500.A4/309: Telegram

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


403. Your 202 of November 27, 10 p.m. An attempt has been made to organize a newspaper demand for fixed ratio of 10 to 7. Apparently it was inspired by the Japanese delegates in Washington through correspondents there, and continued in Japan by the Navy Department and by interested outside persons. It evidently was not directed by the political side of the Government and lacks force. However, several papers stated the Diplomatic Advisory Council had taken a definite stand for the 10 to 7 ratio and that the delegation in Washington had been so advised by the Foreign Office. I talked with Uchida by appointment and asked if there had been such a decision. He told me that no such decision had been reached, that no such instructions had been given, that Japan accepted the proposal in principle and had left the details to Kato, as he is the naval authority of the Government.

This gave me a chance to bring up the situation referred to in your 202. I stated that acceptance in principle was thought to embrace the basis for estimating present strength, that the American people could not be expected to agree to scrap so much tonnage under construction unless it was taken into consideration in estimating present strength.

I next covered the other points in your cable. He stated he understands that you, Kato, and Balfour were discussing questions and were progressing well but that ratio was not the only question, that other considerations were involved and that that evidently was one for the experts. I asked if he meant Pacific fortifications were involved, but he did not desire to go further into what he called details for the experts. He gave me the impression that it had not been his intention to make that statement.

I think I made clear to Uchida that the matter should not be permitted to go before the whole Conference. There Japan would [Page 69] be placed in a position of opposition to the proposal which the world thought had been accepted with slight adjustments to be made by express agreement.