711.00111 Armament Control/Military Secrets/1123

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

The Soviet Ambassador called on Mr. Moffat this morning by appointment. Mr. Green of CA99 was present during the conversation.

The Ambassador referred to his conversation with Mr. Moffat on May 18, 1938, in regard to the plans for a battleship to be constructed in this country for his Government. He said that he personally thought that a battleship of 45,000 tons should be satisfactory but that he had not yet received official instructions on that point.

The immediate and particular interest of the Ambassador in the matter seemed to be: (1) in having a reply to Mr. Gibbs, the Naval Architect, expedited; (2) in having some statement included in that reply to the effect that this Government desired to have the battleship constructed in this country; and (3) in receiving as full information as possible as to the nature of the reply which would be addressed to Mr. Gibbs.

The Ambassador was informed that a reply would be addressed to Mr. Gibbs as soon as possible and that it was hoped that it might be sent next week; that the reply would contain a full statement of this Government’s position on all the matters of law and policy involved and that his Government would have to obtain information in regard to the reply addressed to Mr. Gibbs through Mr. Gibbs as the plans were the property of Mr. Gibbs and had been submitted to the Government by him. The Ambassador asked whether Mr. Gibbs could sell the plans which were now under consideration to the Soviet Government even if it were decided that no battleship could be constructed in this country in accordance with those plans.

He was informed that on the assumption that the plans contained no military secrets there would appear to be no objection on grounds of either law or policy to such a sale but that the point would have to be decided by Mr. Gibbs himself.

J[oseph] C. G[reen]
  1. Office of Arms and Munitions Control.