The Ambassador in Great Britain (Mellon) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 26—9:45 a.m.]
309. From Davis. I have postponed my departure from London until Friday morning. Before leaving I desire to make as much further progress with the naval negotiations as is possible, and in any event before leaving should wish to give some further idea of our attitude and of how the negotiations should be carried forward. In particular I would appreciate it if you would consider and if possible advise me on the following points before my departure.
- whether we should make any joint statement along the lines suggested in my 308, October 25, 6 p.m.; the text, of course, to be optional with you.
- whether we can advise the British confidentially that we are prepared to continue naval discussion on the general basis of the [Page 540]naval memorandum, as amplified along the lines of my talks with MacDonald, Baldwin and Simon, without of course commitment as to details (or in the alternative that we feel it would be useful to continue discussion on this basis if they could find a way contingent on action by France and Italy of reducing total allowed tonnage of destroyers and cruisers).
- whether the idea of laying up certain ships without demilitarizing them presents useful possibilities.
- whether in view of our friendly conversations here there is sufficient prospect of agreement between us to permit useful cooperation between the British and ourselves in taking up informally with France and Italy the completion of the London Treaty. I feel that the recent improvement in Franco-Italian relations furnish an opportunity which should be explored.
- whether any indication should be given to the Japanese Government of the progress of the naval discussions.
The great difficulty in making any progress in this whole disarmament situation lies in the inter-relationship of every item with every other item, so that there is a tendency over here to postpone action on each individual point. It is for this reason that it may seem desirable to you to take advantage of the progress made here, even though it is incomplete, to start the ball rolling.
If you feel that it is premature to carry the naval conversations further I could tell the British that you are studying the memorandum and the possibilities of further reduction, and that as soon as your study is completed I would communicate again with them. [Davis.]