763.72119 Military Clauses/91
Memorandum by the Secretary of State
Mr. Osborne, the British Chargé, called at Woodley at nine o’clock and left with me a statement, annexed hereto, of the views of the British Government on questions arising out of the notes exchanged between the German Government and the French Government regarding the work of the Disarmament Conference. This paper was printed by the press on the Monday morning following. When Mr. Osborne [Page 433]handed it to me, I read it through and told him one thing was clear about it,—that it was the work of an able lawyer. He said yes, he thought Sir John Simon had done it himself. I told him that the analysis of the purpose and effect of the Versailles Treaty which it contained seemed to me, on this quick reading, to correspond substantially with my own view. I then called Mr. Osborne’s attention specifically to the sentences in the last two-thirds of page five61 and said that these statements seemed to me to indicate that the British proposal would refer the question of whether or not the Versailles Treaty was to be amended, as well as the naval treaties of Washington and London, to the Disarmament Conference and that burning question would come up there; that otherwise if they were not amended those old treaties would stand. I said the paper indicated, however, that London thought the best result would be to have them all embodied into a general convention. Mr. Osborne replied that he had not gathered that impression before but when he looked it over he rather agreed with me. I said to him, however that I did have this slight question about the British note,—that possibly it was a little too diplomatic to make an impression on German psychology. I said there was an impression floating around that Great Britain was backing Germany on the question of equality of rights; that this had come to me from the Italian Ambassador, as well as from others; and that in view of this I was not quite sure whether the language of this document would make a sufficient impression to rebut and replace it but I hoped that it would, and I gave him some examples of cases illustrating the German psychology in question. This one statement of possible difference on my part made an impression on him for he repeated it, and for that reason I think it probably will be reported to his government.