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500.A15 a 1/223: Telegram
The Chargé in Japan (Armour) to the Secretary of State
Tokyo, May 11, 1927—5 p. m.
[Received May 11–9:04 a. m.] 77. At an interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, he emphasized to me that the new Government 34 goes even further than late Government in desiring to see limitation of naval armament effected at Geneva. Referring to China he said that Japanese Government is against intervention of any kind except to protect nationals. He emphasized importance he places on cooperation between the powers in regard to China, notably United States, Great Britain, and Japan.
500.A15 a 1/236 : Telegram
The Ambassador in Italy (Fletcher) to the Secretary of State
ROME, May 17, 1927–11 a. m.
[Received May 17–9:39 a. m.] 66. I have just received a memorandum from the Foreign Office in reply to our memorandum of March 14th 35 which, after referring to the antecedents, states:
“The Royal Government deeply appreciates this attention of the American Government and, while thanking it, has to state that the negotiations at Geneva will be followed with the greatest attention by the Italian Government and public opinion even if an official 'observer' shall not be sent to participate in the Conference.
Nevertheless, the Royal Government, depending upon the development of the negotiations and the probable results thereof, reserves the right to send one or more naval experts to follow closely these negotiations, not excluding that these experts may, at a given moment, assume the specific character of 'observers' at the Conference itself.” 36
* The ministry of Reijiro Wakatsuki, in which Baron Kijuro Shidehara was Minister of Foreign Affairs, resigned in April 1927, and was replaced by a ministry under Baron Gi-ichi Tanaka who served both as Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs. * See telegram No. 18, Mar. 12, 4 p. m., to the Ambassador in Italy, p. 30.
On June 4 (telegram No. 75, not printed) the Ambassador in Italy telegraphed the Department that Under Secretary Grandi had informed him that the Italian Government had appointed Commander Prince Favrizio Ruspoli and Lieutenant Commander Marquis Cugia di Sant'Orsola as unofficial observers to the Conference (file No. 500.A15 a 1/260).
A French Mission d'Information also attended the plenary sessions of the Conference; see S. Doc. 55, 70th Cong., 1st sess., p. 20.
500.A15 a 1/244a
The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Howard)
WASHINGTON, May 23, 1927. EXCELLENCY: In accordance with informal conversations on this subject, I now have the honor to confirm the arrangement that the Three Power Naval Conference at Geneva will open at four o'clock on Monday, June 20, 1927. Accept [etc.]
FRANK B. KELLOGG
500.A15 a 1/251a
The Secretary of State to President Coolidge
WASHINGTON, May 27, 1927. MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: First. I have given a great deal of thought to the question of the make-up of our delegation to Geneva. As you know, we have been faced by the alternatives of going through with the same type of representation we had at the preliminary conference, or of framing up a delegation somewhat along the lines of that at the Washington Conference in 1923. It appears that England is sending her First Lord of the Admiralty and Lord Cecil, who is a Cabinet Member without portfolio. Japan has made up a rather distinguished delegation, all of whom are naval officers or ex-naval officers. Saito, the head of the Delegation, was at one time Minister of Marines. So far as Japan is concerned, there is ample reason for sending men who can speak with final authority and make decisions on the ground. Her representatives would be so far away from the home base that they could hardly be expected to refer questions back to Tokyo as they arise from day to day. With us and with England it is, of course, otherwise. It goes without saying that in our case every important move in the course of the proceedings will be either dictated from or approved here.
I think we have all felt that Mr. Hughes has unique qualifications for the task. As a dominant figure in the Washington Conference, his appearance on this occasion might add considerably to the effectiveness of any proposals that we may make. However, we know he cannot go.
In these circumstances, without attempting to rehearse the arguments pro and con, I have concluded to recommend to you that we go ahead in the normal, businesslike way, refraining from any effort to produce an artificial impression by the selection of outstanding personalities. This would, of course, mean that Gibson head the delegation and the Navy would send very strong representatives including
* An identic note was sent on the same date to the Japanese Ambassador.
Admirals Jones, Long and Schofield, with assistants from the Navy, including Captain Andrews. Allen Dulles, formerly of the Department, will go as legal adviser. If you approve of this course, I think very soon the complete delegation should be announced by you.
Second. I have, of course, considered carefully the suggestion you made about Mr. Mellon, Senator Swanson and myself. I am a little afraid it would look like overloading the delegation and make it appear to the other countries that we were overanxious to have an agreement. We are anxious to have an agreement and I think it is important to us that we should, if we can get one, but we are in a rather independent position owing to the fact that we can accept as low a basis as any other country. I will not discuss the various questions as I wish to present to you the complete program which we expect to finish this week. So far as I am concerned personally, I am entirely at your disposal. If I thought it would really do any good by tending to assure the ultimate success of the Conference, I should not hesitate to advise you to instruct me to go. My only anxiety in this matter is for you to get an agreement, which I believe will redound very greatly to the credit of your Administration. Naturally the proceedings may develop at Geneva in such a way as to render it advisable for the Secretary of State to appear later on. If an emergency should arise in which my attendance would clear up a sudden complication and save the conference from failure, I should say by all means that the step would clearly be justified.
Third. The third alternative is that someone be sent with Mr. Gibson. I have no doubt you have explored this situation thoroughly. On this I make the following suggestions: (a) if it was deemed wise to give Admiral Jones additional prestige, he could be made a co-delegate with Mr. Gibson. He is a level-headed man and I think very liberal and is anxious to have an agreement; (6) if any civilian is selected outside of the Senate, the only recommendations I can think of are ex-Senator Underwood and Honorable John W. Davis; (c) if Senators are selected, the natural thing would be to send twoa Republican and a Democrat—and they would ordinarily be the Chairman and ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee or the Chairman and ranking member of the Naval Committee or the Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate. You know this situation better than I do so I do not think I need to discuss it.
Some of the Navy officials and Mr. Gibson will sail a week from tomorrow, June fourth, in order to be over there quite a while in advance to discuss the preliminary organization and program with the other delegates. Anybody else whom you desire to send would have ample time by leaving two weeks from tomorrow. Faithfully yours,
FRANK B. KELLOGG
P. S. I have not, of course, talked with Borah and Swanson 38 this subject, the only men who are available. If you consider taking any Senator, of course I believe it would be a very good plan to talk with them.
500.A15 a 1/255
Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European
[WASHINGTON,] June 1, 1927. At a conference with the President this morning at 9:15 there were present the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Hugh S. Gibson, Ambassador to Belgium, Admiral Hilary P. Jones, Admiral F. H. Schofield, Mr. A. W. Dulles, Legal Adviser to the Delegation, and Mr. Marriner, Chief of the Western European Division of the State Department.
The proposal of the Navy to be laid before the Conference, prepared by the General Board as a result of the conferences in the State Department and contained in Navy's Memorandum dated June 1, 1927, study No. 1, subject: proposals for the Geneva Conference, was discussed throughout and approved by the President, who stressed the importance of the adoption of the plan of combining cruiser and destroyer tonnage during the transition until the attainment of the allowed tonnages in each class in order to avoid immediate scrapping of ships under the age limit.
The President likewise inquired whether or not the Navy approved the plan as laid down and asked each of the naval members present personally whether they felt that the Navy would back a treaty arising from such a plan whole-heartedly. The replies were all in the affirmative.
In connection with a possible British proposal to reduce the size of cruisers, the President said of course that the United States could not be satisfied with a lesser number of cruisers of 10,000 tons than Great Britain but agreed that a combination limitation by tonnage and numbers could possibly be worked out which would be satisfactory in all probability to both Powers as it would give Britain the scope she desired for building smaller cruisers.
The question of possible discussion of the abolition of the submarine was also raised and the President agreed with those present that in view of the fact that only three nations were present the
Senators William E. Borah and Claude Swanson, chairman and ranking minority member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Not found in Department files.
question would not be a practical one but that of course could initiate or support any resolutions indicating our willingness to abolish the submarine when it was universally abolished.
J. [THEODORE] MARRINER]
500.A15 a 1/262a
The Secretary of State to the Chairman of the American Delegation
WASHINGTON, June 2, 1927. SIR: The President has instructed me to inform you of your appointment as Chairman of the American Delegation to the Conference on the Limitation of Naval Armaments, which is to meet at Geneva on June 20th.
Rear Admiral Hilary P. Jones, of the General Board of the Navy, is likewise being instructed to attend the Conference with the rank of Delegate.
The following persons have been designated to assist you at this
Frederic R. Dolbeare, Counselor of Legation at Berne,
Allen W. Dulles, Legal Adviser.
Rear Admiral Andrew T. Long, Rear Admiral Frank H. Schofield, Captain J. M. Reeves, Captain Arthur J. Hepburn, Captain Adolphus Andrews, Captain W. W. Smyth, Commander H. C. Train, Lieutenant Commander H. H. Frost. The Honorable Hugh R. Wilson, American Minister to Switzerland, will act as Secretary General of the Conference, and Frederic R. Dolbeare, Counselor of Legation, as Secretary of the American Delegation. You will be appropriately empowered to negotiate and, subject to the approval of the President, to conclude an agreement with the Plenipotentiary representatives of Great Britain and Japan for the limitation of naval armaments in classes of vessels not limited by the terms of the Treaty signed at Washington on February 6, 1922.
The President, in his message to Congress of February 10th, indicated the reasons which made further naval limitation desirable, and it is upon the considerations therein set forth that your conduct of