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But the work of Mr. Morgan Shuster in Persia has perhaps been unfairly judged, and has been rendered extremely difficult by the stupid way in which the Russian sphere in Persia was arranged. Russia's only legitimate claim to special interest in the Persian Empire lies in the fact that that Empire (portions of which have been annexed by Russia at different periods in her history) lies between the Russian Empire in Western Asia and the warm waters of the Persian Gulf. Russia should have asked for and have obtained as her sphere of influence a narrow strip of territory connecting Transcaucasia with the north-west corner of the Persian Gulf. This is a region inhabited not so much by Persians as by Kurds, Armenians, and Arabs. Across this strip Russia could have made her railway, and have then remained comparatively indifferent to what was going on in 'real' Persia'. Similarly, Great Britain, by the demarcation of her sphere exactly where it is, separating Afghanistan from easy access—for gunrunning-to the Persian Gulf, and controlling the eastern outlet from that gulf, might have regarded with far greater patience than she has shown the evolution of the modern Persian State. Then, under the guidance of any foreigner whom the Persians might have selected or under any form of government they chose to adopt, Persia could have been allowed a reasonable lapse of time in which to achieve regeneration. Perhaps, after all, this plan, which has succeeded so well in regard to Siam, may yet be adopted as the solution of the Persian difficulty-a difficulty which is approached with some unreason, not only by Russian and British Imperialists, but by those somewhat sentimental idealists in foreign policy who do not take into regard the utter ruin into which Persia has been brought under its odious Turki dynasty, and the imperious needs on the part of the British-Indian and Russian Empires.
H. H. JOHNSTON.
The Editor of THE NINETEENTH CENTURY cannot undertake
to return unaccepted MSS.
The Memorandum and Minute by the First Lord of the Admiralty which were published on the 8th of January differ in many ways from the ordinary type of official papers. Not merely do they announce important changes in Admiralty organisation, they also contain detailed statements of reasons for making these changes, and of anticipated increase in efficiency and economy of naval administration which are to result therefrom. In reading the papers one is reminded of French procedure, which sets an Exposé des Motifs in the forefront of any formal Projet de Loi submitted to the Chamber of Deputies; only in the present case the statement made is for the information of the public, and no Parliamentary sanction is necessary except that which will be involved in approval by the House of Commons of the Vote for Admiralty salaries when the Navy Estimates for next year are presented. Mr. Churchill says that details which require to be elaborated with precision in co-operation with the persons concerned will presently be embodied in a revised Table of Distribution of Business, issued by the First Lord, under the authority of the Order in Council.
VOL. LXXI --No. 420
He thus makes it clear that the administrative changes recently made fall within his powers as First Lord. In this particular there is no room for difference of opinion ; but details of the new distribution of business will be awaited with much interest, and it is to be hoped that precedent will be followed and that Parliament will be informed-as was done seven years ago when Lord Selborne introduced important changes, some of which gave rise to serious objections as tending to affect prejudicially the efficient working of the Board of Admiralty.
Another notable feature in the Memorandum and Minute is the full recognition by Mr. Churchill of good work done in the past, by his predecessors in office and by the Departments which are affected by the changes now made. These changes are described as natural developments of previous arrangements, not as drastic or revolutionary departures from more or less discredited administrative methods. Changed conditions of naval warfare, and the desire to adapt Admiralty organisation more fully to present-day needs, are given as the governing motives of the action taken. This is obviously the proper course in the circumstances, although in some comments on the new scheme a contrary view has been taken, and the careful statement of the First Lord has been ignored, much more being claimed for the new arrangements than Mr. Churchill has said that he anticipated, while previous procedure has been criticised in terms which find no support in the official papers.
THE NAVAL WAR STAFF
The formal organisation of a Naval War Staff in three divisions --Intelligence, Operations, and Mobilisation-each under a Director, and the appointment of a Chief of the Staff, has naturally been regarded as the most important step recently taken. This action may be looked upon as a fulfilment of the view expressed about two years ago by the Committee of the Cabinet which Mr. Asquith appointed, in consequence of the appeal for inquiry made by Lord Charles Beresford. In their Report that Committee stated that they had been impressed with the difference of opinion among officers of high rank and professional attainments regarding important principles of naval strategy and tactics,' and it is notorious that these differences were serious, if not irreconcilable. The Committee took note of some steps which had already been taken by the Admiralty to remedy this evil, and referred to 'further advances which were in contemplation.' The Report stated also that the Committee looked forward with much confidence to the further development of a Naval War Staff.' In view of these
expressions of opinion from a Committee of the character described, action was inevitable, and surprise has naturally been felt at the long delay which has occurred in moving in the matter. No good purpose would be served in speculating on the reasons for that delay, or on the fact that action has followed immediately upon the appointment of a new First Lord and a new Board of Admiralty. The all-important fact, in public estimation, is the creation of a Naval War Staff, and the appointment of the Chief of the Staff, three Directors, and their Assistants. Naturally there is a desire on the part of the public who are not conversant with naval administration to be informed as to the features in which the War Staff will differ from the previous organisation which dealt with the same subjects, and, at the request of the Editor, this
paper has been written in order to make these facts known. For a long period the writer was closely associated with the Intelligence Department of the Admiralty; he served for many years at the Admiralty before the Intelligence Department was established, and he has carefully studied the official papers recently published. He can therefore speak from personal knowledge of the character of the work done in the past when comparing it with what is proposed to be done in the future.
The Naval Intelligence Department was first organised in 1883; but Admiral Sir Vesey Hamilton-who himself had served as First Sea Lord and was fully informed on the subject-spoke of that event as follows : The work of Naval Intelligence has necessarily always gone on within the Admiralty, but the institution of a Special Intelligence Department has been found, under the new administrative conditions, of signal value.' This is obviously the correct view. At all periods and in all circumstances accurate and full information respecting the naval forces and organisations of other maritime countries has been essential to the determination and strength which should be possessed by the Royal Navy in order that British sea-supremacy might be maintained. Before the era of steam and armour the work to be done in acquiring and tabulating information respecting foreign fleets was comparatively simple : since that era began each year has made the task more complex and difficult, in consequence of the rapid and extraordinary changes in naval 'armaments and the development of new navies. These are the 'new administrative conditions' mentioned by Sir Vesey Hamilton which have enhanced the importance of an Intelligence Department.
Acquisition and tabulation of information, important as it always must be, has never constituted the sole or even the chief task of the Intelligence Department at the Admiralty. Sir Vesey Hamilton put this point clearly in his admirable little book on
Naval Administration (published in 1896), and a few passages may be quoted :
The (Intelligence) Department is purely consultative, and in no sense administrative. The essence of its work is officially described as preparation for war. . . . To this end the Director of Naval Intelligence has particular instructions. He is to collect, sift and lay before the Board all information on maritime matters likely to be of use in war: he is to keep ready a complete plan for mobilising the naval forces of the Empire; and, when directed, is to prepare plans for naval operations for the consideration of the Board; and he is to bring to the notice of the Board all points touching preparation for war. There is, however, an express injunction that the Intelligence Department is not to indicate to the Board any policy unless called upon to do so. Here, then, it is clearly set forth that the Intelligence Department, as it existed so long ago as 1896, was charged with three great branches of work-Intelligence, Mobilisation, and Operations--exactly as the future Naval War Staff will be charged. Each of these branches had at its head a naval officer, and over all the branches was the Director of Naval Intelligence. From the commencement, officers of high professional reputation and large experience have been chosen for this important position. The first occupant of the office was Captain W. H. Hall, and amongst his successors stand the names of Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge, Admiral Sir Reginald Custance, and Admiral Prince Louis of Battenberg-all of whom are recognised as accomplished students of naval history, strategy and tactics ; well qualified for fulfilling the responsible duties with which they were charged, including plans of naval operations in case of war.
The First Sea Lord has always had the Intelligence Department under his personal control, and its Director has been one of his most valued assistants. Sir Vesey Hamilton, when referring to this arrangement (in 1896), used words which even now have interest, because they are in absolute agreement with what is proposed for the Naval War Staff. Some writers,' he said, “regarding the Intelligence Department as a new factor in Admiralty procedure, have gone so far as to describe it as a potential “ Brain of the Navy," capable of assuming a high directive function : but the truth is, that the First Sea Lord, who is the
: Superintending Lord of the Department, even if relieved of some of his many duties, must always, assisted by his colleagues, bear the grave weight of his supremely important advisory duties.' Elsewhere Sir Vesey Hamilton quoted Sir James Graham as having described the First Sea Lord as the first naval adviser'; and in his book he defined the particular province of that member of the Board of Admiralty as including advice 'upon questions of maritime defence and naval strategy as influencing policy.' The revised Distribution of Business laid down by Lord Selborne in