Press Release Issued by the Department of State, October 11, 1929
Secretary Stimson’s Statement on Comment in the Press on MacDonald’s Visit and Joint Statement of the President and Prime Minister MacDonald
In reading comments upon the Prime Minister’s visit and the joint statement which was issued on his departure I have noticed a statement which so completely misconceives and misrepresents the actual facts and the spirit of our conference that I can not let it pass without correction.
Mr. David Lawrence says that “Great Britain and the United States have in effect agreed to pool their navies to maintain the peace of the world”. During the whole of our conversations there was not a syllable of such a suggestion. The tenor of the conversations was exactly the reverse and I believe that the joint statement makes that perfectly clear. The understanding which we aimed at was a moral understanding. The influence which we are seeking to exert is a moral influence and not a military one. The basis of our discussions was the Kellogg-Briand Pact of Peace which aims at outlawing war [Page 36]and all forcible means of compulsion of nations and which relies wholly upon the public opinion of the world as its sole sanction. This breathes throughout the entire joint statement made yesterday from the beginning where we say that we discussed some of the “means by which the moral force of our countries can be exerted for peace” down to the final sentence where we said that we were endeavoring to take steps which would be a contribution towards efforts for peace “not by military organization but by peaceful means rooted in public opinion and enforced by a sense of justice in the civilized world.”
Nothing could have been further away from the truth than to suspect that we contemplated any joinder or pooling of our navies. No such idea was even broached or discussed.