The Ambassador in Great Britain (Dawes) to the Secretary of State

No. 179

Sir: Referring to the Embassy’s telegram No. 241 of August 21st, 12 noon,38 I have the honor to transmit herewith the text of the Prime Minister’s statement on Anglo-American naval negotiations, issued at Lossiemouth on August 20th and generally published in the London press on August 21st …

I have [etc.]

For the Ambassador:
F. L. Belin

First Secretary of Embassy
[Page 196]

Statement by the British Prime Minister (MacDonald) at Lossiemouth, August 20, 1929

General Dawes came up to exchange views with me upon a message from Washington which I am studying, as it, with one I sent from here shortly after my arrival, marks a distinct advance in our conversations. We have been working all the time at the problems which have hitherto baffled the representatives of both countries—as, for instance, at the Geneva Naval Conference—of how to reconcile three positions: American claims for parity, which we admit; British necessities, which have no relation at all with American building (but which are determined by our relations to, and responsibilities in, the rest of the world); and the desire, common to both Governments, to reduce armaments.

If the exchange of views and arguments which have taken place are ever published, it will be seen that these questions have been discussed with great frankness, the very best of good will, and an increasing understanding of the position of both sides. Everything has been under review, from the composition and effects of a yardstick to the function of police cruisers; and the composition of fleets, from first-class battleships to submarines, has been surveyed. Everything at the moment is tentative, and it would only mislead the public if trial suggestions and proposals were disclosed.

We are examining everything that promises to be helpful. A good deal of hampering undergrowth has been cut away, and we are up against hard realities, with some valuable agreements of a general character behind them. Both of us are fully aware, however, that no agreement between us two can carry us very far unless other Powers agree, and that conditions all our work. A wide conference—say, a resumption of the Washington Conference before the date now fixed for it—is at the back of our minds all the time.

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