5 JUNE 1936, Page 2

Why Battleships?

The British and American navies are linked in another connexion. Lord Stanley's " proof " of the necessity of the large battleship of today in the recent debate on the naval estimates in the House of Commons was singular, consisting as it did of the explanation that France, Ger- many and Italy are all building vessels of this type. Lord Stanley and Sir Roger Keyes (who said the same thing a few weeks ago) have apparently forgotten that Italy, in 1980, offered to accept any limits, no matter how small, which other Powers accepted ; that Herr Hitler's eleventh point was acceptance of any international limit of the sire of the ship and gun ; that Japan offered to" abolish" the battleship—in other words, to accept a limit of 10,000 tons ; and that France has never favoured the very large ship. The reason why these Powers are building the very large type is not, as these speakers seem to imagine, that they believe ships of this size are indispensable for naval war, but that the other Powers, Great Britain and the United States, insist on building them ; and they cannot afford to be overmastered in this type.