MR. ASQUITH'S HINT. EVE OF A NEW DEVELOPMENT. WHICH MAY AFFECT POLICY. «y Cable.—Press Association.—Copyright) (Received 8.45 a.m.) LONDON, April 18. Mr. Asquith, in a speech at Glasgow, characterised the Cawdor memorandum as an electioneering pamphlet. Had the Liberals proceeded on its lines Britain would have been in possession of an unnecessary number of backward specimens of ships in a constantly progressive family. Already vessels of the Neptune's class were thirty per cent better than the original Dreadnought. '"At this moment," lie continued, "we may be on the eve of a new development in naval construction, which may Vitally affect naval policy, hence it is undesirable to order the contingent Dreadnoughts immediately. The sole issue between the critics and ourselves is whether we will bind ourselves to order the extra vessels at once, or leave the question to be determined later in the year." "The magnificent colonial offers," he continued, "were enhanced by the fine generous spirit in which they were made. Nothing could be more gracious or tactful, or could indicate a more generous and patriotic conception of the common obligations of the Empire." Speaking without consultation with his colleagues, he suggested the possibility of a conference between the Colonies and the Mother Country regarding future respective shares in the great independent work of naval defence.
RUMOURS OF A LOAN.
MONEY MARKET NERVOUS. (Received 9.30 a.m.) LONDON, April 18. The money market is in a nervous condition, partly owing to the disturbed condition of affairs in Turkey, and partly through unconfirmed rumours that the Government intends to raise a 25 million loan for naval construction purposes by means of ten-year bonds. The Paris and Berlin Bourses are unsettled.
SUGGESTION BY THE TIMES. -,
LONDON, April 17. The "Times" comments on Canada's proposal to discuss the matter of defences \eith the Admiralty, and the Australian Ministry's request for the Admiralty's views in regard to the Commonwealth navy. Lord llilner's dictum, that co-opera-tion is not a question of shifting the burdens but of developing fresh centres of strength, is repeated by the "Times"; and though the Mediterranean ie the natural station for any Dreadnoughts donated, the paper advises the Admiralty to so apply the money from Australia and New Zealand that the ships may at least visit the colonies. IStill better, it says, would it be to permit the contributed ships to co-operate with the Commonwealth fleet of destroyers. As possibly Dreadnoughts may not bo considered the best type of vessel for that station, the inonoy, it is suggested, might be devoted to the building of two or three cruisers of the best sort, for the purpose referred to. The "Times" approves of Mr. Fisher's speech at Gyinpie. referring to the policing of the Western Pacific. Reuters Agency has published a synopsis of the Commonwealth naval dispatch.
ORGANISATION DEFECTIVE. LONDON, April 17. Sir John Colomb, in a letter to Mr. Arthur Henderson (chairman of the Independent Labour party), dealing with the Labour party's communication to Australia, says that Dreadnoughts are over-rated. He approves of the suggestion that colonial contributions should be on business lines and not determined by waves c impulse. The Admiralty organisation, he fears, is defective as compared with Germany for modern conditions.
(Received 10.40 a.m.)" MELBOURNE, this day. Senator Pearce, Minister for Defence, declines to publish the communication from the Commonwealth to the Admiralty.
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