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Senator Borah is apparently tired of disarmament talk; he wants action. He has offered a joint resolution in Congress providing that the United States with Great Britain and Japan agree to a fifty percent cut in naval construction for five years.
This resolution comes in good time. The League of Nations had undertaken plans for disarmament, but they amounted to nothing more than an expression of a desire, because Japan, though agreeing to the sentiment, refused to be bound in any way while the United States was proposing to double its naval appropriations. The net result of all the talk was the conclusion that however desirable disarmament might be, it was unwise, until this country was also restricted. Senator Borah's resolution answers Japan's objection with no ambiguity. League or no League, we are ready to do business in the matter of naval disarmament.
At the same time when this proposal was being offered in the Senate, Secretary Daniels was imploring the House Committee on Naval Affairs to beware the "naval holiday." He thinks our entrance into the League is uncertain, yet outside of it we are beset with dangers. We must have the largest navy, and to consider a five-year check or construction is a "blunder worse than a crime." The best thing to do is to vote the necessary $600,000,000 and trust in Mr. Daniels.
Congress will decide between these two extremes. If the Secretary is to secure his enormous naval appropriation, he must explain why he would stir up all this preparation when the war is over and our only two rivals on the sea, Great Britain and Japan, have already signified their willingness to work towards disarmament if this country follows suit. Otherwise Congress is likely to agree with Senator Borah that the United States is tired of disarmament talk; it wants action and if economy comes with it, so much the better. We must not overlook the greatest possible chance to achieve practical disarmament
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