500.A15A4/1152: Telegram

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

146. My 145, June 21, 11 p.m. The President issued this morning the public statement as telegraphed you last night omitting the final section entitled “for the information of our own countrymen” which [Page 215]was cabled you in our 141, June 20, 11 p.m.82 He did, however, make use of the substance of that section as background for the information of the correspondents and not for quotation in any way. He likewise included but only for background the following sentences: “Disarmament has never been considered in connection with debt questions. It has no relation to them whatever either directly or indirectly. No such suggestion has ever been made by any American official. It would be offensive to the dignity of European peoples to even consider such a course, much less suggest it.”

  1. The final text of this section read as follows:

    “The program announced this morning has been approved by the Secretaries of State, War and the Navy, by the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Operations of the Navy and the American Delegation at Geneva.

    “It is not proposed that the United States should act alone, but only upon the acceptance of all the other governments.

    “Our army, including the national guard and all other reserves, has already been reduced much below the European standard ‘police component.’ It therefore would not be further decreased in strength but we would join in the abolition of tanks, bombing planes, chemical warfare and large mobile land guns.

    “Our Navy is not yet built up to the parity and strength provided for it in the treaties. This proposal, while relieving other nations of great costs of maintenance, would also relieve us of a large part of the building program under discussion in Congress designed to enable us to reach our treaty strength.

    “It would not interfere with present construction and in the ordinary course would not result in reduction of personnel for two or three years. It therefore has no effect on unemployment by discharge of men. By aid to economic recovery it would help employment.

    “The savings in expenditure to the United States in construction and operation are computed at a total of about two billions of dollars during the next ten years.

    “It would leave us more secure in defense than we are today. We have no desire for offensive armament.” (500.A15A4/1158½.)