500.A15A4 Steering Committee/482: Telegram
The American Delegate (Wilson) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 19—10:38 a.m.]
1045. Aghnides asked to see us this morning and outlined his ideas with regard to further progress in disarmament work at Geneva. He believes that there will be a Bureau meeting at the time of the Assembly, say the middle of September. Henderson is more anxious than ever to have this meeting and the principal powers concerned with whom Aghnides has spoken have shown their acquiescence.
Assuming as he does that Bureau will meet in September Aghnides believes that its business will first be a report by Henderson of the work of the Manufacture and Trade and other Committees last spring. Thenceforth Henderson will request from the powers concerned on the basis of the General Commission’s resolution of June 8, 1934,85 information on the course of the “general negotiations” which have been going on in the interval. It would then be for the Bureau to discuss and determine; (1st) whether the Conference should continue to suspend its work; (2d) whether work on the limited objectives determined upon on November 20 last could practically be resumed, or; (3d) whether the moment was opportune to take up again the more fundamental problems of disarmament.
Aghnides believes that the request for information may well elicit statements from the British with regard to their recent naval agreement with Germany86 as a definite step in his proposals of armament limitation and respecting either a Locarno air agreement or the progress of negotiation in that regard if agreement has not been achieved. Aghnides thinks it quite likely that if the British can show at the Bureau meeting that they have concluded a limitation agreement on naval affairs with the Germans and an agreement of the Locarno powers with regard to air armament the obvious implication will be that it then remains to take up seriously the question of land armament. [Page 55] This would not only be good pre-election politics for the British but also would enable them to bring a great deal of pressure on the French, et cetera, in regard to land limitation.