811.348 Z 4/90: Telegram

The Ambassador in France ( Herrick ) to the Secretary of State

685. At 157th meeting of Conference of Ambassadors this morning I proposed following resolution for adoption by Conference:

“It is decided:

That the Conference of Ambassadors approves the request of the United States Government to have constructed in Germany at Friedrichshafen a dirigible of approximately the L–70 type (about 70,000 cubic meters);
That the necessary orders will at once be transmitted by the Allied Military Committee of Versailles to the President of the Inter-Allied Aeronautical Commission of Control instructing him to take the necessary measures to insure the work of construction of this dirigible being begun immediately;
That in making the necessary arrangements for the construction of this dirigible the German Government shall be informed that this is an exceptional case and that all future aeronautical construction in Germany shall be regulated by the rules and definitions controlling German aeronautical construction which the German Government has bound itself to accept by its note of May 11th, 1921;
Furthermore upon the completion and delivery of this dirigible to the United States all the material and the shed which were used for its construction shall immediately be destroyed and dispersed and the personnel employed in its construction shall be dispersed so as to insure the complete execution of the treaty.”

Japanese Ambassador said he was instructed to grant our request if no other nation had objections.

British representative made the following statement:

“Notwithstanding the technical objections which have been raised I am prepared on behalf of the British Government to accept the resolution proposed by the American Embassy provided that it is accepted by all other members of the Conference and provided that the following additional clause is agreed: ‘Additional clause to decision 4, that the construction of this airship shall not be advanced as a reason for prolonging the existence of the present Aeronautical Commission of Control in Germany seeing that the system of aeronautical control to be set up after the withdrawal of the present commission will afford the Allied Governments the necessary means for supervising the proceedings in the factory where this airship is to be constructed At the same time in view of the assurance of America that this airship is to be devoted to purely civil purposes I would like it clearly recognized that the Principal Allied Governments have the right, should they so desire, of obtaining a full set of the plans of this airship as part of the reparation in kind for the zeppelins destroyed in 1919 and to which they are entitled under the protocol of London, dated 30th June, 1921.”

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Ensuing discussion may be summarized as follows: Weygand50 said that he understood British proposal to mean that the building of this airship for the United States should not be an argument to maintain the present Aeronautical Commission of Control in Germany but the Principal Allied Powers are now negotiating between themselves with a view to substituting for the present big commission of control a smaller one and he hoped that there would be no gap in the workings of these commissions as it is absolutely necessary that some sort of control should go on at all times. Cheetham51 said that he was in accord with Weygand’s explanation and only wanted to insist on the point that the construction of this dirigible should not be used as an argument for maintaining present commission of control in Germany. Cambon observed that neither did French wish British proposal [to] be used as an argument to have no control whatever.

Our resolution was then adopted subject to the above-mentioned amendment and understanding.

  1. Gen. Maxime Weygand, representing Marshal Foch, president of the Allied Military Committee.
  2. Sir Milne Cheetham, British minister plenipotentiary, British representative on the Conference of Ambassadors.