total. We were fortunate when Mr. Menzies, the Prime Minister of Australia, undertook the Chairmanship. We owe a great debt to him. Could any men have shown more patience than these five did in explaining the unanimous view of the 18 powers to Colonel Nasser? Was that wrong? Was that against the Charter?  Or perhaps was that colonialism? Clearly, the 18 powers did not think so.  Yet Colonel Nasser turned down the proposals and made no counter-proposal.

It was then we decided to set up an Association of Users of the Canal. The terms of reference announced by the French Government and by ourselves were identical because they had been agreed in advance with the Government of the United States. Of course, this Association was at no time intended to take the place of the basis of negotiation offered by the 18 powers. It was designed to safeguard the rights and interest of the users pending a permanent settlement.

All that again is in accord with both the letter and the spirit of Article 33 of the Charter. Indeed, let me tell you this, to have gone to the Security Council without any previous attempt at direct negotiation would have been contrary to the provisions of the Charter; and to have gone to the Security Council without previous consultation amongst the users of the Canal would have been to invite confusion. The Security Council would have been discussing the subject without any plan or set of principles to guide it.  When the 18 nations met in London for the second time they had before them these proposals for a Users’ Association, as well as Colonel Nasser’s reply delivered after Mr. Menzies had left Cairo. The 18 powers were unanimous in regarding Colonel Nasser’s reply as unacceptable.

It was in these circumstances that we and the French Government decided to take the issue to the Security Council, having given notice that we were likely to do so a fortnight before. How can anyone pretend that our conduct has been other than completely in accord with our obligations to UNO? The whole storm about this at home has been utterly artificial and partisan, and unworthy of any political party in this country.  There was never any question of whether we should go to UNO, only when.  And on timing the Government of the day must be the judge.  We can hand that over to nobody else. For the Government has to consider not only public opinion in its own country but the views and opinions of other nations, in particular of its Allies.

I want to remind you that the Socialist Government itself pursued a precisely similar course in respect of the Berlin Airlift, the most important international issue since the war until now. The Socialist Government did not go to the Security Council in six weeks, as we did, but after three and a half months. We did not chivvy and abuse them for this. On the contrary, we supported them, because we knew that they were playing the hand, and we thought that the country’s interest should come before any attempt at mere party advantage. Have you ever thought of this? Had we been in office at that time, I wonder how much support a Conservative Government would have received, had it pursued exactly the same policy in respect of that event, as did the Labour Government.  It is, indeed, extraordinary in 1956 to find the Socialist Party, of all Parties, abandoning internationalism in favour of ultra-nationalism.

Through all these negotiations, difficult as they have been, peace has been our aim. But not peace at any price. And I will tell you why. Because in dealing with a dictatorship, peace at any price means to increase step by step the dangers of universal war. What is at stake here is not just the Canal, important though that is. It is the sanctity of international engagements. This is the supreme lesson of the period between the wars. I can never forget it.

You know, when the United Nations Charter was negotiated, as far as this country was concerned, by an all Party delegation which I had the honour to lead, in the closing months of the war, when we were debating the ratification of the Charter in the House of Commons, Mr. Attlee, as he was then, was Prime Minister. He then rightly pointed out - and I want you to note this - he pointed to ‘a great advance’ on the original draft, due to a United Kingdom initiative. Originally the Charter had only said that international disputes should be settled by peaceful means, in its final form it declared that such disputes must also be settled ‘in conformity with the principles of justice and international law.’ Thus, I ask you to note, we have not only the right but the obligation to see that the principles of justice and international law are upheld. When Colonel Nasser seized the Canal, we thought it our duty to take certain military steps in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Government has no intention of modifying or withdrawing from this decision. In order to carry it out, Parliament gave us without a vote certain powers which we have used, but not abused.  Those precautions had to be taken to enable us to take action in defence of British life and interests, or in any other emergency that might arise in the area concerned.

All that we have done since is completely in accord with what I said at the time. The movement of every unit has been either to British territory or to territories where we have Treaty rights, not one of which we save infringed in the slightest degree. In other words, we have shown the most absolute restraint.

The presence of our forces in the Eastern Mediterranean, far from inflaming the situation, has greatly decreased the danger of further incidents and induced a measure of caution in some minds. In this respect, as in so many others, I agree with the Prime Minister of France, when he said that our action had already justified itself.

What would anyone in this country have said if we had not taken these precautions? And if there had been a repetition of the massacre in Cairo in 1952?  Better to be safe than sorry. Some have protested that the precautions are on too large a scale. My reply is that if you are determined to defend national interests nothing is more foolish than to do so with inadequate forces.  Others ask, do we need to keep it up? Yes we do.  To relax now before a settlement is reached would be fatal. I deeply regret - and I know nobody does more so than the Minister of Defence - that in making these military movements we have had to interfere with the private life of some families, in particular the Reservists, and the Regulars of all three Services whose release has had to be deferred. They are all fulfilling a national duty, and, it is fair to add, are doing so in the overwhelming majority of cases with patience and good humour. This is all the more credit to them since they have not been encouraged to do so by some politicians and some sections of the press.

I know there are some who argue that we should have acted more promptly by striking back the moment Colonel Nasser seized the Canal. I do not agree. By going through every stage which the Charter lays down, we have given an example of restraint and respect for international undertaking. But that does not alter the responsibility which rests upon us, and upon our allies, to ensure that justice is done and that international obligations are fulfilled. After all, the United Nations Charter was set up to discourage breaches of inter national agreements, not to allow them to pass with impunity. I have seen it suggested that this dispute about the Canal has something to do with colonialism. No comment could be more misleading. Colonialism has nothing to do with the matter one way or the other. We have never disputed Egyptian sovereignty. What is at stake in this dispute is whether the sanctity of contracts has to be respected or not.

But if we are to discuss colonialism, is there any country in the world that has ever done so much to bring the people of its great Empire stage by stage to full nationhood? The process is going on now as we stand here.  And no one has the right to cast a stone at us. Contrast that with countries taken over by Communism, the Baltic States, for instance. There the silence of dead night descends.

The Opposition’s attitude in this country has, of course, completely changed since the debate on 2nd August. That is the outcome of pressure from the extreme Left. That is clear for all to see. On 2nd August the Leader of the Opposition compared Nasser’s conduct with that of Hither and Mussolini. He was the first to use that simile. Whether he now would like credit for it I cannot say.  Indeed, he made a speech in which he used language more vehement than I had employed.

This is not just my opinion. I will give you a Socialist authority for it. Lord Stansgate, better known in the House of Commons in former days as Mr. Wedgwood Benn, father of another Anthony, made this observation in the House of Lords that day: ‘I can correctly and sincerely say that I found much more reason, common sense and conviction in the Prime Minister’s speech than there was in the rather heady wine which was produced by my own Front Bench.’

So much for Lord Stansgate.

It is clear that this forthright speech of the Leader of the Opposition did not please everyone. It did not please in particular the enemies of a bipartisan foreign policy. For after 2nd August, what happened? Tribune hit out, not at me, but at the Leader of the Opposition. It accused him of outdoing the Tories in suggesting ways of putting pressure on Egypt.  So the ignominious retreat began, and in due course the retreat became a rout, until we reached the point when the seconder of the Suez resolution at the Socialist Party Conference could say that if the United Nations sanctioned the use of force or economic sanctions, the British Labour movement would do everything in its power to oppose these moves. Those who speak like that are of a kidney we have learned to recognise. They are the friends of every country but their own. Those who exult that bipartisanship is dead are the same as those who criticised their own Socialist Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, when he was alive. They are those who exploit every difficulty we face abroad for their own party purposes.  What a contrast to the loyal support Ernest Bevin received from Conservatives on the many occasions when the interests and prestige of our country were in the balance.

Let me sum up where we stand.  From the beginning we have never changed our position. It is not changed now. It remains, as I stated it in the House of Commons on 30th July - the first statement of the Government: ‘No arrangement for the future of this great international waterway could be acceptable to Her Majesty’s Government which would leave it in the unfettered control of a single Power which could, as recent events have shown, exploit it purely for purposes of national policy.’ That is our position and it has not changed. It remains our intention to seek its acceptance by negotiation if we possibly can.

I am not yet in a position to tell you what the chances are of realising this. The last report I have received from the Foreign Secretary this morning - the Foreign Secretary in whom we have the utmost confidence – is that a little progress has been made but there are still wide differences of opinion. If such progress has been made it is due to the firmness and resolution we and those who think like us in other lands have been showing throughout this crisis. I must, however, warn you not to indulge in hasty or overoptimistic judgment. President Eisenhower in his Press Conference on Thursday [October 11th] was reported to have said that you must have peace with justice or it is not peace. I agree with those words. We should all take them as our text.  That is why we have always said that with us force is the last resort, but it cannot be excluded. Therefore, we have refused to say that in no circumstances would we ever use force.  No responsible Government could ever give such a pledge.

This facing of the facts has been seized on by many Socialists as somehow immoral or a refusal to trust to the process of international law. That is a completely mistaken attitude.  The history of every nation shows that it is not sufficient to have good laws, if the power to enforce them is lacking. That, in turn, depends upon the strength of will and the integrity of the executive. These conditions apply equally on the international plane. To turn a blind eye to the realities of the situation would be to hazard not only the security of our own country, but to surrender our responsibilities in the world. This we are not prepared to do.

I cannot close my comment on this situation without expressing the satisfaction we all feel at the unity between ourselves and our French allies throughout these anxious weeks.  Stage by stage we have been in close agreement. One happy consequence of all this has been to increase the sense of partnership between the nations of Western Europe. The truth is we all have a common interest in this, as in so many other matters. For us in Britain the Commonwealth must always come first. But, you know, increasingly our neighbours in Western Europe understand that this is true and accept it. And it could be greatly to the advantage of this country and of the Commonwealth, if in commerce, and in other matters too, we in Western Europe could draw closer together and always practise joint policies as well as observe joint treaties. 

It is my hope that this community of interest and loyal friendship may one day find expression in some closer form of relationship between us.

So here, in conclusion, is the design I put before you. Incentive and opportunity at home; respect for engagements abroad; courage and imagination in our approach to the Commonwealth and to Europe. Here are national aims which only our Party can fulfil. (Loud and prolonged applause)

Back to top

Home | About | Resources | Contact Copyright © British Political Speech 2017 | Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy