811.348 Z 4/37a: Telegram

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

536. The right of the United States to participate in reparations in kind to be made by Germany in compensation for dirigibles destroyed in violation of the Armistice Agreement, being recognized by the Allied Governments, this Government requested authorization to have constructed in Germany a dirigible of 100,000 meter capacity. When this request was rejected by the Council of Ambassadors, Mr. Herrick was instructed to offer as a compromise the acceptance by this Government of a somewhat smaller airship of approximately the L–70 type, such as have already been delivered to Great Britain and to France. The Department is now informed that the Allied Military Committee of Versailles has reported unfavorably to our new request but that the question will again be taken up for final consideration at the next meeting of the Conference of Ambassadors scheduled for the middle of this month.

As it continues to be the urgent desire of this Government, especially since the destruction of the ZR–2, to secure its fair share of this reparation in kind, you are instructed orally and informally to endeavor to obtain assurances from the British Government that prior to the next meeting of the Conference the British representative will be given specific instructions to support the request of this Government.

You may point out that the British and French Governments have both received a ship of the type we desire by action of the Supreme Council, September 29, 1919; that a study of the minutes of this same meeting indicates the willingness of the Council to allocate to the United States such a dirigible; that this Government has received little or no aeronautical material from Germany and that it would seem by common understanding that it should be entitled to participate in this distribution on the same basis as the Allies.

In impressing upon the British Government the interest we have in this matter you should emphasize the general principles of policy and political consideration rather than those of a technical or juridical nature upon which the opposition of the Allied Military Committee is based, and urge upon the Foreign Office the desirability of dealing with this matter in a spirit of agreement.

Paris has been instructed to furnish you with detailed statements of developments to date.

Repeat to Rome mutatis mutandi[s], as Depts 152 omitting reference to ZR–2.