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representative Imperial Council for Foreign Policy and Defence. It is not too much to ask that such, or at least the beginning of such, shall be the practical outcome of the next Imperial Conference. We do not need to wait for a perfect scheme. Such has never been our Anglo-Saxon method. We shall be satisfied with an illogical workable beginning, which can be improved. A beginning only is required. Difficulties can be improved away afterwards as they make themselves apparent.
As regards Great Britain, is it too much to hope that Imperial Defence may be lifted out of the disputes of party politics? Each party, as is well known, fears to tell the nation the truth as to our necessities lest the other party should denounce them as alarmists and obtain a party advantage. Before the next Imperial Conference, can we not hope that the leaders of both parties will take their courage in their hands, and agree and unite together to tell the nation the truth simultaneously. It must be by both parties. Surely such an effort is not beyond their patriotism? Such is our hope.
But hope must not blind us to our present dangerous state of unpreparedness. It cannot be too clearly stated, or too often repeated, that to attempt to deal with the problems of Imperial Defence with nothing behind our regular army except our present 260,000 insufficiently trained Territorials is to choose defeat. Inadequate preparation for war is the most certain and quickest method of producing war.
Therefore the so-called economists are the real war party. In modern warfare between great nationsin-arms the forces brought into play are so enormous, and for their efficient action demand such thorough and long-continued preparation beforehand, that the result of the war may almost be said to be determined before the outbreak of the war by the superior or inferior preparations of the two belligerents. It follows that a nation may prepare, as it chooses, either for victory or for defeat; and, further, a nation may spend a great deal of money in preparing for defeat, because its rulers, either from lack of foresight or from party exigencies, grudge spending quite enough. To prepare for defeat by false economy is the worst and most wildly extravagant form of national finance, because the payment for defeat must be in the end many times greater than the payment for the preparations required for victory.
A Great Power cannot escape adequate payment for National Defence. It is not a matter of what we choose to pay. It is a matter of what we must pay, either now in the form of adequate preparation for victory, or later in the form of a war indemnity for defeat.
Let us consider for one moment this question of preparing to pay a war indemnity. If we are defeated it is highly improbable that we, the supposed richest nation on the earth, shall be let off with a lesser indemnity than 800,000,0001. or so, which will more than double our National Debt. This will mean an annual charge in our Budget of about 30,000,0001., more or less, as our annual payment for defeat. It is well to remember this little fact when considering the financial aspect of Imperial Defence.
If a loan is required, let it be an Imperial Defence loan now in order to prepare for victory, rather than a loan later on to enable us to pay a war indemnity.
Our choice is before us--either to prepare adequately on a twentieth-century scale for victory, or for defeat and an enormous war indemnity. Let us hesitate no longer, but choose victory, with all its consequences of personal service and financial effort. It is the duty of the State, of the Empire in Council, to settle, as liberty-loving John Locke put it long ago, ‘How far injuries from without are to be vindicated, and
to employ all the force of all the members when there shall be need.' The need is now. It is the only way to preserve peace.
STEWART L. MURRAY.
The Editor of THE NINETEENTH CENTURY cannot undertake
to return unaccepted MSS.
For over four centuries Great Britain has borne practically alone the burden of the naval defence of the British Empire; but, within the past decade, at least two events have happened which cannot fail to exercise a profound influence upon the future relations of the Mother Country with the rest of the Empire in the matter of Imperial defence and Imperial policy. The first has been the enormous growth of naval armaments throughout the world. In 1902 Great Britain's share of the naval expenditure of the eight principal Powers was 37.3 per cent. ; in 1911 her proportion of the aggregate was only 30.5 per cent. The table on the next page shows the growth of naval expenditure by the eight great naval Powers during the past decade.
It will be observed that Great Britain's ratio of increase was the smallest of any Power, with the exception of Russia, who had the same rate-namely, 27 per cent. Attention may also be directed to the fact that the actual amount of our increase, 9,654,2101., was exceeded by Germany, with an increase of 11,986,7881., or 119 per cent., and the United States, with an increase of 11,835,6731., or 74 per cent. The amount expended VOL. LXXII–No. 426
new construction by Great Britain during 1911-12 was 15,059,8811., as compared with an aggregate expenditure by Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, France, and the United States of 28,333,0001. But it must be borne in mind that all the great naval Powers are more or less committed to further expenditure upon their naval armaments. Austria has undertaken a programme which will involve an outlay of 12,000,0001. on her navy within the next five years. France proposes to increase her naval expenditure to the extent of 6,000,0001., Germany to the extent of 10,000,0001., and Italy to the extent of 2,000,0001., while Russia proposes to expend 43,000,0001. on her navy within the next five years. When all these naval programmes have been completed the position of the British Empire in relation to the naval power of the world is practically certain to show a further decline, unless the Empire is prepared to enter forthwith upon a great programme of naval expansion.
Total Naral Expenditure.
The second important event which has rendered a readjustment of the relations of Great Britain with the rest of the Empire inevitable has been the appreciation by the self-governing Dominions of the vital importance of sea power, and the willingness they have displayed to take up a' share of the burden of Imperial defence. Ever since the first Imperial Conference of 1887 the question of Imperial defence has occupied a prominent position in the councils of the Empire ; but the question assumed a different and more urgent phase immediately after the historical debate which took place in the House of Commons on the 16th of March 1909, when, it may be remembered, certain members of the Government made grave statements with regard to the future maintenance of British naval supremacy. Following this debate in the House of Commons, the Government of New Zealand offered to bear the cost of construction of a battleship of the latest type, and, if necessary, of a second vessel of the
same type. The Canadian House of Commons, a few days later, passed a resolution recognising 'the duty of the people of Canada, as they increase in numbers and wealth, to assume in larger measure the responsibilities of national defence,' and expressing its firm conviction that whenever the need arises, the Canadian people will be found ready and willing to make any sacrifice that may be required to give to the Imperial authorities the most loyal and hearty co-operation in every movement for the maintenance of the integrity and honour of the Empire.' About six weeks after the discussion in the British House of Commons, the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia made an offer to the Empire of a Dreadnought or such other addition to its naval strength a's might be determined after consultation.
Following these offers from the Overseas Dominions a subsidiary Conference on Imperial Defence was held in London during the summer of 1909, and on the 26th of August 1909, Mr. Asquith made the following statement in the House of Commons :
“That without impairing the complete control of the Government of each Dominion over the military forces raised within it, the forces should be standardised, the formation of units, the arrangements for transport, the patterns of weapons, &c., being as far as possible assimilated to those which have recently been worked out for the British Army, so that should the Dominions desire to assist in the defence of the Empire in a real emergency their forces could be rapidly combined into one homogeneous Imperial Army.
A remodelling of the squadrons maintained in Far Eastern waters was considered on the basis of establishing a Pacific Fleet to consist of three units in the East Indies, Australia, and China seas, each comprising, with some variations, a large armoured cruiser of the new Indomitable type, three large second-class cruisers of the Bristol type, six destroyers of the River class, and three submarines of the 'C' class.
The generous offer, first of New Zealand and then of the Commonwealth Government, to contribute to Imperial nav defence by the gift of a battleship each was accepted, with the substitution of cruisers of the new Indomitable type for battleships; these two ships to be maintained, one on the China and one on the Australian station. As regards Australia, the suggested arrangement is that, with some temporary assistance from Imperial funds, the Commonwealth Government should provide and maintain the Australian unit of the Pacific Fleet. The contribution of the New Zealand Government would be applied towards the maintenance of the China unit, of which some of