We went into the Crimean war because of our honor; we rushed into the South African war because of our honor, and the right honorable gentleman is appealing to us today because of our honor.
If the right honorable gentleman would come to us and say that a small European nationality like Belgium is in danger [cries of “It is invaded!”] and would assure us that he is going to confine the conflict to that quarter, then we will support him. But what is the use of talking about going to the aid of Belgium when you are really going into a European war which will not leave the map of Europe as it was before.
The right honorable gentleman said nothing about Russia. We want to know about that and try and find out what is going to happen after this is all over. We are not going to go blindly into this conflict without having at least some rough idea of what is going to happen afterward.
At all events, so far as France is concerned, we can say solemnly and definitely that no such friendship as is described by the right honorable gentleman between one nation and another can ever justify one of those nations going into war on behalf of the other.
If France is really in danger, if as the result of all this we are going to have the power, civilization and genius of France removed in European history, let the right honorable gentleman say so. It is an absolutely impossible conception.
So far as we are concerned, whatever attacks may be made upon us, whatever may be said about us, we will take the action that he will take by saying that this country ought to have remained neutral [Labor cheers] because in the deepest parts of our hearts we believe that that was right and that that alone was consistent with the honor of the country and the traditions of the party that are now in office.
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But Does Not Recant—Accusation of The London Times.
It is to be noted that while Mr. Macdonald has never withdrawn his accusations of bad faith against the Government—while he allows them still to be circulated as a broadsheet—he ventures to pose as having abandoned them. Belgian neutrality was, he said in The Labour Leader, and in effect in the House of Commons also, being used as an excuse—it was “a pretty game of hypocrisy.” But writing in The Leicester Daily Post on Sept. 24 in vindication of his attitude he said:
On one point I wish to be quite clear.... We could not afford, either from the point of view of honor or of interest, to see Germany occupy Belgium. The war that comes nearest having a Divine justification is the war in which a great and mighty State engages to protect a small nation. From that position I have never receded. In the controversies that have been raised I have doubted whether, when our diplomacy is judged with the whole of the facts before the judges,