500.A15A5/438: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Bingham ) to the Secretary of State

309. Your 125 [155], June 27, 6 p.m.; and 156, June 28, 3 p.m.32 I saw the Foreign Secretary this morning and briefly outlined our understanding, reached in December 1934, at the end of the tripartite naval conversations, that the British and American Governments would keep each other closely informed on naval plans, programs and purposes. I asked him if he had any information he might give me now with reference to suggested bilateral conversations between the British Government on the one hand, and the French, Italian and Soviet Governments on the other hand, as announced by Mr. Baldwin on June 25th. He replied that he was not fully informed on the details but that he would look carefully into the matter within the next few days and would then like to have a further conversation with me.

I reminded him that the British had been advised during the conversations at the end of last year that the naval program of the United States as [was?] based on building up to treaty strength and that our future programs would be relative and dependent upon developments. I also reiterated our understanding that both the British and the American Governments would keep each other continuously and fully informed as to programs and especially as to any change contemplated by either Government. Sir Samuel Hoare replied that this was likewise his understanding but that until he could [Page 77] fully study the matter and inform himself as to the steps contemplated in the immediate future he would prefer to postpone discussing these points until he had acquired this information. He again repeated that he would communicate with me in a few days for further discussion of the subject.

In view of the information confirmed by the Department’s 169, July 8, 4 p.m., that Germany has communicated her naval construction program to the United States, I did not attempt to go into that phase of this subject with the Foreign Secretary, feeling that should it then be expedient to raise the question, it might be more profitably done at my next conversation when Sir Samuel will be in possession of fuller details and information on British naval plans.

Referring to Japan, the Foreign Minister said that it was his policy as far as possible to strengthen the liberal elements in Japan, if there was any such element left; but that he thought there was grave danger of further early action by Japan which would flagrantly violate the Kellogg–Briand Pact33 and because he thought this was probable, he felt that our two Governments should try in advance to clarify in their minds what action if any could be taken in the face of the situation which would then arise.

Code text to Paris.

  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Treaty for the Renunciation of War, signed at Paris, August 27, 1928, Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. i, p. 153.