" Big Navy "
Jonkheer D. J. De Geer, Dutch Minister of Finance, resigned from the Cabinet because he did not agree with his colleagues over the Big Navy Program sponsored by Admiral van Karnebeek (TIME, May 19). This fact led to a wide popular outburst on the part of the Dutch people against the proposed Government plan to increase the Navy, which means that the taxpayers will be burdened with new taxation at a time when economy should be the paramount consideration, especially since the Ruhr occupation has had disastrous effects on Dutch trade. There seems little chance of the Government obtaining a majority in the Second Chamber for a Navy bill.
Dr. De Geer believes that economy in state expenditure is more important than increased armaments and that a European war is unlikely in the near future.
The chief concern of the Dutch Admiralty is the defense of the Dutch East Indies. The Netherlands owns a colonial empire east of Singapore that includes the huge islands of Java, Sumatra and portions of Borneo. The area of the empire is 733,642 square miles, the population 50,000,000 and in 1921 its total import and export trade amounted to roughly 2,500,000,000 guilders ($1,005,000,000).
Dutch Imperialists profess alarm at the new British naval base at Singapore, advancing the extraordinary theory that this base is directed primarily against the Dutch colonies. More likely this argument is used because the Navy chiefs are determined on a big Navy and will find reasons for such a Navy after it has been established.