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Chapter 5

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Prelude to Pearl Harbor

Gerald E. Wheeler

published by
University of Missouri Press,
Columbia, Missouri

The text is in the public domain.

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and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Chapter 7
This site is not affiliated with the US Naval Academy.

 p131  6

Diplomacy Through a Porthole:
The Geneva Naval Conference Failure

In the years following the Washington Conference there was an increasing interest throughout the world in further meetings to finish the work left undone in 1922; nothing had been accomplished toward the limitation of naval combatant auxiliaries (cruisers, destroyers, submarines). In the absence of international restraint Japan began construction of five cruisers in 1922 and five more in 1924. Great Britain responded in 1924 by laying down five 10,000‑ton cruisers carrying 8‑inch guns. The Congress of the United States reacted similarly by authorizing the construction of eight cruisers in December, 1924, though the keel of the first vessel was not laid until October 27, 1926. By the end of 1928 the United States had laid down eight 10,000‑ton 8‑inch cruisers (later called heavy cruisers); Great Britain had laid the keels for fifteen cruisers, all carrying the 8‑inch rifles; and Japan had begun fifteen cruisers, eleven of which carried 8‑inch armament.​1 All three countries justified the construction in terms of replacements for older vessels, or need to "round out the fleet."

With the passage of time the American public brought considerable pressure to bear on Presidents Harding and Coolidge to call another conference to end the ruinous naval rivalry. Partisan political leaders like the perennial Democrat William Jennings Bryan and Republican Senator William E. Borah suggested that America might  p132 cancel the European war debts were the trans-Atlantic nations to disarm on land and sea. To Senator Borah, a leading figure on the Foreign Relations Committee, "the fight for disarmament [was] the fight for civilization."​2 Similar feelings were expressed through resolutions in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Hamilton Fish, Jr., and Frederick C. Hicks, but neither received encouragement from President Coolidge or Secretary of State Hughes.​3 In view of heavy demands for more cruisers in 1924, President Coolidge started a counteroffensive by declaring in his annual message to Congress that he believed "thoroughly in the Army and Navy, in adequate defense and preparation. But I am opposed to any policy of competition in building and maintaining land or sea armaments."​4 With the satisfactory negotiation of the Locarno treaties and the imminent establishment of the League of Nations Preparatory Commission for the Disarmament Conference, President Coolidge, in his December, 1925, message, admitted satisfaction with European efforts toward land disarmament, but suggested that the United States would be even more interested in matters of naval limitation.​5 The end product of this steady pressure was the issuing of invitations to the Geneva Naval Conference by the State Department on February 10, 1927.

Throughout Europe the State Department representatives reported considerable interest in the naval rivalry of the period. However, there was even greater concern in Europe over problems resulting from the Versailles settlements. The general attitude observed was that once the reparations and war debts were paid and boundary  p133 adjustments at such places as the Ruhr and Alsace were made, an international conference on naval problems would be possible. By the end of 1925 many in Europe felt the time was ripe for naval negotiations, though some nations agreed with the extreme French view that the Old World had done well without American assistance and could continue to do so.​6 More important, though, from the American position was the British interest in further naval limitation; this interest by the fall of 1926 had turned to a strong support for any naval conference that might be called by Coolidge.

In Japan the official attitude toward another naval conference varied, although in general there was widespread support for another one; as early as 1924 the naval ministry and foreign office were planning the Japanese position. Though the governments usually supported the idea of further limitation, the naval ministries from 1923 to 1930 presented serious obstacles to a satisfactory meeting. The naval ministers continually pressed for what was ultimately to be the Japanese position; and they insisted that Japan could never agree to any naval treaty that did not allow a ratio of 10‑10‑7 in auxiliaries and did not limit British construction at Singapore. The American embassy watched the determined effort to prepare Japanese public opinion to support these naval demands and to discredit the probable American position. Newspapers effectively played up naval statistics that were patent fabrications, to show the Japanese man in the street that Japan was greatly inferior to America in sea power, even in cruisers.​7 But despite the efforts exerted by the naval ministries, the  p134 Japanese Government entered the Geneva Naval Conference with a wholesome desire to end naval rivalries; money saved could be better spent to amortize the cost of reconstruction in Japan following the earthquake of 1923.8

The United States Navy took little comfort from the international movement for the further limitation of naval armaments, for war with Japan and preparations for that war remained foremost in the minds of the naval planners. Presidential economy and Congressional apathy had stalled efforts at rounding out the fleet, and by June, 1927, when the Geneva Naval Conference convened, the United States had begun but two cruisers (Pensacola and Salt Lake City) of the eight authorized in December, 1924. When the London Naval Conference of 1930 met, the Navy had the 1924 cruisers on the stocks, but no keels had been laid for the 15 cruisers authorized in February, 1929.​9 In 1927 and 1929 there was undoubtedly fear in naval circles that those cruisers still on the drafting tables would be bargained away by the diplomats. The ghosts of the thirteen post-Jutland capital ships scrapped at the Washington Conference still haunted the Navy. New destroyers, submarines, and aircraft carriers were badly needed in the fleet; but the most pressing exigency was cruisers, the international competition in the building of which precipitated the naval limitation conferences.

The viewpoint of the Navy Department toward limiting naval armaments can be ascertained. Because the Navy is an executive agency, it is responsible to the President through his Secretary. However, the Navy as an institution does not suffer the Presidential liability of having a four‑year term of office, and hence is theoretically above  p135 partisan politics. This freedom and its institutional structure make it possible for the Navy to have certain views, attitudes, and policies which can be continuous regardless of the party or President in office. For example, the likelihood of war with Japan profoundly affected naval thinking during both Wilson's administration and Harding's. Similarly, the views of the Navy toward limitation of armaments and disarmament had a certain continuity from the times of Mahan.

As the principal exponent of sea power in his day, Mahan had little use for the international attempts to limit naval armaments. Before the first Hague Conference of 1899, to which he was an American delegate, Mahan had written that national armaments do not necessarily beget international conflicts. "The immense armaments of Europe are onerous; but nevertheless, by the mutual respect and caution they enforce, they present a cheap alternative, certainly in misery, probably in money, to the frequent devastating wars which preceded the era of general military preparation." At the Hague Conference he refused to commit the United States to abstention from using certain weapons because he regarded all instruments of warfare as essentially barbarous — there was no reason to single out poisonous gases or submarine torpedoes.10

To Mahan wars were virtually a concomitant of civilization, and it would be folly for any nation to fall behind in the armaments race. His views had some impact on military thinking through the years.​11 Wars were seldom eagerly sought by naval officers, but they certainly expected conflict and prepared for it.

 p136  By January, 1921, the General Board had been asked whether naval limitation without reduction of land armaments was practicable, and in replying the board expounded at length the value of armament limitation: Each nation had to decide for itself what its defensive needs were for "She cannot place unlimited trust in the perpetuity of common interests and mutual good will between her and her neighbors." Further, a nation which enters into limitation agreements places its security in the hands of others and to a great extent limits the growth of the nation's power. International ethical standards are no higher than those professed by individuals within nations, and there is no unlimited trust of one's fellow man at the personal or corporate level in this country. Therefore, the board could see no reason to trust other nations with American national interests:

Each nation must decide for itself what proportion of its military establishment shall be assigned to the land and what to the sea. This proportion depends upon the relative importance which the nation attaches to threatened dangers by land or sea. It is certain that no nation will willingly surrender an existing military supremacy whether it be on land, on the sea, or both. Putting it candidly, the nations are not willing to place implicit trust in each other and it must be acknowledged that a study of international history affords good reasons for that unwillingness.​12

The accomplishments of the Washington Conference in the field of naval limitation and reduction vitiated the thesis of the General Board but did not alter the attitudes of those who felt limitation was dangerous. Year after year the Proceedings of the Naval Institute carried articles urging less thought on limitation and more on the creation of a stronger Navy. Most writers assumed the inevitability of war and the need for a substantial protective naval force. Many agreed with Admiral Edward W. Eberle, Chief of Naval Operations: "We are not a warlike nation. We do not want war and we seek in every honorable way to avoid it, but we must be prepared, for unpreparedness is a potent invitation to war."​13 Some returned to Mahan's views  p137 that it is the strong who determine the destinies of the world — the Big Four Powers drew up the Treaty of Versailles. They argued, "If America remains a first naval power she can call more [Washington] Conferences. Without a first Navy we cannot call another one, and even if invited to attend one called by a first naval power, she will wait outside until called in."14

The Navy was plagued by what Assistant Secretary Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., called "soft-headed pacifists" who urged that the United States set the world an example by disarming first. To the conservative and suspicious naval mind this was "Alice in Wonderland reasoning" that courted disaster at the hands of foreign aggressors or international revolutionists.​15 Navy men pointed to the travail of China as an example of what could befall a disarmed and impotent nation, and the Naval Institute advised its members to speak out on the importance of the Navy to America.​16 Admiral Hilary P. Jones, then Commander-in‑Chief of the United States Fleet and later an American delegate to the Geneva and London conferences, summed up the Navy's sentiments in an address before the National Republican Club at New York City:

All over the world today we are in contact with foreign peoples. We are seeking markets; our fellow citizens working abroad are in competition with citizens and subjects of foreign states. Large amounts of capital and the livelihood of a large number of people are involved.  p138 In the adjustment of the difficulties which are bound to arise from these conditions the United States should enter the discussion as an equal and not as an inferior. And we shall be inferior if we neglect our Navy. We must be strong enough to make arbitration more profitable to our competitor than fighting.

I beg of you not to be deceived by a dream of external peace. The same passions, prejudices and selfishness exist today as have always existed, and will have similar results. This nation of ours achieved its independence, preserved its integrity, and extended its borders by force. If we are to enjoy the fruits of the labors of our fathers, we must be prepared to use the same instrument.

"A Just Man Armed Keepeth His House in Order."​17

After 1922 Navy spokesmen often advocated construction as a means of achieving naval limitation. A significant number of officers supported the ratio system established at Washington in the hope that Congress would build up to an established ratio in all categories of ships. When the Congress did nothing, important naval publicists like Captain (Ret.) Dudley W. Knox sustained the move for another conference because he believed that once a ratio was established for auxiliaries, the people would support construction to meet the ratio. Secretary Curtis Wilbur amplified this viewpoint before the Senate Naval Affairs Committee and pointed out that the United States must build cruisers if it was to obtain limitation. According to Wilbur, Admiral Jones, and others, neither Great Britain nor Japan would reduce its fleet in order to create a ratio, and therefore the United States must build.​18 The logic was sound.

The strategy of the Navy in its program to round out the fleet took it down two divergent paths. On the one hand some officers bitterly resisted any further reduction of the Navy and emphasized in the most nationalistic tones the value of sea power to America; rather  p139 than reduction or limitation, the country needed a stronger naval establishment. On the other hand those closer to the President and more responsible to public pressure could see the possibility of creating a balanced fleet were Congress merely to authorize and appropriate for auxiliaries in such numbers that the Navy would be at parity with Great Britain and five-thirds superior to Japan. By following either path the Navy would be in a position to defend the United States and its Far Eastern interests.

The Three-Power Naval Conference called for June, 1927, offered a serious challenge to the American Navy. This was the first attempt by conference to limit or reduce naval armaments since the Washington meeting five and a half years previously, and the United States Navy was in no condition, materially or psychologically, to be limited. Attempts to create a balanced fleet were progressing at a tortoise pace; in fact, 1926 had seen naval appropriations reach their lowest level in the postwar years. On the international scene, though Japanese-American relations had shown no marked deterioration since the Pacific maneuvers of 1925, the General Board had found nothing to change its pessimistic attitude toward the island empire.19

From the day the invitations to the Geneva Conference were issued an atmosphere of futility colored the proceedings. All invitees were careful in their replies, showing concern lest they accept and all others reject the bids. The conference was almost aborted in February, 1927, when France and Italy declined to attend, but State Department optimism carried arrangements forward for a meeting of Great Britain, Japan, and the United States as host. The absence of France and Italy caused the Japanese to question the value of a naval conference, but American and British assurances restored Japanese confidence. All three Powers agreed that an attempt at limitation was worth the effort.20

 p140  However, the Geneva Conference had little chance of success from the day of conception. Of all the finally destructive difficulties, none was more significant than the lack of adequate advance consultation.​21 Between the United States and Great Britain there were a few brief meetings but no definite exploration of either's position. Rear Admiral Hilary P. Jones appears to have represented the United States twice on hurried visits to the Admiralty offices, but the firmest commitment he received was "Great Britain accepted unqualifiedly the Washington ratio [5‑5‑3] as extended to all categories of vessels [cruisers, submarines, destroyers, etc.] as far as the United States and Great Britain are concerned."​22 There were a few exchanges of views between the Ambassador in London and the British Foreign Minister, but these were generally on matters of procedure rather than of substance. With Japan there was even less attempt made to determine viewpoints before the conference. The Ambassador in Tokyo discussed the forthcoming meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister, but as in the case of Ambassador Houghton in London, Ambassador MacVeagh was not empowered to do more than discuss procedure. The same situation apparently existed between Japan and Great Britain.

Precisely why the State Department did not make better preparations for the conference is conjectural, but two reasons can be deduced from the evidence at hand. Actually a great deal was known about the probable positions of Great Britain and Japan at the conference, and it is possible that the State Department believed this knowledge sufficient. It was surmised, for example, that the British would insist upon having a large number of cruisers, ostensibly to protect lengthy  p141 trade routes. That they favored the abolition of submarines and desired a lower tonnage limitation for the size of capital ships than the current 35,000 tons was also understood.​23 As far as Japan was concerned it was predicted by the embassy in Tokyo that the Japanese delegation would press for an increase above 5‑3‑3 if ratios were to be applied to combat auxiliaries. Also the Japanese would probably seek further limitation of naval bases, particularly at Singapore.24

A second possible reason for limited advance consultation lies in the nature of the conference itself. When issuing invitations President Coolidge clearly stated that any agreements reached were designed to supplement the work of the League Preparatory Commission for the Disarmament Conference and intimated that the accomplishments would undoubtedly be dealt with by the General Disarmament Conference. With this in mind, the conference was limited to naval matters, and the personnel of the delegations were generally chosen from those at Geneva or those familiar with the work of the Preparatory Commission, naval specialists familiar with the issues. This approach obviated the need for prior technical conversations, since the five invitees had been participating in the Preparatory Commission discussions, but it also discouraged any political discussions that might have paved the way for naval agreements.25

 p142  American inability to bargain was of great significance when one seeks general causes for the failure at Geneva. At the Washington Conference the United States possessed a large fleet in being and was building fifteen capital ships. Such a program presented an adequate reason for other nations to seek agreement. At the Geneva Conference, on the other hand, the United States, hoping to limit combat auxiliaries, could negotiate only from weakness. In destroyers, as well as in submarines, the American Navy led the world, but in cruisers, where naval competition had been the greatest, the United States was miserably weak. In postwar construction she possessed ten cruisers armed with 6‑inch guns, was building two 8‑inch-gun cruisers, and had six cruisers authorized for which the keels had not been laid. In terms of cruisers under twenty years of age the position of the United States was even worse:26

Great Britain 48 built 14 building = 62
Japan 23 " 6 " = 29
United States 16 " 2 " = 18

Because of the weakness in cruisers the Navy warned Congress in January, 1927, not to expect too much at Geneva, but congressmen, like many Americans, believed that America's great potential for cruiser building would be as effective as ships in the water when it came to reaching an agreement.27

Underlying the failure of the whole conference and contributing materially to the inability of the United States and Great Britain to agree was the problem of Japan. The majority of the accounts written concerning the Geneva Conference have consistently pointed up the clash between the British and American delegations, and these studies have generally agreed that Japan was the most cooperative of those  p143 seeking naval limitation.​28 But a more careful study of the evidence indicates that the Japanese Navy and the ubiquitous pressure of the Japanese Empire in the Far East on British and American planning were the shoals upon which the conference grounded.

The preconference study for the American position at Geneva had developed certain points upon which there could be little or no bargaining. Because the American representation consisted principally of naval officers, there was little likelihood or reason for it to depart from the studied judgments of the General Board. As a codelegate, Ambassador Hugh Gibson was in general agreement with Rear Admiral Jones; both construed their instructions to mean that the United States sought a technical treaty designed to limit those vessels not covered by the Washington Five-Power Treaty. There was no particular need, as they saw it, for political clauses in the finished protocol, and the American group was not chosen to accomplish such an end.29

By 1927 the General Board had decided that the 10,000‑ton cruiser armed with 8‑inch guns best suited America's needs. The weight of the cruiser was necessary to allow machinery for speed, the mounting of 8‑inch-gun turrets, armor, and the fuel capacity to operate independently or with the Battle Fleet in the vast reaches of the Pacific Ocean. At the conference the delegates never went on record to state which of these characteristics was most important, but privately they agreed it was the 8‑inch gun. A naval adviser in the delegation and director of the War Plans Division, Rear Admiral Frank H. Schofield, summed up the Navy's position in his diary:

 p144  To build cruisers of less gunpower [less than 8 inches] for our purposes would be highly ineffective, as at the point of tactical contact such cruisers might be outclassed (out‑gunned) by the 8‑inch cruisers of other powers. Our lines of communication in the Pacific are so long and the necessity for protecting them so urgent that we could not afford to depend upon protection of those lines with a 6‑inch gun cruiser or with two or three small cruisers, when the convoy they were protecting might be attacked by 8‑inch gun cruisers. So long as the 8‑inch gun cruiser exists, it is to our interest and practically our necessity to limit construction of cruisers to vessels of this class.​30

When the American delegation assented to dividing the cruiser category into 10,000‑ton cruisers armed with 8‑inch guns and a second class of cruisers of less tonnage, it refused to accept equipping the lighter cruiser with anything but the 8‑inch gun. When the British mentioned a 10,000‑ton cruiser carrying 6‑inch guns, the suggestion was completely ignored.​31 Constantly before the American naval delegation was the fact that Japan already had eight cruisers built or building that carried 8‑inch guns.

With Congressional parsimony in mind, the General Board had also decided prior to the conference upon an acceptable maximum of 400,000 tons in cruisers for the United States and Great Britain, preferably closer to 300,000 tons. The maximum was adhered to throughout the conference despite British protests — Great Britain had approximately 388,000 tons of cruisers built or building, and there was little chance she would consider scrapping some of those. Further, the Board believed that to allow the Japanese to have cruiser tonnage above 240,000 tons (60 per cent of 400,000 tons) would give them too many vessels in excess of their battle fleet needs, ships which could wreak havoc as raiders on American lines of communication to the  p145 Far East.​32 Hence, the intransigence of the Navy on the matters of total cruiser tonnage and of arming all vessels with 8‑inch guns made agreement at Geneva virtually impossible.

The problem of ratios also had been considered carefully by the General Board before the conference. It had decided that the Japanese could not be allowed any increase over their 5‑5‑3 ratio under any circumstances. In the eyes of the board the United States had been too liberal at the Washington Conference and "Having in view the above . . . believe that the 5‑3 ratio in the cruiser class with relation to Japan represents the maximum concession that can be made to Japan in cruisers."33

Closely related to ratios was the problem of further limiting naval bases in the Far East. The Navy from top to bottom had resented the nonfortification clause (Article XIX) of the Five-Power Treaty and was not kindly disposed toward further concessions. The Japanese newspapers had given considerable space to the danger of Singapore and Pearl Harbor to Japan.​34 In view of this propaganda the General Board decided that the United States would never allow any restrictions on the Hawaiian base and preferred that Singapore not be discussed. Theoretically, limitation of Hawaiian fortifications was possible, but only if the Japanese agreed to reduce their navy to a point where an attack on the Philippines was unfeasible.35

These factors — insistence on the 8‑inch gun for cruisers, a maximum of 400,000 tons in the cruiser category, no increase above the 5‑5‑3 ratio for the Japanese, and no further limitation of Pacific fortifications — represented points that could not be yielded to Japan under any conditions. The mission of the Navy was the protection of American interests in the Far East; the national policy of Japan, as seen by the General Board in the spring of 1927, was the "Political, commercial,  p146 and military domination of the Western Pacific." In this light the Navy's opposition to compromise at Geneva is understandable.36

The importance of Japan at the Geneva Conference is further demonstrated by examining the problems confronting the British Empire. As a Far Eastern Power Great Britain confronted strategic promises similar to those of the United States. British trade with China was greater than America's, and there were colonies, protectorates, and dominions requiring defense by the Royal Navy. Because of its world-girdling chain of naval bases, the British navy had found that small cruisers, averaging in the neighborhood of 5,500 tons and armed with the 6‑inch gun, suited its needs admirably. Long cruising radius was not necessary, for it was never distant to the next naval base. British trade routes covered some 80,000 miles, and the Royal Navy, therefore, felt that a large number of small cruisers were necessary to protect those routes. From the viewpoint of the British it was highly desirable to eliminate or sharply restrict any vessels carrying guns in excess of six inches, otherwise they would have to match the construction of such cruisers with ships for which they had no genuine use.37

By January, 1927, the British were faced in the Far East with eight Japanese cruisers carrying 8‑inch guns built or building. To meet this challenge the British laid down fourteen 8‑inch-gun cruisers between 1924 and the opening of the Geneva Conference, and had in service four Hawkins class cruisers armed with 7.5‑inch guns. However, the British were building cruisers carrying 8‑inch guns, with one eye on the French and Italian navies, which had begun construction of six 8‑inch type cruisers. In view of this competition the British delegation at Geneva set twelve cruisers of the 8‑inch type as the maximum allowable for Japan. Beyond this, they believed, their Pacific dominions, Australia and New Zealand, would be imperiled. Furthermore, the stronger the Japanese Navy became, the more vessels the Royal  p147 Navy would have to station in the Far East at the expense of protection of home waters.38

Another point upon which the British delegation was forced to stand firm was the Singapore naval base. Construction had been halted in 1924 during the MacDonald tenure, but with the return of the second Baldwin government, work was again continued. Britain considered the base to be of highest importance for British interests in the Far East and refused to entertain the idea of limiting its effectiveness. In this matter no voices concurred more loudly than those of the Antipodean delegates.​39 Fortunately for all concerned the Japanese never raised the issue at the conference, though both the American and British groups were expecting it.

The British came to Geneva prepared to discuss one other point on which they felt quite strongly. They wanted to reduce the size of battle­ship replacements and eventually hoped to reduce the number of battle­ships in commission.​40 The closer the nations came to abolishing the battle­ships, they felt, the more power­ful Britain's large cruiser  p148 fleet would become. Were all battle­ships abolished, then British cruiser preponderance in numbers, plus the large tonnage of merchant ships that could be armed with 6‑inch guns, would give the British Empire absolute mastery of the seas and would certainly ease the problem of matching the Japanese fleet in the Far East.

Evidently the two English-speaking delegations were working basically toward the same objective. Both were anxious for the same reasons to reduce or limit Japanese power in eastern Asia. Maintaining the Open Door would benefit the United States and Great Britain, and both had dependencies in the Far East to protect. With battle­ship strength already closely limited, the British and American naval delegations were determined to allow no relative increase in Japanese cruiser power, particularly in 8‑inch-gun vessels. Thus Japanese cruiser strength could not exceed 60 per cent of America's, nor could the total tonnage be more than 240,000. For the British a maximum of twelve 8‑inch-gun cruisers was the most permissible for Japan. Neither the United States nor Great Britain would permit any tampering with the nonfortification agreement embodied in the Five-Power Naval Treaty, and the American delegation was prepared to back Great Britain if Japan broached the subject. Finally, at the conference the British and American naval delegations forced the Japanese to agree to the limitation of all submarines when the Japanese suggested that those less than 700 tons be unlimited. It was pointed out that such vessels were not designed merely for coastal defense; they could operate effectively against the American Philippines or the British trade routes to Southeast Asia.​41 In view of such unanimity between the naval advisers of Great Britain and the United States, it is surprising that they permitted the conference to fail.

Most obviously the Geneva Conference came to nothing because the United States and Great Britain could not agree on cruiser limitation.  p149 The American naval advisers insisted on having cruisers, with the exception of the ten Omahas in commission, capable of carrying 8‑inch guns. They desired somewhere between fifteen and twenty-five cruisers of the 10,000‑ton class, depending on whether the cruiser category was to have 300,000 or 400,000 tons allotted to it. They agreed to accept a small number of vessels, in addition to the Omahas, which would displace less than 10,000 tons, but the delegation was adamant on the right to arm them with 8‑inch guns.​42 In submarines and destroyers they readily came to agreement with Japan and Great Britain.

The British position, developed by Admiral of the Fleet Earl Jellicoe, Delegate for New Zealand, consisted of the demand for approximately seventy cruisers and the right to parity with the United States in the 8‑inch type vessel. During the second plenary session of July 14, Jellicoe proposed Empire requirements as a minimum of seventy cruisers, of which twenty-five would operate with the battle fleet and forty-five would be stationed at strategic points for trade protection. He told of his experiences as commander-in‑chief of the Grand Fleet and the problems he had had with German raiders. "Once again I would reiterate that, if we found 114 cruisers insufficient during the Great War, are we not putting our requirements at the lowest possible figure when reducing this number to seventy?" At no time during the conference did the British recede far from this figure of seventy cruisers.

The American naval delegation's tonnage maximum of 400,000 made compromise impossible between the United States and Great Britain. The British felt they could meet this figure by having a cruiser fleet of seventy ships averaging slightly less than 6,000 tons per vessel, and these would necessarily be armed with 6‑inch guns, owing to their size. When the American advisers demanded at least twenty-five 10,000‑ton 8‑inch-gun cruisers, were the 400,000‑ton limit used, there could be no meeting of the minds. If the British were to match the United States, they would require twenty-five large cruisers at a total of 250,000 tons; only 150,000 tons would be left for the other forty-five cruisers they needed. The British were further embarrassed because they could not allow the Japanese, within the 5‑5‑3 ratio, to have  p150 more than twelve 10,000‑ton 8‑inch-gun cruisers. This imposed a limit of twenty on the United States (200,000 tons), and would make it necessary for the British to squeeze fifty cruisers out of the remaining American maximum of 200,000 tons — again an impossibility. The conference therefore was adjourned with no agreement reached.

The Japanese, although failing to push their own desires vigorously at the conference, acted as a catalytic agent in their effect on the British and American viewpoints. The propaganda build‑up before the meeting, demanding an improvement in the 60 per cent ratio and limitation at Singapore, had caused the American and Britain naval policy-makers to move to extreme positions and adhere to them. The United States required 8‑inch-gun cruisers capable of operating across the 5,000 miles of water between the Philippines and Hawaii. This was a strictly naval viewpoint, formulated by men who believed that war with Japan would eventually come to America and who had no faith in political arrangements to preserve the peace. The British had determined as early as November, 1926, that the Japanese could not increase their 8‑inch-gun cruiser fleet beyond twelve ships. If the Americans insisted on more 8‑inch-gun cruisers than the British considered safe, then the Japanese ratio had to be reduced, a patent impossibility in view of the Japanese demands for a higher ratio. Thus the Geneva Conference failed. Any future meeting would require a thorough exploration of each nation's problems before the opening of the first plenary session, but at least the civilian chiefs of the department, and the nation to some extent, had been alerted to the limitations of naval officers in diplomacy.​43 For the United States Navy the conference deadlock had gratifying results. Congress soon passed another cruiser authorization act giving the Navy fifteen more of its highly valued 10,000‑ton cruisers and a new aircraft carrier.

The abortive Geneva Naval Conference resulted in two years of tense relations between the United States and Great Britain, but even within the charged atmosphere of those years, the goal of naval limitation never dropped from sight on either side of the Atlantic. For the  p151 American Navy the conference failure had particularly beneficent results, a new naval authorization bill. In the longer run, however, the resulting naval act "for the increase of the Navy" also increased the desire in both countries for another try at limitation, which resulted in the London Naval Conference of 1930.

The refusal of the British delegation at Geneva to accept a maximum tonnage of 400,000 tons in cruisers apparently convinced President Coolidge of the need for more cruisers. In his annual message to Congress on December 6, 1927, Coolidge wrote:

While the results of the Conference were of considerable value, they were mostly of a negative character. We know now that no agreement can be reached which will be inconsistent with a considerable building program on our part. . . .

We have a considerable cruiser tonnage, but a part of it is obsolete. Everyone knew that had a three-power agreement been reached it would have left us with the necessity of continuing our building program.​44

The General Board had already been at work preparing a study of the Navy's needs, and this was introduced by Representative Thomas S. Butler on December 14, 1927, as H. R. 7359. The immensity of the "71 Ship Bill" appalled economy-minded legislators and fulfilled the worst fears of some newspapers that the United States was about to begin vigorously competing in naval armaments.45

On the international scene the reaction to the "71 Ship Bill" was equally vociferous. In Amsterdam De Telegraaf, struck by the enormous cost of the proposed program, commented:

A million guilders a day, Sundays included and that for five successive years — that is what the Government of the United States proposed to expend for expansion of its fleet. The first reaction of every peace-loving European is: "What a wealthy land, and how badly they spend their money."

In England there was concern but no rush to increase a British building program. According to the London Times the American program  p152 should be taken seriously, though there was a tendency in some quarters to consider the bill as pure Yankee bluff. In many corners of the world there was a scoring of the United States on its inconsistency in attempting to outlaw war by agreement and launching a huge naval program.46

The substitution of the less costly "15 Cruiser Bill" (H. R. 11526) for the "71 Ship Bill" on February 28, 1928, cooled down many of the irate editorialists and caused the subject to drop almost from sight on the international scene, but in Congress the bill ran into innumerable delays and a barrage of opposition from sundry sources, pacifistic and political. Navy Representatives, who had tried to present the earlier bill as merely an attempt to lay out a sound replacement program, were somewhat astounded over the opposition to the more modest plan.​47 The cruiser bill was not voted in the spring of 1928, and succeeded in passing the following February only after Anglo-French negotiations in Europe increased sentiment for a stronger Navy as a wise investment.

During the spring of 1928 the French and British exchanged views on the method of limiting land and naval armaments, to make it possible for each nation to accept certain features of a draft plan for general disarmament being considered by the League Preparatory Commission. As matters stood before the initiation of the Anglo-French conversations, the British believed in limiting ships by closely described categories (cruisers, submarines, destroyers), whereas the French merely wanted each country limited by a total tonnage figure. The two nations also disagreed on how to limit land forces. The British wanted to limit soldiers on active duty and trained reserves as well,  p153 but the French insisted that only those soldiers "with the colors" should be restricted. By July 28 they reached agreement whereby the French position on nonlimitation of army-trained reserves and the British views on naval limitation were to be mutually supported. On July 30 the British Foreign Office sent out the text of the "Accord" to Washington, Tokyo, and Rome. The principal feature of the naval agreement was that ships should be limited in the following categories:48


Capital ships


Aircraft carriers


Surface vessels less than 10,000 tons and armed with guns greater than six inches


Ocean-going submarines over 600 tons

The American answer was a sharp refusal to enter into any negotiations based upon the Anglo-French agreement. The State Department called attention to the fact that the 10,000‑ton 8‑inch-gun cruiser was restricted while the smaller cruiser was wholly unlimited. The State Department also disliked the restriction of the larger submarine when the smaller vessel was unlimited. On the whole the State Department believed this Anglo-French accord would result in "the imposition of restrictions only on types peculiarly suited to the needs of the United States." In conclusion, the State Department maintained that "if there is to be further limitation upon the construction of war vessels so that competition in this regard between nations may be stopped, it is the belief of the United States that it should include all classes of combatant vessels, submarines as well as surface vessels."49

Possibly disturbing the United States Navy was Japan's satisfaction with the Anglo-French arrangement. Japanese newspaper opinion had not greeted the agreement with particular enthusiasm, though  p154 many recognized with the Osaka Mainichi: "The agreement may have prepared a way for Great Britain and France to resist America in matters of naval disarmament." The Government, however, replied to the British on September 29, 1928, and "expressed its concurrence to the purport of the present agreement." Baron Giichi Tanaka's answer did say that attention must be paid to the needs of other countries where the 8‑inch-gun cruiser and submarines over 600 tons were concerned.​50 Japan's acceptance was natural in terms of its national defense needs. Japanese naval officers at the Geneva Conference had requested that the smaller submarines be unlimited, and furthermore, they had supported attempts to limit the numbers of the heavier cruisers to be allowed each country. For the United States Navy it was an uncomfortable situation — three countries agreed to limit the ships best suited to American needs.

Public concern in America at the "Accord" was based generally on two points. The French and the British had attempted to limit the heavier cruisers, even though the United States favored the 10,000‑ton 8‑inch-gun cruiser and none other. The lighter cruisers, with which the British navy abounded, were to be unlimited, and Great Britain, free to arm its horde of merchantmen with 6‑inch guns, would thereafter be untouchable as a naval power. Even worse, in the minds of those unacquainted with naval affairs, evidence indicated that these negotiations had been consummated in secret — in an age of "open covenants, openly arrived at." Had it not been for William Randolph Hearst's New York American the world might never have known the whole story.51

The "15 Cruiser Bill" pending in Congress received a healthy push from President Coolidge on Armistice Day, 1928. He told an assembly of American Legionnaires that the United States had long coastlines, lengthy trade routes, and a large population to be protected, and therefore needed the large ocean-spanning 10,000‑ton cruisers. "Having few fueling stations, we require ships of large tonnage, and  p155 having scarcely any merchant vessels capable of mounting five or six‑inch guns, it is obvious that, based on needs, we are entitled to a larger number of warships than a nation having these advantages." With obvious reference to the Anglo-French agreement he concluded, "It no doubt has some significance that foreign governments made agreements limiting that class of combat vessels in which we were superior, but refused limitation in the class in which they were superior. . . ."52

With this ringing reintroduction of the "15 Cruiser Bill" Congress buckled down to bringing the United States Navy up to date, and on February 13, 1929, passed H. R. 11526. The legislators, however, were unwilling to abandon all hope of naval limitation and inserted a provision in the Act which permitted the president to suspend construction of the fifteen cruisers and one carrier if an international conference for naval limitation were called. Though the Navy League of the United States had assured the legislators that the American press was 7.8 to 1 for the cruiser bill, and President-elect Herbert Hoover had given his approval to the measure, the public by February, 1929, was undoubtedly tired of the whole matter of cruisers and naval competition and looked forward to an end to the current naval race.53

The first four months of President Hoover's administration provided the world with the hope for an end to competition in naval  p156 armaments. In his inaugural address the new President set a primary goal for his quadrennium by declaring, "Peace can be promoted by the limitation of arms, and by the creation of the instrumentalities for the peaceful settlement of controversies. I covet for this administration a record of having further contributed to advance the causes of peace."​54 How this record was to be achieved was not clearly indicated, although on April 22, 1929, Hugh Gibson gave evidence at Geneva that the work might be done through the General Disarmament Conference which was being carefully planned at that time. Gibson told the Sixth Session of the Preparatory Commission that the United States was willing to discuss naval limitation along category lines earlier proposed by the French. More importantly, the United States would not insist upon mathematical parity in all classes, cruisers included. A formula could be derived that would make it possible for some nations to have more tonnage than others, yet there would be equality of power.​55 This démarche by the United States provided many with the hope for a solution to the problem that had stalemated discussion at the Geneva Conference: Britain's insistence on a large number of small cruisers and America's demand for the 10,000‑ton 8‑inch-gun vessels.

Interest in Hoover's plans continued at a high pitch through the spring of 1929. In April Charles Gates Dawes's appointment as Ambassador to the Court of Saint James's received considerable notice in the newspapers at home and abroad. At Geneva Ambassador Hugh Gibson had quietly made plans for Dawes and the new British prime minister, J. Ramsay MacDonald, to discuss naval limitation, and in England Edward Price Bell, a prominent foreign correspondent highly trusted by the Administration at Washington, was doing his best to create a favorable press reception for the projected Dawes-MacDonald conversations.​56 On Memorial Day, 1929, President Hoover added a  p157 fillip to the mounting interest in disarmament by referring directly to the new naval "yardstick":

. . . to arrive at any agreement through which we can, marching in company with our brother nations, secure a reduction of armament but at the same time maintain a just preparedness for the protection of our peoples we must find a rational yardstick with which to make reasonable comparisons for their naval units and ours and thus maintain an agreed relativity.

So far the world has failed to find such a yardstick. To say that such a measure cannot be found is the counsel of despair; it is a challenge to the naval authorities of the world; it is the condemnation of the world to the Sisyphean toil of competitive armaments.​57

These phrases, and the color­ful picture of General "Hell-and‑Maria" Dawes with his underslung pipe, "talking turkey" with the new Prime Minister, were heartening to many Americans and gave promise that the two new administrations might save the world, given time.

The Author's Notes:

1 Benjamin H. Williams, The United States and Disarmament (New York and London: Whittlesey House, 1931), p162.

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2 Bryan to W. E. Borah, August 5, 1922, William Jennings Bryan Papers, Box 45, LCMD. Bryan concluded: "I think the debt is worthless and will never be paid. If we can use a worthless debt to buy a priceless peace secured through disarmament . . . I think the offer is worth making." Borah to C. M. Lincoln, Washington, December 21, 1923, William E. Borah Papers, Box 237, LCMD.

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3 Representative F. C. Hicks to President Coolidge, Washington, May 28, 1924, U. S., Department of State, File 500.A12/9; Representative Hamilton Fish, Jr., to the Secretary of State, February 9, 1924, File 500.A12/-, Archives.

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4 U. S., The President, Message of the President of the United States to Congress, December 3, 1924 (Washington, 1924), p. ii.

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5 "Message of the President of the United States to Congress, December 8, 1925," Foreign Relations, 1925, I, xii‑xiii.

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6 Editorial response in Paris to the 1927 Geneva Conference invitations was generally unfriendly. Typical was the attitude in the Leconte Matin: "The League of Nations is studying the problem of disarmament in general and there would be serious objections to dividing this problem between two distinct conferences." D/S, File 500.A15A1/7, Paris, February 11, 1927, Archives. This view is amplified in F. P. Walters, A History of the League of Nations (2 vols.; London: Oxford University Press, 1952), I, 366‑69.

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7 D/S, File 500.A12/30, Tokyo, November 28, 1924. A particularly gross example of using misleading statistics occurred in the Japan Advertiser for December 2, 1924. The Embassy sent in translations of the "Proceedings of the Lower House of the Diet" from the Official Gazette for February 10, 1925. A Mr. K. Michi spoke at length for an increase in the Navy's budget and noted in passing: "The United States at present has five aircraft carriers [U. S. had three], while Japan has two under construction [Japan also had one carrier operating], the United States has fifteen airships [one blimp, one dirigible, four balloons], while we have but two. . . ." D/S, File 500.A12/47, Tokyo, March 4, 1925, Archives.

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8 D/S, File 500.A12/33, Tokyo, January 23, 1925; Secretary of State (Kellogg) to President Coolidge, Washington, December 16, 1926, File 500.A15A/258a, Archives; see also Hector C. Bywater, Navies and Nations: A Review of Naval Developments Since the Great War (London: Constable and Company, Ltd., 1927), pp273‑74.

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9 U. S., Navy Department, Ships' Data U. S. Naval Vessels: July 1, 1931 (Washington, 1931), pp22‑23.

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10 A. T. Mahan, The Interest of America in Seapower, Present and Future (Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1898), p104; Francis Duncan, "Mahan — Historian With A Purpose," United States Naval Institute Proceedings (May, 1957), pp499‑501; Merze Tate, The United States and Armaments (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1948), p44; see also Miss Tate's The Disarmament Illusion: The Movement for a Limitation of Armaments to 1907 (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1942), pp285‑86, 291‑92.

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11 Robert E. Osgood, Ideals and Self-Interest in America's Foreign Relations: The Great Transformation of the Twentieth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), p36; Charles Carlisle Taylor, The Life of Admiral Mahan (London: John Murray, 1920), p101; Captain W. D. Puleston, Mahan (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1939), p318.

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12 Navy Department, General Board No. 446, Serial 1052, Washington, January 19, 1921; original in Thomas J. Walsh Papers, Box 268, LCMD.

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13 Captain H. E. Yarnell, "The Peace Time Service and Costs of the Navy," United States Naval Institute Proceedings (September, 1924), pp1504‑6; Rear Admiral (Ret.) W. L. Rodgers, "Military Preparedness Necessary to the Economic and Social Welfare of the United States," ibid. (October, 1925), p1850; Admiral Edward W. Eberle, "A Few Reflections on Our Navy and Some of Its Needs," ibid. (September, 1924), p1403.

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14 Captain L. M. Overstreet, "Danger of Disarming America," ibid. (September, 1924), p1497.

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15 U. S., Congress, House, Committee on Naval Affairs, Hearings on Sundry Naval Legislation, 1922‑23, 67th Cong., 2d, 3d, 4th Sess., February 15, 1922, p282. Captain Luke McNamee, "Keep Our Navy Strong," United States Naval Institute Proceedings (May, 1923), pp801‑10.

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16 The editor of the Proceedings wrote a "Foreword" to the May, 1923, issue and advised the member­ship that "Upon us, as naval officers, falls a part of the burden of keeping before the country at large the interests of the Navy, which are identical with the interests of the United States. Officers of the Navy are called upon to deliver addresses on the Navy, its position, its relation to the country's foreign and domestic policy, its mission in furthering that policy, and its needs." "Foreword," ibid. (May, 1923).

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17 Admiral Hilary P. Jones, "A Just Man Armed Keepeth his House in Order," ibid. (May, 1923), pp764‑65.

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18 "Professional Notes — 'Second Naval Parley Needed, Says Expert,' " ibid. (February, 1925), pp339‑40; U. S., Congress, Senate, Naval Subcommittee on the Committee on Appropriations, Hearings on Navy Department Appropriation Bill for 1928, 69th Cong., 2d Sess., January 12, 1927, H. R. 15641, p98. Admiral Hilary P. Jones concurred with the Secretary's views and told the committee that ships on paper, authorized but not appropriated for, would carry very little weight in a naval conference, ibid., pp128‑30.

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19 The General Board's views on the national policies of Japan were presented in Navy Department, General Board, No. 438, Serial 1347‑a(a), dated April 21, 1927, OCNH.

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20 The proceedings of the Geneva Conference with initiating correspondence can be found in U. S., Congress, Senate, Document No. 55, 70th Cong, 1st Sess., "Records of the Conference for the Limitation of Naval Armament" (Washington, 1928), 220pp. Hereafter cited as Geneva Conference. The uneasiness in Japan was carefully described by the Ambassador in Japan in his monthly surveys of political developments in Japan, D/S, Files, 894.00/240 of March 14, 1927, and 894.00/252 of April 11, 1927, Archives.

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21 Benjamin H. Williams, The United States and Disarmament (New York and London: Whittlesey House, 1931), pp167‑68; Tate, The United States and Armaments, pp145‑46; Arnold J. Toynbee, Survey of International Affairs, 1927 (London: Oxford University Press and Humphrey Milford, 1929), pp39‑41.

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22 Memoranda by Rear Admiral Hilary P. Jones, American Embassy, London, November 10, 1926, D/S, File 500.A15A/258a; Rear Admiral Hilary P. Jones to the Secretary of the Navy, London, March 9, 1927, File 500.A15A1, Archives.

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23 The naval policies of Great Britain were analyzed by the Navy in Navy Department, General Board, No. 438, Serial 1347‑1(a), dated April 21, 1927, OCNH. The State Department's analyses can be found in Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Marriner), June 1, 1927, Foreign Relations, 1927, I, 42‑43; the Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy, Washington, March 23, 1927, D/S, File 500.A15A1/137a, Archives.

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24 Japanese interest in limiting Singapore was carefully covered by Ambassador MacVeagh in his despatch, D/S, File 500.A15A1/58, Tokyo, February 13, 1927, Archives. An analysis of Japanese views on changing the naval ratios was sent in by the naval attaché in Tokyo; see Naval Attaché (Tokyo) to the Office of Naval Intelligence (copy), Tokyo, June 13, 1927, in D/S, File 500.A15A1/261, Archives.

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25 Tate, The United States and Armaments, pp141‑43. Professor Williams commented that Admiral Jones: ". . . as a naval expert was thoroughly familiar with the technical aspects of the subject [of naval disarmament] and entirely honest in his approach but he viewed the world through a porthole." Williams, The United States and Disarmament, p166.

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26 See the table in Toynbee, Survey of International Affairs, 1927, p32. The table is entirely accurate except for the entry "U. S. A., cruisers building." The entry should read "2" instead of "5."

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27 The Norfolk Virginian Pilot echoed this sentiment when it stated that the United States had unlimited financial power to throw in the naval balance when limitation was discussed at Geneva. "Mr. Coolidge's Fight for Disarmament," The Literary Digest, March 26, 1927, pp5‑7.

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28 Williams, The United States and Disarmament, p177; Tate, The United States and Armaments, pp151, 152. Toynbee described the Japanese as "the most reasonable and the most detached of the three parties. . . ." Survey of International Affairs, 1927, pp22‑23.

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29 Rear Admiral Hilary P. Jones to the Secretary of the Navy, August 16, 1927, Navy Department, File A19 (Disarmament) /EM‑Geneva (270816), Archives. Though Admiral Jones had deliberately commented on the fine cooperation between the State and Navy department representatives at Geneva, there were dissenting opinions. Rear Admiral Frank H. Schofield felt that the delegation's legal adviser, Allen W. Dulles, had tried to undermine the Navy's position through political agreements. Rear Admiral F. H. Schofield, Diary, August 1, 1927, quoted in (Captain) Ben Scott Custer, "The Geneva Conference for the Limitation of Naval Armament — 1927" (unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Georgetown University, 1948), pp180‑81.

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30 Rear Admiral F. H. Schofield, Diary, June 28, 1927, quoted in Custer, "Geneva Conference," pp84‑85.

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31 At the eighth meeting of the Technical Committee the American delegation consented to dividing the cruiser category into two classes but commented: "We do not see any reason for limiting the caliber of gun in the smaller class of cruisers to anything different from that in the larger [10,000‑ton 8‑inch] class." Memorandum, H. P. Jones, July 5, 1927, Navy Department, File A19 (Disarmament) /EM‑Geneva (270816), Archives.

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32 Navy Department, General Board, No. 438, Serial 1347‑7(c), April 25, 1927, OCNH.

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33 Ibid.; see also, General Board, No. 438, Serial 1347‑1(a), April 21, 1927, OCNH.

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34 The analysis of the Embassy's views on Japan and Singapore was sent in a despatch, D/S, File 500.A15A1/58, Tokyo, February 13, 1927, Archives.

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35 Navy Department, General Board, No. 438, Serial 1347‑3(h), April 22, 1927; No. 438, Serial 1347‑11(j), May 7, 1927, OCNH.

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36 Navy Department, General Board, No. 438, Serial 1347‑1(a), April 21, 1927, OCNH.

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37 A full statement of the British position can be found in the minutes of the second plenary session held on July 14th at Geneva. See Geneva Conference, pp37‑45. This was given earlier amplification at the third session of the Technical Committee on June 28, 1927; ibid., pp120‑131.

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38 This maximum was inferred at the Jones-Beatty meeting of November 10, 1926, and was never departed from. D/S, File 500.A15A/258a, London, November 10, 1926, Archives. The same problem was discussed in private by the British and American delegations on July 6, 1927; see the Chairman of the American Delegation (Gibson) to the Secretary of State, Geneva, July 6, 1927, Foreign Relations, 1927, I, 74.

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39 An extremely valuable survey of empire-wide opinion concerning the Singapore Base can be found in Great Britain, "Singapore Naval Base," Correspondence with the Self-Governing Dominions and India Regarding the Development of Singapore Naval Base: Command 2083, March 25, 1924 (London: HMSO, 1924), 15pp. The defeat of MacDonald's government caused rejoicing in Australia and New Zealand because they realized that construction at Singapore would be resumed. "Australia and New Zealand Hail the British Elections," The Literary Digest, December 20, 1924, p19. An analysis of the Singapore problem was sent in from Singapore by the Consul General. He emphasized the size of the British stake in the Far East as a factor influencing the construction of Singapore. D/S, File 841.34546d/42, Singapore, May 2, 1927, Archives.

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40 Geneva Conference, p30. The Navy and State departments were against any reopening of the battle­ship question without France and Italy being present. Foreign Relations, 1927, I, 54‑55, 97. Naval opposition to tampering with the Washington agreement on battle­ships is fully presented in Navy Department, General Board, No. 438, Serial 1347‑12(b), May 13, 1927, OCNH.

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41 The General Board had concluded before the conference that the submarine category should not be split, and therefore all submarines, regardless of tonnage, should be limited. The board felt that submarines could be used more effectively by Japan than by the United States, and therefore Japan should be closely limited to the 5‑5‑3 ratio. Navy Department, General Board, No. 438, Serial 1347‑9(3), May 20, 1927, OCNH. The American delegation presented its view to the British privately. Memorandum, June 23, 1927, D/S, File 500.A15A1/315½, Archives.

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42 D/S, File 500.A15A1/442, Washington, July 19, 1927, Archives.

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43 This point was emphasized by Allen W. Dulles in a memorandum prepared for the State Department evaluating the causes for failure at Geneva. Memorandum by Allen W. Dulles, September 7, 1927, D/S, File 500.A15A1/612½, Archives.

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44 "Message of the President of the United States to Congress, December 6, 1927," Foreign Relations, 1927, I, vii‑viii.

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45 "What the Failure of the Naval Conference Means," The Literary Digest, August 20, 1927, pp8‑9; "How the Geneva Conference Hits Our Taxpayers," ibid., August 27, 1927, p5.

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46 Translation from De Telegraaf, January 12, 1928, in D/S, File 811.34/332, The Hague, January 14, 1928; clipping from the London Times, December 17, 1927, in D/S, File 811.34/316, London, December 20, 1927, Archives; "As the British View our Big‑Navy Program," The Literary Digest, January 14, 1928, pp16‑17.

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47 "Parlous State of Navy Increase" (editorial), Army and Navy Register, February 18, 1928, p150; "The Big‑Navy Congressman Hears from Home," The Literary Digest, March 3, 1928, pp10‑11; "Billions Now Asked for a Huge Naval Program," ibid., January 28, 1928, pp12‑13; "The 1928 Naval Building Program" (editorial), Army and Navy Register, March 3, 1928, p196; "Pacifist Enmity of Naval Defense" (editorial), ibid., March 17, 1928, p244.

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48 John W. Wheeler-Bennett, Disarmament and Security Since Locarno 1925‑1931 (London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1932), pp127‑31; Walters, A History of the League of Nations, I, 371‑72; Williams, United States and Disarmament, p179; Tate, The United States and Armaments, pp162‑64; Great Britain, "Papers Regarding the Limitation of Naval Armament," Miscellaneous No. 6 (1928): Command 3211 (London: HMSO, 1928), pp27‑28.

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49 Mr. Houghton to Lord Cushenden, London, September 28, 1928, ibid., pp34‑38.

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50 Translation from Osaka Mainichi Shimbun (August, 1928), in D/S, File 894.00P.R./9, Tokyo, September 6, 1928, Archives; Mr. Dormer (Tokyo) to Lord Cushenden, September 29, 1928, Great Britain, Command 3211, 1928, pp38‑39.

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51 Wheeler-Bennett, Disarmament and Security Since Locarno, pp136‑37.

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52 "Coolidge's 'Call Down' to Europe," The Literary Digest, December 1, 1928, pp8‑10. It is interesting to note that Coolidge's address was delivered just after the Navy Department released its newly revised "U. S. Navy Policy" in which it stated that the Navy would "replace all old cruisers with modern cruisers of 10,000 standard tons displacement carrying 8″ guns. . . ." The speech itself was carefully read for content by the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral C. F. Hughes, Rear Admiral A. T. Long, then a member of the General Board and later a naval adviser at the London Conference of 1930, and by Rear Admiral H. P. Jones. All agreed that Coolidge should put in a "plug" for the 15‑Cruiser Bill pending in Congress. "Around the World in 60 Years," unpublished manuscript in the Andrew T. Long Papers, p272, southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina.

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53 William Howard Gardiner to the Secretary of State, January 7, 1929, D/S, File 811.34/364, Archives. Herbert Hoover to Coolidge, Belle Isle, Florida, January 28, 1929 (telegram), Calvin Coolidge Papers, Box 375, File 4450, LCMD.

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54 New York Times, March 5, 1929, p6.

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55 New York Times, April 23, 1929, p22; Wheeler-Bennett, Disarmament and Security Since Locarno, pp69, 143; Walters, A History of the League of Nations, I, p375.

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56 Drew Pearson and Constantine Brown, The American Diplomatic Game (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday Doran & Company, 1935), pp72‑75. The work of Bell is given extended treatment in George V. Fagan, "Anglo-American Naval Relations, 1927‑1937" (unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1954), chap. II. Dr. Fagan used the Edward Price Bell Papers at the Newberry Library in Chicago, and obtained Hoover-Bell correspondence from former President Hoover. See also Robert H. Ferrell, American Diplomacy in the Great Depression: Hoover-Stimson Foreign Policy, 1929‑1933 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957), pp73‑75, and Elting E. Morison, Turmoil and Tradition: A Study in the Life and Times of Henry L. Stimson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1960), pp319‑20.

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57 "Address by President Hoover at the Memorial Exercises at Arlington Cemetery," Foreign Relations, 1929, I, 113‑16.

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