The Chairman of the American Delegation (Davis) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 7—3:30 p.m.]
4. Following is text of Japanese opening speech, exchanged for ours this afternoon:
“On this felicitous occasion of the opening of the Five Power Naval Conference, I wish to express our deep appreciation of the efforts since last year of the British Government, through whose good offices the Conference has now met in accordance with the stipulations contained in the two naval treaties of Washington and London.
It has ever been the consistent policy of the Japanese Government to maintain and promote international peace. This has been fully evidenced by the fact of our willing participation in the past disarmament conferences, and our sincere cooperation with other powers in those conferences.
Pursuing the same policy, we desire to achieve, in the present Conference, a just and fair agreement on disarmament which will secure for each country adequate national defence and reduce the burden which weighs upon the people, contributing, at the same time, towards the advancement of peace and good will among the nations of the world.
The object of this Conference, we understand, is to conclude a new comprehensive treaty of naval disarmament with a view to regulating the naval strengths of the powers concerned from the year 1937.
Such a new treaty, in the view of the Japanese Government, should be based upon the fundamental idea of setting up, among the great naval powers of the world, a common limit of naval armaments to be fixed as low as possible, which they shall not be allowed to exceed; simultaneously, offensive forces must be drastically reduced and ample defensive forces provided, so as to bring about a substantial measure of disarmament, thus securing a state of nonmenace and nonaggression among the powers.
The Japanese Government firmly believe that this is indeed the best way of reaching a just and fair agreement on disarmament, whereby [Page 285]the burden of nations may be greatly lightened and a real contribution made towards the durable peace of the world.
The Japanese delegation wish to declare that on such principles as I have outlined, we are prepared to carry on frank exchanges of views with other members of the Conference in a spirit of peaceful collaboration, and to cooperate earnestly throughout with a view to achieving a new comprehensive agreement on disarmament which is at once most fair and rational.”