16 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 17

Last week the result of the Referendum on the new

Swiss Army Law was announced. According to the Times, there was a poll of about 590,000 out of a total electorate of 785,000 and the majority in favour of the new law was 62,000. The size of the poll proves the deep interest that is taken in all Army affairs in Switzerland, for it would be difficult to imagine a more complicated subject to put before the country than an Army Reform Act containing two hundred and twenty-two clauses. It was thought that the majority would be larger, and Colonel Fevre, who writes in the Times, thinks that it was kept down by religious cleavages, and by the fear of the cantons that their rights would be overridden by the Federal authority. That there should be a majority in favour of the law at all is a singular demonstration of the popularity of the Swiss military system, for the law increases the length of the recruit courses, and the subsequent trainings in the Elite are made annual for seven years instead of biennial for

ten years. The Landwebr, or First Reserve, has its term of service reduced from the age of forty-four to forty. It is to be observed that the Swiss people volaintarily vote for more arduous service at a time when in conscript countries the tendency is to cut down the service as an excessive burden.