The Ambassador in France (Bullitt) to the Secretary of State
[Received 2:15 p.m.]
793. My 764, June 11, 10 a.m.29 Massigli30 stated formally to us today that the reply of the French Government to the question raised in the Department’s 256, June 4, 8 p.m.,25 is in the affirmative, namely, [Page 633] that the French Government is willing to accept a limitation in caliber of guns to 14 inches provided the other principal naval powers are willing to accept the same limitation. He added that in making this reply the French Government wished to call attention to its desire that not only the caliber of guns should be reduced but also that there should be a reduction in the standard displacement of capital ships and in this connection the French Government hopes that the consultation for this purpose provided for in article 28 of the London Naval Treaty of 1936 will take place.
As a practical matter, in the course of the conversation with Massigli he confirmed information given to the Naval Attaché by the Ministry of Marine to the effect that it is understood that the two Italian battleships Littorio and Vittorio Venito now building will mount 15-inch guns and if being done there will be no other course open to the French but to mount 15-inch guns on their battleships Jean Bart and Richelieu now building.