7 JUNE 1913, Page 2

On Thursday, in reply to a question by Mr. Arthur

Lee, Mr. Churchill made the following important statement— "The situation created by the rejection of the Canadian Naval Aid Bill requires immediate action in order that the margin of naval strength necessary for the whole-world protection of the British Empire may be adequately maintained for the autumn and winter of 1915 and in the spring of 1916. In these circum- stances the Government have determined to advance the con- struction of the three contract ships of • this year's programme, and orders have been issued by the Admiralty to ensure their being begun at the earliest possible date instead of in March next."

The Admiralty would clearly not have been doing their duty if they had not taken the step thus announced. Not to have filled the gap caused by the failure of the Canadian Bill, even if that failure is only temporary, would have been to stultify the Government's whole naval policy.