811.348 Z 4/73: Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Harvey)
607. Your 826, October 15, 11 A.M. Re German airship.
In a recent conversation the British Ambassador explained that the opposition of his government was not based on any desire to prevent the United States from receiving a German airship but was due to the fear that the construction of this ship would prevent the dissolution of the Commission of Control at the end of the year; that apparently the French were supporting the American claim because of their desire to find a basis for continuing this commission; that if this government obtained an airship the Japanese would also want one and that this might extend the period of supervision two or three years; but he did not think his Government would object to the construction of a zeppelin for the United States provided it were understood that the Commission of Control would cease at the end of the year as he supposed the construction of the ship would be under the supervision and control of American naval officers which in all probability would be adequate.
The British Ambassador was informed that the United States was in sympathy with the desire of the British Government for the early dissolution of the Commission of Control and that there was apparently no reason why the construction of the dirigible should lead to a continuance of any greater supervision than was adequate for that particular purpose; for this it was thought that United. States Naval supervision might be sufficient but that if the French wanted a look-in there would be no objection; that neither was there any objection in principle to the Japanese obtaining an airship, in which event it would still be entirely practicable to continue a limited supervision; and finally that this government was willing to support the British Government in requesting the termination of the Control Commission to be followed by a limited surveillance of the particular plant where the dirigible was to be constructed, on the understanding that the arrangement for limited surveillance only attached in case the United States obtained the airship and that the construction of the ship was not to be contingent upon any conditions.
Repeat to Paris as Depts 481.