500.A15A5/215: Telegram

The Chairman of the American Delegation (Davis) to the Secretary of State

9. In company with Atherton I had an hour’s talk with MacDonald and Simon this morning. We exchanged views with regard to the Japanese general proposals49 which the British apparently find as unacceptable as we do. MacDonald said they could under no conditions accept the Japanese idea of a common maximum limit which would hold the larger navies by the throat while the others increase their strength. Simon said he hoped that when the Japanese find that neither one of us will agree to the fundamental changes which their proposals would involve they might become more reasonable and perhaps be satisfied with a general statement of the equality of sovereign rights, et cetera, in a preamble to a treaty, and then in the body of the treaty, fix the respective relative limits, which would hold approximately to the existing ratios. MacDonald suggested that we allow the Japanese to develop further their ideas and explain more in detail their technical proposals and the reason for their stand on general principles, without coming as yet to grips on actual formal refusal. Simon inquired if after we have each had another meeting with the Japanese we thought it would be advisable to arrange a meeting of the entire British and American delegations, at which we might continue our discussions of last summer. We answered yes.

  1. For summary of the proposals, see telegram No. 182, October 25, 7 p.m., to the Ambassador in Japan, p. 314.