500.A15A5/842: Telegram

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

11. Your 599, December 7, 8 p.m.2

On January 8, the President announced that he had directed the Navy Department to proceed with the construction of two replacement battleships. It has, in consequence, become imperative for us to have the matter clarified of Japan’s position with regard to article IV, paragraph 2, of the London Naval Treaty, 1936,3 relating to the calibre of guns on capital ships.
In your telegram referred to above you stated that Craigie4 had told the Japanese Ambassador on December 4, 1936, that the British must have an answer in this matter before the end of the year and that it was the British view that the Japanese reply would take the form of a “semi-official assurance”.
You are requested to inquire of the British (a) whether now in fact they have received a reply from the Japanese; (b) if a reply has been received, whether it takes the form of the “semi-official assurance”; (c) if no reply has been received, what action the British contemplate taking in the near future.
  1. Ibid., p. 116.
  2. Department of State Treaty Series No. 919; 50 Stat. 1363. See also Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. i, pp. 102 ff.
  3. Sir Robert Leslie Craigie, British Assistant Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.