UIT DE PERS.
Interests to Be Protectecl. "What is the purpose of having this armament, these 40 or 45 big warships that we have ?" demanded Representative Butler of Pennsylvama.
"To protect your interests, and particularly your commercial interests on the sea", replied Admiral Fletcher.
Admiral Fletcher said the tendency among the world powers was to eliminate all pre-dreadnoughts as fast as possible from the real lists ot fighting ships of the navies. "The American pre-dreadnoughts , he asserted, "are superior to the German predraednoughts."
New York Still Would Be Safe.
Replying to a question of Mr. Roberts, Admiral Fletcher declared that even if a foreign nation should have a gun with a range I*/, rniles greater than that of any American guns New York city- would be protectecl from bombardment bij the forts outside of Sandy Hookp.
Representative Roberts suggested that a United States senator, whom he did not name, had been quoted as saying that the American forces had been given 24 hours to get out of Vera Cruz by the Carranza authorities. Admiral Fletcher said he knew nothing of any such incident. Would Include Everything.
"Would you include the Massachusetts, Oregon, Indiana, and Iowa for use in war ?" he was asked.
"I would include everything that I could bring into action.
He admitted he was in doubt as to what use might be made of these four ancient battleships in the event of war, bud said, "you could find some use for them." .. ,
"Modern wars," the admiral continued, "come on very suddenly, and there is little time for preparation when they occur. After the relations between countries have become strained you cannot move your forces without the move being regarded as a hostile act, and you would have to go into action practically just as you stand. You would have to be all ready". . ,„ , ,
"Is our navy strong enough to take the offensive now ? asked Mr.
"Against what power?" queried Admiral Fletcher.
Short of Trainee! Sailors. If an emergency arose, said Admiral Fletcher, it would be impossible to put all the ships in commission with trained sailors. "How many are we short?" asked Mr. Butler.
"My impression is that we would require between 4,000 and 5,000 additional men to man the ships that I think ought to be fully manned if there were hostilities. Enlisted men have from four to six months training at the training stations and are then assigned to the battleships, where their training continues in various kinds of work. It takes longer to train a man for the most important and expert tasks on board a battleship than it does to build a battleship. The proper way would be to keep the number of men up to the requirements of efficiency as the ships are built and put into commission."
Mr. Roberts wanted to know what ships should not be manned in the event' of war. The admiral said that he would not include certain gunboats and old type of cruising vessels such as are now employed in the West Indies and Mexican waters for police work.
B e h i n d in A i r c r af t and Mines.
"This European war seems to show that that those nations foresaw the uses of air craft, submarines, and mines, and they have proved their