The Ambassador in Italy (Phillips) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 19—6:30 a.m.]
286. Department’s telegram 95, June 4.33 In reply to representations based on Department’s above mentioned telegram Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs states as follows:
The Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the honor to point out in this connection that following a request addressed it by the Ambassador of his Britannic Majesty in Rome on December 24, 1936, on the basis of the provisions of article 4 of the London Treaty of March 25, 1936, inquiring whether the Royal Government were disposed to pledge itself not to mount in future on Italian battleships guns of a calibre of more than 14 inches, His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs replied on January 12th last in a communication stating [Page 636] that for our part we were ready to give assurance that in so far as we were concerned we would not in future mount on our battleships guns of more than 356 mm calibre provided all the leading naval powers accepted that maximum limitation.
The Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs now has the honor to inform the Embassy of the United States of America that the Fascist Government even after the expiration of the date of April 1, 1937 contemplated in article 4 of the Naval Treaty of London is ready to pledge itself to limit maximum gun calibre on its future battleships to 14 inches on condition that that limitation is accepted by the other leading naval powers.