Nothing, I suppose, could better demonstrate than the Suez crisis the extent to which the United Nations had remained a central factor in our foreign policy. Our problem was, and is, one of long standing, how to bring about a creative peace and a security which will have a strong foundation. It remained my conviction that there could never be more than a second-best substitute for the UN in preserving the peace. Organizations such as NATO were necessary and desirable only because the UN was not effective as a security agency. UNEF was a step in the right direction in putting international force behind an international decision. The birth of that force had been sudden and had been surgical. The arrangements for the reception of the infant were rudimentary, and the midwives had no precedents or genuine experience to guide them.
Of all our dreams today there is none more important — or so hard to realise — than that of peace in the world. May we never lose our faith in it or our resolve to do everything that can be done to convert it one day into reality.
This was not enough for a minority now demanding much sterner action to meet the Nazi threat. At the head of this group was Winston Churchill. His prestige, however, after his stand during the abdication crisis [in late spring 1937] and his aggressive, bellicose speeches on the need for more arms, was at a low point. Not many listened to him yet. He was still considered an irresponsible failure and an unreliable character.