500.A15A4 Steering Committee/52: Telegram
The American Delegate (Wilson) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 24—8:10 p.m.]
385. Relative to section 2 (a), part 2, resolution of July 23rd. Strong informs me that he got the impression in Washington that any agreement which involved a limitation by number or by caliber of coast defense guns would render a treaty very difficult of acceptance by the Senate.
Buero, Uruguay, who has been appointed by the Bureau as rapporteur for this section with the task of presenting a report after consultation with members, called this morning and I told him of the difficulties which we encountered at home with this section and stated that my colleagues would very much prefer to have a simple undertaking to eliminate mobile guns above 155, with adequate undertakings not to render coast defense guns mobile.
As a matter of policy should we not insist upon maintenance of the distinction between fixed and mobile guns and have measures [Page 337]of qualitative limitation apply only to mobile artillery? We might insist that on account of its defense functions coast defense armaments should not be subject to any qualitative restriction. It must be remembered that in past years in the Preparatory Commission we have vigorously insisted upon numerical limitation for artillery without exempting coast defense.
I would appreciate as soon as possible instructions from you as to whether I should definitely state that such limitation of coast defense is unacceptable. In view of the terms of the resolution for which we voted which provides such limitation I should notify my colleagues as soon as possible if our attitude is changed in this matter.