600.A15A4 Naval Armaments/152: Telegram

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Mellon) to the Secretary of State

315. From Davis. Hepburn thinks following information gleaned from his talks with Admiralty may prove useful in interpreting British attitude upon technical points that may hereafter arise. He repeatedly urged importance of principle of freedom to build within [Page 543] qualitative restrictions of each category especially those in which numbers are not limited as only equitable method yet proposed for reconciling individual necessities as to numbers and unit sizes. While not expressing disagreement British make the point that principle is really not valid in 6-inch cruiser category because permitted displacement is too large and there is a point in neighborhood of 7, 000 tons on either side of which ships virtually fall into different categories, the larger being in the nature of 6-inch “battleships”. Admiralty spoke quite openly of adverse reports from all flag officers in regard to tactical qualities of 8-inch cruisers as developed by their tactical exercises in Mediterranean, mentioning especially their excessive visibility at all times and uselessness for night work. Discussing our necessity for cruising radius they seemed puzzled and intimated that they had no difficulty in getting 9, 000 miles at something in the neighborhood of 18 knots from their “large cruisers”, exact displacement not specified. As a family confidence Admiralty said that their naval studies resulted in conclusion that abolition of aviation bombing would be advantageous to them in all surface ship operations, laughingly admitting that this conclusion was not reached through collaboration with aviation personnel. [Davis.]