21 NOVEMBER 1908, Page 17

Think for a moment where the plan of discriminating between

friendly and unfriendly Powers will carry us. If we •cut out the United States and Japan because they ale friendly, how can we possibly resist cutting out the Navy of France P For France is our special friend, and would, indeed, be called our ally, if that name had not become somewhat aggressive and equivocal. Again, our deep and well-founded friendship for Italy ought certainly, on the same grounds, to leave out the Italian Navy; nor ought we to overlook a similar claim on the part of Russia. The result of adopting the friendship test must therefore be to lead us to a most objectionable anti-friendship test, and oblige us to single out Germany and some other Power and place them in a special compartment of enmity. Surely that is a result which the Westminster Gazette, and the well-meaning gentle- men who are going to try to put pressure on Mr. Asquith next week to eat his words, cannot desire to reach. The only safe plan is not to make any invidious distinction between friends and enemies, but to maintain the principle that, in order to secure our national safety, nay, our national existence, we must have a Fleet which will be stronger by a substantial margin than any two navies that can possibly be brought against us.