The British Embassy to the Department of State


His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador has the honour to make, by instructions from His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs contained in a despatch dated the 24th of February last, the following communication to the Secretary of State:

Among the most important of the British proposals at the Geneva Naval Conference were those which aimed at a reduction of the maximum displacement and armament, and an extension of the life, of capital ships as fixed by the Washington Conference. They were never more than superficially considered owing to the instructions received by the United States and Japanese delegations to defer any discussion of them until complete agreement had been reached on the limitation of auxiliary vessels for which the conference had primarily been called. There were indications however that, if such agreement had materialised, these capital ship proposals would have received, at the least, a considerable measure of support.

His Majesty’s Government in Great Britain attach great importance to this question, from the point of view both of limitation and of economy. They therefore propose to revert to it at the next session of the Preparatory Committee on Disarmament, but it is not their intention in the committee itself to do more than allude to their proposals, in broad terms, as representing an important contribution to the reduction of armaments generally.