500.A15A5/615: Telegram

The Chairman of the American Delegation (Davis) to the Secretary of State

[Paraphrase]

46. Before dinner tonight, at a two-hour meeting with the British, the Japanese told them, in substance, that as regards the common upper limit they were desirous of having a further discussion and a decision. A postponement of the First Committee27 meeting until Wednesday afternoon was requested by the Japanese, at which time they stated [Page 292]they would give a fuller explanation of their thesis and that Japan would withdraw from the Conference should this be rejected by the other powers.

Both Monsell and Eden28 told me briefly that “the jig was up,” when I saw them later at a meeting. We have arranged to have a further talk with them in the morning, in compliance with their request.

An immediate adjournment of the Conference until later this year was requested by the Japanese who urged the British to agree to this, Eden told me. The British would not agree, Eden definitely told the Japanese; instead, they would propose that the other powers participating in the Conference remain to discuss further a naval agreement to which Japan, if she so desired, might later adhere, Eden said.

I was approached later on by Nagai29 who said he was desirous of telling me personally how deeply he regretted their inability to reach an agreement and that this would necessitate withdrawal from the Conference by the Japanese. Would it be helpful to them to carry the delegates on for another month or so or was there any hope of their reaching an ultimate agreement, I asked him. Their situation at home was such, Nagai said, that they could not come to any kind of agreement now and their only hope was that there would be a change in public opinion in Japan by bringing matters to a head now which might make it possible later on perhaps this year to have a resumption of negotiations. Nothing must be done to disturb Japanese-American relations, Nagai concluded, and that what Japan wanted above all else was to leave the Conference in a most friendly spirit.

Davis
  1. The First Committee consisted of the entire membership of the Conference in committee of the whole; The London Naval Conference, 1985, p. 66.
  2. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Matsuzo Nagai, Japanese Ambassador to France and member of the delegation.