"FRIENDS, WOT FOES."
England's command ojp the sea. Germany not envious. interview with the consulGENERAL. A representative of the Sydney "Evening News" interviewed Dr. Inner, the German Consul-General, on March 18, regarding the statements cabled in connection with the British Xavy Estimates. I>r. Inner stated that the figures quoted by Mr. HcKenna, First Lord of the Admiralty, as to the number of German battleships that would be completed by the year 1912 were correct. The German programme had, however, been long ago decided upon, and when the figures were analysed it would be sten that Germany really only would build 18 battleships in 10 years. That would work out at only nearly two battleships a year. The figures he was in possession of showed that the German programme up to 1917 was as follows:—1908, 3 battleships, 1 big cruiser, 2 small cruisers, and 12 torpedto boats; 1909, 1910, and 1911, ditto; 1912, 1 battleship, 1 big cruiser, 2 small cruisers, and 12 torpedto boats; 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, and 1917, ditto. It was explained that this programme had already been published to the whole world. Germany had fixed upon the number of ships, and had voted the money to build them long ago. The total at the end of 1917 would be 18 battleships, 10 big cruisers, 20 email cruisers, and 120 torpedo boats. Why 10 years was mentioned was because the first Dreadnoughts for Germany were laid down in 1907, and it was expected that these would be in commiEsion by the end of this year. Three more battleships were now being built by Germany simply in accordance with the programme originally laid. down.
Dr. Inner added that the Germans were glad to see England a great sea power. "We want to see England still a great sea power," he said. "We believe it will make for peace. War is the worst thing in the world, and no one knows that better than Germany. Now, does not everyone know that England could have attacked us every day when we had no fleet at all, and still she did not do so? That is why I say we want England still to be a great sea power. But because a man builds himself a strong house is that any reason why his neighbour should be envious? Germany must make herself as strong as possible, in view of peace not always existing in Europe. You saw that there was nearly trouble over the Balkans the other day, and there may not always be peace. But let _re say plainly, as I have always bee- doing ever siaos I came here, that
there-i_ the best of good feelfdg in' Germany for England, and I- hope there -always will be. Look at the splendid reception the King of England got in Ber—t the other- day. Why, ". the same blood flows in the veins of the Kaiser and King Edward, and does any sensible and clear-headed man think for a moment that the two would have met in such a friendly and kind-hearted way if there was any intention of Germany trying to goad England?" ■ "-- •
"According to the London "Times * statement cabled, Doctor, the German dockyards* and factories are working night, and day, and the German Government in some cases is paying 25 per cent above the original German naval estimate," said the reporter.
"I do- not believe a word of it. In the first place, the German Government cannot pay a penny more than has already been agreed upon to be paid. That was oil fixed up long ago, and the programme must go on in the way originally mapped out. There can be no question about that. But, really, it is - pity that such a message has been cabled out to Australia. I can only think that it has been done with the intention of causing irritation in the public mind of Australia. It. is just as good as saying, 'Take care, take care, we are building the, fleet, and we will attack you.' Now, tha-t sort of thing is not right. But it is tome consolation to know that all clever men and men of clear spirit are doing all they can for peace between Germany and England. The public cannot, of course, help having a cable like that thrust upon them, but I want them to understand from mc, as the representative of Germany in Australia, that we are doing all we can to take away that irritation. We are making preparation for emergencies, just the 6ame as other nations are doing; but, in my opinion, it is not the duty of the cable man to try and make the people of Australia nervous. I can only say again that Germany has no ill-feeling towards Englanl, and we want to see the Germans and the English as good friends as their own two Kings. I have been trying all my life to foster that friendly feeling, and I am glad to Bay that Australians appreciate it, and treat ail Germans in Australia with the utmost kindness, consideration and re- , epect. May that good feeling always exist —in spite of the cable-man. We 'are friends, not foes."
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