500.A15A5/893: Telegram

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

391. I transmitted the Department’s 223 of June 4, 8 p.m., to the Foreign Office orally and this morning was read a reply in substance as follows:

“His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom for their part fully reciprocate the views of the United States Government in this matter, and as evidence of the sincerity of their intentions, have already decided that the five capital ships included in their estimates for 1937 and 1938 should mount guns not exceeding 14-inch calibre. His Majesty’s Government are prepared to abide by that limitation, unless and until other principal naval powers, by their departure therefrom, are regarded by His Majesty’s Government as having rendered such a course impossible. They desire by this means to give a lead to the world and they earnestly hope that the United States Government will see their way to join with them in setting an example to other powers in regard to this particular phase of naval limitation”.

I then asked as to the matter of ratifications of the London Naval Treaty by this Government and was informed that the French Government had informed the British Government they desired to ratify the treaty before the present session of the Chamber ended (presumably on the understanding that the British Government likewise intended early ratification). The Foreign Office then added that the [Page 634] matter of ratification was before the Cabinet now but that even though the Soviets had not given their final agreement I might take an informal assurance that the British Government intended ratification before the adjournment of Parliament.

Craigie stated he was leaving England for Japan about the middle of August but hoped before that time Mussolini’s frame of mind might be such as to bring him into the treaty.