500.A15a3/649: Telegram

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


22. Three and a half hours were wasted in yesterday morning’s meeting of the heads of the five delegations by debate between the French and Italians concerning whether the items proposed by one or the other should precede each other on the informal agenda concerning the disposal of which a consultation was to be held between the heads of delegations. The alphabet, it was finally agreed, should decide this question and the Italian proposition should be preceded by the French proposition so labeled. In the meanwhile progress in the study and consideration of a more detailed plan is being made by the American delegation.

The heads of delegations at their meeting this morning determined to hold a plenary session of the Conference at 10 o’clock on Thursday, the 30th, in order that they might discuss the appointment of a committee on which should be represented not more than two delegates from each of the five countries. This committee would report to the Conference and its duty would be to consider the methods of limitation, i. e. (1) global, (2) by categories, and (3) by categories with a transfer possibility.

A statement will be made by the Italian delegate to the effect that decisions on any of these methods cannot be accepted by Italy until there is a more exact determination of the question of ratio and tonnage level but that the committee will not be opposed by Italy. The general principle and the parliamentary question involved in the setting up of the committee and its terms of reference as above [Page 11] described will be discussed in the plenary session. The plenary session’s real object is to prevent the press from getting too restless over the lack of open meetings and to allow time necessary to continue informal discussions between delegates which are now showing real progress and going at full speed.

Admission will be granted to a limited number of press representatives and the arrangements for this are now being elaborated between the press officers of the various delegations and the British press office.