Document C(1)

Letter to Quintin Hogg from Elizabeth Whitley, October 1938

 

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"Dear Sir,

With reference to your Election Address received this morning, I can only say that I share Mr Duff-Cooper's disgust at the policy of the National Government.

I question your statement that Mr Neville Chamberlain is a leader in whom we can put our trust, unless that means that we know he can be depended on to keep us out of war - whatever the cost.

Can you really have confidence in insisting that his policy with Hitler was not weakness? Were our defences really so poor that we were forced to desert a brave and democratic little country to grovel (there is no other word) before a dictator of whose cruelty and unscrupulousness we have fresh proof every day.

After the splendid stand we made, together with France & Russia it came as a distinct shock to learn of the Munich Agreement. It is very touching to hear of Hitler's desire never to go to war with England again. Then why try and ruin our trade with Lithuania? Why his insulting speech of last Sunday?

I am afraid Mr Chamberlain has been mistaken this time & it is not the first time. What about Abyssinia?

And where shall we get the money for social reform with our tremendous re-armament programme?

It seems strange to need so many those anti-aircraft guns and fighter aeroplanes when we are to have "permanent peace in our time".

Thanks to Mr Chamberlain Germany is now in a stronger position than ever before. Things do indeed look black.

I consider & many others share my opinion, that Mr Chamberlain has missed an unparalleled opportunity of making lasting peace secure by his policy of "conciliation".

He has now proved to the world that brute force is the only thing that counts & in future Britain must see that she is the strongest power in the world so that next time she can dictate the terms instead of Hitler.

The unfortunate weakness in that point is that we shall never be as strong again as we were this time & Hitler will be much stronger, thanks to the natural resources of Czechoslovakia.

One last word about the watchword of your Party - the final insult that we are asked to swallow.

Instead of "Peace with honour", may I suggest "Peace at any price, provided someone else pays it".

The honour this time rests with Czechoslovakia. I sincerely hope Mr Chamberlain may enjoy the "peace" he has purchased for us at such a cost, for the remaining years of his life.

Yours faithfully,
Elizabeth E. Whitley"

 

Reference: Hailsham Papers, HLSM 2/43/1/2