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Chroniques politiques et culturelles (CP) - 03 JAN 1940 - Anglais
     [CP-1940-01-03-EN]


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Aperçu rapide de l'OCR:
Wednesday Bulletin, January 3
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Before taking up the discussion of this evening's topic,I would like
to ask the privilege of expressing, before this microphone, my best wishes
for 194o. These wishes for the new year are of a personal character to the
many overseas listeners with whom I have had the opportunity and the pleasure
of forming a contact during the past year. I would like to thank each and
everyone for his indulgence and kindness in listening to me so attentively
from week to week. Whether you are a fellow countryman abroad desirous of
communing with me in a like love for the far-away fatherland, or one of the
innumerable friends on whom we can count in both the Americas, and whose*
affection and friendship are particularly precious to the Swiss people, my
personal wishes are for you. May 194o bring your hearts' desire.
Many times in the past I have attempted to explain to you the real meaning
of Swiss neutrality. I have tried to show you how this political doctrine
involves, first of all, the state, and how it touches only in a much more , „ -
reduced and remote sense, individuals and their personal opinions.
And if I refer again this evening to this subject it is because this ||uth
can be well illustrated by a recent example. You already know that, during the
last session of the League of Nations when the expulsion of Russia from this
great international body at Geneva was the issue, the Swiss delegates abstained
from taking any part. They could not have taken a different attitude. The
status which Switzerland occupies in the League is unique, without precedent
or comparison-» She is a member of this organization, but her membership is
different from that of all other members - different in the sense that she is
not bound by all the articles of the pact. Since 192o Switzerland has been
.free from participating in any military sanctions; and since last year, when
we had our integral neutrality restored and re-acknowledged, she has been freed
from even any obligation in the application of economic sanctions. Naturally it
is easily understood that since Switzerland is no longer held to the application
of sanctions, she can not take part in any decision as to how these sanctions
should be applied to a state under ban of the League - to a state which has
been found guilty of aggression. And it is really more a question of tact
than that of a juridical status.
This abstention on our part was criticized by some; and, furthermore,
our public opinion was somewhat stirred when our delegation in Geneva, in
sending the greetings of the Helvetian Confederation to Finland, expressed
themselves in terms that, by prudence, seemed to lack warmth and affection. In
fact, we were all generally relieved on learning that a recent Federal Council,
when deciding to send an important sum of money to the Finnish Red Cross, laid
stress on the idea that this gift could be considered as the homage and respectful
gratitude another small country, determined, also, to guard her independence,
feels toward heroic Finland, struggling as she is in behalf of the highest
spiritual values, and fully willing to shed her blood in defence of her freedom
and the cause of mankind. The Swiss people all feel that these words were
rightly spoken because neutrality will never mean for us moral resignation,
nor the silencing of conscience.
I do not believe I cando better, in order to have you understand the
sentiments of our people, than' to quote certain passages from an article which
appeared in the "Journal de Genève" the first day of January. The editor of
this daily newspaper expressed himself thus:
"Neutrality is only one of the elements of our national policy, and it
does not imply neither silence nor excessive liberty in the expression of
opinions; but a critical and objective examination of all that interests
civilization. We would diminish our chances to live if neutrality were to be
interpreted as meaning a state of indifference for all that which takes place
in the world. For we must finally realize that if we continue to exist, it is
because the principles upon which our state is based are championed by other
countries in Europe.
'Tf we give up the idea of defending these principles the moment they are
attacked, no matter from what point of the globe the attack may come, in that
moment we are preparing our own shroud."
And a little further on in his article, the editor adds; "The constant
struggle for moral and political values, for international honesty, constitutes
one of the most important aspects of our spiritual defense If we wish
to cooperate in the reconstruction of Europe, by bringing to this common
effort the capital of our experience, it is necessary, during these difficult
times through which we are pessing, that we possess the courage and the
audacity to uphold in all circumstances the principles we are desirous to
Ladies and Gentlemen, I shall not add anything to these remarks. Such a
language is pleasing to our ears; and.the article from which I have quoted
expresses well our national conscience and our moral conceptions. And I would
leave it, without comment, for your meditation.
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