The Secretary of State to the Chief of the American Representation on the Preparatory Commission ( Gibson )
113. Your 225, April 9, 10 a.m. The Navy Department feels that, while the French method of limitation of naval effectives is not acceptable, if a workable form of limitation of total strictly naval personnel, unhampered as to assignment or employment at home or abroad, could be devised some compromise on this subject might be accepted, possibly in exchange for some other concession.
Should Great Britain and Japan consent to limitation of naval effectives as one of the elements to be taken into consideration in the limitation of naval armaments, you are authorized to yield on this point as a matter of conciliation, after restating our opposition to the principle and after outlining the difficulties of estimating the [Page 198] number to be used as a basis for such limitation in the United States, as the Navy includes the Marine Corps and also aviation units. Furthermore, the position of the coast guard, which comes under the Treasury Department, would have to be especially considered. You should likewise inform the Conference that you will be compelled to insist on the exclusion of the above mentioned classes of naval personnel from consideration in the total for purposes of limitation when the question shall arise.