711.00111 Armament Control/Military Secrets/758

Memorandum by the Chief of the Office of Arms and Munitions Control (Green)

I called Admiral Leahy, Acting Secretary of the Navy, by telephone this morning, and referred to the Secretary’s letter addressed to him on August 20,38 in regard to the proposal of the Carp Export and Import Corporation to purchase in this country material, equipment, and armament for the construction of one or more battleships to be assembled in the U. S. S. R. I told him that it was evident that the Carp Export and Import Corporation was making another desperate effort to enter into the necessary contract. I said that a request for information on the case had come from the White House yesterday; that a member of Congress had called yesterday asking for information; and that Mr. Scott Ferris had just been in my office again. I gave him the substance of my conversation with Mr. Ferris.

Admiral Leahy said that he felt that the position of the Government in this matter was entirely clear, and that the whole difficulty of the Carp Export and Import Corporation resulted from the unwillingness of the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Limited, to enter into a contract. He said that that unwillingness was due to the fact that Bethlehem realized that it could not furnish the necessary plans and specifications or the necessary material and armament without the constant and active cooperation of the Navy Department. He did not believe that Bethlehem could supply armor [Page 479] plate of the proper quality without such cooperation, and he felt certain that it could not manufacture 16 inch guns. He said that he did not believe that 16 inch guns could at present be manufactured in this country except in Naval arsenals. Admiral Leahy added that should any representatives of Carp or of Bethlehem approach him further, in regard to the matter, he would reiterate the position of this Government as fully explained in the Department’s several letters to the Corporations. He would also, if necessary, make it clear that the Navy was not prepared to enter into active and prolonged cooperation with Bethlehem in order to enable that Corporation to carry out such a contract as was proposed. Such active and prolonged cooperation in the manufacture of battleships for a foreign power he felt would be definitely contrary to the policy of the Government.

Joseph C. Green
  1. Not printed.