Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Phillips)

During my conversation with the President this morning he said that he wanted Assistant Secretary Roosevelt,43 Admiral Standley,44 Pierrepont Moffat45 and me to work together on the subject of naval disarmament; he thought that this Government should have some very simple platform on which to stand which would show our desire to cooperate in world naval disarmament; his thought was that we should be willing to reduce our naval force by 25%, provided others did the same, keeping, I believe, the present ratio; he mentioned, I think, a limited period; first by scrapping certain obsolete ships without replacement; second by a willingness to reduce by 25% our total treaty allowance by tonnage and by number. The President felt that this would be the original platform on which we might stand. I [Page 238] pointed out that the Japanese would undoubtedly refuse to go along with us on any such lines. The President replied that the next and final position would be to stand on the present naval ratio as provided for by the terms of the Naval Conference.

William Phillips
  1. Henry L. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
  2. William H. Standley, Chief of Naval Operations.
  3. Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs.