Memorandum by the Secretary of State of a Conversation with Ambassador Jusserand, of the French Delegation, December 16, 1921

The French Ambassador called to request that a meeting of the naval representatives on the Committee of Fifteen should be called for the next morning (Saturday) before the meeting of the Committee of Fifteen, in order that the French Admiral might have an opportunity of talking over various technical matters relating to the French proposal.

The Secretary agreed, and later a meeting of the naval representatives of the five Powers on the Committee of Fifteen was called for 10 o’clock the following morning.

In the course of the interview M. Jusserand expressed regret that the question relating to France had not been taken up while M. Briand was here. The Secretary explained that he could not take the matter up until he had proceeded with his negotiations [Page 134] with Great Britain and Japan, but that M. Jusserand had asked the Secretary while M. Briand was here what the Secretary’s idea was of an allowance to France, and the Secretary said that while he did not care to go into a general discussion of the matter at that time, still he thought 175,000 tons for capital ships would be about right. M. Jusserand said that he did not recall the interview. The Secretary reminded M. Jusserand that it took place on the staircase of the Pan American Building as they were going to a meeting and just after the French Admiral had given in his statement;86 that the Secretary told M. Jusserand that the Admiral’s statement was largely a recital of past history and that he thought the amount suggested was very excessive; that then the Ambassador had asked the Secretary what the Secretary thought would be right, and while the Secretary expressed his reluctance at that time to take the matter up, as he wished to first finish negotiations with Great Britain and Japan, the Ambassador pressed him for a statement and the Secretary had said that he had talked the matter over with Colonel Roosevelt and his opinion was that 175,000 tons would be ample.

The Secretary showed to M. Jusserand the cable that he was sending to M. Briand.87 The Secretary said that he felt as Chairman of the Conference he was in a position to communicate directly with M. Briand, and the Ambassador said that he saw no reason why he should not, and that it was quite a proper course.

  1. The statement referred to may be the memorandum of Nov. 19, p. 62.
  2. Quoted in telegram no, 552, Dec. 16, 1921, to the Ambassador in France, p. 130.