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GERMAN DUPLICITY, Issue 15694, 7 January 1915
KAISER AND THE BRITISH NAVY. REMARKABLE DOCUMENT. The subjoined letter, written to ihe Into Lord Twoedmouth hy the- German Emperor, has 'been made public for the first tim» by the 'Morning Post.' A brief summary of its contents was cabled out early in November. It is almost a, literal transcrifst tof the original document. T'iie sigrAificanco of the" letter can lie understood only in the light of the naval and political situation of six years ago. During the preceding year (1907) The Hague_ Conference, ostensibly convened in the interests of international peace, had roeolverl it--e!f into a committee to determine how t<> diminish the severities of war. There was a. section of opinion in this country which was persuaded that the only method. oT seeking peace was to reduce the Navy and fhe 'Army. At the same time the Imperial German navy Mas making swift an-.l steady progress. * and its menace to British supremacy aroused considerable j alarm in thin country. It should bo _ re-j mcrnbered that the reduced Navy Ivsti- 1 mates of 1903-09 were followed by nn- ! tioiral alarm, lire publication of AdmPrai j Lord Charles Beresford's shipbuilding pro- , ' gramme, and a large increase, in the Estimales of the following year. The original , letter has been followed carefully textu- | ally to occasional mistakes in spelling: — ! TEXT' OF THE LETTER. ! Berlin, 14/2/1908. [ My Dear Lord Tweedmouth, —May I in- \ ivuAe oin your precious time and ask for j a few moments' attention to these lines j T venture to submit to you? T see by the j daily papers and reviews that a battle j royal is being fought about the needs of : tho Navy. I therefore venture to furnish j voir with some information anent the Gcr- | man naval programme, which it seems is i being quoted by all parties to further their j ends by trying to frighten the peaceable j British'taxpayer with it as a bog}-. j During my last pleasant visit io your 1 hospitable, shores I tried to make _ your i authorities -understand what tire drift of j the German naval policy is-. Brit I am \ afraid that my explanations have been I either- misunderstood or not believed, be- j cause I see th? "German danger" and the j "German challenge to British naval_ .-tr- , premacy" constantly quoted in the differ-] cut articles. This "phrase, if not repudi- ! ated or corrected, town broadcast over j the country, and daily dinned into Bri- i tisli ears, might in the end create most de- i plorable remits. 1 therefore deem it ad-j visable as Admiral of the Fleet to lay j some, facts before yon to enable you to see clearly. If. is absolutely nonsensical and untrue ihat tho German" Naval Bill is to to provide a navy meant as a, "challenge to British naval eupremacy." '.Fhe German fleet, is built against nobody at all. It is solelv built for Germany's needs in relation ' with that country's rapidly-growing trade. The Naval Bi'l* was sanctioned by the Imperial TVirijament, and jrabliehf:!! i ten vears ago. and may be had at any large* bookseller's. There is nothing sue | prising, tecret. or underhand in it, and , every reader may study the whole course mapped out for the development of the German navv with the greatest ease. Trie law is being adhered to. and provides for about 30/40 ships of the line in 19510. The number of ships fixed by the j Bill included the fleet then actually in j commission, notwithstanding its materia! j being already old and far surpassed by the ; contemporary types in tho other foreiei: ■ m-,vies. The extraordinary rapidity with, j which improvements were introduced i't j types of battleships, annamen-ts, and ar- : mor made tire fleet in commission obsolete before tho building prorrra-mmo providing; the .additions io it wa.s half finished. The j obsolete fleet had to be struck off tlir li'pt. ,' thus leaving a, gap lowering the sla.ndard | prescribed by ihe Bill. This _ ga.p was | stopped by using tho finished ships io re- \ place the" obsolete, ones, instead of being; added to ihem a.s originally intended, j Therefore, instead of ft.eadily increasing j the "standing" fleet by regular.-idditionsw it ram? to a, wholesale rebuilding of ihe entire German navy. Our actual programme in course of execution i- prae- ' ficnNy only an oxeh?tr:re of old m;.ferial ■ for new, hut not an addition to the r.nm- ! , bet- of units originally laid down hy the Bill ien vears ago, 'which is being ad- 1 hercd to. * ' _ ! It seems io me that, the main fault in ihe discussion croiue; on in Ihe papers is i lie permanent ventii.-itinc of ihe fio-oalb'd ' V i or mor" Power standard, and then I otib- exemplifying on one Power, vihieh is . invariably Germany. I: is fair to suppose that each nation builds and commissions its navy according to its needs, and ii'.t < only with regard to the programme of : other countries. Therefore if. would be ihe j simplest thing for England to say • " 1 i havo a world-wide, !vmpir-\ the greatest : trade of the world, and to protect them I ; must have eo-and-so many batllcships. j cn-isers, etc.. as are- necessary to guar- j anteo tho supremacy of the sea, to me, ;md j thev shall, accordingly Ire built and j manned."' That is the absolute right of j your country. and nobody auywheic: 'would lose a word tdroul it. and whether j it be 60 or 90 or 100 battleships, that I would make no difference and certainly no change in the German Nnval Bill. May the 1 numbers lie as you think fit. Everybody i here would understand it, but people: would be very thankful over here if at last Germany was left out of the. discus- ■ sion. For it is very galling to the Ger- j mans to see their country continually held i
up as the sole danger and menace to Britain by the whole Press of the different contending pnrties,. considering that other countries are building, too, and thero are even larger Hoots than the. Gorman. Doubtless when party faction ,nins high there is often n lamentable lack of discriminataion in the. choice of wepons. but i really must protest that the "German naval programme" should be. the only one for exclusive .use, or that such a poisoned one should be, forged as the " German challenge to British supremacy of the sea." If permanently used, mischief may bo created at Home, and injured feeling, engendering thd wish for retaliation in the circles of the German Naval League as a representative of the nation, which would inllueiicc public opinion and place the Government in a. very disagreeable position, by trying to force it to change its programme- through undue pressure, difficult to ignore. In the letter Lord Esther caused to be, published a short time ago ho wrote "that every German, from the Emperor down io the last man, wished for the I downfall of Sir .John Fisher." Now. I | ant at a loss to tcil whether the superI vision of the foundations and drains of I tho lloyal Palace is apt to qualify somej body for tho judgment of naval affairs in I general. As far as regards German affairs naval, the phrase is a. piece of rmnritii gated balderda.sh. and has created an | immense merriment, in the circles of those ! " who know " here. But T venture to | think that such things ought not to be ; written by people who are high placed, | as they are liable, to hurt public, feelings 1 over here. Of course. I need not assure ! you that noh.-wly here dreams of wishing | to influence Britain in tire choice of those | to who'm she means to give the direction ! of her Navy, or to disturb them, irr the 1 lullilment of their noble task. It is ex- ■ peeled that the choice will always fall on. ! the best and ablest, and their deeds will \ bo followed with interest arid admiration I by their brother officers in tho German J navy. I it is therefore preposterous to infer ' that Gorman authorities work for or \ against persons in official positions in forI cign countries. Tt is ridiculous as it is ! untrue, and 1 hereby repudiate such a , calumny. Besides, to my humble notion, : this perpetual quoting of tho "German | danger" is utterly unworthy of the great | British nation, with.,its world-wide Em- ; pirc and its mighty Navy : there is some- | thing nearly ludicrous about it. The i foreigners in, other count res might easily i conclude, that the. Germans must he an 1 exceptionally strong lot, as they seem to j be able to strike terror into the hearts of j the British, who are five times their superiors. I hope your Lordship will read these lines with hind consideration. They are • written by one who is an ardent admirer of your splendid Navy, who wishes it all success, and who hopes that its ensign may ever wave on the sam« side as the German navy's, a.nd hy one who is proud to wear the. British naval uniform of an. Admiral of tho Fleet, which was con- ! ferred on him by the late great Queen, of _ blessed memory. i Once more, the Herman Na-val Bill is ■ not aimed at England, and is rrot a "challenge to British supremacy of the sea.," which will remain unchallenged for generations to come. Let ns all remember the warning Admiral Sir John Fisher gave to his hearers in November, when he so | cleverly cafttioned them not to get scared | by using the admirable phrase:/ "If Eve ! had not always kept her eye orr tho apple. 1 she would not have eaten it. and we I should not now be. bothered with clothes." I —1 am, etc., Wrr.i.rA.M. 1.E.. j Admiral of 'the Fleet.
GERMAN DUPLICITY, Issue 15694, 7 January 1915
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