S-Tag +8, Sept 30 1940
0945 GMT, speech to the Parliament by the right honourable Neville Chamberlain, acting Prime Minister.
I do not propose to say many words. The time has come when action rather than speech is required. Two years ago in this House I prayed that the responsibility might not fall upon me to ask this country to accept the awful arbitrament of war. I see now that I can not avoid that responsibility.
But, at any rate, I cannot feel clearer than I do today as to where my duty lies.
No man can say that the Government could have done more to try to keep open the way for an honorable and equitable settlement of the conflict between Germany and Britain. Nor have we neglected any means of making it crystal clear to the German Government that at every turn, we were determined to meet force with force.
That we have done, and of that we should remain proud. But our two mighty nations have battled themselves to a standstill, which already is reminiscent of the Great War, and I am determined we shall not repeat that bloody lesson and once again bleed this nation of the flower of our youth.
We have no quarrel with the German people, but with their government we will take exception whenever and wherever their ambitions exceed their natural rights. I want this to be clear however - war is no longer the way for civilised nations to resolve national disputes. In war we merely pass from one crisis to another, and see one country after another attacked by methods which have now become familiar to us in their sickening technique.
I can therefore advise the honourable members that I have today authorised the Foreign Minister, Lord Halifax, to begin negotations with Germany for a cessation of hostilities between our countries, and the agreement of terms for an armistice favourable to British interests in Europe and throughout the Empire.
We are resolved that war itself must come to an end. If out of this struggle we again re-establish in the world the rules of good faith and the renunciation of force, why, then even the sacrifices that will be entailed upon us will find their fullest justification.