500A15a3/139: Telegram

The Ambassador in Belgium (Gibson) to the Secretary of State


71. Department’s No. 57, August 26, 4 p.m. Neither at Geneva nor elsewhere did I say anything resembling this. I explained to a British delegate in a conversation so informal that no memorandum was ever made that a recognition of the different needs of the two navies was prompted by our idea of a formula; that we hoped that a means of measuring naval strength, which in the event of real reduction would in any case give us the heavy cruisers, might be devised in some such way, and the British would be allowed the most small 6″-gun cruisers for their special needs should we balance our preponderance in these bigger ships together with our ten Omahas. Necessarily I explained this in a most general and obvious manner and made no quantitative speculations, this not only being without meaning but clearly premature until we could have some idea of the level where we could reach an agreement.

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As I recollect, a guess was hazarded by either Craigie or Cushendun to the effect that on some such basis as that indicated by the Prime Minister we could work out an agreement. This is clearly a very different matter from my having suggested it. Texts to London and Berne.