Our Navy Under the London Treaty


THROUGHOUT history there has been one and only one effective method of international disarmament: salutary neglect. To go back no farther than the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was not the high-sounding idealism of the Holy Alliance or the labor of continual disarmament conferences that caused the disappearance of the huge fleets and armies, which, after a long twenty-three years of warfare, sent Napoleon an exile to Saint Helena. They melted away because of a universal revulsion against war, and all that pertains thereto. For nearly forty years thereafter one finds a comfortable ignorance and lassitude in all countries on the question of armaments. The horrors and the glories of war passed into song and story — ‘and, oh, how deep the corn, along the battlefield!’ Then came another Napoleon to the throne of France, the mutterings of resurgent nationalisms, and Bismarck with his policy of blood and iron. To create the German Empire he had first to create the Prussian army, which triumphed at Sadowa and Sedan. Remembering Alsace-Lorraine, France prepared for the future. The armament race was on. It ended in a surf of blood along the Belgian frontier in August 1914.

Civilized mankind is greatly resolved that we shall not tread those paths again. There are no officers in our army and navy so selfish or so blind as not to share this universal desire for peace among the nations throughout the years to be. This was the high hope of their first Commander-in-Chief, General George Washington, whose dearest wish it was to see war, ‘this plague of mankind, banished from the earth.’ And yet, as long as armies and navies exist, the soldier must prepare for the defense of his country. He need drink no braggart’s toast to Der Tag, but for victory on the day of battle, if that day must come, it is his solemn duty to make ready. He therefore sees the limited success of disarmament conferences, not only in their broader aspects, as contributions to the ideal of world coöperation, but also in their more narrow and technical phases, as but halting and partially effective efforts to reach through the medium of international understandings the ultimate goal that war and the weapons of war shall some day vanish from the earth.

The protracted negotiations at London showed clearly that world opinion is a long way yet from the ideal of complete disarmament. Very substantial fleets have been left to each of the naval powers. Throughout the conference, the American delegation strove to secure on the lowest levels possible a navy adequate, in its relation to other navies, for our national defense and the protection of our commerce, equal to that of Great Britain, and yet so restricted as to promise to the taxpayer some relief from the burdens of the naval budget; and finally to keep this ‘treaty navy’ independent of any political commitment which might make our future tranquillity and security contingent on the action of other nations.

These were logical demands. They sum up the lines of thought along which the public has been taught to evaluate the naval power necessary for our country and to which we feel that we are rightfully entitled. But the deeper one probes into this most difficult of questions, the less important these well-known formulæ seem. Step by step, the seeker after the truth is led to the conclusion that in the last analysis they are well-nigh meaningless. There is one and only one index of naval needs: assurance of victory in the next war at sea. Power for battle is the only measure of fighting ships. The fundamental and inevitable war purpose of naval armaments was never better expressed than in M. Briand’s famous disarmament promise, ‘When Britain rebuilds her capital ships for the sardine fisheries, then France will redesign her submarines for the study of oceanic botany.’ The veteran statesman’s epigram was merely a pointed way of stating the bald fact that navies can be evaluated only by matching their fighting strength against that of other navies.


Remembering this simple truth, let us consider in the first place what is meant by a navy sufficient for our national defense and the protection of our commerce. Defense presupposes attack, and attack presupposes war. A navy that can merely forbid a hostile landing on our continental coasts falls far short of adequacy for victory. With New York and San Francisco safe from attack, but the Canal Zone and Hawaii invested, blockaded, and captured, we face either the continuation of a protracted and almost hopeless struggle, or defeat. Adequacy for national defense, if it means anything at all, means defense, not only of our coasts, but also of those outlying areas whose protection is vital to our existence as a Great Power.

Coming and going across the oceans of the world moves our sea-borne commerce. Nations that trade at sea give their maritime wealth a hostage to fortune. On its safety depends prosperity in time of peace, victory in time of war. But defense of commerce carries with it several implications: the safeguarding of peace-time commerce against the dangers to which it is ever exposed in distant and tumultuous lands; the vindication of a neutral’s right to trade in non-contraband in the face of distant blockade; and finally the actual war function of guarding our seaborne trade should we be involved as a belligerent.

In years of peace, commerce needs no protection beyond that which can be readily furnished by an anti-pirate police. It is for this purpose that the nations maintain specially designed gunboats on the rivers of China. But in times of civil disturbance abroad, danger to American lives and property calls for the further detail of naval ships. Cruisers and destroyers, whose normal function is to train for war as part of the active fleet, are ready. They need but oil and stores and orders to proceed. At the rumor of revolution to the south, they appear off disorderly and distracted ports as if by magic. Panicky bankers breathe freely again, knowing that their loans will no longer be dissipated in the thin smoke of chronic civil wars. Statesmen in Washington rest assured that no foreign ships, possible harbingers of international complications, will interfere. The press is relieved to know that the lives of distant traders and missionaries are safe.

But the point to be borne in mind is that for naval ships this duty is aside from the intent of their designers. Naval vessels are designed to fight other naval vessels, and for no other purpose. When, and only when, war and the rumors of war shall forever disappear, we may put out of mind and file away in the archives of the old bad days all the really important questions over which naval officers spend their busy lives. The balance between speed, guns, and armor, the infinitely complex problems of the simultaneous firing of great guns from a floating platform — when war at sea is impossible, these questions will no longer employ the loyal service of trained experts. When the protection of commerce and interests abroad is the only reason for the maintenance of fighting fleets, the forces maintained will cease to be navies. They will merge and become an international water police, as unrelated to present naval establishments as the ‘one-hoss shay’ to the modern motor coach.

Defense of commerce goes far beyond this idea of an anti-pirate police. It implies the vindication of neutral rights against belligerent blockade. It involves the whole mooted problem of the just and proper relation of belligerent operations to neutral trade. In defense of our maritime rights we have entered two European wars, the War of 1812 and the World War. It is in their defense that we shall in all likelihood be engulfed in the great wars of the future, if other wars must come to burden with their useless destruction generations yet unborn. More and more, control of the sea is envisioned as the decisive factor in war. Despite the accepted phrases of international law, sea-controlling belligerents will probably employ the weapon of blockade to its utmost. In the heat of strife, they cannot do otherwise. They will seek to deny the use of the sea, not only to enemy merchant vessels, but to neutrals who would furnish their enemies with goods, contraband or non-contraband, even in neutral ships and through neutral ports. The historic rights vouchsafed under the old concepts of international law will seem even less sacred in the future if they are invoked to vindicate trading with a nation rightly or wrongly adjudged an aggressor under the League Covenant and the Pact of Paris. There can be no exact measure for a navy adequate to vindicate neutral rights against all contingencies of blockade and counter-blockade. Suffice it to say that powerful indeed must be the fleet that hopes to defy belligerent sea control, however contrary to a strict interpretation of international law, which seeks in the future to ‘close the seas in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.’

Together with the defense of commerce as an index of naval needs is usually grouped the defense of foreign possessions. Here again ability to defend means nothing less than ability to achieve victory. For Germany in 1914, the defense of her Chinese and African colonies could have been assured only by victory at sea against the British Grand Fleet, or by a triumph over the armies of her enemies so complete as to vouchsafe a victor’s peace. The same situation faces France today. An inferior French navy may succeed in certain convoy-guarding operations in the Mediterranean, but it will assure the final defense of the French Colonial Empire only by contributing its share to national victory. The greatest success at sea which such a navy can hope to achieve is not the triumph of smashing fleet action, but the historic Continental objective, a decisive counter-blockade. Commerce destruction has never brought victory in the past, but it has failed by only a narrow margin. At Whitehall they remember the dark days of the spring of 1917 when the British Isles felt the actual menace of blockade. Not since a French admiral in 1779 swept the Channel in force and a panic-stricken First Lord wrote to the Commander-inChief, ‘For God’s sake get to sea,’ had the Empire faced defeat and destruction. The North Sea has ever been the battleground of empire. ‘Pondicherry,’ wrote Napoleon, ‘must be defended on the banks of the Vistula.’ French statesmen to-day, in their brief for the submarine, are saying with equal truth, ‘On the vital trade routes of her enemies, off Brest and off Toulon, France, if threatened, must defend her empire.’

For the United States, the protection of foreign possessions is likewise a question of naval war. The Caribbean and the Canal fall within the striking range of the United States fleet, and beyond the immediate reach of any foreign force. A navy adequate for their defense need not be a navy able to sweep the Channel and blockade the Thames. But the Philippines lie outside the sphere of action of the United States fleet and unfortunately within that of Japanese sea power. A naval force adequate to defend the Philippines must of necessity be so based and so constituted as to be able to defeat the Japanese in their own home waters. To create the overwhelming fleet and the Asiatic base necessary to assure the immediate defense of the Islands is to question the word and threaten the security of the Japanese Empire, however sincere may be our own belief in the purely defensive intent of our Far Eastern policy. At the Washington Conference we gave up the right to fortify a major base. In the Four-Powers Pact, Britain, France, Japan, and the United States stand mutually committed to the territorial status quo. In the Nine-Powers Treaty, with Belgium, China, Holland, Italy, and Portugal as well, we gave and received a solemn pledge that all should be free to trade on terms of actual equality in the unsettled markets of the Far East. And yet, despite these treaties, considerable naval establishments continue to be maintained in the Orient. For us to neglect a fleet able eventually to make our power felt in this armed area of chronic disturbance is completely to abandon not only our territorial and economic interests but also the international obligations implied in the Washington treaties. Adequacy need not connote instant naval superiority. But, conversely, it cannot mean absolute impotency.

To pass to the next consideration, the much discussed question of parity with the British navy, what is parity? No one really knows, for again the only applicable index is power for victory in war at sea. But the strength that makes for victory is not a function of fighting ships alone. It depends also on operating bases, repair yards, convertible merchant tonnage, shipbuilding facilities, and finally on the maritime and industrial skill and wealth on which the whole vast edifice of sea power ultimately rests. To match Britain forge for forge and dock for dock is obviously impossible. Not even were Britain and the United States to be turned over to a perfectly honest commission of omniscient and omnipotent foreign naval officers, whose ideal it should be to equalize their entire sea power, could parity be achieved. It is too fluid. It involves too many unknown factors. It is a mirage, a dream.

With the deep and fundamental factors of parity the treaty does not deal. It attempts only parity in fighting ships built and to be built. But here again the underlying principles are so indefinite that actual parity is, and will always remain, impossible of definition and achievement. Taken singly, the fighting ship is herself a combination of three great variables, protection, striking power, and speed. Throughout the two fleets no ships actually match. And beyond these three main factors lie other important considerations: seakeeping qualities, underwater integrity, steadiness for gunfire, and, greatest of all, material and what might be called spiritual war-readiness. Let these necessarily unequal ships be grouped in two fleets, built and based, not for war one against the other, but with varying conceptions of their war purposes, and parity again recedes into the domain of pure speculation. More important still, it should be remembered that neither tons nor guns alone win naval wars. Battles and wars are won by leaders gifted with great skill in handling fleets and imbued with a will to victory that approaches the immortal. Paul Jones in the old, ill-found Bonhomme Richard fought and took the crack British frigate Serapis. Nelson went in at the Nile at sundown over unknown and treacherous shoals, ‘ viewing all obstacles with the eye of a seaman determined on attack’; went in with six ensigns in his rigging, lest, in the confused darkness lit only by the flash of broadsides, someone might think that the admiral had struck; went in with the immortal signal fluttering from his yardarm, ‘Engage the enemy closer.’ Who can value the spirit of a Nelson or the dash and daring of a Paul Jones? Parity is a problem of cold statistics. Victory lies in the lap of the gods. The gods fight, not always on the side of the big battalions, but ever at the right hand of the soldier most eager for bloody and decisive battle.


The London Treaty bids fair to end until 1936, and possibly for all time, that costly and most dangerous feature of navies, competition for victory in terms of ever-increasing fleets. The number of all combatant types, not of capital ships alone, has been restricted. By setting a limit to the individual tonnage of the cruiser, destroyer, and submarine, it will arrest the persistent tendency of designers to push up the size of ships in a vicious circle of threat and counter-threat. No longer will heavy cruisers be built solely to outclass a rival’s latest light cruisers, and destroyer leaders to counter his destroyers. Neither fleets nor types can now be made better by the simple expedient of making them bigger.

Our avowed national policy of naval equality with the strongest sea power plus political isolation cannot be achieved for less than the cost of this ‘treaty navy,’We must either foot the bill or abandon the policy. There is no other choice. True to President Hoover’s promise, we have reduced our estimates to follow the curtailment of British ‘needs’ made by the Labor Government. We have even accepted a few cruisers not wholly approved by naval opinion. Parity, as far as it is possible to realize it, need not now be bought at the high levels on which the British delegation at Geneva insisted. As yet the Geneva figures were the lowest that could be offered by a hardpressed Tory admiralty facing, not our building, but the expansion of Continental fleets. It is barely possible that, ere the race is run, we shall be compelled to follow the increase in British tonnage made to match the powerful navy which France, facing two oceans, and remembering the attack of 1914 and the rejected Insurance Treaty of 1919, saw fit to demand in the name of a sacred national security Britain and America decline to reinsure.

The treaty immediately brings the British and American battleship divisions into equality in numbers. Their equality in fighting strength is a question so complex that even the bestinformed naval critic would hesitate to give a categorical answer. We must now disarm one old battleship and scrap two, the Florida and Utah. As with all fighting ships whose days are done, their commission pennants will be hauled down. Their ‘brave forgotten bulwarks’ will be broken up, and they will become a name, a tradition, like those gallant ships of other days, whose adventures adorn the reminiscences of old gunners and chief boatswains. Strength for victory will pass to a slight extent from the old and trusted ships of the line to the new and untried units of the cruiser forces.

Destroyer and submarine tonnage will in the future be limited to amounts far below the totals of these classes now borne on the Navy List. Hastily warbuilt ships, already well-nigh worn out in service, will be retired. Those retained must soon be replaced by new and improved construction, to match the building already completed by foreign navies. The finished United States fleet will contain approximately the number of torpedo-carrying ships which naval opinion holds necessary. The proportion of gunnery ships to torpedo craft and airplane carriers is not a fixed one. Its determination is as delicate a question as the balance of brass, strings, and wood winds in a symphony orchestra. As different compositions stress different instruments, so different wars stress different weapons. Nor is it possible to foretell the war groupings of naval ships. First there must be the battle fleet, at least the equal of the enemy, an armada whose power for victory must combine and synchronize the fierce striking force of all combatant types. In addition, cruisers will be called on to attack and defend commerce on the ocean trade routes, and submarines to patrol the focal sea areas.

With limited fleets, no one can predetermine the magic combination that will vouchsafe victory. ‘Only numbers,’ wrote Nelson, ‘can annihilate.’ In war any ship that can float and fight would be of some service. Of no type can either belligerent ever have ‘enough.’ Suffice it to say that, under the London Treaty, except for a comparative dearth of convertible merchant tonnage, our peace-time establishment will approach the ideal of well-rounded sea power.

While restricting the number of naval ships to be retained, the treaty greatly increases the cost of future building. For it must of necessity define the size of each type of combatant vessel. There is no better index than tonnage. But tonnage is a very costly measure. If in the future we must build all classes against tonnage limitations, construction costs will continue to mount. Since the introduction of ironclads during the Civil War, and the following half century’s developments, during which naval vessels have kept pace with that rapid advance in the arts which has transformed the whole world and given us the Age of the Machine, no more expensive factor has entered naval building than the limitation of individual ships by weight. Formerly the military features of a ship — weapons, armor, and speed — were determined in advance. The size of the ship was dictated by the size of the hull of ordinary construction sufficient to support these features.

To-day the designer is driven to embody great fighting power in light hulls. He has risen nobly to the challenge. Wonderful and costly is his handiwork. Hull construction has been refined. Expensive experiments in welding have been carried out to test its adequacy as a replacement for the heavier riveted construction. Aluminum has been used as a substitute for heavier and cheaper metals. Engines have lightened, and greatly increased in cost. Here the renascent German navy leads the field. At Versailles the victors dictated ten thousand tons as the maximum displacement for any new German ship. The vanquished bowed to the inevitable and signed. Ten years later they astonished the world by laying down the ErsatzPreussen, carrying on ten thousand tons displacement a striking and staying power of which the Versailles naval experts never dreamed. German constructors, loyal to their country and their cloth, carried out intensive scientific investigations until they wore able to produce within ten thousand tons a Diesel-driven ship carrying six quickfiring, high-velocity eleven-inch guns at twenty-eight knots on a well-armored hull. To the perplexity of their former enemies, they have evolved a new and troublesome type, a ship able to sink any cruiser that can catch her and able to elude any capital ship (except a few British battle cruisers) that can sink her.

Not only have tonnage limitations forced competing admiralties to great expense, but they have fathered types unknown before. The ‘Washington cruiser,’ a ship of ten thousand tons mounting eight-inch guns, is a direct outgrowth of the arbitrary figure mentioned at the Conference as the high limit for cruisers. Keen naval constructors, forbidden to build battleships, immediately set to work to see what could be done within the prescribed tonnage. Given ten thousand tons and eight-inch guns and a clean sheet of drawing paper, designers have achieved a type constructed, gunned, and engined with a skill undreamed before, and yet a type which some believe entirely illogical. To many experts, the treaty cruiser is neither a line-of-battle ship, taking her place like the battle cruiser as a fast wing in the deployed column of floating forts that give and take the hardest blows in the supreme fleet battle for control of the seas, nor yet the smaller scouting and screening ‘crash-in’ ship and commerce-stopping ship, which was the original conception of the cruiser’s function. So lightly are these vessels protected against the fire of guns similar to those they carry (for armor was sacrificed for engines and guns in the division of the limited tonnage) that a fight between them is likely to be as quickly decided as one between fast-shooting ‘two-gun men’ in a frontier saloon. On the first few salvos may rest the question of victory — or utter destruction. C’est magnifique, like the charge of the Light Brigade, mais ce n’est pas la guerre.


The London Conference found the United States woefully deficient in these new ‘treaty cruisers.’ In 1921 we relinquished the trident already within our grasp. No one can realize how great a sacrifice of completed sea power we made at the Washington Conference who did not watch the acetylene torches eating day by day into the armor of fighting ships whose like the world may never see again. While others folded up tentative blueprints, we destroyed completed hulls. It was a supremely generous gesture of which we may well be proud. Since then we have lived in a world of conferences and dreams, hoping against hope that the old, costly, useless armament race was ended. We have neglected to replace our torpedo flotillas. We long hesitated to follow the quickly renewed naval competition for preponderance in the most powerful type unrestricted at Washington, the ‘treaty cruiser.’

Now, under the London Treaty, we must build to match the finished postwar fleets of our naval rivals. Without the treaty, it is possible that they might not have willingly surrendered their lead. We might have found that a stern chase was a long chase. The treaty calls an almost complete halt on building abroad while we renew and expand our fleet. This means expenditure, not saving. And as long as fighting ships exist, economy will be foreign to naval building. In war, and in the preparation for war, there is no place for the cheaper, the second best. Nothing produced by mankind is so inherently expensive as modern naval material. To-day, with limited navies, no loyal officer will rest content until his country’s warships approach perfection itself. Rivalry, in the inevitable and ceaseless competition, is destined to pass from a race for quantity into a race for quality.

The greatest immediate economy is in the postponement of battleship replacements. But postponement is not of itself economy. That navy is cheapest in the end whose continued and progressive development keeps steadily abreast of the arts. Such a navy grows gradually from ship to ship, year by year discarding the old and creating the new. Its dockyards and the private shipbuilding plants that supplement them work constantly at an even and economical load, furnishing uninterrupted employment to a force of experts trained in fighting-ship construction. It escapes the pressure of politics seeking work for idle yards. It avoids large accumulations of ships built at the same time, like our destroyers and submarines laid down during the war, whose replacement must be undertaken simultaneously. If we are to have battleships, it would be far more economical to take in hand their replacement from year to year. It may yet be that in 1936 the taxpayer will rue the economies of 1930.

From time to time the press has held out the hope that the battleships of today will never be replaced, that the type will cease to exist and become extinct. Few naval officers, however, believe that these ships will not be continued as the central striking force of the United States navy. For, unlike other naval vessels, whose types and functions have always varied, the battleship has never changed. She is an absolute. Throughout the ages she has been the ship that can take to sea the greatest fighting power. Once as an oar-driven trireme her decks swarmed with the foot soldiers of Greece and Rome. As a galley she carried Don John of Austria to victory at Lepanto. Under Nelson she was a bluff-bowed, full-rigged ship, whose might was measured by the strength of her oaken timbers and the number of her broadside cannon. To-day she has become an armored ship firing great guns from revolving turrets to either side with uncanny accuracy up to and even beyond the range of sea visibility. Only her equals can meet her in open battle. In different forms, by internal defense or by surrounding herself with screening flotillas and aircraft, she has outlived the threat of fire ship, ram, torpedo, and airplane bomb. Naval thought cannot to-day put afloat greater striking and staying power for victory at sea than is embodied in the long gray column of superdreadnoughts. These battleships remain the ultimate expression of naval might. They exist for the same reason that all armament exists: preparation for war. If, in her present form, she be cribbed and confined by artificial treaty limitations, the battleship will reappear in some new, startling, and even more costly guise as a super-cruiser. The road to disarmament and economy lies, not in attempting to bind by restrictive formulæ weapons which, under the pressure of competitive war preparations, overstep all limits,

but in following a policy of international coöperation that will gradually make these weapons unnecessary. Since the fall of the Roman Empire, no nation has achieved sufficiency unto itself. Neither the mercenaries of Louis XIV nor the nation in arms that swept into every European capital under Napoleon could secure to France the mastery of the Continent. During three centuries the British navy has triumphed, but only in alliance with Continental armies. Once Disraeli could boast that the Empire ‘has nothing to fear from war. Her Majesty has fleets and armies which are second to none.’ But not to-day. Germany ‘in shining armor’ was supreme for a few short decades. But the end came.


In entering this international understanding on the relative size of naval armaments, what, if any, of our ‘glorious isolation’ have we surrendered? Into what entangling alliance have we been lured? Does the London Treaty in fact make our future security and tranquillity contingent on another nation’s action? The answer to these questions lies in the realization of the historical fact that our security and tranquillity have always been, and will always be, dependent on the action of foreign powers. Safety and peace are functions of foreign relations. In no cycle of world wars, since the first white man set foot on the soil of North America, have our people maintained neutrality. If in 1812 and 1917 we could not avoid being drawn into the maelstrom of world war, it is even less likely that we can escape a major conflict in the future. Despite its rejection by the United States Senate, the League of Nations stands as a living embodiment of a new tendency towards internationalism that supplements and cuts across the groupings of the powers. Year by year the nations become more closely knit by ties of trade and finance. The life of the world has in truth become international. A breach of the peace cannot to-day long remain merely an Asiatic, a Balkan, or a Mediterranean question. It will of necessity become a world question. Of that nation which breaks its plighted word, and, by taking up arms in offensive war, lights everywhere the fires of wrath that blood alone can quench, future historians may well write as Macaulay wrote of Frederick the Great: —

On the head of Frederick is all the blood which was shed in a war which raged during many years and in every quarter of the globe, the blood of the column of Fontenoy, the blood of the mountaineers who were slaughtered at Culloden. The evils produced by his wickedness were felt in lands where the name of Prussia was unknown; and, in order that he might rob a neighbor whom he had promised to defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel, and red men scalped each other by the Great Lakes of North America.

On every side our affairs touch those of foreign powers. No nation can live sufficient unto itself. And many are the hostages we have given to fortune. We support a doctrine that the political life of a hemisphere is our concern, and ours alone. In forbidding entrance to those who seek to share the envied prosperity of a continent, we have used the dangerous formula of race discrimination. There are two paths along which our future may move: armed isolation, or international coöperation. Those sinister rivalries which lead to ‘inevitable’ wars can and will be checked, not alone by the naval power of a single nation armée pour la paix, but even more by the growing tendency of all powers to share the burden of maintaining world peace. If we now build to the agreed limits of the London Treaty, we are assured of a navy adequate to defend our isolation. While granting to us the inalienable right of self-defense, the very act of negotiating the treaty invites us to further coöperation. Lest we rest too secure in our armed isolation, it would be well for us to recall that, not in Washington, but in the chanceries and war offices of Europe, were set in motion those dark forces that drew young Americans to their graves in the Argonne. World peace and world wars of necessity involve all nations.

Throughout modern history, European alliances, grouping and regrouping in the endless strife for power and security, have affected the destiny of our people. As an ally of Bourbon foreign policy we won our independence. As Napoleon’s associate we fought the War of 1812. The Monroe Doctrine, that courageous declaration of policy made by the youngest of republics in the face of the Holy Alliance of the oldest of monarchies, rested in those early days on the sanction of a British Foreign Minister, who chose to ‘call the New World into existence to redress the balance of the old.’ From the very beginning the fortunes of the United States have been interwoven in the fabric of world development. The future bids fair to be no different from the past. Our peace and security will rest, not alone on our strength for isolation, but of necessity on the action of other nations as well.

The London Treaty, despite its failure to satisfy those who hoped to see competitive navies disappear from the seas, stands as an accomplishment in the field of international coöperation. Time was when no nation would brook a question on the size of its armed forces. The Bourbon army was the king’s personal army. Its size was no one’s business but his. The German fleet, Tirpitz implied in his conversations with Colonel House, was Germany’s affair, and hers alone.

We have come a long way from those days. The size of armaments has become a question of world concern, writ large for all to read in an open covenant openly arrived at. It does not promise us, and no agreement reached by international understanding can ever promise us, the overwhelming material superiority which alone can vouchsafe easy and immediate victory. No nation to-day can achieve a menacing naval preponderance, except by lavishing treasure and risking war in an out-andout armament competition. Nor does it bind us to an inferiority that spells certain defeat. It gives us a fleet against which no other naval power or combination of powers will lightly take up arms. In the western Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Pacific west to Hawaii, our squadrons can carry the proud motto that was once displayed aboard a British destroyer in the days of Admiral Lord Fisher, Ut veniant omnes — ‘Let ’em all come!’ If the world must again go mad and war bursts in upon our country that asks only for peace, the London Treaty leaves the issue to the gods of battle and to the well-tried skill, the loyalty, and the devotion of naval officers, whose task it now becomes to wring superiority in fighting power from a fleet of strictly limited tonnage. Behind the fleet they will build, the country can rest secure in its position as a great nation, spiritually, if not politically, the ally of those new forces which seek to bring all peoples nearer together in an effort to prevent war. With the building of the ‘treaty navy,’ America will come of age and will take unto herself the strength and the inescapable duties of greatness.