500.A4/301: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan (Warren)

202. Your 396, November 23, 11 a.m.

The tactical situation in so far as regards the naval limitation is as follows:

Britain and the United States agree on all major points. The Japanese are unable to justify their demand for a 10 to 7 ratio by any facts. They seem to be preparing to stand on the premise that ships under construction should not be included in estimating existing naval strength. This premise is entirely inadmissible, as it would mean that the United States would not only give up ships on which she has spent over $330,000,000 but would not be allowed to count this investment in actual construction in determining the ratio of naval strength. There is no question of what American public opinion would think of such a proposal.

There is some tendency to question our figures, but these are unassailable. The effort is simply one to get a better position, and is destructive of the basis of the American proposal.

You may make this clear. To preserve the general good will, our people have not thus far been informed of the situation. I suggest that you communicate to the proper persons, in such manner as seems advisable to you, the fact that a stand of this sort on the part of [Page 68] Japan would be taken by the people of the United States very seriously.

Explain clearly that there is no value in suggestions of agreement in principle if this fundamental principle as to existing strength is not admitted, and that opposition on this point must inevitably be taken to mean refusal of the American proposal.