500.A15A4 Plenary Sessions/103: Telegram

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


116. Your 66, April 11, 3 p.m. I trust you will bear in mind that the statement which I made yesterday with your authority contained an explicit commitment to consider in due course the logical extension of the same idea to other categories of armaments. Furthermore, for us to make any effort to block the extension of discussion to air and sea unless and until complete agreement has been reached in regard to guns and tanks, is not within the power of a single delegation and as you will note all these questions were raised yesterday and again today as I anticipated they would be when I asked for my instructions. I repeat, no single delegation is in a position to dictate under what conditions extension can be given to a subject under consideration and while we can press for consideration of one phase of the matter as a first step, we are not in a position to impose our view on the other delegations. While I feel that we have considerable support for the simplification of the problem by breaking it up into its elements, I think the chances of success in that effort would be lessened if we should show ourselves intransigent concerning future consideration of further extension. The only hope of securing the adoption of our plan is to make it clear, as we have done, that this is a first step and that it is our purpose to consider eventually other phases of the problem.

With reference to your statement that you did not wish us to [Page 88] extend the principle of the abolition of aggressive weapons to other fields than the army you will recall that in my opening speech, February 9, paragraph [point] 4,81 I stated the readiness of the United States to abolish the submarine so that we are already committed on the question of abolition in one of the naval categories. Therefore, while we can refuse to agree to the abolition of another category we are not on solid ground if we try to rule out its consideration solely on the basis that revision of the fleet must be considered as a whole. Thus we must give other reasons than the interdependence of all naval categories for our position.

I certainly had no intention of giving any impression that we were ready to scrap capital ships and in the following text,82 which we have prepared in accordance with your telegram 66, April 11, 3 p.m., and telephone call, and which I shall use if pressed, I think you will find no such implication.

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  1. Telegram in two sections; section two not printed.
  2. Ante, p. 29.
  3. Not printed.