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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 80

The Effect on the States Oversea

The Effect on the States Oversea.

The States oversea have already recognised the serious nature of the problems of Naval Supremacy and Imperial Defence and the necessity of taking their proper share in the defence of the Empire. The effect of giving them a responsible (as distinguished from a merely consultative) share in the Imperial Government will be wholly beneficial.

This may be illustrated by a comparison with the present system. A policy might now be pursued by the page 24 British Cabinet leading to strained relations or even war with a Continental Power. That policy might not commend itself to an oversea State, and there might be a refusal on the part of that State to give any aid beyond the defence of its own territory, which might not be in danger of attack. The strain so set up between the Mother Country and the State might prove too severe for existing ties. It is obviously the interest of rival or hostile powers to raise such questions. Under the proposed scheme, however, the State in question would share in the deliberations, its views and wishes would have due weight, and in the event of war resulting the probability of refusal of aid would be greatly diminished. Foreign States, too, would realise that in negotiating they were dealing not only with the United Kingdom but with a United Empire.

Again, the oversea States will appreciate more fully the bearing of local questions arising between them and their neighbours on the wider and more delicate questions of Foreign Policy as a whole. They will also be able directly to influence the Imperial Government in maintaining their rights against Foreign Powers. It will bring home to the minds of all a realisation of the community of interests between the various component parts of the Empire, and so bind these more closely together.