The United States Navy: A Plain Statement


WHEN the ‘Five-Power Treaty’ for the Limitation of Naval Armaments was signed at Washington on February 6, 1922, the American public assumed that the whole question of relative combatant strength at sea had been settled for a term of at least ten years. By this Treaty each of the contracting Powers bound itself not to exceed a given ratio of aggregate tonnage in the larger types of men-of-war. The future dimensions of the battle-fleets of the United States, the British Empire, and Japan were regulated on a 5-5-3 basis, and airplane-carrier strength was graded on the same scale. This arrangement eliminated all possibility of further international competition in the building of major fighting ships, a form of rivalry which had contributed in great measure to the bringing about of the World War of 1914-18.

The Treaty, however, did not apply to naval vessels other than capital ships and plane carriers, as would have been the case had the original scheme of limitation — submitted by Secretary of State Hughes at the opening session of the Conference — found acceptance. France demanded an allowance of submarine tonnage larger than the scheme provided for, and considerably larger than the British delegates were prepared to concede. Finding France adamant on this point, the British declared themselves unable to accept any restriction on the number of light cruisers and destroyers, both of which, they claimed, were essential for the purpose of combating the submarine.

After prolonged and quite often acrimonious discussion, the clauses governing restriction of auxiliary combatant ships were dropped, since it was realized that their retention would jeopardize the success of naval limitation in any shape or form and might render the Conference abortive.

As finally approved, therefore, the treaty left each contracting Power free to build as many auxiliary ships as it pleased, without infringing the letter of the compact. The significance of this fact was overlooked at the time, for two reasons: first, because the naval experts at the Conference were unanimous in ranking the capital ship as the most formidable instrument of sea warfare, present and future; secondly, because of an impression that loyalty to the spirit of the Treaty would deter any Power from taking advantage of the loophole it afforded for the multiplication of minor naval craft. It does not seem to have been appreciated that the elimination of so many battleships, coupled with the embargo placed upon the further development of this type by fixing a limit to displacement and gun calibre, would automatically exalt the relative fighting value of all the smaller fry.

A further defect in the Treaty lay in the vague wording of those clauses which relate to the modernization of existing capital ships. Here the phrasing is such as to suggest that lawyers, not naval officers, were the authors thereof.

Finally, there is the famous Article XIX, which establishes the status quo in respect of fortifications and naval bases within a specified area of the Pacific Ocean. This, in the opinion of most naval critics, is easily the most important section of the Treaty, for reasons which will be dealt with hereafter.

Although it is less than two and a half years since the document was signed, we are already in the midst of a lively controversy with respect to the relative standing of the United States Navy. During the past few months the Press has published many sensational statements on this subject, the gist of which is that American naval power, so far from having been consolidated by the ‘Limitation Treaty,’ has declined, and still is declining, both relatively and absolutely.

Here, then, is a straightforward question, which, as the writer ventures to think, admits of but one answer. Reviewing the situation as it existed in November 1921, and surveying it as it exists to-day, he has no hesitation in affirming that America’s present position at sea is far less satisfactory — in every respect — than it was when the Washington Conference assembled.


In November 1921, the United States was at work on a building programme the completion of which would have given it, three or four years later, a matchless fleet of capital ships, all of post-Jutland design, and superior, ship for ship, to the finest dreadnoughts of every other navy. If the three leading admiralties of the world are right in crediting the dreadnought with unique powers of offense, the sixteen American vessels of this type under construction on the date in question would have ensured to the United States the command of the sea. As it was, eleven of them were scrapped, and two converted into airplane carriers, leaving only the Maryland, Colorado, and West ^ irginia as souvenirs of the greatest ‘might-have-been’ battle-fleet of modern times.

This enormous sacrifice, it is true, was compensated in part by reductions in the British and Japanese programmes. The British ceased work on four battle-cruisers, which, unlike the American ships, were in the very earliest stage of construction; while Japan discarded twelve capital ships, only four of which had been laid down. So far as the remainder were concerned, ‘scrapping’ simply meant tearing up the plans and blueprints.

As dimensioned by the Treaty, the American battle-fleet now consists of eighteen units with an aggregate displacement of 525,850 tons. To institute a detailed comparison between this force and the corresponding armadas of Britain and Japan would occupy more space than can be granted. It may be said, however, that the British battle-fleet will eventually consist of twenty ships aggregating 558,950 tons; that of Japan comprising ten ships aggregating 301,320 tons.

In weight of gunfire the U. S. fleet probably has a slight advantage, which, however, is negatived by its inferior speed. Five of the British capital ships can steam at 23 knots, five at 25 knots, and four at 29 to 31 knots. Japan’s slowest ship makes 22 knots; her fastest, 27½ knots.

On the other hand, none of the eighteen American vessels is good for more than 21 knots, and the oldest of them could not exceed 20 knots, even if reboilered and equipped for burning oil. Yet without a good margin of speed, superiority in artillery fire cannot be exploited.

It is just here that a comparison of the three fleets in tonnage and gunpower is likely to be misleading. In modern naval warfare the fleet possessing the ‘speed gauge’ can take the initiative under practically any circumstances.

Since the average speed of the American fleet is at least two knots less than the Japanese and three knots below that of the British, it would gain nothing by its slight lead in weight of broadside fire, and would light under a severe tactical handicap. An increase in the elevation of its guns would mitigate this disadvantage, but could not overcome the fatal drawback of poor speed.

Taken for all in all, therefore, the American battle-fleet is tactically inferior to the British, and considerably less than two fifths superior to the Japanese; nor is it easy to see how this disparity could be adjusted without violating the ruling of the Treaty by laying down new ships of the capital type.

At the same time, there can be no two unbiased opinions as to the right of the United States to modernize its older ships by endowing them with the shooting range and oil-burning facilities already enjoyed by corresponding units of the British and Japanese navies.

Objections to such a course which may be raised, officially or otherwise, in London or Tokyo cannot be sustained by reference to the wording of the treaty. As regards the spirit of that Covenant, surely its purpose was to stereotype the 5-5-3 ratio, not only in tons and guns, but in actual fighting power; and unless and until the older American ships are modernized on the lines indicated, that ratio will remain illusory and ineffectual.

Furthermore, the writer submits that the entire discussion as to the right or otherwise of the United States to increase the elevation of its battleships’ guns has been stultified by the fact that France, also a signatory to the Treaty, has in the last two years raised the elevation of the turret guns in the battleships Courbet, Jean Bart, Paris, Bretagne, Lorraine and Provence from eighteen degrees to twenty-three. Japan, too, has officially announced her intention of effecting similar improvement in the main armament of her earlier capital ships.

Why, then, should the United States alone be inhibited from taking similar steps?

As regards the substitution of liquid for solid fuel, there is every reason to believe that Japan has already made this change in two of her battlecruisers of the Kongo class, and is now preparing to convert the other two coal-burning ships of the class to oilfuel.

Improved protection against plunging gunfire, air bombs, and torpedoes is expressly allowed for in the Treaty, an addition of 3000 tons to the displacement of each ship being permitted for this purpose. According to the statements by the English service journals, many British battleships have been equipped with new bulge protection against torpedoes since 1921, the Royal Oak being the latest vessel so treated.

Yet every suggestion that American ships should be similarly fortified against the deadliest form of underwater attack is met by protests from quarters where, apparently, the view prevails that the ‘Limitation Treaty’ was designed to keep the United States Navy permanently in a state of subjection, and must be rigidly interpreted in that sense.


Turning from capital ships to airplane carriers, the position from the American viewpoint is far from reassuring. In this type, as in capital ships, tonnage parity as between the United States and the British Empire is allowed for by the Treaty, with a threefifths allotment for Japan, the respective figures being: U. S. A., 135,000 tons: British Empire, 135,000 tons; Japan, 81,000 tons. At the present moment, however, the American fleet is dependent on a single carrier of obsolete design — the Langley, a converted navy collier — which would be practically useless for war operations. Whereas the efficient airplane carrier should be at least six knots faster than the swiftest unit of the fleet with which it is operating, the Langley is five knots slower than the slowest American battleship.

A big margin of speed is necessary in order that the carlier, having dropped astern to retrieve the planes she has sent out to scout or to engage enemy machines, shall be able to resume her place in the cruising formation without compelling the rest of the fleet to slow down. But any fleet to which the Langley was attached would have to reduce its speed to 14½ or 15 knots, and, if she dropped behind to fly off and recover airplanes, would have to dawdle along at 8 knots until she had rejoined. This leisurely rate of progress would be impossible in war, to say nothing of the risk of submarine attack, to which slow steaming ships are particularly subject. Matters will be improved when the ex-battle cruisers Lexington and Saratoga, now being transformed into airplane carriers, are ready for service, but unless the appropriations are largely increased these ships will be held up for several years.

Meanwhile the British Navy has six fast and efficient carriers in commission or completing, and Japan three, all of which will be available by the summer of 1925. If a war should develop at any time during the next year or two, the American fleet would put to sea without a single efficient airplane carrier, which means that it would operate under a fatal disadvantage.

For this state of affairs we must blame not the Limitation Treaty, but the legislators who have consistently ignored the demands of the Navy Department for funds wherewith to complete the two big carriers already authorized. It is to be hoped that no sudden emergency will arise to drive home the lesson that one ship at sea is worth three on the stocks.

We come now to the question of light cruisers, which has figured so prominently in recent discussions. In this class of vessel, which plays a highly important part in modern fleet operations, the United States is so far behind Britain and Japan that scarcely any basis for comparison exists. Fast cruisers are essential for scouting ahead of the battle-fleet, screening it from torpedo-boat and submarine attack, leading destroyers against the enemy flotillas, patrolling the ocean routes for the protection of friendly commerce, and, if need be, for raiding the enemy’s lines of communication. Ships allocated to any one of these duties require to be very fast — with a speed of not less than 30 knots — wrellarmed, with good sea-keeping qualities and a wide radius of action. As the Washington Treaty permits the construction of cruisers up to 10,000 tons, armed with 8-inch guns, this very powerful type is coming into universal adoption. Taking cruisers less than ten years old from date of launch, including those building and authorized but not yet complete, we find the position as in the following table: —


UNITED STATES 10 ships, 7500 tons displacement, speed 33.7 knots, armed with 0-inch guns.

GREAT BRITAIN 4 ships, 9750 tons, speed 30 knots, armed with 7.5-inch guns.

5 ships, 10,000 tons, armed with 8-inch guns.

2 ships, 7600 tons, speed 33 knots, armed with 6-inch guns.

Total 11 ships

JAPAN 4 ships, 7100 tons, speed 33 knots, armed with 8-inch guns.

4 ships, 10,000 tons, speed 33 knots, armed with 8-inch guns.

Total 8 ships



GREAT BRITAIN 33 ships, 3750—4750 tons, speed 29 knots, armed with 6-inch guns.

JAPAN 17 ships, 3500-5570 tons, speed 33 knots, armed with 5.5-ineh guns.

This gives a grand total of 44 modern cruisers for Great Britain, 25 for Japan, and only 10 for the United States.

Exception may be taken to the above table on the ground that it lists the ten American cruisers as ‘ocean-going,’whereas they are officially designated ‘scouts.’ On the other hand, their displacement of 7500 tons entitles them to be placed in the former category, and the prolonged ‘shake-down’ cruises which several of them have undertaken in the past twelve months have fully demonstrated their ocean-going qualities. For all practical purposes we may safely rate a cruiser of 7000 tons as an oceanic ship.

As a matter of fact, ships of much smaller displacement are able to make deep-sea voyages of long duration. The British light cruisers now steaming around the world with the Special Service Squadron are of less than 6000 tons in displacement, and the Japanese ‘Kuma’ class, of 5500 tons, have a steaming range of 11,000 nautical miles. Nor should it be forgotten that the German cruiser Emden, the most successful commerce-raider of the World War, was a puny craft of no more than 3650 tons.

The present ratio of cruiser strength for the three leading Powers is approximately : Great Britain 5, Japan 2.5, United States 1. This glaring disparity is, or should be, a matter of profound concern to the American people. It means that the fleet is desperately short of units which have a tactical and strategical value second only to that of the dreadnought. It is impossible to visualize a naval campaign in which this dearth of cruising ships would not impose an almost crippling handicap on the American fleet. In Nelson’s day the cry of the admirals was always for ‘more frigates,’which corresponded to the modern light cruiser. More than a century later the Allied sea commanders were calling incessantly for additional cruisers, and in spite of intensive building t he demand was never adequately met. Yet, 1 hanks to public apathy and the short-sighted policy of Congress, the United States Navy is left to-day with only ten cruisers, or barely one fifth of its proper complement.

In the event of war, heavy penalties would be exacted for this neglect. Little or nothing could be done to check the activity of hostile commerce raiders. The value of American property destroyed in one month would probably exceed the cost of a whole squadron of new cruisers, which, had they been completed betimes, might have kept the sea routes safe from attack. Many people seem to think that the deficiency in cruisers, as in other naval types, could be made good after the outbreak of war by rapid construction. This is a delusion. To build and equip a cruiser of the modern class in twelve months would be a remarkable achievement, and the writer has good reason to doubt whether it could be done. Those who suppose that the United States Navy can be adequately reinforced subsequent to the outbreak of war are living in a fool’s paradise. Meanwhile it is an open secret that the lack of cruisers is gravely impeding the preparation of defensive war plans by those who would be responsible for controlling Navy operations in a time of national crisis.

The outlook, bad enough before, has changed for the worse since Japan embarked on the construction of heavilyarmed cruisers. Four of these ships — Kako, Furutaka, Kinugasa, Aoba — now building, will each mount a battery of six 8-inch guns, according to an Admiralty statement to the British House of Commons on April 16. Two larger vessels, Nachi and Myoko, also building, will carry eight 8-inch guns apiece, and two further ships of the same type are to be laid down next year. An artillery duel between one of these ships and an American scout of the Omaha series would almost inevitably result in the defeat of the latter, judging from recent war experience; for the 8-inch gun, with its 250-pound shell, can far outrange the lighter 6-inch piece, whose projectile weighs only 105 pounds. In the writer’s judgment, reached after an exhaustive survey of all available data, a programme of fifteen 10,000-ton ships, all to be completed by the end of 1927, is the absolute minimum required. The building of these ships would not bring the Navy up to its treaty strength in cruising types, but it would tend to ease a situation which all American naval students view with the deepest misgiving.

Great play is made in Congress, and equally by foreign naval critics, with the fact that the United States possesses nearly three hundred destroyers of fairly modern construction, thus giving it a definite superiority over all other Powers in this type of fighting ship. It must be remembered, however, that the majority of these boats are laid up at various navy yards, where, in spite of every care, they are probably deteriorating in structure, machinery, and equipment. Moreover, they are outclassed in size and armament by the newest British and Japanese destroyers, which embody war lessons to a greater degree than the American ‘ flush-deckers.’ The American Navy does not as yet possess a single flotillaleader, or super-destroyer, though the General Board regards such craft as indispensable and other navies have built them by the dozen. Our numerical lead in destroyers is admittedly an advantage, but it is a trump card of too small a denomination to win any important trick in the game of naval strategy.


Owing to its persistent misuse by Germany in the late war, the submarine has lost caste in the eyes of the American public. It has been vilified — not always by disinterested foreign critics — as a murderous weapon which no decent seaman should handle. This is sheer camouflage. Irrespective of its employment as an assassin of women, children, and other noncombatants, the submarine performed legitimate service of incalculable value during the world conflict. To none of the belligerents was it more useful than to Great Britain. The famous ‘ Bight Patrol,’ which enabled the British commanderin-chief to maintain close touch, day in day out, with the movements of the German fleet, was maintained entirely by submarines. So valuable was their reconnaissance work that orders were actually issued forbidding them to attack German warships observed to be coming out of the Heligoland Bight. In fact, it is as a fleet scout and an ocean patrol, not as a torpedoer of merchant ships, that the long-range submarine is now prized so highly by naval strategists.

Modern submarines fall under two heads: sea-going and ocean-going. The former may have a displacement of anything from 600 to 1000 tons, and a cruising radius of as much as 12,000 nautical miles. In practice, however, their range is circumscribed by the health of the crew, Avhich suffers if the boat remains at sea more than a few weeks. Narrow, badly ventilated berthing accommodation and restricted deck space for exercise soon tell on the physical and mental fitness of the personnel. For this reason, the socalled sea-going submarine would be of problematical value in an oceanic campaign where the belligerents were separated from each other by a distance of several thousand miles.

According to the latest returns, the United States Navy contains 126 submarines, built and building. This seems a formidable total when compared with Great Britain’s 68 and Japan’s 77. But when the American figure is examined more closely, it is found to convey an erroneous impression. In the first place, no less than 70 boats are of a pre-war model which later developments have rendered practically obsolete, and of these 70 all displace less than 600 tons. They are, therefore, ‘coastal boats,’useful enough for such short-range work as harbor defense, but of exceedingly limited value for any duty which involved oversea cruising operations. It is worthy of note that nearly all submarines of corresponding size and power in the British Navy have already been scrapped. In the ‘sea-going’ class Ave have 50 boats designated by the letter ‘S.’ They, also, were designed during the World War, before its technical lessons could be fully digested. They average 900 tons in displacement, their best surface speed is 15 knots, and the class as a whole has been unfortunate in respect of machinery trouble. Nevertheless, these 50 boats form the backbone of the American submarine service, and upon them would fall the brunt of all wartime underseas work which had to be performed outside coastal waters. In the ‘ocean-going’ class Ave have only the three 1106ton boats of the ‘T’ class, completed in 1920, and which, when last heard of, Avere tied up at Hampton Roads owing to defective machinery. Three larger boats, V-l to V-3, of 2025 tons, are under construction. This analysis reduces our seaand ocean-going submarine force to 56 units, built and building. The British Navy indulged in such ruthless scrapping after the war that it now contains only 68 submarines. Nine of these are large oceangoing boats, 31 are sea-going craft of a very efficient model, and the balance consists of small coastal boats. Compared with Great Britain we are fairly well off as regards submarines, though that country is believed to meditate a big programme of new construction when the experimental types, such as X.l and O.l, now building, have been tried out.

Japan was the first Power to apply herself energetically to the development of the submarine as soon as the world war was over. Since the armistice she has despatched several expert missions to Europe to study the latest improvements in the design, machinery and equipment of these boats. Technical committees were appointed to examine and report upon the seven ex-German submarines which were delivered to her in 1919, and close touch has been maintained by Japanese agents with German designers who claim to have evolved new principles of submarine construction, stability, and armament. On account of the impenetrable veil of secrecy behind which the Japanese naval authorities carry on their work, it is impossible to state with confidence precisely how many boats, and of what type, they have launched and laid down within the past four years. A British Admiralty estimate, published last March, credits Japan with 44 submarines built and a further 33 built or projected. This figure has been generally accepted as accurate, though the writer prefers to treat it with caution.

Our definite knowledge is limited to a few facts, which may suitably be recorded here. First, the present Japanese submarine flotilla consists almost entirely of boats completed since the war. Most of the old vessels have been scrapped, which accounts for the circumstance that the total remains more or less constant, despite the completion of new boats at the rate of eight to twelve every year. Secondly, Japan in the post-war era has built only sea-going and oceangoing boats. Of her forty-four completed units, the majority are craft of 800 to 1000 tons, with a cruising range disproportionately large to their displacement. A few are of the 1500-ton ocean type, which also forms the bulk of the other thirty-three boats building or projected in the spring of this year. She is constructing, in addition, several experimental submarines of very large dimensions, variously reported to be of 2500 to 3500 tons, designed from plans acquired in Germany. The building of these vessels is believed to be proceeding under the supervision of German engineers, a party of whom is said to be employed at the Kure arsenal.

We shall be well on the safe side if we assess the number of Japanese ocean-going submarines at thirty-five. Every boat of this class would be capable not only of making the round voyage across the Pacific on one load of fuel and stores, but of remaining for some time in the vicinity of the American seaboard, where its presence would doubtless interfere with the movements of shipping and create alarm in the coastal cities, which would be liable to bombardment by shell fire. Certain of these big submarines are probably equipped with high-powered engines, in which case they would be able to accompany the battle fleet in the capacity of scouts and submersible destroyers. The comparative figures as to ocean-going submarines are: Japan 35, Great Britain 9, United States 6. Such vessels would be of supreme value in a Pacific campaign on account of their extensive cruising range, and if American naval policy was governed by sound principles a liberal program of fleet submarine construction would long since have been put into effect. As it is, the three fleet boats and the three minelayers recommended by the Navy Department have been stricken from the current building scheme.


Since it is true that ‘men fight, not ships,’ the question of personnel is the all-important factor in gauging the war-readiness of any navy. At the present time the United States Navy is undermanned. The authorized establishment of 86,000 enlisted personnel is a purely arbitrary figure, bearing no real relation to the minimum requirements of the fleet in case of mobilization. Worse than this, it does not suffice to provide full complements for the ships now in commission, few of which, if any, are up to their full strength in officers and men. On paper, the American personnel is slightly larger than that of the British Navy, owing, among other reasons, to the inclusion of the Marine Corps. In fact, however, the British personnel trained for sea-going duty is larger by several thousands.

Since the Washington Conference Japan has released 12,000 officers and men; but this notwithstanding, her personnel remains considerably above the 5-3 ratio. Early in the current year there were 69,000 officers and men on active duty in the Japanese Navy. In view of the steady growth in the number of new cruisers, submarines, and so forth, this figure is more likely to be increased than reduced. Behind the Japanese first-line personnel stands a large reserve, estimated to number at least 40,000, including 4000 officers. All these men, having served afloat for a long term of years, would be available for active service with the fleet very soon after the outbreak of war. Great Britain, too, has at her disposal a great body of trained naval reservists, liable to be called up for duty in time of crisis.

While no precise figures can be given to show the present strength of the U. S. Navy Reserve Force, it is well below the proportionate strength of the British and Japanese reserves. There are not now on the books of the Navy Department sufficient reservists, officers and men, to provide crews for the laid-up ships which would have to be commissioned in the event of a threat of war. That no difficulty would be met with in enrolling the requisite number of personnel was made evident by the response to the Navy’s call in 1917; but untrained men, however zealous, are useless in a modern fleet, and it would take many months of intensive training to mould these ‘green’ recruits into passable seamen. Finally, there is the crucial problem of length of service for the enlisted men of the Navy. Enlistment is now for a period of four years, and while this is a distinct advance over the twoand three-year terms which were in vogue until recently, it is not long enough to turn out thoroughly efficient man-ofwar’s men. A sixto seven-year term of service is the least that would provide for that long and continuous training which alone can weld the naval personnel into a thoroughly efficient fighting organism. There is a popular notion that the average American youth is so much brighter mentally that he requires less training for any job, ashore or afloat, than the young men of other nationalities. To this the Navy replies, through the mouth of one of its officers: ‘Other Powers have sixand eightyear service periods. Is it not somewhat fatuous to believe that we can do as much with our recruits in four years?’

The British naval seaman enlists for twelve years, the Japanese for six years, and there is no reason to suppose that drill and instruction in either of those navies are conducted on a system less practical or less intensive than in the American service. Moreover, it is well known that a majority of the Japanese personnel consists of men in their second period of enlistment. Hence we are entitled to infer that the enlisted men of the Japanese Navy are better trained and more proficient at their work than the non-rated men of the United States Navy. In the writer’s opinion, the adoption of a six-year term of service is of infinitely greater importance than the laying down of new ships, urgently as these are needed.

Naval policy is, or should be, based upon a frank recognition of hard realities. A navy is not maintained for show: it is far too expensive to be kept up merely as an ornamental appanage of the State. The United States Navy has definite functions to perform, chief among which is the safeguarding from foreign aggression of the national territories, properties, and interests. This task — let us face the fact quite frankly — has been rendered much more difficult than before by the restrictions imposed by the Washington Treaty. The Navy of to-day probably is capable of defending the Continental seaboard of the United States, both on the Atlantic and the Pacific, from serious attack from any quarter whatsoever. It is equally capable of guarding that vital artery, the Isthmian Canal, from dangerous assault, provided the local defenses of the Canal Zone are renovated and strengthened in accordance with the advice of the War and Navy Department experts who have submitted recommendations on this head. So much for what the Navy can undertake to do with reasonable prospects of success.

What, in its present state of personnel and material, it cannot undertake to do is (1) to guarantee the safety of the more distant oversea territories of the United States; and (2) to afford adequate protection to American shipping and seaborne trade. Consequently, the Navy is not strong enough to perform an important, not to say a vital, part of the task allotted to it. By renouncing their right, under Article XIX of the Washington Treaty, to develop major naval bases in the Western Pacific, the American people gave hostages to fortune which most strategists believe to be irredeemable. Be that as it may, the problem of how to overcome the drawback of nonexistent bases in the Philippine and the Mariana Islands in the contingency of war with a strong Asiatic Power is one which has hitherto baffled the keenest brains in the War College. It can be solved, however, provided the very modest demands of the Navy Department in respect of material and personnel reinforcement to the fleet are conceded by the nation, which has a much greater stake in the maintenance of American sea-power than the average citizen appears to realize.

The whole philosophy of armed preparedness is epitomized in a speech which an eminent British soldier, the late Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, made to his countrymen a few weeks before his death in 1922, and which I shall venture to paraphrase as follows : —

‘It has always seemed to me that the primary duty of a Navy is to prevent war. I know no cheaper way of conducting the business of a State than that of conducting it in a profound peace. One of the ways of doing this is to have a Navy sufficiently strong to prevent war. But if a State cannot, for reasons of policy, prevent a war, then the next duty of a Navy is to win the war. To win a war is a terribly expensive thing, both in men and money. Therefore, it is infinitely cheaper to have a force which will prevent a war rather than to have a force which, if it has to go to war, could even win the war. But there is a third possibility: which is, to have a Navy not sufficiently strong to prevent war, nor yet sufficiently strong to win the war—but one just sufficiently weak to lose the war.’

That, in the writer’s estimation, is precisely the kind of ‘third Navy’ which the United States is maintaining to-day.