Peace aims – February 1940

Professor John Ryle

Professor John Ryle

Professor John Ryle was an Independent Progressive candidate in the Cambridge University by-election in the spring of 1940, and a declared supporter of Federal Union.

We reprint below the salient passages from Professor Ryle’s election address:

“Twice in a life-time, in August, 1914, and before Munich, I have been reluctantly compelled by events to abandon my active support of peace programmes. This war must be prosecuted until a final halt to aggression has been called, but it remains vitally necessary to maintain a strict watch on the present Government’s conduct of the war and, whenever it is in the national interest, to voice criticism of disturbing policies or lack of policy. Neither before nor since the declaration of war has the Government deserved the confidence of the country.

“In the event of my return to Parliament, I would support whatever pressure may be brought to bear upon its leaders for a strong and frank pronouncement on peace aims. Such a pronouncement could do more than anything else to ensure and consolidate the friendship of the democratic nations of the world and of the United States in particular. Still more it would give to a willing and courageous, but somewhat doubting and ill-informed people at home a clearer vision of what – other than our lives – we are indeed fighting for.

“I have no doubt that an effective union of the democratic states, together with a declaration of rights and greater freedom of international trade, would supply the strongest bulwark against future wars and, by providing a new ideal for mankind, against the spread of totalitarian doctrines. Provided that the relationship of such a union to a league of nations were satisfactorily defined I would give my full co-operation in any movement on the part of the progressive parties to secure the recognition and establishment of a federal union of democratic states. It must be accepted that a first and necessary step is the safeguarding of democratic rule at home and in the Empire. I would, in this connection, emphasize the need for a definite guarantee to India of a liberal measure of self-government immediately after the conclusion of the war.”

This article was first published in Federal Union News on 10 February 1940. Read it as a pdf here funews21

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