The stark and inescapable fact is that today we cannot defend our society by war since total war is total destruction and if war is used as an instrument of policy eventually we will have total war.
Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.
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.
As a soldier I survived World War I when most of my comrades did not.
It has too often been too easy for rulers and governments to incite man to war.
And I have lived since – as you have – in a period of cold war during which we have ensured by our achievements in the science and technology of destruction that a third act in this tragedy of war will result in the peace of extinction.
As for the promotion of peace congresses we have had our meetings and assemblies but the promotion through them of the determined and effective will to peace displaying itself in action and policy remains to be achieved.
But while we all pray for peace we do not always as free citizens support the policies that make for peace or reject those which do not. We want our own kind of peace brought about in our own way.
I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given to participate in that work as a representative of my country Canada whose people have I think shown their devotion to peace.
I cannot think of anything more difficult than to say something which would be worthy of this impressive and for me memorable occasion and of the ideals and purposes which inspired the Nobel Peace Award.
It would be especially tragic if the people who most cherish ideals of peace who are most anxious for political cooperation on a wider than national scale made the mistake of underestimating the pace of economic change in our modern world.
The choice however is as clear now for nations as it was once for the individual: peace or extinction.
The grim fact is that we prepare for war like precocious giants and for peace like retarded pygmies.
True there has been more talk of peace since 1945 than I should think at any other time in history. At least we hear more and read more about it because man’s words for good or ill can now so easily reach the millions.