The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Atherton) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 17—9:45 a.m.]
377. Craigie called me on the long distance telephone this morning and fixed our appointment for Tuesday next. He expressed regret [Page 94] that, due to a leak from Tokyo, the Foreign Office had suddenly to make the explanation reported in my 374, August 16, 3 p.m., without having previously informed this Embassy of their intended action. Craigie pointed out this omission was due to the fact that the officers handling matters of naval questions had generally taken August as a holiday prior to the contemplated activities in September and October. He explained the apparent ambiguity in the Foreign Office statement reported in my telegram above mentioned, in that, while from the British point of view the five-power multilateral conversations tentatively proposed for October would be the conference envisaged under the Washington and London naval treaties, it could not be as yet designated as such a conference because of French susceptibilities in that the French had so far been very “inconclusive” in their reply as to whether they would attend a “formal five-power naval conference”. Craigie emphasized that these October conversations will have, as primary point, qualitative limitation, which the French had signified they regard as urgent. Secondly, and equally important, progress in quantitative discussions. Third, considerations for summoning a world naval conference.
I shall telegraph again after my Tuesday conversation.