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THE GREAT WHITE FLEET.

RETURN TO AAIERICA. ADMIRAL SPERRY TALKS. (From Our Special Correspondent.) LOS ANGELES (California), Mar. 3. "My opinion is that if the United \ ; tate*3 ever gets into trouble west of he Hawaiian Group. Australia will come unning along to our aid with the speed ~ if the wind." Thus spoke Rear-admiral Sperry on lis return to Hampton Road= with the Atlantic battleship fleet after the memoriblo round-the-world trip of the warhip?. The Admiral brought out a scrap wok containing accounts of the fleet's mtourage from the time it left the roads in December 18, 1907. up to the present. rurning to the pages devoted to Au3:ralia :ind New Zealand, he.added: "The newspapers everywhere greeted is u-ith marked cordiality. Here you see what the Press of Australasia had to say. Never in my life did I observe •o much enthusiasm for a foreign flag." The Admiral said it had been an instructive voyage. He went on: "I will not say—no one knows, no one positively :an say: —but if someone tells you that the trip averted a -scrap.' don't you call him a liar. I would not now wish to have the fleet divided. I know nothing of what.is going on in Washington. Surely there can be no trouble pending: but at the same time we should keen cue ships intact. Let Congress build another fleet a≤ strong a3 this one. Let the Pacific have one as big as the Atlantic. 1 see no reason why navai schools, naval .shipyards, dry docks, etc., should not 'be. maintained along the Pacific ( oa.«t, all the way from Portland to S.m Diego. This country must protect the other Republics lying south of us. We can stand for no invasion. '■This idea of dividing our fleet, sending half of i: back to the Pacific, is a Xv! one." he continued. "Have another fleet for the Pacific if you like, but don't divide this one. Suppose Germany should get ansry and want a fight. I do not say that Germany ever will desire trouble with this or any other country. Surely she is now nur friend. I am simply using German , .' as an illustration. With our rieet cut in twain, as. now. proposed, German , .' could come over and smash the everlasting daylights out of us, couldn't shef And. answering his own question, he said: "Why. to be sure. This nation will be a * secure and peaceful nation! when we Have a large navy, when we excel Great Britain in numbers, guns, sailors, an.i ships. Until that time comes we wi! 1 be in constant danger. We should have :>. Pacific fleet powerful enough to defy even.' nation. ".Japan couldn't do us any harm, even if she desired to do so. She has not any fighting force. She isn't building any new battleships. On the Pacific, away from her own shores, floating about idly and trusting to luck, she has some five or six old. played-out fighters; but they are not headed this way, and never will* come this way. She is patching up her old ships." The Admiral took the newspaper man ;to his quarter.-. The only picture that j adorned the walk of the luxuriously ' appointed rooms was a photograph of : Admiral Togo, presented when the fleet ! nas in .Japanese waters, and on it was i inscribed: — "To Admiral Charles Sperry, with the compliments and best wishes of his friend, Count Togo.' , "Xh* , safest way to permanent peace." proceeded the Admiral, "is to be in pos- : of-iion of a big. a commanding navy, J not a threatening one. not one to steam 'about with a chip on her shoulder, but I one that could «ro out and make the j others run like scared wolves ii there j was occasion. I "1 have had my day-"' he said after a uhiie. somewhat sadly. "I soon will i reach my sixty-second birthday. In Sepj tember i shall go with Evans and Schley !and other:—on the retired list. You • know 1 have been in the service of the navy 43 years. since I was 14 years oi . age." 1 have in that period seen our navy rise trom insignificance to grandeur. (iod knous we have the spirit. We havt always had it. By constantly pounding away at Congress" we have at last got the nucleus of a navy. It isn't half bi| J enough.; but with these men who have j brought it around the world with mc j I think I could take it, as any othei I Admiral could do, and make an offensive I power feel that the United States was a. Government that had more powder more shot, more men to fire them, thai was ever created since the dawn o: ] i time. J "But how much more secure we woulc : : feel if we had the- Pacific and the At ' iantic and all American coasts strongl; ' I protected. I mean by that, coast defeno . 'and warships nearby to keep the enern; j i awstv. Only in reoent years have w< ' : had V.i:,. to f"ar for the western citiei ' i For niysetf. I do not fear for them now ' j But recently certain questions hay J arisen that may bring about friction. ' ! "Suppose there should come a conflic •! to-morrow. How futile would be ou f i elforts to protect Hawaii and the Philii - pines—-that is, for the moment. I thin that Congress should realise our positio i in this respect. We don"t care for ware I please God. may another on*' never com 3 ! —but one never know-. i > "When a :nu-h younger man I laughe <i at the suggestion that there would t j a conflict between our own people. Y( s ; one came. It blooded the -.oil of bot e'eorfd and s'.iuh. But at lasc we gc t peace. And with it we secured unit; c ■ By the common ties of blood, of trad c tion. of heritage, of love., from tha-t wi r. ! there has been born a new nation, y ! new people afraid of nobody, with i. : sacred regard for the rights and feelin; ) i of all others; but at the same time t< c are keeping our guns free from Tust."

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THE GREAT WHITE FLEET. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 83, 7 April 1909

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