The speech"made by Mr. W. M. Hughes at the Imperial Conference on the question of communications deserves to be remembered as a very clear statement of the case for wireless telegraphy. For years the idea of an " Imperial wireless chain " has been played with more o,v less seriously, with disappointing results. The last step towards it was a Parliamentary inquiry, which produced a report just over a year ago, since "-hich time nothing seems to hay. been done. There is a hint of the Parliamentary Committee's finding in the report of the Imperial Conference debate. The idea of using mediumpowered stations is apparently more popular than Mr. Hughes likes, and such stations are the backbone of the "wireless chain" scheme outlined by Sir Henry Norman's committee last year. Mr. Hughes, in his speech, laid it down as a first principle that for reasons of State and strategy Australia and Britain should be able to communicate with each other direct, without any chance of messages being he!«i up by local conditions at some other place used as a relay point. The more favoured plan .of lowerpowered stations necessitates " relaying " the messages. Mr. Hughes has common-sense arguments behind hire, but he is opposed by technical and financial considerations. Very high-powered stations may not be coruniercialjy sound; but it may reasonably be suggested that, if Australians want for strategic reasons to be able to call up Eng-. land direct, they should be allowed to build a station able to make the call, so long as the extra cast is not unfairly loaded on to other people's shoulders. O» the general principle of developing radio-tele-graphy on an Imperial scale, few will dispute that there is a great role for wireless to play, even if only as a mere supplement to cabletelegraphy. The immediately interesting question ie as to how far the development of the wireless scheme will be. promoted by the attention of the " Supreme Council of the Emoire."
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