500A4B/560: Telegram

The Chargé in Japan (Neville) to the Secretary of State

214. 1. The Minister for Foreign Affairs44 told me today, elaborating upon his recent conversation with the Ambassador45 which was reported in the Embassy’s telegram 204, September 18, noon,46 that his feeling was that the Washington Treaty of 1922 should be allowed to expire in 1936 and that the Japanese hoped an understanding could be brought about which would prevent an armament race as Japan had no intention whatever of building a navy equal to that of Great Britain or the United States.

2. He hoped that some limitation could be placed upon the size of future vessels, perhaps by replacing those capital ships authorized by the 1922 treaty as they became obsolete by smaller ships or in some other way, and that if possible an understanding might be reached that the total tonnage existing on January 1, 1937, be not increased by any power. If such an understanding could be reached he hoped that it would then be possible gradually to reduce naval armament to a purely defensive point; that is, that no nation should maintain a greater strength than that actually sufficient to prevent successful attacks upon the sea coast.

[Page 406]

3. I shall continue to pay close attention to and report by telegraph such further remarks as the Minister for Foreign Affairs may make on this subject.