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manner, was that this was not the way the British look upon the matter.
I was then asked by Bridgeman if I would interview Cecil this morning and see if he had anything to suggest. Of course I consented to do so and paid Cecil a visit during which he proceeded to repeat just what Bridgeman had previously told me. I took the matter of the postponement of the plenary session up with Cecil, as I knew Bridgeman's consent to this depended upon Cecil's assent. His reply was he would have no objection to this provided I could give him some hope of agreement, but if we were asking for this delay so that we might prepare an aggressive and effective speech, he would certainly object. My reply to this was that the American delegation did not require any time for the latter purpose, as I was ready to make a full and definite statement concerning the American position should they desire the session to convene tomorrow, but that neither the Japanese nor American delegations considered this a wise course to pursue. He then stated that he could not oppose delaying the plenary session and in accordance with this an arrangement has been made to postpone it until Wednesday or Thursday. The British said that they might give preference to Thursday, in order to allow Lord Jellicoe to be present, he having been detained in London due to the death of his brother.
It was the Americans' turn, Cecil then said, to put forth some suggestion as to how the present impasse could be overcome. My reply was that I considered that a maximum proposal had been made by the Americans when they suggested the clause relieving the British of the obligations of the treaty should they decide that the American construction program of cruisers capable of mounting 8-inch guns was too offensive, and that I did not see, when this had been put aside by the British as not offering ground for discussion, how any minor suggestion would meet the situation, but that if there was any reasonable way to smooth matters out I was quite willing, as I had been from the first, to consider it.
Absolutely on his own accord, Cecil then stated that he would offer the suggestion that the situation might be overcome by our consenting to give advance notice of our intention to construct cruisers capable of mounting 8-inch guns. My reply was that I had assented to this during a conversation which Bridgeman and I had previously had. The attention of both Cecil and Bridgeman was called to the fact that the appeal which Cecil proposed to make to public opinion would be addressed to the world at large and not to the delegations at Geneva; that the United States needed no such appeal to influence it to study what it considered fair proposals and that I would not deem it wise to acquaint the public with our divergent views before attempting to come to an agreement, as such public airing of our dif
ferences would only vex public opinion in the United States and England and make it still more difficult for us to reach an agreement. All his experience in public life, Cecil stated, however, had been that when things apparently became hopeless, the day was often saved by an appeal to public opinion. The British appear to be very averse to wrecking the Conference on this issue but they have shown no disposition to grant any concession up to this period. Cecil and Bridgeman both informed me that they were most positive concerning the restriction to a small number of maximum size cruisers capable of carrying 8-inch guns and that there could be no departure from their suggestion. Therefore, we are preparing the last American statement with the amendments suggested by you, as I cannot see how the American and British views can be reconciled.
500.A15 a 1/513: Telegram
The Chairman of the American Delegation (Gibson) to the Secretary
GENEVA, July 31, 1927–12 p. m.
[Received August 1–4:10 a. m.] 141. There are very insistent press reports in Geneva that Baldwin is considering going to Washington to consult with you as to what course may be followed to prevent the collapse of Naval Conference here. Should there be any truth in this report, you may think it best to postpone plenary session until after your meeting with the Prime Minister. The American delegation trusts that conversations between you and Baldwin may be means of bringing to his attention the broader aspects of the problem. Candidly, our efforts to treat problem in broad manner are restricted by Bridgeman's incapacity to see any broader scope to question. We see no prospect of slightest British concessions if matter is left entirely in his hands, as he has no patience with any views except those of a purely technical nature.
500.A15 a 1/513: Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Chairman of the American Delegation
WASHINGTON, August 1, 1927—7 p. m. 87. Your 141, July 31, 12 p. m. I have had no indication from either British Government or Baldwin of any desire to confer with
me on subject of the Naval Conference. I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by my going to Canada to see him, for I have no idea that he would change program adopted by British Cabinet; in any event, he would interpret this action on my part as a weakening on the part of this Government. I shall see him Sunday afternoon, of course, and after the dedication exercises at Buffalo 91 shall ride with him to view Niagara Falls, and although we may naturally have a conversation on the subject I assume it will be too late to talk about anything at that time. Howard called on me this morning and was apparently without instructions to make any concessions or any further propositions. I said that Bridgeman and Cecil insisted on making speeches at plenary session not for purpose, seemingly, of arriving at any compromise but avowedly of making appeal to public opinion. I said that I thought that if British Government desired an agreement, the making of public speeches of this kind could do no good. Howard quite agreed, but did not indicate that British Government intended to do anything about it. I went over whole situation with him and said candidly that in my opinion the increase in naval construction Great Britain proposed was not a good policy; that I failed to see why any such building at this time was necessary to safeguard the British Empire. I went over again the arguments for real limitation of naval armaments as opposed to expansion.
Referring to article in the Times on subject of naval holiday, Howard did not indicate whether or not British Government had inspired it but he said he thought that it might offer basis on which the Governments might be able to agree.
500.A15 a 1/526 : Telegram
The Chairman of the American Delegation (Gibson) to the Secretary
GENEVA, August 1, 1927-11 p.m.
[Received August 244:46 a. m.] 147. The present situation may be summarized as follows:
1. Pursuant to your suggestions concerning my telegram No. 133, July 29,92 we are proceeding with preparation of the statement to be made at the plenary meeting on Thursday afternoon ” and to bring the Conference to an end.
The ceremonial dedication of the International Peace Bridge between the United States and Canada, Aug. 7, 1927. » Not printed.
Postponed from Monday, August 1.
2. No proposals for a few months' adjournment without a definite termination have been made and while this idea has been indirectly but clearly conveyed to the Japanese delegation they have not been responsive to it to the extent of even broaching it to us and they apparently do not wish to take any part in such a suggestion.
3. Bridgeman, I understand, paid Ishii and Saito a visit this morning during which he stated that he had no further proposals to offer and then proceeded to inquire pointedly whether the Japanese had
any they wished to suggest. The impression which the Japanese delegation seemed to draw from this inquiry was that Bridgeman seemed anxious for them to propose some suggestion, possibly of a compromise nature, and consequently they have today been studying the situation to see whether they could evolve anything. Also, in an indirect manner, they have endeavored to learn just what our opinion would be regarding the submission of such proposals should the Japanese delegation succeed in discovering any to offer.' The American delegation has made it plain that we would naturally welcome any proposal which would be the means of accomplishing a successful outcome, but that there could be no question of our conceding the fundamental principle which was the cause of the deadlock between the British and ourselves.
4. It will doubtless be necessary to convene a meeting of the chief delegates in order to compose an agenda for the closing meeting before having the final plenary session. It is possible on this occasion that the British or Japanese may make some suggestion that, instead of a debate and statement of the divergent positions of the different delegations, a statement be drafted setting forth the work accomplished by the Conference for which no solution could be found at the present time and the recommendation that the problems which have vexed the Conference be given study by the different Governments represented. It may further be advocated that the Conference recommend to the three powers represented that, should it not be possible to consider them at an earlier date, the limitation of auxiliary craft be discussed at the Conference to be held in 1931. (The Japanese delegation has indicated on different occasions that, should the Conference fail, they would favor some resolution concerning a discussion of auxiliary craft before or during the Conference of 1931.) Acrimonious debate would naturally be prevented by such a final act of the Conference, but it would likewise prevent our making a clear statement, such as that already drafted, concerning the American attitude. Do you desire me to support or oppose such a proposal should it be suggested and accepted by the British and Japanese! If such a proposal should be made and supported by the British and Japanese, you may wish to give consideration to the effect of rejecting it.
5. In considering the program for the final session, it is also possible that a proposal may be made that three inoffensive speeches should be made after being circulated and approved by the three delegations represented. This is not favored by me and I consider that the method of procedure indicated in point 4 is much more dignified.
Early instructions concerning this point would be greatly appreciated, as I may be asked to deal with any of the matters presented above by Wednesday morning.
500.A15 a 1/525 : Telegram
The Secretary of State to President Coolidge
WASHINGTON, August 3, 1927. Following very urgent telegram received from Gibson yesterday:
“No. 149. Saito and Ishii called upon us tonight and stated that they had been studying the possibilities of finding some measure of agreement which would avert complete failure; that they had worked out hastily an idea in tentative form which they would like to submit to us before submitting it to the British Delegation; that they realized it had many shortcomings but was meant merely as an indication of a general scheme for dealing with construction up to the time of the 1931 conference while avoiding the irreconcilable difference in regard to the eight inch gun. The document they submitted reads as follows:
'1. The British Empire and Japan to undertake that before December 31, 1931, they shall not lay down, except for replacement, any more auxiliary vessels besides those included in their authorized programs, it being understood that the said programs shall not be altered except in so far as is provided for in the next following article.
2. The number of cruisers of the ten thousand ton class shall not exceed twelve each for the United States and the British Empire and eight for Japan.
The British Empire shall be at liberty to utilize in such a way as she may see fit the remaining cruiser tonnage in her authorized programs.
The maximum unit tonnage of cruisers of smaller class shall be eight thousand.
3. The United States to undertake that at no period before December 31, 1931, cruiser tonnage shall exceed that of the British Empire.
The contracting parties to undertake that they shall furnish to one another information concerning such building plans and programs as may be decided upon before December 31, 1931; provided that in the event that any of the contracting parties shall consider that readjustment of the present agreement is required as a consequence of any plans or programs adopted by any of the other contracting parties a conference shall be called with a view to secure such readjustment.
4. Questions regarding auxiliary vessels not provided for in the present convention shall be settled in a later conference to be held as soon as possible and not later than the beginning of 1931.'
I stated that I wanted to assure them of our very warm appreciation of the helpful spirit which had prompted them to seek a solution; that we were sincerely desirous of some reasonable agree
* Sent Aug. 1, midnight, received Aug. 2, 4:18 a. m.