UNDER the Washington Naval Treaty, France is allowed a battle fleet with an aggregate displacement of 175,000 tons, or exactly one third of the total allotted to the British Empire and the United States, respectively. Italy, also, is granted a battle fleet of 175,000 tons. In these two facts we find a clue to the intense dislike with which the treaty is regarded by Frenchmen at large. The tonnage allotment they consider ridiculous in view of the heavy responsibilities devolving upon their navy, which is charged not only with the defense of a long coast line fronting on two seas and of an extensive colonial empire, but with the security of a line of communications that would be absolutely vital in wartime. Still more bitterly do they resent the formal recognition of Italy as a sea power of the same rank as France. This assumption of equality in maritime interests and prestige between the two nations is wholly at variance with the plain facts of the case, to say nothing of history or tradition. France would never have accepted it but for the conviction of her naval experts that the battleship has ceased to be the key factor in naval strength.
Post Treaty Naval Design
By Hector C. Bywater and Maurice Prendergast