Subsequently the situation produced by the Abyssinian Crisis gave rise to misgivings in Egypt.
In conclusion, what would seem to be the requirements of the moment, as I see them, are, in the first place, that we should always keep in mind, in any steps we may take in connection with the Abyssinian Crisis, that the main objective and the paramount objective is the preservation at all costs of no less a matter than Western and Christian civilisation.
There was a moment during the Abyssinian Crisis when the Tory Foreign Secretary made a very bold pronouncement, which was backed very enthusiastically by the majority of the delegates of the League, with regard to the attitude the world should take towards the Italian aggression in Abyssinia.
There is no doubt whatever about that, and, what is more, the French had so little faith in our strength that they went in for a very unsatisfactory method of procedure with Italy at the time of the Abyssinian Crisis, which they certainly would not have indulged in had they had complete faith in our strength.
We might be asked loyally to co-operate in carrying out any economic sanctions that might be agreed upon to be applied to certain countries, but if you are going to put on any economic sanctions you must be prepared, as the Abyssinian Crisis showed, in the long run to hit back if you are hit.
I watched the public during the Abyssinian Crisis.
That is true, but the right hon. Gentleman forgot that in the middle of the Abyssinian Crisis there arose a greater and much more critical situation as a result of the German reoccupation of the Rhineland, when the Treaty of Locarno was broken and when agreements which bound Germany much more tightly than did the Covenant were broken.
During the Abyssinian Crisis 50 nations agreed to sanctions against Italy.
For my part, I believe that if the Government will only give in January a firm lead to the League, they will be able to rally those nations which are falling away from the League and are no longer giving it that firm support that they gave it in the Abyssinian Crisis only three or four years ago.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman remember that after we had supported the line taken by the right hon. Gentleman, who is now Home Secretary, at Geneva in the Abyssinian Crisis, in September, 1935, we were at the subsequent General Election, because we did take the same line, accused of desiring to land this country into war?
I would say to my hon. Friends who have been querying whether other countries would be ready to stand by us, and have quoted in support of their doubt that during the Abyssinian Crisis, "not a man, a ship or a gun" was moved other than by us, that that statement was made by the present Home Secretary at the time of his resignation.
We have had that confirmed by no less a person than the Home Secretary, who said that if the needs of rearmament had been faced two years earlier there would never have been the disturbing events of the Abyssinian Crisis.
As regards this inquiry, we were told that these boats had to be got in a hurry because of the Abyssinian Crisis.
It is perfectly true, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bow and Bromley said, that at the time of the Abyssinian Crisis France never gave any indication that she was ready and willing to apply full sanctions.