500.A15a3/629: Telegram

The Chairman of the American Delegation (Stimson) to the Acting Secretary of State


8. The following summarizes the situation up to the present.

The element of the situation which is most important is that on the voyage over and here the American delegation has developed into a loyal, harmonious unit which is working together as one man. Mac-Donald, on the other hand, has to divide authority with his Dominions who insist upon representation in the meetings of committee chairmen. The Dominion representatives, however, are individually friendly and amenable and the smooth working of the Conference will not, in my opinion, be obstructed by them.

At my country house yesterday I had a very friendly and satisfactory conference with the delegation from Italy, and after that Morrow and I had a satisfactory conference with Tardieu and Briand. Tardieu is apparently sincerely desirous of agreement and has definitely abandoned the position that this Conference cannot be final but must be contingent on general disarmament by the League of Nations. Tardieu at the preliminary meeting for organization of the delegation chairmen proved himself to be practical minded and made suggestions in the direction of informality and simplicity in the future working of the Conference. In comparison with the attitude of the French in previous conferences these suggestions were novel.

I believe that MacDonald will cooperate with me in respect to the Japanese demands, although I have had no further conference with the Japanese. A favorable outlook for an agreement resulting from the Conference has in general been confirmed by events since my arrival in England, as it is evident that MacDonald will remain in office on his opponents’ sufferance until the Conference has been concluded. One of the most important factors, in my opinion, at present is to convince the British public and the Conservatives that our parity demand is genuine and that we will insist upon it; in case I find it necessary to make some emphatic statement to this effect I hope you will bear this necessity in mind. I also trust that no public statement will be made by the President bearing on the details of negotiations unless I am given opportunity for comment and ample notice as of course any statement that is made by him must be made good while the Prime Minister can, without being taken too seriously here, give utterance to pious hopes and aspirations. This applies among other things to battleship [sic] abolition.

  1. Telegram in two sections.