The British Embassy to the Department of State6


In a memorandum presented on December 20th, the French Government, in laying down the principles by which they will be guided at the forthcoming Naval Conference, draw attention to the happy influence exerted by the Treaty relating to the Pacific which was concluded as a result of the Washington Conference of 1921, and [Page 316] suggest that it might be possible to draw up a treaty of non-aggression in which the Mediterranean Powers, including those who will not be represented at the London Naval Conference, might participate. His Majesty’s Government are not disposed to enter into a regional treaty guarantee of this description, but they appreciate the motives which have inspired the French Government and they would welcome any step (short of a commitment to intervene in a dispute) which would add to the sense of security of the Mediterranean Powers.

On the occasion of his visit to Washington, the Prime Minister discussed informally with the President of the United States the possibilities of further steps being taken by international agreement for the peaceful and orderly settlement of international disputes without, however, having reached a definite conclusion. Since then there have been reports in American newspapers that the United States may propose at the Naval Conference some extension to other parts of the world of the principle of “consultation” between the signatory powers which is contained in Articles 1 and 2 of the Four Power Treaty relating to the Pacific. His Majesty’s Government are unaware whether these reports have any foundation in fact, but it is clear that, taken on the initiative of the United States, any such step would exercise a beneficial influence on the course of the Naval Conference. His Majesty’s Government do not feel that this question can usefully be discussed by letter and cable at this juncture but, provided the Secretary of State sees no objection, and that further enquiries in England encourage His Majesty’s Government to believe that such a step would be helpful, the Prime Minister proposes to resume with Mr. Stimson as soon as he arrives in London, the private conversations on this subject which took place between Mr. Hoover and Mr. MacDonald at Washington.

  1. This memorandum embodies the contents of a telegram which the British Ambassador had read to the Secretary of State on December 31, 1929.