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Islands, with respect to which it must remain entirely unrestricted. Despite the fact that the American Government did not entertain any aggressive purpose whatever, it was recognized that the fortification of other insular possessions in the Pacific might be regarded from the Japanese standpoint as creating a new naval situation, and as constituting a menace to Japan, and hence the American Delegation expressed itself as willing to maintain the status quo as to fortifications and naval bases in its insular possessions in the Pacific, except as above stated, if Japan and the British Empire would do the like. It was recognized that no limitation should be made with respect to the main islands of Japan or Australia and New Zealand, with their adjacent islands, any more than with respect to the insular possessions adjacent to the coast of the United States, including Alaska and the Panama Canal Zone, or the Hawaiian Islands. The case of the Aleutian Islands, stretching out toward Japan, was a special one and had its counterpart in that of the Kurile Islands belonging to Japan and reaching out to the northeast toward the Aleutians. It was finally agreed that the status quo should be maintained as to both these groups.
After prolonged negotiations, the three Powers—the United States, the British Empire and Japan-made an agreement that the status quo at the time of the signing of the Naval Treaty, with regard to fortifications and naval bases, should be maintained in their respective territories and possessions, which were specified as follows (Naval Treaty, Article XIX):
“(1) The insular possessions which the United States now holds or may hereafter acquire in the Pacific Ocean, except (a) those adjacent to the coast of the United States, Alaska and the Panama Canal Zone, not including the Aleutian Islands, and (b) the Hawaiian Islands;
(2) Hongkong and the insular possessions which the British Empire now holds or may hereafter acquire in the Pacific Ocean, east of the meridian of 110° east longitude, except (a) those adjacent to the coast of Canada, (b) the Commonwealth of Australia and its Territories, and (c) New Zealand;
“(3) The following insular territories and possessions of Japan in the Pacific Ocean, to wit: The Kurile Islands, the Bonin Islands, AmamiOshima, the Loochoo Islands, Formosa and the Pescadores, and any insular territories or possessions in the Pacific Ocean which Japan may hereafter acquire.”
The same article of the treaty also contains the following provision with respect to the meaning of the maintenance of the status quo:
“The maintenance of the status quo under the foregoing provisions implies that no new fortifications or naval bases shall be established in the territories and possessions specified; that no measures shall be taken to increase the existing naval facilities for the repair and maintenance of naval forces, and that no increase shall be made in the coast defences of the territories and possessions above specified. This restriction, however, does not preclude such repair and replacement of worn-out weapons and equipment as is customary in naval and military establishments in time of peace.”
THE CASE OF THE MUTSU
Among the ships which the American Government proposed should be scrapped by Japan was the Mutsu. It was the understanding of the American Government that this ship was still incomplete at the time of the meeting of the Conference, although it was nearly completed, that is, to the extent of about 98 per cent. It was proposed to be scrapped as all other ships which were in course of construction; thus the Government of the United States included among its own ships which were to be scrapped two ships which were about 90 per cent completed.
The Japanese Delegation, however, insisted that the Mutsu had actually been finished, was commissioned and fully manned before the Conference met. Apart from this point, this latest accession to the Japanese Navy was the especial pride of the Japanese people. It was their finest war vessel and, it is understood, had been built
, in part at least, through popular subscriptions and in circumstances evoking patriotic pride in the highest degree.
It was deemed by the Japanese Delegation to be quite impossible to induce the consent of their Government to any proposal of limitation which would involve the scrapping of the Mutsu. Its retention, however, created serious difficulties because of the disproportion of advantage that would accrue to Japan through the possession of such a ship. Japan offered to scrap the Settsu, one of the older ships that was to have been retained by Japan under the American plan, and also recognized that the gain to Japan through the Mutsu should be offset by the completion on the part of the United States of two of her battleships under construction and by the construction on the part of Great Britain of two new ships.
It was accordingly agreed that the Government of the United States should finish two ships of the West Virginia class, that were under construction, and on their completion should scrap the North Dakota and the Delaware, which under the original plan were to have been retained. Great Britain, on her part, was to be permitted to build two new ships, and upon their completion was to scrap four (4) of the older ships which would otherwise have been retained. In this way the balance of the three navies was kept. Nor was there any serious change in the final agreement establishing the maximum limits of the capital ship replacement tonnage. The original American plan had called for the following:
United States, 500,000 tons,
Japan, 300,000 tons.
United States, 525,000 tons,
Thus maintaining the ratio of 5–5–3.
An important concession was made by Great Britain with respect to the two new ships which she was permitted to build. Great Britain, as stated in the American proposal, had already planned four (4) new Hoods. These ships had been designed and considerable time would have been saved in proceeding to build the two new ships according to the existing plans, but the new ships were designed greatly to exceed in tonnage any existing ship; their tonnage displacement, it is understood, was to be about 49,000 tons. Great Britain agreed not only to abandon her program for the four (4) new Hoods, but in building the two new ships that they should not exceed 35,000 tons standard displacement, respectively.
Thus, with respect to capital ships, the United States, the British Empire, and Japan were able to reach an agreement, but this was tentative and depended upon a suitable agreement being reached with France and Italy.
FRANCE AND ITALY
The scheme of reduction accepted by the United States, Great Britain, and Japan involved the scrapping of capital ships to the extent of approximately 40 per cent of the existing strength. It was realized that no such reduction could be asked of either France or Italy and that the case of their navies required special consideration.
France had seven (7) dreadnaughts with a tonnage of 164,500 tons, and three (3) predreadnaughts, making a total of about 221,000 tons. In the case of the United States, Great Britain, and Japan it was provided that their predreadnaughts should be scrapped without any provision for replacement, and there was to be, in addition, a reduction of about 40 per cent of the naval strength represented by dreadnaughts and superdreadnaughts. Reducing in the same proportion as the United States has reduced, France's tonnage of capital ships would be fixed at 102,000 tons, or, if the predreadnaughts of France were taken into the calculation on her side although omitted on the side of the United States, the total tonnage of France's capital ships being taken at 221,000 tons a reduction on the same basis would leave France with only 136,000 tons. This was deemed to be impracticable. It was thought entirely fair, however, that France, in the replacement schedule, should be allowed a maximum tonnage equivalent to the existing tonnage of her seven (7) dreadnaughts with a slight increase, that is, that the maximum limit of capital ships, for the purpose of replacement, should be fixed at 175,000 tons.
Italy sought parity with France, and this principle having been accepted in the course of the discussion, it was likewise proposed that Italy should be allowed 175,000 tons of capital ships in replacement. The present tonnage of Italy is about 182,800 tons. The proposed maximum limit of 175,000 tons was at once accepted by Italy.
France expressed the desire to be allowed 10 capital ships, which, at a tonnage of 35,000 tons each, would have given her 350,000 tons. This was deemed to be excessive as a part of a plan for the limitation of armament, and, had it been insisted upon, would probably have made impossible an agreement for an effective limitation of capital ship tonnage. But, after discussion, France consented to the maximum limit of 175,000 tons for capital ships.
In the original American proposal it was stated that the allowance of auxiliary combatant craft to each Power should be in proportion to the capital ship tonnage. The proposal for the three Powers—the United States, Great Britain, and Japan-was that the total tonnage of cruisers, flotilla leaders, and destroyers allowed each Power should be as follows:
United States, 450,000 tons.
Japan, 270,000 tons. And that the total tonnage of submarines allowed each of these Powers should be:
United States, 90,000 tons.
Japan, 54,000 tons. In the same proportion as the capital ship tonnage, this would have left for France and Italy, in the case of cruisers, iqtilla leaders and destroyers, a maximum of 150,000 tons for each of these Powers; and, in the case of submarines, a maximum of 30,000 tons each.
The American Delegation felt that the original proposal for submarines was too high, and, aided by the advice of our naval experts, proposed that the maximum limit for the United States and Great Britain in submarine tonnage should be 60,000 tons each; and that France, Japan and Italy should retain the tonnage in submarines that they now have, that is, should maintain the status quo as regards submarine tonnage. It was understood that the present submarine tonnage of France was 31,391 tons; of Japan 31,452 tons, and of Italy somewhat less, about 21,000 tons. This proposition was not accepted, being opposed both by Japan and France. Japan stated her willingness to adhere to the original proposal, which allowed her 54,000 tons in submarines.
In accepting the allowance for capital ships, France had made a distinct reservation. It was said that it would be impossible for the French Government to accept reductions for light cruisers, torpedo boats and submarines corresponding to those which were accepted for capital ships. Accordingly, France maintained that her necessities required that she should be allowed 330,000 tons for cruisers, etc., and 90,000 tons for submarines.
M. Sarraut thus stated the position of the French Government:
“After examining, on the other hand, the composition of the forces needed by France in auxiliary craft and submarines, which are specially intended
for the protection of her territory and its communications, the Cabinet and the Supreme Council of National Defense, have reached the conclusion that it is impossible to accept a limitation below that of 330,000 tons for auxiliary craft and 90,000 tons for submarines, without imperiling the vital interests of the country and of its colonies and the safety of their naval life.
"The French delegation has been instructed to consent to no concession on the above figures.
"To sum up, France accepts, as regards capital ships, the sacrifice which she must face in order to meet the views of the Conference and which represents an important reduction of her normal sea power. She limits the program of the future establishment of her fleet to 330,000 tons for auxiliary craft and to 90,000 tons for submarines."
In view of the insistence on the part of the French Delegation that they could not abate their requirements as to auxiliary craft and submarines, the British Delegation stated that they were unable to consent to a limitation of auxiliary craft adapted to meet submarines.
For this reason it was found to be impossible to carry out the American plan so far as limitation of auxiliary craft and submarines was concerned.
THE NAVAL TREATY The agreement finally reached was set forth in the Naval Treaty, signed on February 6, 1922.
With respect to capital ships, while there are certain changes in detail, the integrity of the plan proposed on behalf of the American Government has been maintained, and the spirit in which that proposal was made, and in which it was received, dominated the entire negotiations and brought them to a successful conclusion.
The Treaty is in three chapters:
(1) A chapter containing the general principles or provisions relating to the limitation of naval armament.
(2) A chapter containing rules for the execution of the agreement. (3) A chapter containing certain miscellaneous provisions.
Without following the order of this arrangement, the substance of the Treaty may be thus stated:
The first subject with which the Treaty deals is that of the limitations as to capital ships, which are defined as follows:
“A capital ship, in the case of ships hereafter built, is defined as a vessel of war, not an aircraft carrier, whose displacement exceeds 10,000 tons (10,160 metric tons) standard displacement, or which carries a gun with a caliber exceeding 8 inches (203 millimeters).” (Chapter II, Part 4.)
The Treaty specifies the capital ships which each of the five Powers may retain. Thus, the United States of America is to retain 18 capital ships, with a tonnage of 500,650 tons; the British Empire 22 capital ships, with a tonnage of 580,450 tons; France 10 ships, of 221,170 tons; Italy 10 ships, of 182,800 tons; Japan 10 ships, of 301,320 tons. (Chapter II, Part 1.)