711.00111 Armament Control/Military Secrets/1444: Telegram
The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kirk) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 17—7:52 a.m.]
428. Department’s 164, November 15, 2 p.m. Captain Joyce arrived in Moscow November 24. He was preceded by Rosov and accompanied by Carp and was accorded the facilities for the custody of the drawings in the Embassy in accordance with the Department’s instructions. Rosov and Carp arranged for interviews with the Commissar for Heavy Industry25 and the Vice Commissar for Naval Affairs26 in the course of which Joyce furnished detailed explanations of the plans of Gibbs and Company for the construction of a battleship. I am informed that these plans were not found acceptable by the Soviet authorities and that in the final conversations here Joyce was given to understand that the Soviet Government was interested in the construction of a battleship along conventional lines, heavily armored and equipped with 16 inch guns. In fact Joyce stated confidentially that it is his opinion that the chief interest of the Soviet Government is in the acquisition of 16 inch guns complete with turrets and apparatus for fire control which he believes are needed for Soviet armaments now under construction or to be constructed but which the Soviet manufacturers have not been able to produce up to the present and the Soviet Government is willing to purchase a battleship in order to obtain the model for guns of that caliber. As of possible interest in this connection a French newspaper correspondent recently volunteered the information that the Soviet Government had approached the Schneider Creusot works27 in regard to placing orders for the construction of 45 centimeter guns with turrets.
Joyce accompanied by Carp has left Moscow en route to the United States where further discussions will take place in regard to certain difficulties which have arisen in connection with the nature of an eventual contract with Gibbs and Company as naval architects as well as in regard to obtaining permission from the competent American [Page 708] authorities for the construction in the United States of 16 inch guns for a foreign government.
Joyce and Carp plan to sail from Havre on December 17 and I understand that he will consult with Admiral Holmes upon arrival in Washington. In so far as can be ascertained Joyce’s visit to Moscow passed unnoticed by foreign diplomatic and journalistic circles.