30 SEPTEMBER 1905, Page 3

The Government intends, it is believed, to strengthen greatly the

position of Great Britain in the Far East. As a beginning, Singapore, already a great port, will be turned, by the purchase of the immense private docks now known as the "Tanjong Pager Docks," into a "naval base," so thoroughly equipped, and, we suppose, fortified, as to make the British masters of the Straits of Malacca, the key of the Far East. The plan is a sensible one, though costly, and strikes the naval men of the Continent as so well designed as to " menace " free trade between Europe and Further Asia. The position, they say, will be so formidable that all other nations will trade on sufferance. That, however, is an illusion. Our interest is in the "open door," not in close monopolies. The docks are to be acquired in the first instance by the Colonial Government, at a price to be settled by arbitration, and it is believed that the Japanese Government, which has been consulted, is most cordial to the scheme, which, indeed, is first of all a. grand protection for Japan. The present Government, it would seem, kcks decision and courage only in home affairs, and can do anything except make an Army or a contented people.