The Akaroa Mail. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1915. OUR NEW PACIFIC POSSESSIONS.
Ihk seizing of German pome;? sions in tbe has presented another problem to the British Em pire. New G ainea and the neigh bouring islam ta are purely troiical countries and cannot be worked by a wie population. Australia ha? inn-ady -the g r*ae<f difficulty in mak ing the vac k Northern Tenitory a white nun's cunuy, and rfrjw that New Gumei t beeu uddtd the prob lem becom , ca rnoie complex. The possessions must be knpt in British hands, a», jcl tbe Northern Territory must alsr , ht) dfvt'lopi-d by Australia Toe p>-9i nnd po en i'tiuiyp oS" this gree $ uofcicai legum re atiii avers
mv eh a subject of debate, but accor ding to a leading Australian news paper, if the Northern Territory is potentially a white man's country, Australia has not as yet been able to settle any considerable white com munity there. In British Papua, also, Australia has had under its control for more than a quarter of a century another black man's country, tbe go vermpent and development of which still present many unsolved problems Tbe failure of the Commonweath bo far to vigorously promote the settle ment and development of tbe tropical territories under its control is no doubt largely due to the fact that ample unoccupied territory is still available to its population in temperate zones, i but the comparatively unoccupied tro ! pical areas, now considerably aug rnented by conquest from the Ger mans, nevertheless constitute a heavy responsibility. An almost empty Northern Territory can only be re. garded as a standing menace to Aus tralia's future safety, and to some ex tsmt, though not quite so urgently, similar eoimideraiions apply to New Guinea and tha other island posses eions which have lately been added to by conquest.
In tbe administration of these tropic il possessions, problems of colonisation and settlement are interwoven wi th those of defence, and stratpgic cnri "iderations will no doubt fully rtcoioeile Australia to tbe retention of posse ssions for which she should other 1 wis® have little use. The military oubiooJi: must, in fact, largely dominate tbe fu'L're policy of boih Australia and v 9w Zealand so far as outlying Pacific possessions are concerned. Even iri 'ha present war tbe German Pacific' Iphuids bad for a tirnp a military value to the eaftny as affording sites for wireless aiatioua in tou cb with their
raiding cruisers, and in other ways, and ordinay prudence suggests that these islands should never again be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. In one respect the colonic tion and development of tbß Pacfio Islands ' should, present less difficult problems than the effective occupation of the. Northern territory, for tbe con which have, led to tbe ('lor. tion of tbe White Australia policy are by no means so weighty where j ome of the island groups are concerned. That New Guinea is not a -■unable field for white colonisation hag been pretty conclusively demon strnted. ■ Germany, though poorly equipped with colonies, and bavirg therefore a much greater incentive to develop her existing foreign posses* ions, was no more successful in mak ing German New Guinea a white man's country than'the Australians have been in the British section of the territory The British Empire, how ever, has not only been more success fnl than Germany in governing and developing her tropical possessions, but has much greater resources to draw upon in tbe future prosecution of tbe same great work. Borne ppo le are of opinion that tbe effective occu pation of New Guinea, which presents «o many difficulties and obstacles from the standpoint of white colonizn tion, may be accomplished successfully hy enlisting tbeco operation of natives if Irdia or some other section of tbe coloured population of the Empire, At all events, it is clearly vital to the fn ure security of Australia and New Zealand tnat tbe possessions formerly beld by Germany in the Pacific should remain henceforth in British hands, and the work will be only half done unless possession is v accompanied by 'he adoption of a policy having as. its definite objective the occupation of rh.'se islands by a population capable, should the need arise, of taking part in their defence.
A cablegram published on Monday contains portion of an article in which th--- Pvrtnoy "Daily Telegraph," commenting on Mr Fisher's visit to New Z«ttiand, utges the necessity for reciprocity between Australia and New Zealand, and mutual systematising of their defence policies. Comenting on this cablegram the "Dominion" says. It is certainly not right that Austalia should bear alone the white man's burden in the Pacfic, and the "Telegraph takes up an unassailable position in urging broadly that the time is ripening for concerted action. So far as naval defence is concerned. Imperial interests of Australia and New Zealand will obviously be best served by some form of co operation between the Commonwealth and the Dominion, and it is fqually true that the control of the British Pacific possessions must be regarded as a responsibility, of which New Zealand cannot in justice refuse to bear a part. Tbe war has broadened this responsibility, and brought it sharply into prominence, and as the London "rimes" points out the service rendered by Australia and New Zealand in i he-, enpture of German posses sions in the Pacific entitles them to be consulted on tbe terms of peace Much m;y be accomplished by con ferenc«i between tan Australian nnd New Zealand Governments, but the problems and responsibilities centring in the British possesions, as weM as some other questions which ihe war has brought into prominence, are of Imperial scope, and should be ap proached from an Imperial standpoint. The Impeiiai organisation is standing the tesS of the war so well that many of tha larger questions concerning its future developernent may very well be allowed to siand over in the meantime but-such quasi ioti3 aa must arise re garding the future control of the cap tured Colonies are in quite a different category and demand more immediate conderation and treatment