500.A4/1: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain ( Harvey )


387. Mystifying press reports recently received from London are explained by your 568 of July 8 and 569 of July 9. Of course our 384 of July 8, directing informal inquiry as to British Government’s attitude respecting a conference on limitation of armament, must stand, as similar inquiries have already been sent to Paris, Rome, and Tokio. However, this fact may help in maintaining the President’s initiative which is important. Limitation of armament question is vital here and is not confined to the Pacific. It was considered best that the group heretofore known as the five Principal Allied and Associated Powers should first be approached on this subject. If they consider it advisable an invitation can later be extended to others or program can be formulated and submitted to others as seems best. The problem of limitation of armament, however, does relate to Pacific and Far Eastern questions and all the five powers except perhaps Italy have an interest in the latter. In view of your message, it would seem appropriate for this Government to send a supplemental cable to the other powers to the effect that the proposed conference on limitation of armament would be extended to include discussion of all Far Eastern problems by powers interested and that China would be asked to take part in that discussion. The conference should be held in Washington at a time to be later agreed upon. Ascertain and cable immediately if this is agreeable to the British Government. If so, will send cables enlarging suggestion regarding conference as above, and also to China regarding participation in Far Eastern discussion, and the President will announce in Monday morning papers27 that on his own initiative he has asked powers whether they would welcome such an invitation and that as soon as details have been arranged formal invitations accordingly will be sent. Will cable copy of President’s statement for release Monday morning in London papers.

  1. July 11.