21 NOVEMBER 1908, Page 18

The Paris correspondent of the Times summarises in last Saturday's

paper M. Chaumet's gloomy Report on the French Navy. It points out that, adopting the German basis of twenty years for the life of a battleship, France has only twelve battleships which can be regarded as capable of taking their place in the first line, and three others which might possibly do so. There are five coast-defence ships which are still sufficiently modern, but which are of doubtful value for offensive purposes. There are twenty-one armoured cruisers, of which six are in the reserve. As for the twenty-five pro- tected cruisers, "no one would venture to put them in line of battle." There are three hundred and fifty-one destroyers and torpedo-boats, thirty submarines, and thirty-eight sub- mersibles, but many of these can only be used for defensive purposes. The torpedo-boats have a smaller tonnage than those of other navies, and fifty per cent, of them are con- stantly under repair. The ships have only one range-finder each, and that is unprotected. There are constant complaints of a shortage in the personnel. So the Report goes on. It is evidently being proved in France that a cheap navy is a bad navy. Nothing is more wasteful than half-hearted naval expenditure. France must soon decide whether she means wholly to reorganise her Navy or to concentrate her attention on the Army.