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Here a very important consideration appears to have been overlooked. In the case of large capital ships which Booner or later must be prepared to face a battle, a formula of relative strength can be found which will preclude offensive operations in the case of widelyseparated combatants. This principle also applies to cruisers intended to act as tactical units of a fleet. But
in the case of cruiser-raiders and submarines, which rely for their success on evasion, it is not primarily the relative strength but the actual number at work which governs the situation. The answer to ten capital ships is fifteen capital ships, but the answer to thirty submarines and thirty cruiser-raiders is something much more complicated than forty submarines and forty cruisers. It may be 200 destroyers, 100 cruisers, and a host of antisubmarine craft. It can be accepted that twenty light cruisers, if accompanied by a proper quota of fast fuel ships (which are not covered by the agreement), could seriously menace our great trade-routes in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean. The Karlsruhe was able to maintain herself in the Atlantic for four months in spite of half a dozen British cruisers on her track, and was destroyed, not by them but by an internal explosion. If twenty light cruisers were to be let loose on the trade-routes of the Empire, it would require something much nearer eighty than twenty ships to sweep them up. The above-mentioned tonnage would permit of only about fifty light cruisers and 150 destroyers,* which is certainly not a very great array to meet a vigorous attack on our trade-routes by light cruisers and submarines. It would have been preferable to leave the tonnage of destroyers, which play an important defensive part in the escort and protection of trade, unlimited, and to limit 'cruisers to a certain definite number or a proportion just sufficient for the work of the fleet, say 50 per cent. of the number of capital ships.
The same argument applies to submarines. Here again a formula of proportionate tonnage does not assist the main end of the Conference, which is clearly trying
• Fifty cruisers at 4000 tons and 150 destroyers at about 1700 tons = 455,000 tons; or the proportion and tonnage might be altered, e.g. to 25 cruisers at 5000 and 160 destroyers at 2000 tons = 445,000 tons.
to discover a formula that will reduce naval war to the level of defensive operations. In the case of submarines the following tonnage has been proposed: for Great Britain 90,000 tons, for the U.S. 90,000, for Japan 54,000 tons; and there is again no obligation on any Power possessing a larger tonnage on Nov. 11 to scrap any of it till replacement begins. This tonnage would permit of forty-five submarines of 1000 tons and ten large oceangoing submarines of 4000 tons. Here again the endeavour to reduce naval war to a defensive level is defeated, for a large ocean-going submarine can remain on a traderoute for some months independent of any supplies, and is more dangerous to Great Britain than to any other Power. This is evidently the ground of Great Britain's proposal to abolish submarines altogether. It is not quite clear whether this means a cessation of their construction, or whether Great Britain is aiming at a general prohibition of their use. It may be doubted whether the latter is practicable. The submarine has gained a recognised place in naval warfare, and cannot be regarded as an illegitimate weapon merely because Germany put it to an illegitimate use. Again, it has a distinct field of use in coastal defence; and the imposition of a limit of 600 to 800 tons would have reduced it to the level of defensive armaments.
But this would apply only to Pacific strategy, for in European waters a submarine of 600 tons would operate quite effectively against British trade. To meet this contingency, a limitation in total tonnage was required. Great Britain was unable to persuade the Conference to agree to the abolition of submarines; but the United States met her half-way by proposing to reduce the maximum submarine tonnage to 60,000 tons each for the United States and Great Britain, and to the status quo for the other powers.*
France, clinging to an exaggerated estimate of the defensive value of submarines, refused to accept these figures and held out stubbornly for 90,000 tons. In the face of her unyielding attitude, the proposals to restrict submarine tonnage broke down. The French opinion of
* Present submarine tonnage in American figures (British figures in brackets)-United States 95,000 (83,540), Great Britain 82,464 (80,500), France 42,000 (28,360), Japan 32,000 (32,000), Italy 22,000 (18,250).
the submarine cannot be accepted. It could not prevent the transport of fifteen millions of men to her aid during the war. It has a sphere of defensive utility in reconnaissance work, and for this purpose the tonnage she possesses will meet all her needs.
It will be seen that, while in capital ships the greatest sacrifices are made by the United States, in cruisers and submarines Great Britain has most at stake, and is asked to make the principal concession. The sacrifice, however, in the case of cruisers is not an immediate one, for Great Britain possesses a great superiority in this type of craft,* which will continue for at least three or four years, as none of them need be scrapped.
Any agreement reached at Washington must closely affect the personnel of the navy; but in the wholesale reduction that is pending we should remember that, the fewer ships we have, the greater is the necessity for careful instruction and training. The greater number of ships scrapped, the greater the necessity for expenditure on the Naval Staff College.
Viewing the proposals from a strictly naval point of view, two grounds of criticism remain: first that cruisers were not limited to a definite number of units, say fifteen, thirty, and ten for the United States, Great Britain, and Japan respectively, with a maximum displacement of 4500 tons; and secondly, that the tonnage of submarines was not restricted to 800 tons. But the whole question has another and bigger aspect. An agreement on naval armaments must give a great impetus to the cause of world-peace. The Conference represents a sincere effort to further that cause; and, though we may risk something of our maritime position, we tend to gain with the whole world in anything that promotes a lasting peace. The work done at Washington is a great step towards this; and it would be unwise to measure by dreadnought strength alone.
ALFRED C. DEWAR.
At present some sixty-nine cruisers to Japan's thirteen and the
United States' fifteen (Brassey's 'Naval Annual,' 1921).
Art. 18.-OVERSEAS POLITICAL CONFEDERATION.
1. Commercial Federation. By J. Davidson.
2. The West Indies and the Empire. By H. de R. Walker. Unwin, 1901.
3. The Empire and the Century. By C. S. Goldman Murray, 1905.
4. The British West Indies, their History, Resources, and Progress. By A. E. Aspinall. Pitmans, 1912.
5. The Present Economic Position in the West Indies By W. A. Gould. Geographical Teacher,' 10. 1920.
And other works.
ONE of the most pronounced-if but little notedeconomic movements within the Empire occurring within the past few years has been that towards a political union of Canada and the British West Indies. Since the summer of 1920 there has been in existence a commercial union, formed under the auspices of the Canada-West India Trade Agreement, giving to Canadian goods a tariff preference amounting, in some cases, to as much as 90 per cent., while a preferential tariff became effective on Sept. 1, 1921, by proclamation. But this amount of preferential treatment is deemed, in some quarters, to be insufficient to promise complete unity throughout the Empire. Something stronger, appealing to the nurse of manly sentiment,' is needed. The earnest desire has been, and is, for a British West Indian Dominion, brought about through political consolidation of these separate and individual colonies. This view forms a real issue, one which has been in no way promoted by propaganda, but declared out of the depths of what is called 'public opinion.'
While sentiment, no doubt, has played, and plays, a part, there is an undercurrent of solid commercialism which has found modified expression on the lips of some of Canada's distinguished statesmen, not the least of whom have been Sir R. L. Borden, Prime Minister of Canada from 1911 to 1920, and Leader of the Conservative Party since 1901; Sir G. E. Foster, Minister of Trade and Commerce in the late (Meighen) Union Government; and Lord Shaughnessy. While the Canadian Government, as such, has not endorsed political federation
between the Dominion and the British West Indies, and while the Canadian-West Indian League has not officially considered political federation, Sir E. R. Dawson, on the other hand, has even put forward concrete proposals for such a political federation of the British West Indian Governments-a movement which he considers is destined to pave the way to some thoroughly efficient system of administration and a consolidation of the individual strengths of His Majesty's Overseas possessions. In the mean time, it is interesting to note that Canada has recently made new proposals to the Government of Cuba for the arrangement of an unofficial convention, whereby certain privileges would be granted for stated Canadian products, and reciprocal privileges for Cuban products.
Such a combination is calculated by others, equally prominent in Imperial politics, to provide a further link in the chain of Empire by constituting one great British Dominion in an area where British influence to-day, more than ever, needs to be exerted. Public opinion, as reflected in the Dominion press, would appear to have been deeply and widely stirred in favour of this proposal; the fact that Canada has a strong and growing commercial interest in the West Indies pre-supposes that she possesses also a strong political interest. Interest makes all seem reason that leads to it'; and where vested interests are, there exists to a certain extent political influence also. A prominent statesman, defining the attitude of the Dominion, has declared that
'Canada cannot afford to give the West Indian colonies the advantages of free exports and imports to and from her markets, and herself meet the loss of revenue resulting therefrom, if there is only a trade agreement between these countries; neither could she allow the British West Indies to participate in her more favourable reciprocity treaties with the United States and other foreign countries, nor in her increased transportation facilities, unless there be a political union which would also give the Dominion the right to protect the colonies from retaliation and other foreign pressure.'
While advancing this argument, care has been taken to indicate that no coercive pressure is intended. On the contrary, the Dominion insists most scrupulously that the initial proposals on the political side must come
Vol. 237.-No. 470.