PROPOSED NAVY CUT BLOW TO PRESTIGE
In Establishing 5-5-3 Ratio Delegates Did Not Imply Personnel Reduction--Navy Must be Well-Rounded
"If the Navy is reduced to 65,000 men, we will lose the prestige that was won for us by the Conference in establishing the 5-5-3 ratio for battleships," said Rear-Admiral Albert Gleaves, in an interview for the CRIMSON yesterday morning. "It is clear that the Conference did not contemplate a reduction in the personnel and auxiliaries of the fleet, but in limiting us to 18 'battleships the Conference, or at least our delegates assumed that that implied a homogenous and well-rounded out navy. Such a navy as the Conference contemplated, which is called a 'Hughes navy', would require 140,000 enlisted men. As soon as the 65,000-man navy began to be talked about, the President stated in no uncertain terms that he would not agree to a drastic cut and he expressed a willingness to compromise between the full 140,000 and the 65,000 navy by saying that 96,000 would be acceptable to him.
"Now, if we have only 65,000 men, it is possible, of course, to man 18 battleships and 103 destroyers with reduced crews and also to skeletonize the crews of other necessary vessels. But even with these reductions we would have to abolish our Adriatic and Central American squadrons and this is unthinkable. With 65,000 men we could have only about 20 percent of the men for shore stations, aviation instruction, radio school, etc. Heretofore it has been our custom to have 50 percent of the enlisted personnel on shore, while in England they have 60 percent. With a navy of 96,000 men proposed by Mr. Harding, we would have 30 percent on shore.
"It will be seen from these figures that if the bill now in Congress, for reduction of the navy, passes, the United States will not have a navy equal to the most powerful navy in the world, which was the agreement, but a shoddy navy that is neither one thing or the other; a navy that would be too weak to resent aggression, and a navy that would render this country contemptible at the next Conference table.
"The navy belongs to the American people, not to the Navy Department or to Congress, and there would be no doubt that if the American people would express their views on this subject by letters or otherwise to their Senators and Representatives in Congress, such a bill as the one now under discussion would be snowed under by an over-whelming and irresistible majority."