500.A15A5 Personnel/33

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Moffat)33

Norman Davis telephoned this morning to say that he had had a talk with the President over the telephone yesterday. The President told him that he wanted him to go to London before the arrival of the Japanese Admiral coming from Tokyo and that it would accordingly probably be necessary for him to sail on October 3. Mr. Davis again pressed on the President his idea that Admiral Standley34 in [Page 305] person should accompany him saying that he thought the question of equivalent ranks between the Japanese and American naval representatives was of scant importance. He claimed that Admiral Standley could learn more in this meeting which would be of help to him in the 1935 Conference than in any other possible way. In fact in many ways Mr. Davis thought this meeting would be fully as important as the 1935 Conference itself. The President said that he was rather impressed with this idea and that it would be a good plan for Admiral Standley to stand by to accompany Mr. Davis if the President decided after further consideration that this was the right move.

Mr. Davis asked if I would go down and call on Admiral Standley and sound him out as to his personal opinions in the matter.35

Mr. Davis then went on and said that he was convinced we could reach a meeting of minds with the British if we would allow them to retain eight over-age cruisers. The President said that this sounded all right. Mr. Davis said that the Navy Department did not agree as we did not have any over-age cruisers to balance these. The President said that this did not sound like an insuperable difficulty but that he would talk it over upon returning to Washington with Mr. Hull, Colonel Roosevelt,36 Mr. Davis and Admiral Standley.

The President then asked Mr. Davis to come to Hyde Park on Friday, the 21st, for dinner after which he would have another long talk with him. Mr. Davis will come to Washington on Monday, September 24th, and remain four days that week.

With regard to the General Disarmament Conference,37 he was not unduly depressed by Germany’s failure to join the Eastern Locarno.38 He said that if Germany did not get an increase in armaments before she committed herself to a political status quo she would never get it. I replied that I feared her refusal to join an Eastern Locarno would be taken as one more move showing a spirit of aggression and would fortify the determination of France and Britain not to allow any German rearmament. Mr. Davis said that perhaps a Franco-Italian rapprochement would give a sufficient feeling of security to France to enable her to be more reasonable but admitted that it was difficult to see a way out of the problem at the moment.

Pierrepont Moffat
  1. Addressed to the Secretary of State and Under Secretary of State.
  2. William H. Standley, Chief of Naval Operations.
  3. Marginal notes in original: “Do you approve?” [Moffat.] “Secretary] approves & suggests Hornbeck go with you, if you think advisable. H. S. C.” [Hugh S. Cumming, Jr., Executive Assistant to the Secretary of State.]

    “Telephoned Adm[iral] Standley Sept. 17th. He is away on leave & won’t be back before next week. P.M.”

  4. Henry L. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
  5. For correspondence relating to the Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments, see pp. 1 ff.
  6. For correspondence concerning negotiation of an “Eastern Locarno” Pact of Mutual Guarantee, see pp. 489 ff.