19 NOVEMBER 1910, Page 15



Sin,—The suggestion put forward in the editorial note on Mr. Frank Fox's letter on " India and Imperial Defence" in your last issue—viz., that prior to the assembly of the Imperial Conference an inquiry should be made by a competent Committee as to the possibility of uniting India, Ceylon, the Straits Settlements, the Malay Federation, and Hong-kong with Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa in a joint naval and military defence of British Imperial territories east of Suez and the Cape of Hope—will commend itself to all thinkers. The largest problem of Imperial defence that is for solution at the present time is the organisation under which the British Empire can maintain the requisite standard of naval strength in the Indian Ocean. Mr. Fox has explained the attitude of the overseas Dominions, and their readiness to take part in a full and free discussion of the very difficult and complicated matters that belong to Imperial defence ; but the details that must be worked out before a scheme can be elaborated for final approval at the Conference can only be dealt with after long and careful inquiry. I feel certain that it needs but publicity in the Press in all parts of the Empire to cause the matter to receive

attention.—I am, Sir, &c., E. F. CHAPMAN, General. Beech. Hurst, Lingfield, Surrey.