033.1140 Stimson H.L./173

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Current Information (McDermott) of the Press Conference of the Secretary of State, September 9, 1931


A correspondent asked if the Secretary had any remarks to make concerning Foreign Minister Grandi’s proposal for an arms holiday until after the general disarmament conference in Geneva. For background only, the Secretary said he did not care to comment on it as he thought a published statement from him would not do any good at the present moment. It is a matter for the League of Nations and not one for the consideration of this government. Of course, we view any proposals of that sort with sympathy, we are friendly to any move in that direction and we shall look forward to any further details. We have not received any details of Signor Grandi’s proposition and the Secretary said the only thing he would ask the press to do in treating the question was not to give any intimation that we have any hesitancy or view the movement with coldness. A correspondent said there was some rather lukewarm treatment of the subject in the press this morning. Mr. Stimson, in reply, said the press was entirely wrong and that the opinions expressed did not represent the attitude of this government. Asked if Signor Grandi’s proposal concerned only naval construction the Secretary said that the reports which had been received by him were not clear and that he was not in a position to speak concerning the possibility of a land question as well as a naval question, as he had not studied it at all broadly. The Secretary said, however, that he should approach it with the same hope that some holiday or moratorium of that sort could be devised. Mr. Stimson said that, as he understood it, the purpose of Signor Grandi’s proposal is that we should approach the great disarmament conference with the spirit of some such arms holiday, as it would greatly increase the prospects of a successful conference. A correspondent here said that the Three-Power agreement47 stopped naval competition. In reply, the Secretary said he was strongly in sympathy with that purpose. A correspondent then asked if he could go so far as to suggest the possibility of our doing something to forward such a proposal. In reply, Mr. Stimson said he could not, until we do it, as he did not like forecasts and as we are in no position yet to know what the suggestion is. On the general proposition, however, the Secretary said the correspondent could give the idea that we are thoroughly friendly to it.

M. J. McDermott
  1. Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament, signed at London, April 22, 1930, Foreign Relations, 1930, vol. i, p. 107.