SPEAKING at Geneva on September 20, Mr. Anthony Eden, the British Foreign Secretary, said: "At present the aggregate tonnage of the principal types of warships actually building for the Royal Navy exceeds 450,000 tons. I take no account in this figure of the ships already launched this year, nor of a further 55,000 tons which Parliament has sanctioned and which will shortly be put in hand. The last three naval programs partly completed or in actual execution in the United Kingdom at the present time represent a total expenditure of £130,000,000. Naval personnel is being extended at a rate without precedent in our country in time of peace."
Impressive as these figures are, they do not adequately reveal the magnitude of the effort which Britain is now making to restore and consolidate her sea power. Tables published in the Navy Estimates for 1937 show the following combatant and auxiliary units as under construction during the current fiscal year: 5 battleships, 21 cruisers, 5 aircraft carriers, 49 destroyers, 19 submarines, 3 depot ships, 24 escort, mine-sweeping and patrol vessels, 3 gunboats, 17 motor torpedo-boats, and 2 surveying ships -- a total of 148 vessels. Nor is this the whole story. A new program is to be introduced to Parliament next March, and while its details are not yet officially revealed, well-informed observers predict three to five battleships, seven cruisers, and a generous quota of destroyer, submarine, and other light tonnage. The personnel of the Navy, which has jumped from 98,000 to 112,000 in the last few years, will be further increased to an approximate total of 125,000 officers and men.
What is the purpose of this gigantic scheme of naval rearmament? That it has been undertaken for reasons of defense, and not for aggression, is self-evident to all foreign onlookers save the wilfully blind or the victims of propaganda from the dictatorial countries. But behind every arms plan there must be, or should be, a definite strategical objective. In this case it is not difficult to perceive. When Sir Samuel Hoare, the late First Lord of the Admiralty, introduced this year's
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