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Political Notes

Our Easter Conference.



THAT SORDID SECRET DIPLOMACY. I Macdonald Critically Examines Lichnowsky Revelations. I The Only Way to Peace is Via The International. I Great Gathering at Aberaman. Whilst the transference of Macdonald's meet- ing last Sunday from Mountain Ash to the Aberaman Grand Theatre—owing to the action of the proprietors of the Pavilion refusing the hall at the last moment—meant that hundreds were unable to get in the smaller buildinig to hear our Leader, we have no reason to complain, for the overflow was a splendid advertisement of our popularity in. the Aberdare Valley. In- i side the Theatre, and it is no small one, there was scarcely room for a fly—stalls, circle. pit, boxes, gangway, orchestra and passages were densely packed, whilst the platform looked as uncomfortable as a Black Hole of Calcutta so tightly packed were the folks; even the line platforms were utilised by ad m irers of the senior member for Leicester. James Winstone occupied the chair, and his speech therefrom was one of the finest he has ever delivered. He declared that as a nation we were bankrupt of statesmanship when the only policy we could advocate was a policy which would eventually lead the people of the nation down to the very depths of perdition. He would be very loth to misrepresent anything or convey the impression that we had anything in our hearts except a desire to help Britain, but our statesmen did not seem to offer any policy ex- cept more men, more guns, more money, more graves and more broken hearts, and he was as- tounded at their short-sightedness. It seemed to him that they did not look at the war-map; they oould—or would not—reason. We had been told shortly after Cardiff, 18 months ago, that the enemy were squealing for peace. He sub- mitted that YTLCVL an enemy "squealed for peace was an excellent time for statesmanship to take advantage of the opportunity to bring peace about. (Cheers.) We knew that our cause as an I.L.P. was just, and because it was just then any Government that sought to secure peace must move in our direction. J. R. Maedonald, whose reception vividly re- called that great oration given to him at Lei- cester last week, opened with a sympathetic al- lusion to the military situation at the moment, and said that the contribution which we had been endeavouring to make for 3t years would have made all this unnecessary. Push succeeded push, battle succeeded battle easi-ialty list suc- ceeded casualty list, and in every town and every street men in blue appealed to our hearts and our eyes telling us they had been at the very brink of the precipice which overlooked Hell, that they had been blasted, and scarred and maimed by it. and they awoke in our ima- gination the horrible picture of hundreds of thousands of men on the battle-fields that day. He had no magic wand to wave that would stop it; he could not there, or in the House of Com- mons, or anywhere else lift up a hand and say It is ended! All he claimed to have was a policy which would have stopped it a,]], had that policy been given effect to. (Cheers.) And what he said now, and said as a grave warning to those who during the last three years had re- jected all opportunities of negotiation, who had barred the way to Stockholm, those who said: The Statesmen can do nothing but sit tight at home," to these he said that, when the end came they would have to justify their policy, and we would ask a justification for ours. (Cheers.) He was told that the newspapers were a.gain on the hunt trying to discover him. They had been doing that for three years and had not succeeded. He was told that they demanded on the strength of the Lichnowsky Memorandum— which all should i-t-atl--that he should apologise to Sir Edward Grey. They said that the Lich- nowsky Memorandum attacked the I.L.P. posi- tion. It did no such thing: it proved it up to the hilt. (Cheers.) The Lichnowsky Memoran- dum said that after the Sarjevo murder Sir Ed- ward Grey Strove night and day to maintain the European peace. Did lie ever say anything different: He wrote those very words on August orb. 1914. Then why did we not have- peace ? Because the whole policy of European diplomacy was such as to make war inevitable. The Lichnowsky Memorandum made it clear that up to the time of the Morroccan crisis the authorities in Berlin were in favour of an Anglo- French-German understanding, but that after that dispute they made up their minds that it was useless, and the Kaiser was reputed to have said "If there is another crisis they will not find that I am wanting. What the I.L.P. said was that the policy followed since lf)04 was such that it had created a situa-tion in 1914 that had made it impossibile for a pacifist Foreign Minis- ter. such as Sir Edward Grey undoubtedly was —that would have made it impassible even for a Labour Foreign Minister—to have averted war, unless he had thrown from his shoulders all the commitments made since 1904. That was our position, but that was not what was found in the newspapers. Keir Hardie long before the Morroccan crisis, long before the Austrian Arch- duke was assassinated,, long before diplomacy had reached a critical evolution, had spoken again and again in the House of Commons about these things: he (Mr. Maedonald) had spoken again and again, too. Turn up the old Hansards before and since 1914; turn up the old speeches and writings and he defied anyone to find one single utterance or article which contended that Lord Grey strove to bring about an European, War. What was said was that Lord Grey, having become Foreign Minister, embroiled in all that diplomacy, he could not avoid the Euro- pean War in 1914. That was proved up to the hilt by the Lichnowsky Memorandum. There was, no question there of Belgium. (Cheers.) Xo, that was for the people who required some great moral issue; and German- had provided that mtfral issue by her invasion of Belgium— though the Government was committed to war whether Belgium was invaded or not. And they asked that he should apologise to Sir Edward Gn-y The I.L.P., and certainly himself, would ahmys apologise to any man, or any body of men whom we had maligned unknowingly and unwillingly. But when these newspapers com- ment upon our position in view of this memoran- dum he asked them to find out first of all what we had said before they began to imagine what we had never said, and to attribute it to us. (Cheers.) The Lichnowsky Memorandum was the most magnificent vindication of the I.L.P. and Its insight into the situation that had been published since the war caane. (Cheers.) He was told that the War Anns Committee were going to publish that Memorandum, and he appealed to that Committee to publish it all and not extracts from it—for the War Aims Committee went in largely for extracts. He ad- mired the nimble-witted young men who took sentences out of statements that did not convey the sense of those statements, but he asked them to give us the whole of the Lichnowsky Memoran- dum. The Lichnowsky Memorandum raised in one's mind a moral loathing of Secret Diplo- macy, beside which militarism, bad as it was, was a dean, honest thing. (Cheers.) Yet our opponents would try and use that Memorandum. No one could use that Memorandum except one party, one set of politicians, and that party was ourselves. (Cheers.) The Governing classes were waging a civil war "vhicb m,-tin( u "nlv nar between themselves, but also tha complete collapse of secret diplo- macy—of the Liohnowsky's, the Sukomlinoff's, and the others who tried to govern us behind our backs. We had had resignations from our own Cabinet. Lord Haldane had been to Ber- lin before the war, and there was a Haldane Memorandum to be published. Lord Haldane had written a Memorandum, and, judging from the little bits that had been allowed to be pub-x lished, it did not square with all that we bad oeen led to believe. He did not know whether Lord Morley and Mr. Burns were going to pub- lish memoranda, but he hoped they would all publish memoranda—Germany. France, Russia., Austria and Britain. As a matter of fact he wanted every man who was inside an European Cabinet in 1914 to tell us the whole story. Then the people must judge. But. I ask you, if you 0 have to judge, in God's name be merciful." (Cheers. ) Proceeding. Mr. Maedonald said that his feel- ing was that none of the nations would give credence to hostile governments, or government sections. Confidence was gone. We would never get the German nation to accept the word of a British Government so long as the war was on. and we would never get the British nation to accept the word of a German Government so long as the war lasted. That was the horrible situation in which we found ourselves. But he believed we would get the leaders of Democracy —men who had given proof of their steadfast- ness—to meet, to exchange opinions, to express views, to make proposals, and they would agree. Let the leaders of German Democracy go back to Berlin and tell the workers there, let, our leadens return, and tell us here, what was going on, what was behind it all, and then our lads at the front would begin to think of packing up' and getting back to their own firesides. (Loud cheers.) The case for an International was al- ways strong. He had hammered at it for 2% years, and was almost getting tired of it. But that case, always strong, had been made over- whelming after the publication of the Memoran- dum showing the meanness, the deceit of Secret Diplomacy. But a second tiling was required— the repudiation of the Secret Treaties. There could be no peace whilst those treaties were there. (Cheers.) We must declare that those secret treaties, of which we knew nothing, until they were published by the Russians, were not binding upon the peoples, not binding upon the Armies, and then let us adopt the Russian for- mulae, and insofar as those secret treaties eman- cipate peoples from foreign and unwilling yokes they would be emancipated, but insofar as those tieaties compelled people to accept yokes they did not warn they would not. be compelled at all. Self determination and no annexations must be our watchwords. (Cheers.) There must be ne- gotiations with our Allies to undo the evil of those Secret Treaties, a clear statement of our aims published to all the world, and issued as a challenge to the German people. He wanted a hard definite declaration OR which we could say to the German people Are you going to fight against that P And he wanted them to reply, and we would get a reply. If it was "Yes! then we could not help it, but he knew they would reply No! And the moment they said "No!" then that was the beginning of peace, for there was a very much stronger feel- ing in Germany than we wew allowed to know of. As a matter of fact, things had got to such ia pitch there, that if we could just convince the common man of Germany that we would play fair by him he would start at once to end the war. But he did not trust us, and he did not trust us because the speeches of our great ones were sent to Berlin and published there. The knock-out blow speech was worth a whole regiment to Hindenburg; the speech in the House of Commons in reply to Count Czernin was worth many regiments, and the publication of the Secret Treaties was worth still more to the Junkers of Germany.