500.A15A5/809a: Telegram

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

280. In view of the refusal of the Japanese Government to adhere to the London Naval Treaty 1936, notified to us in a communication [Page 105] from Craigie dated July 9, 1936, enclosed in your despatch No. 2335, July 10, 1936,8 you are requested to inquire informally of Craigie what, in his Government’s view, is the present status of the stipulations of the Treaty limiting the calibre of guns on capital ships at 14 inches. You will recall that this limitation was contingent on its being accepted not later than April 1, 1937, by all the Powers signatory to the Washington Treaty, otherwise the maximum calibre of guns would remain at 16 inches.

For your information the Navy Department is most anxious to complete the plans for the two capital ships which will be laid down early next year. From a technical standpoint much depends on whether these ships are to be armed with 14 or 16 inch guns. If the Japanese action in refusing to adhere to the Treaty is to be interpreted as a refusal to accept the qualitative stipulations of the Treaty the Navy will wish to complete its plans at once to arm the new ships with the higher calibre guns. You will readily appreciate therefore that an immediate informal expression of the views of the British Government is urgently necessary.

  1. See footnote 7, p. 104.