500.A15A4/951: Telegram

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

95. Dunn has returned today from Rome where Vitetti informed him confidentially that the Italian Government is anxious to have some measure of achievement to the credit of the Disarmament Conference before the meeting of the Lausanne Conference in June, assuming it would be disastrous to have this Conference making no appreciable progress when a second difficult conference begins. Grandi therefore intends to discuss with MacDonald in London on his trip during the coming week-end the possibility of a British initiative on the reconvening of the Conference looking toward early agreement on those subjects on which agreement is readily possible and particularly on the question of the abolition of certain types of aggressive arms. He feels that if this idea were to be suggested in the first instance by Italy it would arouse French opposition and that opposition is less likely if the proposal comes from Great Britain. His idea is that the great powers should be consulted and [Page 68] their acquiescence secured before any public pronouncement in the Conference.

In this connection you will remember that Grandi in his opening speech advocated more far-reaching measures than we did as regards the abolition of aggressive weapons including in this category battleships as well as submarines. You may feel that the suggestion in my 93, March 26, noon, provides a more orderly and thoroughgoing presentation of the subject than has been evolved elsewhere and that the conception of the relation [between?] security and aggressive weapons might, moreover, facilitate acceptance of some agreement by the great powers and give needed impetus to the work of the Conference.