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consented to a total figure for the whole cruiser category. Although the matter has been kept open for subsequent discussion, we cannot of course in the absence of definite assurance of an embracing and real limitation, make any commitment on this matter.

3. An adjournment of the Conference or the recall of Bridgeman would not appear to be advisable in the event of Bridgeman's being instructed to arrive at an accord on a sensible tonnage figure by classes. Whether a common meeting ground can be found for the Japanese and the British is the real and relatively simple point at issue. We ourselves occupy an advantageous middle ground. The delegates appear to be in a better frame of mind and the moment to urge a decision seems opportune. While we should naturally not withhold consent to, we do not recommend compliance [sic] with a British request for adjournment, should such be made.

4. It is too early to venture an opinion concerning the advisability of your meeting Chamberlain in Geneva until we know whether any concessions will be consented to at this time by the British. Unless unforeseen eventualities occur, we are of the opinion that your influence can be of greatest value in Washington where it has to date been extremely efficacious. Copy sent to London.

GIBSON

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The Chairman of the American Delegation (Gibson) to the Secretary

of State

[Paraphrase]

GENEVA, July 13, 1927–6 p. m.

[Received 8:40 p. m.] 87. This morning Bridgeman, Cecil, Ishii, and I consulted together privately. Considering that disguised repetitions are the only proposals that have been brought forward by the British thus far, I was ready to tell Bridgeman that the United States had only one positive condition, i. e., that the cruiser requirements of the British Empire should come within a total tonnage that could be considered as actual naval limitation, but that up to the present every British proposal had in effect asked us to sanction by an international treaty their idea of a naval building program, which was already a burden, and at the same time they had attempted to make the United States use types and characteristics that were not at all suitable to our requirements.

To my gratification, both Bridgeman and Cecil were in a most friendly mood and while endeavoring in every possible way to overcome any real reduction in their cruiser figures, gave me the impres

64

sion that they were becoming convinced that they must make a real effort to meet the American viewpoint. In consequence, I refrained from following the plan I had in mind. Bridgeman still insisted upon a plenary session for Thursday, but he promised that he would send me before the meeting a copy of his contemplated statement in which he would only attempt to make clear the British position with the hope of reaching an agreement.

The following proposal was suggested by Ishii:

"If the three powers retain the existing ships, complete the ships under construction, and execute all of the authorized programs, the displacement tonnage of auxiliary surface craft, in the near future, will be represented by the following figures: For Great Britain 691,000 tons, for the United States of America 648,000 tons, for Japan 442,000 tons.

If the three powers were successful in arriving at an agreement to cut down approximately 30 percent respectively from the abovefigures, it may be said that an effective limitation has been realized.

In such an event the strength which will be allotted to the respective powers will be as follows: For Great Britain about 484,000 tons, for the United States of America about 454,000 tons, for Japan about 310,000 tons.”

With reference to the above I would add that the Japanese, in discussing their proposition, recognized the principle of parity between Great Britain and the United States and the slight difference in the American and British total tonnages would be adjusted on that basis in their opinion.

It was impossible, Bridgeman stated, to discuss by telegraph any such extreme reductions. He assured us that he would have his experts make a study of the entire question.

At the end of the conference, I stated most emphatically that until the Japanese and British reached some common meeting ground, it was useless to discuss secondary matters; that I considered this the prime and essential problem now before us. This seemed to be realized by the British and as a consequence the conversation was mainly between the Japanese and themselves. They finally decided that the Japanese suggestion above quoted should be given further consideration.

This telegram has been repeated to London for Embassy's information.

GIBSON

Quoted passage not paraphrased.

500.A15 a 1/430 : Telegram

The Chairman of the American Delegation (Gibson) to the Secretary

of State

(Paraphrase)

GENEVA, July 14, 1927noon.

[Received 2:07 p.m.] 91. Your No. 42, July 12, noon. Stories of similar nature emanating from British sources have been circulated here in regard to activities of representatives of steel interests and others who are interested in the building of a big navy.85 I have several times had questions asked me about this by British press correspondents, but nobody has been able to point out who these representatives of special interests are. We know of no one who answers description. It is my own opinion the assertions made are effort by British to explain attitude of American press. The aggressive spirit evinced by American correspondents here comes not from any outside inspiration but, so they tell me, wholly from their indignation at what they regard as raw efforts of one of the other delegations to use them against interests of their own country. This reaction among our correspondents has been unanimous regardless of politics and to us it seems obvious that this is correct explanation. The British have not handled press well throughout Conference, and seem unable to understand that American journalists are fundamentally self-respecting and patriotic. Repeated to London.

GIBSON

500.A15 a 1/428 : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain

(Houghton)

(Paraphrase]

WASHINGTON, July 14, 1927-5 p. m. 163. British Ambassador called on me this morning and read telegram containing same suggestion quoted in your telegram No. 162, July 12, noon. Ambassador is equally at loss to know precisely what Chamberlain means by “class”, and whole confusion seems to arise on that point. I think it would be best, nevertheless, if you would give Chamberlain an answer to his suggestion in which you would make clear how his words are understood here and by our delegation at Conference. This Government's original proposal was clear and

* For subsequent inquiries into this subject, see Alleged Activities at the Geneva Conference: Hearings before a subcommittee of the Committee on Naval Affairs, United States Senate, 71st Cong., 1st sess., pursuant to S. Res. 114 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1930).

definite and was not subject to misunderstanding, and we should be especially careful that no confusion be permitted to arise from use of same terms in different senses by the American and the British Governments.

In regard to adjournment of Conference, I did not intend in my telegram to you to overrule our delegation's decision, but merely to suggest to Gibson and his colleagues that we thought that if they came to an impasse or if the British Government wished to consult with Bridgeman, then an adjournment might serve a useful purpose; certainly if British Government wanted an adjournment, we should not object. At present Gibson thinks progress is being made, so there is no immediate necessity for adjournment.

KELLOGG

500.A15 a 1/437 : Telegram

The Chairman of the American Delegation (Gibson) to the Secretary

of State

[Paraphrase)

GENEVA, July 15, 1927—3 p. m.

[Received July 15—1:51 p. m.] 99. As you request comments in your telegram No. 45 of July 13, we have, after giving a great deal of thought to the matter, decided that as a last resort you might accept Chamberlain's suggestion that you meet him in Geneva.

However, we are of the opinion that this suggestion may be a part of the effort now being made by the British to postpone a decision in the hope that the issue may be obscured thereby. The passing of time may be of great assistance to them in achieving this point. Do you not think that you might bring the British to some decision by stating to Chamberlain in a friendly manner your idea that it would be useless for you to meet him in Geneva; that no concessions have thus far been made by the British which would bring them within what the Japanese consider an effective limitation; that we have at Geneva a delegation to consider any reasonable proposal, if the British are prepared to make concessions; that it is useless for you to travel all the way from America merely to note the fact that they have no such proposal to offer. Such a statement might be the means of causing them to reach a quick decision as to whether they will accept responsibility for breaking up the Conference or will consent to real naval limitation.

It may also be well to suggest to Chamberlain that it would scarcely be appropriate for you to come to Geneva to endeavor to reach a solution for the British in determining differences which are blocking all progress at the present time.

With reference to the above, Admiral Jones and I have just received a visit from Saito who told us definitely that the Japanese refuse even to discuss a figure exceeding 315,000 tons in the combined destroyer and cruiser classes for Japan. This point, he further said, was today being brought unequivocally to the British delegation's attention. Thus it will be up to them to decide whether they will reduce their figures to approximately 500,000 tons for the combined cruiser and destroyer classes or accept whatever consequences may result from their refusal.

GIBSON

500.A15 a 1/414 : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain

(Houghton) 68

[Paraphrase]

WASHINGTON, July 16, 1927—1 p. m. 166. Your No. 162, July 12, noon. This morning the British Ambassador explained to me that by class of ships Sir Austen Chamberlain meant the different classes of cruisers rather than the categories of naval craft; explanation renders his proposal valueless and of no significance to us.

KELLOGG

500.A15 a 1/437 : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chairman of the American Delegation

(Gibson)

[Paraphrase]

WASHINGTON, July 16, 1927—1 p. m. 50. Your No. 99, July 15, 3 p. m. I do not have any intention of going to Geneva and telegraphed to Houghton at noon as follows, in accordance with your suggestion :

“165. If any possible feeling on Chamberlain's part that the Secretary of State may be willing to enter Conference in last moment attempt to effect settlement should cause him to delay search for some real compromise, I think that you should make plain to him in friendly way that I do not foresee any circumstances which would make advisable my going to Geneva, that I see no necessity for going, and that I do not intend to go. Question is now reduced to simple proposition, it seems to me, as to whether British can reduce their figures on total cruiser tonnage in order to enable the other two delegations to find necessary, basis for real limitation agreement

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