500.A15A4 Plenary Sessions/102: Telegram

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

66. Your 111, April 9, 11 p.m. I have discussed this matter with the President and we see very serious objections to your proposed statement. In return for scoring a point in debate, your speech risks being read as implying (a) that we would be able to extend the principle of the abolition of aggressive weapons to other fields than the army; and (b) that if our land proposals were accepted we might alter our position on capital ships. It is highly important for you not to give either of these impressions. It should be sufficient for you to stress (a) that our proposals must be considered on their own merits and without enlarging their application; and (b) that emphasis should be kept on land questions at least until the great land powers have made contributions to the cause of disarmament equivalent to those made by the naval powers. We attach particular importance to your being able to block any attempt to liken the treatment of naval and aerial aggressive weapons to that proposed for tanks and heavy mobile land guns, and urge you to bear this constantly in mind. If necessary you may say we are always ready to revise naval programs as a whole, but not in part and that naval revision must be a separate question.