Cold War Diplomacy: American Foreign Policy, 1945-1960

By Norman A. Graebner | Go to book overview

-- Document No. 2 --
SPEECH OF CAPTAIN THORNEYCROFT IN THE BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS, FEBRUARY 28, 19452

Captain Thorneycroft, addressing the House of Commons on the subject of the Yalta Agreement, recognized what many American leaders refused to do--that the control of Eastern Europe had passed to the Soviets and that the Yalta Agreement was the best settlement possible. For him the maintenance of the alliance was more important than a struggle over Poland.

I believe that the decisions which were arrived at at the Crimea Conference and, in particular, the decision relating to Poland, were wise decisions which were taken in circumstances of very considerable difficulty. . . . As I have said, each of these heads of States was laying down the future path we were likely to follow in our foreign affairs, and on the choice of that road hangs the issue as to whether, in another 30 years, we shall have another war or peace. We have had to face issues of this kind before. They are horribly familiar.

Twenty-five years ago, towards the end of another war, we were also discussing the rights of small Powers, and the future organisation of peace, and I have no doubt that on that occasion we made many mistakes. At any rate, it is certain that in the unhappy years which followed we made mistakes, and none of us wants to reiterate the sad

____________________
2
Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, Fifth Series, Vol. 408, pp. 1454-61.

-139-

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