GERMANY'S NAVAE PROGRAMME.
IMPERIAL GOVERNMENT'S ALTERNATIVES. COMMENTS BY "THE TIMES." PERTH, March 25. "When the mail by the R.M.S. Omrah left England the revelations of German naval construction had not been made but the tendency of the Government to economise in naval construction was being sharply commented on in the House of Commons. On the 18th ult. the Prime Minister was asked by one of his followers whether his attention had been drawn to the possibility of an agreement between Germany and Great Britain "if we consented to reduce the speed of our naval construction." Mr Asquith answered "that, as far as he was aware, the German Government adhered to the view that their naval programme was fixed to suit their own needs, and would not be influenced by anything we may do. But they were also of opinion that it was natural for us to take what steps we might think necessary to protect our own interests. He trusted that the recent visit of his Majesty had made it clear that the naval expenditure was not to be regarded as implying friction between the two nations. "The Times" of the 23rd ult., commenting on the question, says: — This country has been in no hurry to enlarge its naval programme in response to the recent enlargement of the naval programmes of other Powers, and especially Germany. We can wait no longer, unless we are to run the risk of being distanced in tho ra.ee. Either th<! Government are preparing to reject the two-Power standard, as lately denied by the late Minister, or they cannot reduce this provision recommended by the Admiralty for the purpose of maintaining it. In the former alternative they must reckon with" the country, find the reckoning will assuredly he heavy. It will be still more heavy, if they decline to accept the latter alternative, while pretending to maintain the two-Power standard. We do not believe the Government run any appreciable risk from their followers in the Commons if tbey pursue an absolutely straightforward' course.
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