On Monday President Coolidge made some remarks on the United
States naval programme `which suggest that though he is not opposed to the programme in principle, he does not want to commit himself to any date for building. The programme is for the construction of seventy-one ships at a total cost of 1148,000,000. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives would, apparently, like to begin building at once and to com- plete the programme in eight years. The governing words of the President's statement are worth quotation as they betray a welcome bias against the " Big Navy " spirit (we quote from the Washington correspondent of The Times) " The recommendation now before Congress to replace obsolete vessels and moderately to increase our naval strength contemplates an orderly construction procedure, nothing more. It contemplates that the construction programme will be carried out as conditions dictate and the Treasury balance warrants. It considers our own requirements alone and carries no thought of entry into competitive construction with any other nation."