711.00111 Armament Control/Military Secrets/1153a

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador of the Soviet Union (Troyanovsky)

Excellency: I refer to Your Excellency’s recent conversations with me and with other officers of the Department in regard to the battleship which your Government proposes to have constructed in this country, and have the honor to inform you that the plans prepared by Mr. William Francis Gibbs have now been examined by the appropriate authorities of this Government and that a letter has been addressed to Mr. Gibbs in regard to them.

Mr. Gibbs has been informed that, as the battleship provided for by his plans would not conform to the treaty obligations of this Government in respect to the construction of vessels of war within its jurisdiction, this Government could not authorize the construction in this country of a battleship in accordance with those plans. He has been further informed that, as the plans involve no military secrets of interest to the national defense, this Government would not object to his selling them to your Government should he wish to do so. It has been made clear to him, however, that this Government would have no objection to the construction in this country of a battleship for your Government provided that it did not exceed the treaty limitations which prescribe maxima of 45,000 tons standard displacement and 16 inches for the caliber of guns, and provided that it did not embody any military secrets of interest to the national defense. He has been informed, on the contrary, that the Navy Department would be prepared, in case the construction of such a battleship were undertaken by American shipbuilders, to examine such plans as may be submitted with a view to ascertaining whether they involve military secrets and, without undertaking to furnish any matériel or armament, or to permit the use of any secret or confidential items or of any secret or confidential plans or specifications now in use by the United States Navy, to cooperate with naval architects and shipbuilders, by making available non-confidential information and otherwise, to such a degree as it may consider consistent with the interests of the national defense.

Accept [etc.]

Cordell Hull
  1. Note sent to the Soviet Embassy on June 18, 1938.