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Chapter 6

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Prelude to Pearl Harbor

by
Gerald E. Wheeler

published by
University of Missouri Press,
Columbia, Missouri
1963

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Conclusions
This site is not affiliated with the US Naval Academy.

p159 7

The State Department Takes the Helm:
The London Naval Conference

The lack of preparation that characterized the Geneva Conference was not duplicated in the months before the London meeting. On June 18, 1929, Ambassador Dawes delivered a speech before the Pilgrims Society in London which was taken to be the beginning of his by then highly publicized conversations with MacDonald. The speech itself contained little more than platitudes and generalizations, but two points of significance did emerge: The United States and Great Britain would not allow the issue of neutral rights to bog down the greater problem of eliminating competition in armaments, and statesmen, not naval officers, should guide the destinies of the nations when naval armaments were discussed. In keeping with the stated desire of both countries, even this introductory speech was discussed with the Japanese ambassador, Tsuneo Matsudaira, the French ambassador, and the Italian chargé. There was to be no fait accompli handed Japan or the other naval powers for their acceptance or refusal. Both MacDonald and Dawes insisted at all times that their conversations were exploratory, that a method of meeting the cruiser problem was being studied, and that quantities of tons, guns, or ships would not be absolutely decided on. This was to be the work of a later conference.1

p160 Upon the problem of whether naval officers or civilians should dominate in any future conference there was unanimity of thought. The narrow, technical line of reasoning that made agreement in Geneva impossible was not to be allowed. Secretary of State Stimson felt strongly on this subject; he and the British ambassador concurred, "In general the service man was bound to look at these questions from the standpoint of possible war . . . while the civilian statesman representing the people of the country might be able and willing to take chances which the professional service man could not take." Dawes reiterated this view in his Pilgrims Society address when he commented that a naval officer could hardly favor "a partial destruction of his own navy. The proper pride of a naval officer's life is his navy." The Japanese ambassador in Washington was similarly in agreement with Sir Esme and Stimson: "There would be small hope of agreement if the work was left to the naval representatives. . . ."2 Hence the Admiralty and the Navy Department were consulted on technical matters, but queries addressed to them were generally for information to buttress a prior political decision.

The diplomats took one other lesson of Geneva to heart, the problem of the publicists and press relations in general. Once the decision for a conference was made in July, 1929, MacDonald and Stimson generally gave the press very little into which it could sink its teeth. Carefully worded written statements to the newspapermen were the general rule. Later, at the London Conference, the dearth of solid information caused the newspapermen to react as bitterly toward Stimson as they had toward the Geneva delegation. In August, 1929, the story of William Baldwin Shearer's public relations work during the Geneva Conference came to light when he sued his retainers for expenses. Shearer had been hired as an agent of Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Newport News Shipbuilding Corporation, and American Brown Boveri Corporation, to work against naval limitation p161during the Geneva meeting.3 For Hoover and Stimson this information that publicity devices had been employed against naval limitation came as a windfall, and the President noted this when he wrote his Secretary of State: "I think it would be desirable if some inquiry could be made as to the character of this lawsuit. . . . It may be a useful public example and one that we will need before we are finished." This revelation and the Senate investigation that followed undoubtedly weakened the efficiency of big‑Navy pressure groups during the sessions of the London Conference.4

The most significant result of the preconference discussions between Prime Minister MacDonald and Ambassador Dawes was their arrival at a settlement on the allotment of cruiser tonnage between the United States and Great Britain. Though the agreement was not final in details, the premises involved were of vast importance in determining the naval relationships among the United States, Japan, and Great Britain.

As at Geneva, the controlling factor in the British-American discussions was Japan. Britain again insisted upon its basic position: that the Japanese could never possess more than twelve 8‑inch‑gun cruisers. The Admiralty had decided that empire needs could be satisfied with fifteen of the 8‑inch‑gun cruisers, and therefore hoped that the United States would be satisfied with eighteen. MacDonald candidly wrote in a personal letter to Ambassador Dawes that were the problem confined to their two countries alone the matter of cruisers could be quickly settled "because my country had not been assuming that yours was a potential enemy." But complicating the ability to agree was the fact that "There are three other naval powers armed very effectively and in a position to damage my country and the people for whose existence I am responsible." And finally, he pointed out, "There are our dominions with their needs and their fears. . . ." The American desire for p162twenty-three of the 10,000‑ton cruisers would give Japan sixteen, at a 70 per cent ratio — which would be one more than the British — and at 60 per cent would allow Japan fourteen — which was two more than the dominions could allow.5

The Japanese left no one in doubt on how they felt about the ratio question. The Imperial Navy wanted 70 per cent of the cruiser strength of the United States Navy, not of Great Britain's. In fact, the Japanese ambassadors in Washington and London and the minister at Geneva, all had pressed the Japanese case. Even before the Dawes conversations began, Ambassador Debuchi had warned Secretary Stimson that his country was "quite sensitive" on applying the 5‑5‑3 ratio to combatant auxiliaries for Japan. From London Dawes cabled in August that Ambassador Matsudaira had called on him and mentioned that at any future naval conference Japan would ask for 10‑10‑7 in heavy cruisers. A few weeks later a letter to the department from Consul General Hugh Wilson at Geneva stated that Minister Naotake Sato had told him that Japan was planning on 70 per cent of American strength in 8‑inch‑gun cruisers. And the British felt the pressure also. Dawes reported in September that he had talked with MacDonald, who had just returned from Geneva. The Prime Minister told Dawes that he had spoken with Matsudaira, and "the latter notified him [MacDonald] that Japan desired to apply its ratio to the number of United States large cruisers."6

The United States position during the Anglo-American exploratory conversations was consistent with its stand taken at Geneva in 1927. Stimson and Hoover hoped for a cruiser agreement permitting the United States to reduce its authorized cruiser program, arriving finally at a cruiser category tonnage "somewhere from 200 to 250 thousand tons." This hope conflicted with the British insistence that they needed fifteen large cruisers and forty-five of the smaller vessels, p163with a total tonnage approximating 376,000 tons.7 The old problem was still present: The United States wanted parity with Great Britain at the lowest possible tonnage level, and the British wanted sixty cruisers (a reduction of ten since the Geneva Conference), with no more than fifteen in the 8‑inch‑gun class. The Prime Minister summarized the American position on August 1 when he cut to the core of the problem: "I see your President's difficulty. At the moment the bulk of your cruiser strength is in a program; ours is on the water. If you have parity you have to build a part of your program. This is an increase . . . [not naval limitation and reduction]."8

On August 9, 1929, the British broke the deadlock over cruisers by modifying their position. They conceded that fifty cruisers would satisfy their needs; fifteen of the ships would be in the 8‑inch‑gun cruiser class and the other thirty-five would carry 6‑inch guns. For another month the United States refused to withdraw from its stand — twenty-three cruisers in the 10,000‑ton class — but on September 24 Secretary Stimson showed the Japanese ambassador statistics in which the United States had lowered its requirements to twenty‑one, a figure considered by the General Board to be the maximum concession that the United States could make to the British. As matters stood, the cruiser tonnage allowed Great Britain exceeded that of the United States by 24,000 tons (339,000 to 315,000), and a further reduction in 8‑inch‑gun cruisers for America was out of the question.9 The visit of Prime Minister MacDonald to the United States in October, 1929, was good publicity for the forthcoming naval conference, but during p164his visit the United States refused to budge from its demand for twenty‑one cruisers when the subject was broached. President Hoover and Prime Minister MacDonald therefore agreed that three cruisers should not delay the London Conference, and the British extended invitations on October 7, 1929.10

The preconference conversations and Prime Minister MacDonald's visit to the United States resulted in a firm Anglo-American resolve to deny Japan's demand for a 10‑10‑7 ratio in the 8‑inch‑gun cruiser category. Great Britain had agreed that it would be satisfied with fifteen of the heavier cruisers. The United States still insisted on twenty‑one cruisers in the 10,000‑ton class, but it was already evident that this position would require modification if there was to be a final agreement at the conference. Unless the British were to be allowed an increase in total tonnage, which would undoubtedly cause the General Board to demand a similar rise for the United States, the American position would have to be altered at the London meeting.

In regard to other ship categories the United States and Great Britain reached agreement during the preconference negotiations. Submarines and destroyers posed no problem to speak of. In July Stimson had assured MacDonald that the United States would be willing to scrap down to the level of Britain in destroyers and submarines. During the October visit of the Prime Minister the subject was discussed in detail, and both nations agreed that 150,000 tons of destroyers would meet their needs. Hoover agreed that the United States could meet the British at 50,000 tons in submarines, and surprisingly enough it was agreed that Japan could retain up to 70,000 tons. Now, possibly, p165Japan could accept the 60 per cent ratio in 8‑inch‑gun cruisers.11 The British still hoped to have the treaty tonnage and gun‑caliber limits on battleships reduced further, but Stimson and Hoover preferred to delay replacements for five years. They told the British that the United States could not consider using 12‑inch or 14‑inch guns on further battleship construction because the 16‑inch gun gave the United States a slight advantage over the Japanese fleet. The battleship question was therefore set aside for discussion at the conference, but with the tacit agreement that replacements would begin in 1936 rather than in 1931.12

Of even greater significance than the various agreements reached between Great Britain and the United States was the fact that both were actively collaborating and planning together. The worried interest of the Japanese ambassadors in London and Washington (despite attempts to show indifference) was sufficient evidence that Anglo-American cooperation was noticeable. An honest effort had been made to keep Japan, Italy, and France apprised of the progress in the naval discussions, but it would have been unrealistic to expect the State Department or the Foreign Office to tell the Japanese and the world that Japan was the focal point of Anglo-American planning. As evidence accumulated that the British and Americans were doing more than talking in terms of generalities, the Japanese showed their uneasiness by requests at London and Tokyo for Japanese bilateral conversations with the English and the Americans. In accepting the British invitation to the London Conference the Japanese suggested that they hold some preliminary negotiations at London of the same character that had been so successfully concluded between MacDonald and the Americans. In America Secretary Stimson possibly p166set the Japanese at ease by inviting them to stop at Washington while en route to London. He refused to commit the United States to any position on ratios but welcomed a frank discussion.13

Any hope that the Japanese might have entertained of a preconference commitment to raise their ratio to 70 per cent of American tonnage in 8‑inch‑gun cruisers was blasted during the month of November. Ambassador Matsudaira raised the issue in talking with Prime Minister MacDonald and was politely told that the British were not sympathetic. In Washington the next day (November 12) Ambassador Debuchi was handed a carefully worded aide-mémoire rejecting the Japanese request for a 10‑10‑7 ratio. Secretary Stimson's memorandum noted, quoting Baron Kato's speech at the Washington Conference, that the Japanese had "gladly" accepted the 10‑10‑6 ratio, and therefore could see no reason to reopen the subject. If the Japanese insisted on pressing for a 10‑10‑7 ratio, then the United States would have to re‑examine its position on limiting fortifications at Guam and Manila.14 A copy of the aide-mémoire was sent to the British Foreign Office, and on November 14 the embassy in London cabled an observation on the British reception of the aide-mémoire:

Foreign Office informally advises me Japanese memorandum has been read with great satisfaction and that Great Britain, although not taking any action that might give rise to suspicion of Anglo-American agreement versus Japan, will follow the same line in regard to Japan's desire for ten‑seven cruiser ratio.15

Ambassador Matsudaira visited MacDonald again on November 18 to inquire whether he had altered his views since the conversations of a week before, and was assured in the Prime Minister's most temperate tones that the British still adhered to their earlier statement. When Matsudaira pressed the matter of Japanese security being bound up in a ratio increase, MacDonald had two observations to make:

p167 . . . firstly, that in these modern days security was being sought for more in the effective creation of a peace organization than in competitive and comparative building; and secondly, that Japan would have to be very careful that in securing her own security she did not upset the sense of security of other nations. Nobody wanted Japan to be insecure, nor did any other nation to feel insecure herself.16

After this interview the Japanese press, which until mid‑November had remained optimistic, began to face realities. At the end of the month the Tokyo Chugai, which on November 9 had predicted the higher ratio, suggested on November 30 that the delegation not be afraid to return home without a treaty.17

The six months of Anglo-American negotiations, seen in review, had resulted in the virtual isolation of Japan. In naval matters Great Britain and the United States had reduced their differences to a matter of three cruisers and had reached solid agreement that Japan's ratio in the 8‑inch‑gun 10,000‑ton cruisers was not to be increased above 60 per cent. This agreement had been tested in London and Washington by the Japanese ambassadors, and both parties had held firm. It is little wonder, then, that the American chargé in Tokyo could close his monthly political summary of conditions in Japan:

December was a month of anticipation. The events awaited were . . . the impending reduction of naval armaments. . . . This prospective attitude was perhaps enhanced by a wave of freak weather which brought the plum trees unseasonably into bloom and made the people feel that the unusual precedence of winter and spring had been reversed.

The London Naval Conference, opened by King George V on January 21, 1930, presented a problem of major proportions to the p168American delegates and their naval advisers.18 President Hoover and the country wanted a treaty limiting or possibly reducing naval armaments, and to the civilian mind the way had been cleared. The United States and Great Britain were in basic agreement on almost all points, and the principal problem ahead was to convince Japan that the British-American position was sound and equitable. This in itself would be a formidable task, but it was complicated by the lack of Navy conviction that the arrangements arrived at with England would serve the best interests of the United States. It was only with extreme reluctance that the General Board scaled down its requirements in 10,000‑ton 8‑inch‑gun cruisers from twenty-five to twenty-three and finally to twenty‑one vessels. Yet those cruisers were not considered sacred by the delegates. The Japanese demand for 70 per cent of this tonnage could not be granted, from the viewpoint of the General Board, and the current 60 per cent ratio would give Japan too many cruisers according to British Admiralty estimates. If a treaty was to emerge from the conference, someone would have to give ground.

The Japanese Government continued its preparation of public opinion to back its demand for a new ratio of 10‑10‑7. In Tokyo the American embassy kept the State Department informed and pointed up the month-by‑month developments with an abundance of newspaper clippings, translations, and analyzes. By the middle of October the chargé in Tokyo, commenting on the propaganda for a 70 per cent ratio, warned the department, "not only has [the Japanese Government] so definitely committed itself to this position, but it has inculcated so firmly in the minds of the people the idea that anything less [than 70 per cent] would imperil Japan's safety, that it is difficult to see how it could accept anything less at the Conference and avoid serious reverberation at home."19 The principal argument used by the Japanese to describe their need for a higher ratio was that times had p169changed since 1922. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance was long a thing of the past, and Japan had shown its good faith by withdrawing from Shantung and Port Arthur. The Japanese were worried about the state of affairs in China and needed more cruisers to supplement their fleet in Chinese waters. A few forthright souls were willing to admit that if war were to occur between Japan and America a 70 per cent ratio in cruisers would be more comforting than 60 per cent, but generally the appeals were based on the China operations or on Japan's emergence as a major Power.20 By the time the conference met, the Japanese demand for a ratio revision had become one of the delegation's "Three Fundamental Claims": 70 per cent ratio with the United States in 10,000‑ton 8‑inch‑gun cruisers, 70 per cent of the total combatant auxiliary tonnage allowed the United States, and no reduction in Japan's current submarine tonnage of approximately 78,000 tons.21

Even behind their wall of solid popular support for a new ratio, the Japanese were not invulnerable to pressure from the United States and Great Britain. The Japanese were hard pressed financially and would have liked to delay the replacement program for battleships due to begin in 1931. The Anglo-American strategy was obvious: With no agreement on cruisers there could be no treaty, and with no treaty new and modern battleships would be laid down by the two English-speaking nations.22 An even more powerful weapon was available and was p170used by the British and American delegations — the threat of an Anglo-American bilateral naval treaty. There had been close cooperation between the two delegations from the day the conference began, and with some justification Secretary Stimson was able to tell Prime Minister MacDonald that the Japanese would never dare leave the conference without a treaty:

I knew from my first visit to Japan [1928] they must have financial relief on replacement of battleships; second, that if they went home we might make a treaty without them and they would know that in that case they ran a great danger of having two cruisers laid down to their one by both the United States and Great Britain and if it was done under those circumstances those four cruisers would be more likely than not used against their one in case of trouble. . . .23

On two critical occasions MacDonald agreed that a treaty between the two Powers should be made if necessary. This knowledge strengthened the American demand that Japan agree to a cruiser compromise in early March, and later made it possible to force acceptance of the compromise on the first of April.24 The months of Anglo-American negotiations paid off handsomely in bringing Japan to terms, but there were significant concessions by the United States written into the agreement achieved.

The principal burden upon American diplomacy at the London Conference consisted of persuading the Japanese to accept less than a 70 per cent ratio with the United States in 8‑inch‑gun cruisers. To a great extent the success of the conference hinged on this point. Actually, however, a sharp engagement had to be fought between the American delegates and their naval advisers before a compromise with Japan could be suggested.

p171 When the American delegation arrived at London, the question of whether the United States should have twenty‑one or eighteen heavy cruisers had not been settled.25 The British had pressed the United States to accept eighteen, but the delegation had left the question open until the conference began. On January 25 the American naval advisers were called to Admiral W. V. Pratt's office to discuss a rough "tentative plan" of tonnages desired by the United States in all categories. Given to Pratt by Senator David A. Reed for consideration by the naval group, the plan immediately created a storm of dissension because it proposed eighteen heavy cruisers for the United States rather than the General Board's twenty‑one. The next day, after several hours of discussion, Admiral Pratt cut the meeting short with the word that "the paper [tentative plan] had to go in as Senator Reed wanted, and we are just asked to put his words into proper language."26 This blunt statement by Admiral Pratt aptly describes the work to which the naval advisers were put during the balance of the conference.

On January 28 the delegates listened to the views of the various naval advisers concerning the value of adhering to the General Board's plan or to Senator Reed's. Rear Admiral H. P. Jones and several others stood by the General Board's reasoning that the 8‑inch‑gun cruiser could hit harder, could shoot farther and more accurately, and was the best cruiser for trade route protection. He much preferred having fewer 6‑inch‑gun (light) cruisers if the treaty had to be written in such a manner. Opposing Rear Admiral Jones were Admiral Pratt and others, but most importantly the only naval constructor in the delegation, Captain A. H. Van Keuren, sided with Admiral Pratt. He preferred eighteen heavy cruisers or even fewer if there were to be more light cruisers for the United States. Captain Van Keuren believed p172that the 10,000‑ton 8‑inch‑gun cruiser was a monstrosity of naval architecture and a bad risk in combat. The heavy cruiser was too lightly armored for engagements at close ranges, and even worse, its volume of fire was 30 per cent that of the 6‑inch‑gun vessel. He felt the delegation would do well to ask for fifteen heavy cruisers and take the "bonus" 18,000 tons in two more light cruisers. To strengthen this point he produced statistics showing the type of 6‑inch‑gun vessel that could be built on 9,000‑ton displacement.27 The testimony of Captain Van Keuren, with its wealth of authoritative detail and undoubtedly its agreement with the preconceptions of the delegates, led the delegation to accept as the American position Senator Reed's "tentative plan," calling for the following distribution of cruiser tonnage for the United States:28

United States United States (Option "A")
18 10,000 ton 8″ guns 180,000 tons 15 10,000 ton 8″ guns 150,000 tons
10 Omahas 6″ guns 70,500 tons 10 Omahas 6″ guns 70,500 tons
New 6″ guns 70,500 tons New 6″ guns 118,500 tons
321,000 tons 339,000 tons

Senator Reed's proposals were not finally agreed upon by the American delegation, but in debate it was made clear that the American group no longer seriously considered asking for twenty‑one heavy cruisers. On February 3 Stimson, Secretary of the Navy Adams, Senator Reed, and Ambassador Morrow met MacDonald in the Prime Minister's quarters at the House of Commons and hammered out what became the basic British-American proposals. The United States was to be allowed 327,000 tons of cruisers — eighteen 10,000‑ton 8‑inch‑gun cruisers, the ten Omahas, and 76,500 tons of new construction. The battleship fleets of the United States and Great Britain would be reduced to fifteen vessels apiece, and Japan would scrap one, leaving her nine. In submarines and destroyers there was to be parity between Great Britain and the United States.29 This agreement p173was reached, it should be emphasized, without naval advisers and without the Japanese. After this meeting Secretary Stimson sent a cable to the State Department informing Acting Secretary Joseph Cotton of the decisions made:

. . . While Admiral Jones approves the balance of the program, he still is convinced that 21 cruisers are essential. The entire plan is cordially endorsed by Admiral Pratt, and all seven American delegates are now united in believing that the 21 cruiser program could be insisted upon only with great danger to the Conference's success.30

The wisdom of appointing senators to the delegation was manifested on February 5 when Senators Robinson and Reed sent cables to Senators Claude Swanson (Democrat) and Frederick Hale (Republican) urging them to prepare their Senate colleagues for acceptance of eighteen instead of twenty‑one heavy cruisers.31

Once the American delegation had decided upon 18 heavy cruisers, it was still faced with the Herculean chore of reducing the Japanese demand for 70 per cent of the 180,000 tons allotted the United States in 8‑inch‑gun vessels. The Japanese were expected to stand by their "three fundamental claims" and to propose suspension of capital ship replacements for at least five years. However firmly the Japanese delegation was wedded to these convictions, the British would never accept a settlement were the Japanese allowed 70 per cent of the American tonnage of 8‑inch‑gun cruisers. The civilian delegates were aware of the lack of enthusiasm in the naval staff for the acceptance of eighteen heavy cruisers. They realized that if any further concessions were given the Japanese, heavy resistance would develop not only within their own delegation but probably from the Senate as well.32

American negotiations with the Japanese fell principally to Senator David Reed, and after nearly two months of patient exploration he and Ambassador Tsuneo Matsudaira arrived at a settlement — the "Reed-Matsudaira Compromise" — which was sent to Japan for approval. p174Because it departed from the written instructions of the Japanese delegation, another two weeks passed before word came from Tokyo, but on April 1 the Japanese Government accepted the agreement. From this date onward the conference consisted of finishing up details and working out a final draft of the treaty, which involved several significant changes in the American naval strategy in the Pacific. These changes, it must again be stressed, were generally the result of State Department — not Navy or General Board — advice.

The principal understanding in the Reed-Matsudaira Compromise concerned cruisers. Japan was to have a ratio of 10‑10‑7 ratio in all combatant auxiliaries and 70 per cent of American heavy cruiser tonnage during the life of the treaty. The United States would be allowed eighteen heavy cruisers (180,000 tons) but would not begin construction on its sixteenth cruiser until 1933, on its seventeenth until 1934, and on its eighteenth until January 1, 1935, at the earliest. Japan would build no heavy cruisers during the life of the treaty, but would keep twelve 8‑inch‑gun vessels. In light cruisers the United States agreed to a 10‑10‑7 ratio.

This agreement directly contravened the studied judgment of the General Board and ignored the advice of Admirals H. P. Jones, J. M. Reeves, and A. T. Long, naval advisers to the delegation. The General Board, since its naval policy statement of October, 1928, had stood firmly against building any more 6‑inch‑gun cruisers, yet the Reed-Matsudaira arrangement called for the construction of 76,500 tons of new cruisers in this 6‑inch‑gun class. For the General Board, Jones, Reeves, and Long, twenty‑one heavy cruisers were a rock-bottom minimum for the United States. Their strongest arguments dealt with the trans-Pacific operations of the Navy which were predicated upon 10,000‑ton cruisers armed with 8‑inch guns for defense of the Philippines, trade route protection, and carrying a war into the western Pacific.33

p175 Senator Reed and the State Department, with some support from a few of the naval advisers, rejected this Navy view, particularly where it concerned the Philippines. As it turned out, the State Department had taken care to become well-informed on Pacific Ocean matters. As early as July 3, 1929, Under Secretary Joseph Cotton had recognized that "American naval strategy and the plans of the General Board which have led to the insistence on the larger type of cruisers, is generally based on naval maneuvers in the Pacific in defense of the Philippine Islands. It is obvious that for such maneuvers the United States would need the larger type of cruiser and big battleships." But he considered the big‑Navy concept to be out of step with the isolationist sentiment in the United States and concluded:

If we can approach naval reduction on the theory that the navies which we can justifiably maintain should be capable of maintaining the defense of the home area but not necessarily powerful enough to keep open all of the sea lanes or to defend island possessions, thousands of miles from the home area, against aggression by any combination of powers, then there will be a reasonable basis for reaching an agreement.34

In arriving at this conclusion Cotton had decided that the United States could not and really should not plan to defend the Philippines:

1. A navy large enough to defend the Philippines would alarm Japan.

2. Defense of the Islands depends on the Filipinos, ultimately, and a navy would not be able to do an adequate job if the airfields were held by an enemy.

3. There is no real pressure from Japan against the Philippines.

4. "The attitude of Australia and the British at Singapore is an additional safeguard against Japan."35

There is no direct evidence that Cotton's reasoning was pressed upon Senator Reed, but it is known that Secretary Stimson agreed with Cotton and trusted his judgment completely. During the search for concessions to make to Japan, it was Cotton's suggestion from Washington that led to the American proposal to delay construction p176of the last three heavy cruisers during the life of the treaty.36 It was Cotton also who assured Stimson that as a result of the tonnage offered Japan by Senator Reed "The Japanese fleet . . . would still be greatly inferior to the American fleet and no national anxiety as to our dominance in the Pacific in case of controversy need be caused by it."37

Being a senator and possessing the politician's sensitivity to public opinion, Senator Reed undoubtedly was prejudiced toward agreement at any price he considered reasonable. The arguments of Admirals W. V. Pratt, H. E. Yarnell, A. J. Hepburn, and Captain Van Keuren apparently convinced the Senator and the rest of the delegates, with the possible exception of Secretary Adams, that the 6‑inch‑gun cruiser would be a valuable addition to the American Navy and certainly should not stand in the way of a final treaty.

A concession more apparent than real was made to Japan in submarines. During the Hoover-MacDonald talks it had been decided that Japan could be allowed parity in submarines, and when hard pressed for an agreement during the first week in March, President Hoover authorized the delegation to offer parity in submarines to all nations, provided the tonnage allowed was held to a reasonably low limit. The naval advisers agreed with this reasoning, though they were more cautious in offering complete parity. At the agreed figure of 52,700 tons and with no exempt group of submarines, the Japanese would barely have enough vessels for defensive requirements.38 In regard to destroyers the same reasoning held true. American naval planners did not consider a figure of 105,500 tons for Japan high p177enough to worry about, even though it was 70 per cent of the American tonnage.39

The results of the London Naval Conference left the United States Navy with mixed feelings. From the viewpoint of the General Board the delegation had acted most unwisely in abandoning the right to build twenty‑one heavy cruisers. To accept a treaty creating a new category of cruisers, possibly suited to the needs of the other Powers, would be to abandon the ability to defend American Far Eastern interests. Yet many within the Navy could find much that was good in the treaty. Japanese and British attempts to reduce aircraft carrier tonnage from 135,000 to 100,000 had been resisted. Because 66,000 tons were tied up in Lexington and Saratoga, a further reduction would have prohibited the building of sufficient carriers for American needs. The new provision allowing 25 per cent of the total cruiser tonnage to be built in cruisers with a "landing on deck or platform" opened the door for further experimentation in aircraft carriers and was heartily endorsed by the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics and its chief, Rear Admiral William A. Moffett.40 The agreement on battleships was not welcomed by the older officers in the Navy, yet all saw that Japan was weakened by the treaty. The loss of one battleship of nine in combat would mean a heavy percentage loss to the island empire. And after modernization the American battleship fleet would probably be slightly superior to that of Great p178Britain.41 Finally, the negotiation of the London treaty revealed that the Navy Department was not solidly behind the General Board and its judgments. A significant number of naval advisers, among them Admirals Pratt, Yarnell, and Hepburn, strongly supported the treaty and were to give it further backing when it was under consideration in the Senate.

As we have seen, many senior officers in the United States Navy were clearly disturbed at the thought of the London treaty becoming the law of the land. After a decade of study the Navy's leadership expected the next war to be in the Pacific against the Japanese Empire; yet Secretary of State Stimson had helped to close the London Conference with the roseate prediction that the treaty established America's naval relationship with "our good neighbor across the Pacific and insures the continuous growth of our friendship with that great nation towards whom we have grown to look for stability and progress in the Far East."42 Despite these encomiums the Navy believed the London agreement to be a danger to the best interests of the United States, and its actions until the Senate consented to the treaty were designed to defeat it. The clearest expositions of the Navy's attitude toward the treaty were delivered before the Senate Foreign Relations and Naval Affairs committees. Here the solons provided a podium from which the proponents and opponents of the agreement could present their views, and here the Navy fired its heaviest — and most fruitless — salvos in one last effort to defeat the treaty. The President and public opinion, and the Senate which was responsive to both, were decidedly in favor of the agreement.

At the close of the London meeting the Literary Digest, surveying American newspaper opinion concerning the conference and treaty, concluded that some large metropolitan newspapers, exemplified by the big‑Navy and republican Chicago Tribune, believed that the London Conference was a total failure — acceptance of the treaty p179would be a positive evil for America. But on the whole the Digest found "the most popular editorial view of the treaty, the most widely prevalent, considers the conference moderately successful and quite worth while because of certain definite achievements and appreciable progress toward the goal of disarmament and peace."43 A similar attitude was reflected by the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator William E. Borah of Idaho, when he wrote to a constituent: "I have been unable to see any real merit to the Naval Treaty, I have no enthusiasm for it and yet I doubt if it would be helpful to defeat it."44 From the Democratic side of the Senate Thomas J. Walsh expressed the belief "that [treaty] before us is by no means satisfactory but we must confront the alternative if it was rejected, namely, to build to catch up with Great Britain and Japan, now far ahead of us in cruisers, with full opportunity on their part to continue expansion. As it is, we must spend over a billion to catch up with them."45 There were others, of course, who were more pessimistic about the benefits of the treaty, but they were balanced by the more sanguine senators who saw, as did Senator Arthur Capper of Kansas, that the conference could ultimately result in "peace, parity, and profit." Finally, far in the van, leading the support for the treaty was President Hoover. He wanted quick action by the Senate but was denied it.46

p180 In the closing days of the conference, Secretary Stimson and the State Department attempted to gather advance support for the treaty. On April 13 Secretary Stimson spoke to the American public via short-wave transmission of the benefits to be derived from the London treaty, then in final drafting stage. The next day, following a good reception by the press, Acting Secretary Cotton cabled that Secretary of the Navy Adams should make a similar broadcast. Cotton optimistically believed that the Secretary's message should include a statement that

. . . the treaty will have the result of real betterment of the Navy because it will modernize the fleet; allow the Navy to make plans sufficiently far ahead and will take the naval appropriations out of the sphere of politics. We hope he can add that he has had the cooperation and approval of Admiral Pratt and his naval advisers. . . .47

At Washington the State Department busied itself lining up support from such prominent men as Ambassador Charles G. Dawes, Dwight Morrow, Charles A. Lindbergh ("a few whispered words from Papa Morrow would probably do the trick"), Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, Owen D. Young, Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.John J. Pershing, and Rear Admiral Andrew T. Long ("the Department has expended much effort and no little expense to bring about his election to the International Hydrographic Bureau").48 In a somewhat presumptive mood Cotton suggested to Stimson that the General Board should make a statement supporting the treaty; Secretary Adams might have them issue something similar to the following:

The General Board, after examination of the terms of the Treaty agreed on at the London Conference, is of the opinion that it is the wise course for the United States to accept that treaty. The treaty does not in all respects fulfill the desires of individual members of the Board but the Board is of the opinion that as a whole it has great advantages and that under it the United States will have the right to build and maintain during the treaty period a balanced and effective navy.49

p181 But once the Senate hearings on the treaty began, the State Department was rapidly disabused of its optimism.

The principal Navy Department objection to the London treaty was that it did not give the United States a navy with which it could keep its house in order. Acceptance of the treaty would leave American commerce undefended, would force the abandonment of Far Eastern interests, and would leave Japan unnecessarily stronger in the Pacific Basin. To support these views some twenty‑two naval officers, on active duty and retired, men who held or had held the major administrative posts and commands in the Navy, gave testimony critical of the conference delegation's work. Against this impressive array of naval experience stood the testimony of four witnesses: Secretary of State Stimson, Secretary of the Navy Adams, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral William V. Pratt, and Rear Admiral Harry E. Yarnell.50

With its insistence that American commerce would be deprived of national protection were the treaty accepted, the Navy returned to a theme considered sound for explaining naval needs.51 The president of the Executive Committee of the General Board, Rear Admiral Mark L. Bristol, read to the Foreign Relations Committee a statement issued in 1923 by the General Board concerning the importance of foreign trade.

. . . the General Board has repeated for many years, the United States Navy in peace and war protects United States commerce, and in so doing it raises the standard of living of the American citizen. It gives not only military protection in war but economic protection in peace and war. America is passing by rapid stages to an industrial status that requires for the prosperity of our people an assurance of the maximum stability in the foreign demands for our products. Our great merchant marine, supported by a Navy at least as great as that of any other power, is the surest guarantee we can have that foreign markets p182will remain open to us. When foreign markets close to us American prosperity ends. . . .52

From this premise the Navy opposed consenting to an eighteen-ship heavy cruiser limit. The United States needed powerful ships, capable of steaming alone or with convoys over vast distances and possessing armament enough to meet the commerce raiders of an enemy. Because long-ranging 10,000‑ton 6‑inch‑gun vessels were allowed by the treaty, the Navy maintained that arming the ships with the 8‑inch gun was the most important factor, to prevent attack by enemy cruisers and fast merchantmen carrying 6‑inch guns. To emphasize this point Rear Admiral Hilary P. Jones commented, "I believe, sir, that you will find that the vast preponderance of opinion in the Navy, of those who have studied these things in the War College and elsewhere, is that the 8‑inch gun unit is the best unit for us."53 When Admiral Pratt commented that the light cruisers, with their rapid-firing 8‑inch guns would make the Battle Fleet stronger, he was answered by Captain (Ret.) Dudley W. Knox and Commander Harold C. Train. Captain Knox said acceptance of Pratt's analysis would place improper emphasis upon the Battle Fleet rather than on the commerce-protecting role of the Navy. Knox was earlier supported by Commander Train, who told the committee, "I think most of the engagements that you might have in a war would be distant engagements, separate engagements, and not an engagement of the battle fleet, where of course the 6‑inch gun ship could be used to advantage."54 Captain Knox's assumptions differed greatly from those of Secretary of the Navy Curtis Wilbur, who told a naval committee in p1831924, "It is believed that modern naval engagements between first class powers, except in sporadic instances, will be fleet engagements. . . ." But in fairness to Train it must be noted that by 1930 the use of task forces instead of major fleet movements was being explored. Fast carrier task forces, using Saratoga and Lexington, had proved surprisingly effective in maneuvers.

In their criticisms of the treaty many naval officers belabored Japan's increased ratio in combatant auxiliaries from 60 per cent to 70 per cent; the 5‑5‑3 ratio of the Washington treaty, coupled with the provision of maintaining the status quo in island fortifications, was a considerable concession to the Japanese. Further, they said, the non‑fortification provision should have been changed or the increased ratio denied. This viewpoint was elaborated by Captain J. K. Taussig:

I feel — and I wish to say this from experience in dealing with this Far Eastern question — that the 5‑3 ratio combined with our agreement to limit fortifications in the Far East gave us only a sporting chance for victory. Any advance in the Japanese ratio beyond the 60 per cent I feel quite sure would prove a very decided embarrassment to the Commander in Chief of our fleet should there happen to be action, and I feel that our chances of victory would be very slim.55

At later sessions naval representatives argued that an increase in the Japanese ratio made the Philippines indefensible. In a particularly heated session Rear Admiral S. S. Robison, a former Battle Fleet commander, described his job as "to either retain or help regain the Philippines in case we had a war." An increased Japanese ratio would make the work of defense even more difficult. When asked whether granting the Philippines their independence would change matters, the Admiral pointed out that the United States still had its Far Eastern trade to defend, and besides, the country would never permit the Philippines to be seized by another Power. In a sweeping answer to these arguments, Rear Admiral H. E. Yarnell presented considerable evidence that the Philippines were impossible to defend at the time, then concluded,

. . . this Nation never provided the essentials necessary to a naval defense of the Philippines even when no treaties existed, and most probably never would have provided them even if no treaties were p184signed, it appears that the defense of the islands is in the hands of the statesmen to bring about by the cultivation of friendly relations and understandings with the possible enemy.56

The professional arguments presented during the hearings were later used extensively during Senate debate on the treaty. The effectiveness of the Navy's position can only be measured in terms of results, and the final vote of 58 to 9 for the treaty ended the matter. The testimony of the treaty proponents in the Senate was neither extensive nor particularly cogent, but it did not have to be. The President and the people wanted the London agreement accepted, and an executive agency, whose very existence depends upon the will of the people, was in no position to thwart it.57

In the first year following ratification of the London Naval Treaty the worst fears of the Navy began to be realized. The optimistic assurances of Secretary of State Stimson and Admiral William V. Pratt that the treaty would now provide the Navy and the nation with a blueprint for future naval construction were rapidly forgotten. Admiral Pratt had predicted, "Now for the first time in our history we can lay down a definite program extending over a period of time and visualize a Navy which is not a creature of great ups and downs in the matter of a naval building program." Not only would this treaty give a goal for building, Stimson averred, but it would provide at long last a "balanced navy,"58 for which, of course, the General Board had striven during the past eight years. But already there were signs p185that Stimson and Pratt had not correctly gauged the temper of Congress or public opinion.

During debate on the London treaty Senator David I. Walsh of Massachusetts introduced Senate Resolution 328, calling for the country to build all tonnage allowed by the treaty, and to do so by December 31, 1936. This resolution was defeated partly on parliamentary grounds and partly by lack of interest. When reintroduced as a reservation to the treaty it failed of passage, 54 to 11. Obviously the Senate did not want to pledge itself to build the navy allowed by the treaty.59

In the House, Representative Burton L. French of Idaho, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and of its Naval Subcommittee, had been concerned about the rising naval appropriations requests in January, 1930, and was openly hostile toward increased appropriations a year later. In view of the depression and the need to take care of more pressing relief matters, French expressed displeasure at the desire of the Navy Department to construct 240,200 tons of new vessels at a cost of nearly a half-billion dollars.60 He commented to the Naval Appropriations Subcommittee,

I have in mind that the Congress, this committee, and the country have all hoped that in the several naval conferences we have had there would be reduction instead of expansion; and I question very much whether we ought to look forward to an expansion program up to the bounds of the treaty. For myself I rather hold to the thought that the bounds of the treaty are intended to be guides beyond which no nation may go, but not intended to be mandates upon the several nations to build their navies up to a certain required strength.61

Though this statement may have worried naval officials, the actions of Congress in succeeding years should not have been particularly discouraging. In February, 1931, money was appropriated, after sharp debate, for the modernization of the last three battleships needing p186it, New Mexico, Idaho, and Mississippi.62 The fifteen cruisers of the 1929 bill were not laid down at the rate the Navy desired, but progress was evident. The keels for Astoria, Portland, and Indianapolis — all heavy cruisers — were laid in 1930, and heavy cruisers New Orleans, Minneapolis, Tuscaloosa, and San Francisco were commenced in 1931. The aircraft carrier Ranger, authorized in 1929, was also laid down in 1931. However, owing to the critical financial situation in the country, only three destroyers were begun in 1932, and a heavy cruiser (Quincy) and eight destroyers were laid down in 1933. At this point naval construction received a decided stimulus when four new light cruisers of the 10,000‑ton 6‑inch‑gun class (Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Savannah, and Nashville) were ordered in pursuance with the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933.63 If the Navy was growing more slowly than was thought wise by the General Board, a little comfort could be derived from the world-wide economic distress causing a similar reaction in Great Britain and Japan. The change in heart among congressmen during 1931 can be attributed to two factors: Japanese aggressiveness in the Far East, which certainly forced attention to a larger navy; the realization that 90 per cent of a ship's cost goes into labor, a point which encouraged spending in the depression-ridden shipyard cities.


The Author's Notes:

1 Charles G. Dawes, Journal as Ambassador to Great Britain (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1939), pp17‑21. The Japanese were particularly touchy on the subject of being handed a fait accompli. See U. S., Department of State, File 500.A15A3/47, Tokyo, June 17, 1929, Archives. In Great Britain similar pressure was being exerted by Ambassador Matsudaira; Mr. A. Henderson to Sir J. Tilley (Tokyo), London, July 9, 1929, in E. L. Woodward and Rohan Butler (eds.), Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919‑1939, Second Series (2 vols.; London: HMSO, 1946), I, 7‑8, 20‑21. Hereafter cited as DBFP, 2:I; see also Foreign Relations, 1929, I, 130‑31.

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2 Foreign Relations, 1929, I, 112, 125‑27.

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3 "Betrayed by Mr. Shearer" (editorial), The Journal, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 26, 1929; clipping in D/S, File 500.A15A1 Shearer/44, Archives. This particular file is rather rich in information on William Baldwin Shearer for the period August-December, 1929.

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4 The President to Stimson, Washington, August 30, 1929, D/S, File 500.A15A1 Shearer/44; memorandum from the Division of Western European Affairs, October 3, 1929, File 500.A15A3/250, Archives.

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5 This point was very bluntly spelled out in a personal letter from MacDonald to Dawes which was forwarded to the State Department by cable. D/S, File 500.A15A3/146, London, August 31, 1929; State Department acceptance of the British view is given in memorandum from the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Marriner), November 2, 1929, File 500.A15A3/409½, Archives.

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6 D/S Files 500.A15A3/8, 115, 158, 242, Archives.

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7 Foreign Relations 1929, I, 163; Merze Tate, The United States and Armaments (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1948), p172.

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8 Ambassador in Great Britain (Dawes) to the Secretary of State, London, August 1, 1929, Foreign Relations, 1929, I, 171‑74.

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9 Ibid., 186‑87; memorandum by the Secretary of State, September 24, 1929, D/S, File 500.A15A3/215, Archives. The General Board had originally demanded absolute tonnage parity with Great Britain at 339,000 tons. With considerable pressure from Stimson and Hoover the General Board decided to apply the much-talked-about but little used yardstick, and found in September, 1929, that the United States could manage with just 315,000 tons of cruisers. U. S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings on Treaty on the Limitation of Naval Armaments, 71st Cong., 2d Sess., May 16, 1930, pp128‑33.

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10 A summation of the discussion on cruisers at Hoover's Rapidan Camp on September 6, 1929, is given in DBFP, 2:I, 107. A full discussion of the MacDonald visit can be found in Robert H. Ferrell, American Diplomacy in the Great Depression: Hoover-Stimson Foreign Policy, 1929‑1933 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957), pp79‑86; Elting E. Morison, Turmoil and Tradition: A Study of the Life and Times of Henry L. Stimson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1960), pp320‑24. Chapters on the Dawes-MacDonald conversations and the MacDonald visit can be found in George V. Fagan, "Anglo-American Naval Relations 1927‑1937" (unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1954), and in Raymond G. O'Connor, Perilous Equilibrium: The United States and the London Naval Conference of 1930 (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1962), chaps. IVV.

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11 The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Dawes), Washington, July 21, 1929, Foreign Relations, 1929, I, 149‑50; DBFP, 2:I, 108.

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12 DBFP, 2:I, 106‑7; State Department interest in a battleship replacement holiday was expressed in a letter of instructions to Ambassador Dawes in July, 1929, Foreign Relations, 1929, I, 162; Navy Department views were expressed in interviews between State Department officers and individual members of the General Board; see the following memoranda of conversations: (Admiral Pringle), 500.A15A3/415, October 28, 1929; (Admiral Hughes and Admiral Long), 500.A15A3/334, October 22, 1929; (Admiral Chase), 500.A15A3/336, October 25, 1929; (Admiral Day) 500.A15A3/392, November 6, 1929, Archives.

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13 Memorandum of a conversation between the Secretary of State and the Japanese Ambassador, Washington, October 16, 1929, D/S, File 500.A15A3/278, Archives.

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14 Aide-mémoire from the British Embassy, Washington, November 11, 1929, Foreign Relations, 1929, I, 284‑86; aide-mémoire from H. L. Stimson, Washington, November 12, 1929, D/S, File 500.A15A3/387, Archives.

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15 D/S, File 500.A15A3/393, London, November 14, 1929, Archives.

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16 Mr. A. Henderson to Sir J. Tilley (Tokyo), London, November 20, 1929, DBFP, 2:I, 144. An aide-mémoire of this conversation was given to the American Embassy in London and was forwarded to the State Department, D/S, File 500.A15A3/411, London, November 20, 1929, Archives.

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17 Tokyo Chugai, November 9, 1929; translation in D/S, File 500.A15A3/470, Tokyo, November 18, 1929; Tokyo Chugai, November 30, 1929, File 500.A15A3/531, Tokyo, December 4, 1929, Archives.

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18 The American delegates to the London Conference were: Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of State; Charles G. Dawes, Ambassador to the Court of St. James's; Charles Francis Adams, Secretary of the Navy; Joseph T. Robinson, Senator (Democrat) from Arkansas; David A. Reed, Senator (Republican) from Pennsylvania; Hugh Gibson, Ambassador to Belgium, and Dwight W. Morrow, Ambassador to Mexico.

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19 D/S, File 500.A15A3/376, Tokyo, October 22, 1929, Archives.

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20 Memorandum of a conversation between the Secretary of State and the Japanese Ambassador (Debuchi), June 11, 1929, D/S, File 500.A15A3/8; memorandum of a conversation between the Assistant Secretary of State and the Japanese Ambassador (Debuchi), August 27, 1929, File 500.A15A3/142, Archives; Foreign Relations, 1929, I, 9‑10.

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21 D/S, File 500.A15A3/1174, Tokyo, October 2, 1930, Archives. This opinion was also presented in Kikujiro Ishii, Diplomatic Commentaries, William R. Langdon, ed. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1936), p322; Tatsuji Takeuchi, War and Diplomacy in the Japanese Empire (Garden City: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935), pp288‑89.

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22 Naval Attaché report (copy) to the Office of Naval Intelligence, Tokyo, April 10, 1928, D/S, Files 500.A15A3/683; 500.A15A3/376, Tokyo, October 22, 1929. The economic problems of the Japanese were carefully analyzed by the chargé in File 894.51/285, Tokyo, July 17, 1929, Archives. The Chairman of the American Delegation to the Ambassador in Tokyo (Castle), London, January 21, 1930, D/S, LNC 110.001/24, Archives.

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23 Memorandum of a conversation between the Secretary of State and MacDonald, London, January 17, 1930, D/S, LNC 110.001/19, Archives.

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24 Foreign Relations, 1930, I, 47, 58‑59. When it appeared that the Japanese might reject the Reed-Matsudaira agreement, Stimson wired the State Department, repeat to Tokyo, that "if this agreement is repudiated by Tokyo we would have difficulty in continuing to negotiate with a Delegation which is without power and without support of its Government. If Tokyo repudiates or sends a so‑called counter proposal, we will immediately commence preparation of a two‑power agreement with Great Britain. . . ." D/S, LNC 250 Japan/111, London, March 21, 1930, Archives.

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25 After the London Treaty the Navy began to call all cruisers armed with 8‑inch guns "Heavy Cruisers" and designated them "CA," and all cruisers armed with 6‑inch guns, regardless of tonnage, were designated "Light Cruisers — CL." In naval literature the term "Treaty Cruiser" generally refers to the 10,000‑ton 8‑inch‑gun cruiser that was a product of the Washington Conference. The "London Treaty Cruiser" generally refers to the 10,000‑ton cruiser armed with 6‑inch guns that became somewhat popular after the London Conference.

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26 Rear Admiral (then Commander) Harold C. Train, Daily Log: I, entries for January 25 and 26, 1930. (In possession of Rear Admiral (Ret.) Harold C. Train, Annapolis, Maryland.)

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27 Memorandum by H. P. J[ones], January 28, 1930; Memorandum of Talk Before Our Delegation by AHVK, January 28, 1930, Train, Log: I.

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28 D/S, LNC 252 U. S./31, undated, Archives.

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29 Memorandum by the Chairman of the American Delegation (Stimson), London, February 3, 1930, D/S, LNC 250.11 GB‑US/8, Archives.

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30 Stimson to the Acting Secretary of State (Cotton), London, February 4, 1930, Foreign Relations, 1930, I, 13.

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31 Ibid., I, 18.

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32 In talking with MacDonald, Secretary Stimson agreed Japan's ratio could not be increased because the Senate would reject it. Ibid.I, 2.

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33 Memorandum of a conversation with Rear Admiral A. T. Long, Washington, October 22, 1929, D/S, File 500.A15A3/333, Archives. During this conversation Long emphasized that he would prefer four heavy cruisers to five of the light cruisers. He stated that he wanted cruisers capable of operating in the western Pacific and of holding their own against any vessels encountered. See also U. S., Navy Department, General Board, No. 438, Serial 1347‑7(c), April 25, 1927, OCNH.

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34 Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State, Washington, July 3, 1929, D/S, File 500.A15A3/49½, Archives.

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35 Memoranda by [Cotton], July, 1929, D/S, LNC Box 48, Archives.

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36 The Acting Secretary of State to the Chairman of the American Delegation, Washington, February 18, 1930, Foreign Relations, 1930, I, 27. For estimates of Joseph Cotton see Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1947), pp161, 191‑92, and Elting E. Morison, Turmoil and Tradition: A Studies of the Life and Times of Henry L. Stimson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1960), pp308‑9.

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37 The Acting Secretary of State to the Chairman of the American Delegation, Washington, March 5, 1930, Foreign Relations, 1930, I, 46.

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38 Minutes of a meeting of the American Naval Technical Staff, February 12, 1930; memorandum of a Special Meeting at St. James's Palace, April 4, 1930, Train, Log: I.

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39 The Acting Secretary of State to the Chairman of the American Delegate, Washington, February 10, 1930, D/S, LNC 250 U. S./23, Archives.

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40 The "flying‑off and landing‑on platform" cruisers aroused considerable interest among members of the Naval Affairs Committees of Congress, but outside of the Bureau of Aeronautics there was little interest shown by the Navy Department. The General Board would have been interested in experimenting with the hybrid cruiser if Congress wanted to appropriate the money, but in the confidential opinion of the board it considered the new vessel to be useless. Ashbrook Lincoln, "The United States Navy and Air Power, A History of Naval Aviation, 1920‑1934" (unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of California, 1946), pp190‑200. The public opinion of the General Board was given by the president of the Executive Committee, Rear Admiral M. L. Bristol, in U. S., Congress, House, Committee on Naval Affairs, Hearings on Sundry Legislation, 1930‑31, 71st Cong., 3d Sess., December 17, 1930, pp3346‑57. The private views of the General Board can be found in the memorandum, "Cruiser Types" [1931], Mark L. Bristol Papers, Box 13, LCMD.

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41 D/S, LNC U. S./27, London, February 23, 1930; memorandum by Admiral Pratt [1930], D/S, LNC 252.21/31, Archives. Brief statement made to delegates by Rear Admiral Yarnell, January 29, 1930, Train, Log: I.

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42 U. S., State Department, "Proceeding of the London Naval Conference of 1930 and Supplementary Documents," Conference Series, No. 6 (Washington, 1931), p106.

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43 "Success or Failure at London?" The Literary Digest, April 26, 1930, p9. Some of the papers supporting the treaty were: New York Herald Tribune, New York World, Wall Street Journal, Boston Transcript, Indianapolis Star, Chicago Daily News, Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch, Nashville Tennessean, New Orleans Times-Picayune, St. Louis Star, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Philadelphia Record, Atlanta Journal, Baltimore Sun, and Detroit Free Press.

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44 Borah to John Maher, Washington, May 19, 1930, William E. Borah Papers, Box 310, LCMD (my italics).

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45 Walsh to J. N. Newlin, June 6, 1930, Thomas J. Walsh Papers, Box 295, LCMD.

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46 The London treaty was submitted to the Senate, May 1, 1930, and most of the month was absorbed in hearings by the Senate Foreign Relations and Naval Affairs committees. When the Senate failed to act on the treaty during the second session of the 71st Congress, President Hoover called it back into special session on July 7, 1930. U. S., Congressional Record, 71st Congress, Special Session, July 7, 1930, p4 et seq.

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47 D/S, LNC 319 U. S./201, Washington, April 14, 1930, Archives.

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48 Memorandum from Division of Western European Affairs, April 15, 1930, D/S, File 500.A15A3/891, Archives.

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49 Memorandum from the Under Secretary, Washington, April 30, 1930, D/S, File 500.A15A3/891½, Archives.

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50 U. S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament, 71st Cong, 2d Sess., Report No. 1080: Part 2, cited in Congressional Record, 71st Cong., 2d Sess., June 30, 1930, p12026.

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51 Captain Dudley W. Knox, "The Navy and Public Indoctrination," United States Naval Institute Proceedings (June, 1929), pp488‑89.

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52 U. S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings on Treaty on the Limitation of Naval Armaments, May 15, 1930, pp106‑7 (my italics).

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53 Ibid., May 15, 1930, pp98‑99. Rear Admiral Frank H. Schofield believed that "fully seven or eight out of ten officers would subscribe to the 8‑inch idea as against the 6‑inch." Ibid., May 22, 1930, p241.

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54 Ibid., May 23, 1930, p259. Commander Train was the most junior officer to testify at the hearings. He had been an adviser at the Geneva Naval Conference and had worked with Hugh Gibson and Admiral Jones during the Fifth and Sixth sessions of the League Preparatory Commission at Geneva. He was later to attend the General Disarmament Conference and the London Naval Conference of 1935.

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55 Ibid., May 27, 1930, p320.

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56 Ibid., May 28, pp330‑32, 344‑45 and 348 for Robison, pp358‑59 for Yarnell.

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57 In a study of the Navy League of the United States Dr. Armin Rappaport of the University of California described the fight made by the League and the Navy against the London treaty. In evaluating the failure to prevent ratification of the treaty Dr. Rappaport concluded that the Navy League directors should have known better than to fight such a prevailing sentiment as existed at this time. Armin Rappaport, The Navy League of the United States (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1962), pp130‑33; see also Dr. Rappaport's "The Navy League of the United States," South Atlantic Quarterly (April, 1954), p212.

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58 U. S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings on Treaty on the Limitation of Naval Armaments, May 14, 1930, pp66, 38.

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59 Congressional Record, 71st Cong., Special Session, July 14, 1930, pp319‑20; July 21, 1930, pp370‑71.

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60 "Naval Parity to Cost a Billion," The Literary Digest, May 24, 1930, p14.

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61 U. S., Congress, House, Naval Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, Hearings on Navy Department Appropriation Bill for 1932, 71st Cong., 2d Sess., January 14, 1931, H. R. 16969, p123.

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62 U. S., Congressional Record, 71st Cong., 3d Sess., January 16, 1931, pp2351‑58. Public Law 746 (S. 4750) 71st Cong., approved February 28, 1931, U. S., Statutes at Large, Volume XXXXVIº, p1453.

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63 Oscar Parkes, (ed.), Jane's Fighting Ships, 1934 (London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., Ltd., 1934), pp524‑25.


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