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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 80

The Working of the System

The Working of the System.

The first subject for the consideration of such a Cabinet would be the Defence of the Empire and the mode in which the oversea States would share in the Imperial Army and Navy. The shares to be taken by the United Kingdom and the several States, whether in services or financially, would be considered in conjunction with the Reports of the Committee of Imperial Defence. The expenditure and estimates would be provisionally arranged and recommended and then would be submitted in due course by the proper members of the respective Governments to the Parliaments of the United Kingdom and the States oversea. There would be no departure from the voluntary system. The splendid patriotism shown by the oversea States in their gifts for Naval Defence gives them a right to be represented on the body which prepares the estimates for Naval Defence. They would thus be assured that their patriotism did not enable the people of the United Kingdom to shirk their due share of taxation for Defence.

The position of the oversea States in respect of Defence has been aptly described by the Canadian Premier in the Dominion House of Commons on 14th of March 1900:—

"If it should be the will of the people of Canada at a future stage to take part in any war of England, the people of Canada will have their way. Of course if our future military contribution were to be considered compulsory—a condition which does not exist—I would say to Great Britain 'If you want us to help you call us to your Councils.' "—(The Times, March 15th, 1900.)

Since those words were uttered the States oversea have now undertaken heavy burdens of Military and Naval Defence. In the future this assistance can only fairly be expected when they have had a voice in the direction of that Imperial policy which might indirectly be the cause page 22 of war. The South African War was exceptional, for it was a war in which the main issue was a Colonial one, and Colonial troops assisted their fellow Colonists in

Next would come Foreign Policy, which cannot be considered apart from Naval and Military problems, then matters relating to Imperial trade, including the question of Mutual Preference and also commercial treaties; questions relating to boundaries or other matters affecting the dealings of the States oversea with foreign States, and, in short, all questions that do not solely concern the internal affairs of the United Kingdom or the internal affairs of the