« PreviousContinue »
to a point of extraordinary force and efficiency as compared with the other navies of the world is that we should hasten our pace in the policy we have long been pursuing, and that chief of all we should have a definite policy of development, not made from year to year but looking well into the future and planning for a definite consummation. We can and should profit in all that we do by the experience and example that have been made obvious to us by the military and naval events of the actual present. It is not merely a matter of building battleships and cruisers and submarines, but also a matter of making sure that we shall have the adequate equipment of men and munitions and supplies for the vessels we build and intend to build. Part of our problem is the problem of what I may call the mobilization of the resources of the nation at the proper time if it should ever be necessary to mobilize them for national defense. We shall study efficiency and adequate equipment as carefully as we shall study the number and size of our ships, and I believe that the plans already in part made public by the Navy Department are plans which the whole nation can approve with rational enthusiasm.
No thoughtful man feels any panic haste in this matter. The country is not threatened from any quarter. She stands in friendly relations with all the world. Her resources are known and her self-respect and her capacity to care for her own citizens and her own rights. There is no fear amongst us. Under the new-world conditions we have become thoughtful of the things which all reasonable men consider necessary for secur
ity and self-defense on the part of every nation confronted with the great enterprise of human liberty and independence. That is all.
Is the plan we propose sane and reasonable and suited to the needs of the hour? Does it not conform to the ancient traditions of America? Has any better plan been proposed than this program that we now place before the country? In it there is no pride of opinion. It represents the best professional and expert judgment of the country. But I am not so much interested in programs as I am in safeguarding at every cost the good faith and honor of the country. If men differ with me in this vital matter, 1 shall ask them to make it clear how far and in what way they are interested in making the permanent interests of the country safe against disturbance.
In the fulfillment of the program I propose I shall ask for the hearty support of the country, of the rank and file of America, of men of all shades of political opinion. For my position in this important matter is different from that of the private individual who is free to speak his own thoughts and to risk his own opinions in this matter. We are here dealing with things that are vital to the life of America itself. In doing this I have tried to purge my heart of all personal and selfish motives. For the time being, I speak as the trustee and guardian of a nation's rights, charged with the duty of speaking for that nation in matters involving her sovereignty,-a nation too big and generous to be exacting and yet courageous enough to defend its rights and the liberties of its people wherever