THE GRAND PARADE
After settling the matter of sanctions with Laval, Sir Samuel Hoare came before the Assembly of the League (September 11), and delivered himself of this astounding declaration:
"His Majesty's Government and the British people maintain their support of the League and its ideals as the most effective way of ensuring peace, and, secondly, that this belief in the necessity for preserving the League is our sole interest in the present controversy. . . . The ideas enshrined in the Covenant, and in particular, the aspiration to establish the rule of law in international affairs, have appealed . . . with growing force to the strain of idealism which has its place in our national character, and they have become a part of our national conscience. . . . The League stands, and my country stands with it, for the collective maintenance of the Covenant in its entirety, and particularly for steady and collective resistance to all acts of unprovoked aggression. . . . This is no variable and unreliable sentiment, but a principle of international conduct to which they [the British Nation] and their Government hold with firm, enduring and universal persistence. There, then, is the British attitude towards the Covenant."
He took good care to warn his audience that "if the burden is to be borne, it must be borne collectively; if risks for peace are to be run, they must be run by all; the security of the many cannot be ensured solely by the effort of a few, however powerful they may be". But nobody would have quarrelled with him on this point, inasmuch as he also stated that His Majesty's Government would "be second to none in its intention to fulfil, within the measure of its capacity, the obligation which the Covenant laid upon it".
Toynbee makes the following comment:
"While his world-wide audience might be (perhaps unduly) sceptical about his contention that British policy was not influenced in this case by a concern for local British interests in East Africa, and also (perhaps justifiably) sceptical about his further contention that the British Government had never wavered in its support of the League since the day when the Covenant had come into force nearly sixteen years back, his speech did implant a widespread conviction that now, at any rate, the Government of Westminster had made up their minds to stand by their obligations under the Covenant—and this against the threat of an act of aggression on the part of a Great Power—with that courage and that energy which they had conspicuously failed to show in their attitude towards Japan in and after September 1931."
It seems that Toynbee might have spared his breath and frankly stated that Sir Samuel "deceived" his world-wide audience. "The