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The Anglo-American Naval Conversations on the Far East of January 1938

Author(s): Lawrence Pratt


Source: International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), Vol. 47, No. 4
(Oct., 1971), pp. 745-763
Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Royal Institute of International Affairs
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2625681 .
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THE ANGLO-AMERICAN NAVAL
CONVERSATIONS ON THE FAR EAST
OF JANUARY 1938

L
Lawrence Pratt

ATE in 1945,withthewarsinEuropeandthePacificsafelyover,
the UnitedStatesCongressbegan an investigation into the Pearl
Harbourdisasterof December 1941. In the courseof subsequent
hearings1 AdmiralRoyal E. Ingersoll,USN, revealedthatin his former
capacityas Chiefof thePlans Division of the Navy Departmenthe had
travelledto London in late December 1937 for secretexploratorytalks
on the Far East with the BritishAdmiralty.His instructions, he said,
had come directlyfromPresidentFranklinRoosevelt and were, first,
to discuss what America and Britaincould do if theybecame involved
in a war against Japan, and, second, to take up the question of the
London Treaty of 1936. Ingersolldeprecatedthe significanceof his
mission: the agreed Record of Conversationshad been supersededby
the stafftalksof 1940-41,and, beyondan exchangeof codes, littlewas
achieved. The Britishhad had to be 'a littlebit careful' because of
theirproblemsin Europe and consequentlyhad been unable to 'state
definitelywhat forcestheycould allocate to the Pacific'. No commit-
mentshad been enteredinto and the bulk of the information exchanged
was about communication, liaison and so on.
All of this was offeredratherin the spiritof an academic aside to
the main business of the hearings,the Pearl Harbour inquisition.
Perhapsbecause theyacceptedIngersoll'sopinionthatthe conversations
had not shaped later decisions,the investigatingsenatorsand congress-
men made no attemptto probe into his missionor the circumstances
which had given rise to it. This was understandable,but for those
whoseinterestlies in thedeeperoriginsof the Second WorldWar it was
also regrettable.For the Ingersollmissionwas not only a key episode
in the unexploredbackgroundto the unofficial Anglo-Americanalliance
of 1940-41,but it is also of centralimportanceto any studyof western
reactionsto the Far Eastern crisisof 1937-41. The talks were neither
as technicalnor 'low-level' an Ingersoll implied; on the contrary,
theyexploredthe foundationsof the two powers' navel strategies,and
I Testimony of February 12, 1946, before Joint Committee of Congress on the
Investigationof the Pearl Harbour Attack, 79th Congress, 1st session in Pearl
HarbourAttack,(Washington.1946),pp. 4273-4277.
745
746 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

theyare of special interestforthe lighttheythrowon certainaspects of


FranklinRoosevelt'sstrategicalthinking, particularlyhis plans fora dis-
tant ' quarantine' of Japan. Until recently,however,littleinformation
about thesubstanceof theseearlyAnglo-American staffcontactshas been
available to historians.What followsis an attemptpartiallyto rectify
this: the agreed Record of Conversationsis appended, and I have
introducedthisdocumentby reconstructing the diplomaticand strategic
backgroundagainst which the talks between(then) Captain Ingersoll
and the Britishnaval staffwereheld.2
It can be said thatthe summerof 1937 was, in manyways,a turning
point for pre-war British diplomacy. The outbreak of the 'China
incident' and the subsequentcrisis in the Far East coincided with a
series of dangerous incidents in the western Mediterranean; and
menacingthoughthesewereto Britishimperialinterests, theywereover-
shadowedby theCabinet'sincreasingconcernover Germanrearmament.
The lack of progressin Anglo-Germanrelationsand the failure of
projected conversationswith Mussolini lent a new urgencyto the
warningsof London's militaryplanners: Britainwas a full two years
fromits rearmamenttargetdate and facingconcurrentthreatsat both
ends of the Empire and across its shortestline of communications.
It was no accident that this new phase in the country'sglobal pre-
dicamentwas to be followedin the comingmonthsby freshconciliatory
approachesto Germanyand Italy; approaches,it may be added, which
had the supportof the whole Cabinet and its diplomaticand military
advisers.
The absenceof settlement in Europe or theMediterranean diminished
Britain'soptionsin the Far East and added weightto the Government's
effortsto re-establisha good workingrelationshipwith the United
States and to induce that nation to take a more active role in world
politics. By the autumnof 1937, Anglo-Americandiscussionsbegan to
focus on the southwarddrive of the Japanese army in China, on the
bombardmentof Shanghai and the InternationalSettlement,and on
possible action fordefendingwesterninterestsin China fromJapanese
encroachments.The BritishForeignSecretary, AnthonyEden, impressed
by the immediate(and temporary)resultsof a rare display of Anglo-
French unityat the Nyon Conferenceon piracyin the Mediterranean
in September,hoped that as a next step America and Britain might
presenta joint show of strength in the Far East. Whethereconomicor
naval power should be the instrument was undecided,but the objective
would be to bringJapanto a settlement.

2 All unpublishedreferences,
unless otherwisenoted,fromthe Cabinet,Foreign Office,
and Admiraltyarchivesin the Public Record Office,London. The papers of Lord
Chatfieldare cited with the kind permissionof the present Lord Chatfieldand
ProfessorA. Temple Patterson.
ANGLO-AMERICANNAVAL CONVERSATIONS ON THE FAR EAST 747

While the question of a possible naval demonstrationwas under


reviewby theAdmiralty, Eden continuedto discussschemesof economic
pressurewithAmericandiplomats. These were littlemore than general
exchanges,however,and they elicited faint encouragementfrom the
AmericanSecretaryof State,CordellHull, and his not overlyanglophile
Department.The effects of a recentheritageof neglectand frictionand
an atmosphereof mutual warinesswere compoundedby the absence
of thoroughly dependablechannelsof communication, and the autumn
saw some classic instancesof good intentionsmis-represented on either
side. The bitterexperienceof Abyssinia,and technicalstudies of the
Japaneseeconomyhad led the Britishto concludethatsanctionswould
be useless unless backed by overwhelming forceand activelysupported
by America; and all the signals indicatedthat Roosevelt was unlikely
to assume such a commitment.His famous 'quarantine' speech of
October 5, far fromprovokinga warm Britishresponse,alarmed the
Cabinet. The Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, thought the
President'had ratherembarrassedthe situation' and was worriedby
the possibilitythathe mighttake action withoutfirsthavingagreed to
meet,withBritain,all theconsequencesof Japaneseretaliation.3In such
circumstances it was hardlysurprising
thattheChamberlainGovernment
had come, by November,to place few hopes in an Atlanticsolutionto
any part of its immediateforeignpredicament. Even Eden went to
the Nine Power Conferenceon the Far East in Brusselsin a decidedly
pessimisticframe of mind; and, as expected,that conferencewas a
failure,especially for those advocatingAnglo-Americanco-operation.
A more strikingcontrastto Nyon could hardlybe imagined.4
And yet,despitethe apparentfutilityof his past efforts,Eden told
his Cabinetcolleagueson November24 thatthe rate at whichBritain's
positionin China was collapsingunder Japan's encroachmentsmight
make strongaction necessary: he was thinkingof invitingthe United
States to join Britainin sendingnaval reinforcements to the Far East.
Chamberlain,whilenot objectingto such an approach,doubtedwhether
it would be successful,and he was sure thatJapan could not be coerced
withoutAmericansupport.5Indeed, that was the harsh truth,for the
global outlook was so uncertain in late 1937 and British naval

3 Cab. Conclusions,October 6, 1937. Cab. 23/89. Lord Chatfield,Chief of the Naval


Staff,was even more ungenerous.He wroteto the Commanderof the Home Fleet,
' I am concernedabout the Far Eastern situationand wherewe may findourselves
dragged by the sentimentalists.I am afraid that Roosevelt's speech will do us
more harm than good. It encourages the anti-Japaneseenthusiasts-and yet you
may be quite sure that if it ever comes to any trouble in the Far East the
Americanswill stand aside '. Chatfieldto Admi.Sir R. Backhouse,October 8, 1937.
ChatfieldPapers.
4 Lord Avon, The Eden Memoirs: Facing the Dictators (London: Cassell. 1962),
pp. 531-541.
-5 Cab. Conclusions,November24, 1937. Cab. 23/90.
748 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

strength so inadequateto meet concurrent threatsthatBritainwas


becomingincreasingly dependent uponAmericandecisionsin the Far
East. Underthe rearmament programme the ageingBattleFleet was
undergoing extensive modernisationand thenavalstaff had at theirdis-
posalin thesemonths a maximum oftwelveoftheirfifteen capitalships.
Thiswas notdue to improvebefore1939,indeed1938wouldbe worse
than 1937; Britainwas entering its periodof danger,the inevitable
by-product of an attempt to makeitsFleetbattleworthy. Oppressedby
naval tensionin theMediterranean as well as offthecoastof China,
theAdmiralty was understandably anxiousaboutits abilityto defend
scatteredinterestsin twohemispheres witha Fleetbasedon whatwas
forall practical a
purposes one-power standard.
The prospectof havingto reinforce the Far East particularly
worriedthe Admiralty, and not simplybecauseJapanwas, of three
potentialenemies, theonlyformidable navalthreat.Although in these
weekstherewas politicalpressureto have two or threebattleships
dispatched to Singapore, the Admiralty had decidedagainstany such
policy.Sucha smallforcewouldnotdeter,and mighteventemptthe
JapaneseNavy;and therewere,moreover, strong strategic
objectionsto
anygeneraldivision oftheMainFleet.The Admiralty's policywouldbe
to senda Fleetlargeenoughto engagetheentireJapaneseFleetunder
normalconditions.ShouldBritainact withoutAmericannaval co-
operation,theFleetmustbe composedofat leastninecapitalshipsand
a strongaccompanying force.And evenat thissize sucha Fleetwould
not enjoydecisivesuperiority over the JapaneseFleet (nine capital
ships)andcouldonlyacton thedefensive oncein theFar East,standing
on Singapore-stilluncompleted-and deterringany advanceagainst
Hong Kong or any othervitalBritishinterests.Lord Chatfield, the
Chiefof the Naval Staffand FirstSea Lord,who sharedthe Prime
Minister'ssuspicionsof Americanpolicy,did not thinkthe arrivalof
the BritishFleetalone wouldbringJapanto terms,and thequestion
arose as to whether the Government could afford the absenceof the
bulkof theRoyalNavyfromwatersnearerhome,possiblyformany
months.Two or threecapitalshipscouldbe leftwiththeHome Fleet,
butcould Britainriska 'stab in theback' in theMediterranean, for
thatsea mustbe completely denudedof Englishwarships.At bestit
mustdependon theFrenchNavyto deterItalyfromoperations against
Egypt,but any threatto its Mediterranean communications whilethe
Fleet was in the Far East wouldbe a gravecomplication. Chatfield
knewthatMussoliniwas carefully watching Britain'sreactionsto the
Japanesedrivein China.6
r Chatfieldto Sir Maurice Hankey, December 7, 1937.
Cab.21/579; Adm. Sir D.
Pound to Chatfield,December22, 1937. ChatfieldPapers.
ANGLO-AMERICANNAVAL CONVERSATIONS ON THE FAR EAST 749

Considerationssuch as these ruled out a unilateralBritishinter-


vention. But the Admiraltyagreed that Americanco-operationcould
radicallyalter the situation. Britainmust still send the largerpart of
its Fleet,but it was feltthatthesynchronised arrivalof the two Fleets in
the Far East should have an overwhelming effectand bringJapan to a
speedysettlement.The Anglo-Americanforceswould not simplystand
on the defensive,actingas a deterrent, but could undertakeoffensive
operations, bring economic pressureto bear and, Chatfieldthought,
shouldbe able to compeltheJapanese' to do as we wishedin Shanghai'.
Britain'spracticalchoices were eitherto choose this road and tryto
draw the United States into co-operation,or simplyto endure,and
retardwherepossible, Japanese intrusions.Eden preferredto exhaust
the possibilitiesof the formerbeforeresortingto the latter,and, with
the unenthusiastic consentof the Cabinet and Admiralty,on November
27 he wiredSir Ronald Lindsay,theBritishAmbassadorin Washington,
to ask the AmericanGovernmentwhetherit agreed that the time had
come to take steps to bolsterwesternrepresentations to Tokyo. Such
stepswould have to demonstratethatin the last resortthe two govern-
mentswould supporttheserepresentations 'by an overwhelming display
of naval force'. Lindsay was to offerstafftalks as the necessary
complementto the main proposal."
* * *.

Consideringthe ratherfragilestate of Anglo-Americanrelationsat


the time,this was a heavy-handedand insensitiveapproach. Lindsay
was given no supplementary informationabout the proposed size of
Britain'snaval contributionand he was consequentlyunable to give
any to suspicious State Departmentofficials.Sumner Welles, Hull's
assistant,pointedout to Lindsay on the 27th that the BritishGovern-
menthad recentlymade it knownthatit was in no positionto release
any large portionof the Fleet fromEuropean waters. Since Lindsay
was at a loss foran explanationof his Government'sabout-face,Welles
remarkedthatit seemedthatthe UnitedStatesalone was to providethe
' overwhelming display of naval force'. On November29, Hull told
Lindsay that he felt Britainwas acting hastilyand the followingday
the Americans turned down the whole proposal. However, the
possibilityof futurestafftalks was not ruled out in the event of a
change in the Far Eastern situation." Even at that the Britishhad
probablydone more harm than good to theirimage in Washington;
small wonder that some American diplomats saw in Eden's policies
a sinisterdesign to drag American power into a general defence of
Britishimperialinterests.
7 Eden to Lindsay, tel. No. 561, November 27, 1937. F10024/9/10.(F.O.371/20959).
8 Foreign Relations of the United States, 1937, III. 724-725; Lindsay to Eden, tel.
No. 438, November30, 1937. F10285/9/10.(F.O.371/20960).
750 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

In any event, the question was reopened within days, for on


December 12 the USS Panay, a rivergunboat,was sunk by Japanese
aircraftnear Nanking; at the same time Britishships were involvedin
similarincidents.It was indicativeof the state of American-Japanese
relations at the time that the United States Ambassador to Japan
expectedhis Governmentto react to the attack with a declarationof
war. Throughoutthe autumn of 1937 the Administration had taken
an increasinglyserious view of the situationin China where America
had heavy investments and tradinginterests,and althoughBritishcalls
for'joint action' mightbe resisted,thisdid not mean thesewere being
abandoned. The President'snaval and diplomaticadvisers,however,
appear to have been in some conflictabout how best to react. Admiral
W. D. Leahy, Chiefof U.S. Naval Operations,had favouredjoint action
with Britain as early as September,and the Commander-in-Chief of
the Asiatic Fleet,AdmiralHarryE. Yarnell,had been implementing as
forwarda policyin China as his superiorswould permit.Yarnell's ideas
on naval and economic warfarein the Pacific are known to have
influencedthe President. On the other hand, Cordell Hull, who had
effectivecontrol of diplomacy,opposed naval retaliationand overt
collaborationwiththe Britishon the groundsthatthiscarriedunaccept-
ably high political risks and mightonly strengthen the hand of the
extremeArmyfactionof the dividedJapanese.9
The same policy divisionsemergedafterthe Panay sinking,easily
the most seriousincidentinvolvingAmericanintereststhus far. Leahy
apparentlyfavouredan immediateblockade of Japan and thoughtthe
Fleet must be preparedfor sea and an agreementmade with Britain
for joint action. He urgedRoosevelt to orderthe Fleet to be readied,
but the President,who had already made a personal protestto the
Japanese Emperorand demanded full compensation,refused. Instead
he asked Leahy forhis recommendations foran expansionof the 1938
programmeof naval construction beyondtreatylimits;he also ordered
the Secretaryof the Treasury,HenryMorgenthau,to studythe problem
of seizing Japanese assets in the United States. At a meeting of
presidentialadvisers on December 16, Norman Davis, Roosevelt's
special ambassador-at-large, pressed for a naval demonstrationat the
side of Britain,but the consensusof opinionwas againstthis. Hull was
anxious about American naval capabilities and his suspicions of
London's policycontinuedto shape his advice.10

9 T. V. TulIeja,Statesmenand Admirals(New York: Norton & Co. 1963); C.


Hull,
The Memoirs of Cordell Hull (London: Hodder & Stoughton. 1948), Vol. I,
p. 538; Roosevelt to Leahy, November 10, 1937, coveringYarnell memorandum
of October 15, 1937. I am indebtedto Mr. M. Glassman for this referencefrom
the F. D. Roosevelt Library,Hyde Park, N.Y. (P.S. File, Navy Dept. 33-37).
10 Tuleja, op. cit., citingLeahy's diary; also Leahy's, I
Was There (London: Gollancz.
1950), pp. 83 and 156; Manny T. Koginos, The Panay Incident: Prelude to War
ANGLO-AMERICANNAVAL CONVERSATIONS ON THE FAR EAST 751

A delicateproblemof diplomacynow emergedfor Roosevelt. The


Britishhad seized on the Panay attack in order to returnto the call
forjoint action; if he yieldedto thispressureduringa crisis,would he
be able to regain his freedomof action, or would he find himself
unwittingly entangledin some generalcommitmentto Britainfor the
future? Rooseveltchose to make his firstacts of protestunilateral,but
this did not discouragethe ForeignOffice.On December 15, afteran
agonising Cabinet discussion,Eden cabled Lindsay to say that the
Governmentstillwishedto give weightto its representations to Tokyo.
This would involve a demonstrationof naval force, but all would
dependupon Americanco-operation.Britaincontemplatedthe despatch
of 'eight or nine' capital ships with accompanyingvessels 'if the
United States would make at least an equivalenteffort'. Such a force
mightbe ready to sail in threeor fourweeks. Otherless drasticforms
of collaborationmightbe stafftalks or partial mobilisation.Lindsay,
who had been given advance notice of an importantinterviewwith
Roosevelt,was told to make the best possible use of thisinformation.1'
Lindsay'ssecretconversationwithRoosevelttook place on the night
of December 16 aftera White House diplomaticreception. Hull was
presentbut did not enterthe discussion: the Presidentwas obviously
in active control. Roosevelt opened by proposing naval staffcon-
versations.He wanteda directarrangement betweenthe two navies,by-
passingthe State Departmentand ForeignOffice,as had prevailedfrom
1915 to 1917 when he was an Under-Secretary of the Navy. This had
led to a systematic
exchangeof secretinformation
and had beenmost
fruitful.The officers
mustbe familiarwiththe plans of theirrespective
departments, and Rooseveltthoughtsecrecycould best be ensured
in London.
As Lindsay put it, Roosevelt then plungedinto 'his worst
" mood'. The objectof stafftalkswouldbe to arrange
"inspirational
fora blockadeor 'quarantine'of Japan,theoccasionforwhichmust
be the'next graveoutrage'by theJapanese(theymightattackHong
Kong or Indo-China,for example). A line would be drawnfrom
theAleutianIslands,through Hawaii,midway between
theislandsto the
northof the Philippinesand thenceto Hong Kong. Americashould
look aftereverythingup to thePhilippines
and Britaincouldtakethe
westernsection. It would be a cruiserblockade,said Roosevelt;
battleshipscould be kept in the rear. He definitely
did not want
Americanshipsbased at Singapore. The purposeof the blockade would
be to cut offmainlandJapan fromraw materials(othermeasurescould

(Lafayette: Purdue University.1967). This latter work is unhappily unreliable,


especiallyon the Anglo-Americanexchangesarising out of the Panay attack.
11 Cab. Conclusions. December 15, 1937. Cab.23/90. Eden to Lindsay, tel. No. 607,
December 15, 1937. F10976/10816f/10.
(F.O.371/21021).
752 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

be taken against her mandated islands), and it might take eighteen


monthsto produceresults. The Frenchand Dutch mustbe broughtin
and it would probablybe necessaryto help thelatterby buyingup their
oil. There must also be a generalembargoon selling to and buying
fromJapan,a proposal whichwould requirelegislationby many states.
Lindsaywenton:
He (Roosevelt)deniedthatblockadelike thismeantwar, as I said
it did. In thecases of Abyssinia,Spain and Chinahe had been able to
have it as he likedwhether whathappenedwas war or not.Therewas
a new doctrineand techniqueas regardswhat constituted war. What
he was suggesting was withinthe rightsof the Executiveunderthe
Constitution and it had happenedbeforein Americanhistorythat
UnitedStateshad beenengagedin hostilities withoutbeingat war....
Lindsay's 'horrified criticisms ' had made little impression on
Roosevelt. The Presidentdismissed the English proposals for either
mobilisationor a demonstration:the formercounted for littlein the
American naval system,the latter would not influencethe Japanese
military.However,he was consideringadvancingthe date of the 1938
Pacific manoeuvresand he offeredto send a squadron of cruisersto
visit Singapore. Lindsay had to volunteerthe 'eight or nine capital
ships' information,but Roosevelt thoughtthese should be left in
Europe; a reinforcement of cruisers,destroyersand submarineswould
suffice,perhaps with one or two battleships.Afterthe Presidenthad
indicatedhis satisfactionwith Americanopinion and admonishedthe
Britishagainst any talk of 'joint action', Lindsay concluded with a
personal impression:
From theforegoing you maythinkthattheseare the utterances of
a hair-brained statesmanor of an amateurstrategist, but I assureyou
thatthe chiefimpression lefton my own mindwas thatI had been
talkingto a man who had done his best in the Great War to bring
Americain speedilyon thesideof theAlliesand who now was equally
anxiousto bringAmericain on the same side beforeit mightbe too
late. . . 12
It must be stressedhere that Roosevelt had not invitedBritainto
join in a naval blockade of Japan; the importantqualifierwas 'the
nextgraveoutrage'. This crucialpointwas clearlyreportedby Lindsay,
so there is no justificationfor blaming the Presidentor ambassador
formisrepresenting Americanintentions.Rooseveltdid not tell Lindsay
of his plans for naval expansion, but this was probably his most
significantreaction to the Panay incident. This policy had the full
backing of all his advisers,includingCordell Hull, and it involvedin
the firstplace an examinationof the tonnagelimitationclauses of the
London Treaty of 1936. At the same time Ingersoll'sPlans Division
12 Lindsay to Eden, tels. No. 481, 482, 483, December 1937. F11201/9/10. (F.O.
371/20961).
ANGLO-AMERICANNAVAL CONVERSATIONS ON THE FAR EAST 753

had been told to revise the JointArmy and Navy Basic War Plan
'Orange': the originalplan envisaged a war in the Pacific between
Americanand Japanesenaval forces.Partlybecause of thechangedinter-
nationalcontextand partlybecause of theArmy-Navydisagreement, this
was rescindedin November 1937. Its successorwas to revise United
StatesFleet requirementsand to be based on the possible contingencies
of a two-oceanwar and the co-operationof the BritishNavy. Neither
rearmamentnor planningcould safelyproceed withoutmore intimate
knowledgeof England's naval situation. It was this need, ratherthan
any desire for immediateaction against Japan, which seems to have
been behindRoosevelt'sagreementto staffconversations.For Washing-
ton the talks were to be an informaland non-bindingexchange of
informationand plans, and not-as Eden hoped-the prelude to an
earlydisplayof force.'3
* **

Roosevelt's unwillingness to allow the Panay incidentto become a


casus belli by itselfstood in sharpcontrastto some xenophobicadvice
he had been receiving from c-ertainAdministrationvoices. The
Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, thought it 'un-
American' to do nothingabout the attack and favoured economic
retaliation. It would be possible, using existinglegislation,to seize
Japanese assets in America, and, with the President'sapproval, he
approachedthe BritishTreasuryto suggestthatit should studysimilar
action. At a Cabinetmeetingon December18, Rooseveltresistedradical
advice from several Ministerswho demanded war or, at least, the
despatchof the Fleet to Hawaii. These mnen were agreed thatAmerica
and Japan must sooner or later come into violent collision in the
WesternPacificand theyfeltthatthemostadvantageousmomentforthe
UnitedStateswas at hand. Not all of Mahan's disciples,it would seem,
were to be foundinside the Navy. For his part,Roosevelt agreed that
the Panay attack was part of Japan's wider strategyto drive western
influencefromChina; America's'open door' policywas now threatened
as gravelyas it had been in Manchuriain 1931-32. But he would not
declare war and dweltinsteadon his plans fornaval expansionand on
his own range of economicweaponry. Again he sketchedthe oceanic
blockade (this time he claimed it would bring Japan to its knees
withina year)and he mentionedtradeembargoesas well.'4 A fullpolicy
of sanctions,he stressed,would need the supportof otherdemocratic
nations,but the Cabinet were not told of the impendingstafftalks.
1.3 M. S. Watson, United States Armny in World War II: Chief of StaffPre-warPlans
and Preparations(Washington.1950), pp. 92-93; L. Morton, 'War Plan Orange,
Evolutionof a Strategy',World Politics.XI, 2, 1959.
14 J. M. Blum, From the MorgenthauDiaries: Years of Crisis 1928-1938 (Boston:
Houghton Mifflin.1959), pp. 486-487; H. L. Ickes, The Secr-etDiary of Harold L.
Ickes (London: Weidenfeld& Nicolson. 1959),Vol. II, pp. 274-275.
754 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Chamberlainand his Cabinet reacted to Roosevelt's moves with


confusionand scepticism;Eden's was the sole voice of unqualified
optimism.The stafftalkswerewelcomedbut theirpurposewas unclear.
It was suggestedthatthe Presidenthad 'rather naive' ideas about the
chances of imposinga blockade withoutendingup in a war: Japan
was far too dependentupon westernmarketforraw materials. To the
wary British,withtheirburdensin Europe, it all sounded suspiciously
like anothersanctionsproject.Roosevelt'sremarks,like his ' quarantine'
speech,had alertedthe British,and Neville Chamberlainclearlymeant
to use the stafftalksto constrainand educatehim. The PrimeMinister
told the Cabinet on December 22 that the conversationswould serve
to demonstrateto the Americans that one could not contemplatea
blockade withoutbeing ready to back it with force. (Whethereven
Lindsay's confused account of Roosevelt's ideas merited this con-
descension is a fair question. The Presidentappears to have been
sketchingsome future'undeclaredwar' in the Pacific,but Chamberlain
and Lindsay seem to have missed the point. No criticismof the
feasibilityof an ocean-wideblockade was offered, althoughthis seems,
withhindsight, the most fallibleaspect of the scheme.) A discouraging
reply had been sent to Morgenthaupointingout that Britain lacked
the necessarylegislationto confiscateJapanese assets and that the
measurewas in anycase a long-term proposition.Co-ordinating methods
was certainlyprovingto be more difficultthan simplyagreeingthat
westerninterestsin the Far East needed to be defended. But the
Cabinet neverthelessconcluded that a joint demonstration of forceby
Britainand the UnitedStatesmightwell boost Englishprestigeall over
the globe and theyleft it to Eden to discoverRoosevelt's intentions.
The ForeignSecretary'shopes werehigh: 'co-operationwiththeUnited
States', he told Chamberlain,'though difficult to foster,is now, I hope,
makingreal progress. I shall know more about this afterI have seen
Ingersolltomorrow,but I am sure thatour role in thisrespectmust be
to do everything we can privatelyto encouragethe Americans'.'5
Ingersollarrivedin London on December 31st and saw Eden on
New Year's Day 1938. He told Eden thatAmericanplans were based
on certainassumptionsabout Britishpolicy; the Presidentand Admiral
Leahy thoughtthe time had come to exchange informationand co-
ordinateplans more closely. He would give the AdmiraltyAmerican
dispositions for certain contingenciesin return for corresponding
British information,and some technical arrangements,such as an
exchange of codes, could also be worked out. Eden asked Ingersoll
whetherhis superiorssoughtjoint action now, or were the talks to

Cab. Conclusions,December 22, 1937. Cab.23190. Eden to Chlamberlain,


December
31, 1937. Premier1/314.
ANGLO-AMERICANNAVAL CONVERSATIONS ON THE FAR EAST 755

provide for the uncertainfuture? The American officerwould only


reply that his Departmentfelt that no movementsshould be ordered
until full preparationhad been made for everyeventuality,including
war. For instance,the Navy did not wish to concentratethe Pacific
Fleet at Hawaii or furtherwestbeforecrewswereraised to fullstrength.
So he could not say whetheraction should be taken,but at least the
technical discussions should precede political decisions. Eden was
perhaps too eager, for he gave Ingersollthe impressionthat he 'was
moreinterested rightnow in immediategesturesto impressthe Japanese
than he was in long-rangefutureplanning'."l Concludingfor his part
that the American had not been given authorityto discuss joint
action in the near future,Eden went offto holiday in France and in
so doing removedhimselffromcontrolover decisions. But he con-
tinuedhis advocacyof Anglo-Americanco-operationin correspondence
with Chamberlainand the Foreign Office. Only througha joint sihow
of force in the Far East could Britain retain its great-powerstatus
and maintain 'white race authority' in that part of the world.7
Eden believed, like so many pro-AmericanBritish,in an Anglo-
Americanhegemony,based on a monopolyof sea-power,raw materials
and commerce,and thoughtthat, afte:rEngland had composed its
differences with Hitler,peace based on the imperialstatus quo could
be imposed in the Far East and Mediterranean,if necessaryby force.
Ingersollproceeded to the Admiraltyfor his firstdiscussionwith
Chatfieldand his staffon January3rd. It was a wide-rangingand
'exceedinglyfriendly'exchangefromwhich Chatfieldlearnedthat the
United States Fleet was not ready for action. Crews were kept at
about 85 per cent. of theirfull war complement,and beforereserves
could be called up the Presidentmustdeclare a ' stateof emergency
a step describedby Chatfieldas 'a verysimilarmeasure to our own
mobilisation'. The Fleet could proceed to Honolulu before the dec-
laration,said Ingersoll,but the Navy Departmentwould oppose this.
'A good deal would therefore depend on the state of the public mind
in the United States as to whetherthe Presidentwould feel justified
in declaring a " state of emergency ".' Chatfieldgathered that the
American Fleet would be ready to sail several weeks afterthis step
had been taken. Ingersoll later indicated that an advance force of
cruisers,destroyersand submarinescould proceed at once to the west
Pacific and he added that,if it was decided to act, the entireUnited
StatesFleet would be transferred to the Pacific.

16 Ingersoll Memorandum for Leahy on London discussions. n.d. Office of Naval


History. WashingtonD.C. Copy in Adm.1/9822; Eden's account in F95,/841.0.
(F.O.371122106).
5 Eden to Chamberlain.January9, 1938. Premier1/276; Eden to Sir A. Cadogan.
January9. 1938. F407/84/10.(F.0.371/122106).
756 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Chatfieldrepliedthathis Fleet was by contrastin a 'far greater


stateof preparedness', thatby mid-January it wouldbe ready,and
thatthemoment at whichitcouldarriveat Singapore couldbe envisaged.
If thetwo Governments agreedto a demonstration, the Fleetsshould
move to theirdestinations simultaneously, but if a further crisis
developed-ifJapanmenacedHongKong,forexample-Britain might
have to send its Fleet withoutwaitingforparallelAmericanaction.
Ingersollthought a similarsituation wouldemergeif Japanthreatened
the Philippines,
an act Americanplannershad previously anticipated
but now regardedas less likelyin view of its heavyinvolvement in
China. Chatfield stressedthathe had ' a veryimportant backdoorto
guard' whichcould limitBritain'seffort in the Far East. It was
agreed that the two Fleets shouldnot be tacticallycombinedbut
would go in supportof each other. As regardsstrategy, the most
the UnitedStatesNaval Board contemplated, said Ingersoll,was a
distantblockadeor ' quarantine ' of Japan. Theywouldsupportthe
blockadeon the Pacificside withtheirFleet based on Honoluluand
theirshipsin a distantcirclefromthe AleutianIslandsthrough the
SandwichIslandsand Johnston Islandsouth-westwards. Chatfieldsaid
theBritishwouldtryto holdsucha blockadeon thesouth-west side.18
Whilethestaff talkswentaheadin London,Anglo-American policy-
makerscontinuedto explorethe opportunities for joint or parallel
actionagainstTokyo. By earlyJanuaryit was plain thatthe inter-
ventionistimpulsewas fading.The spasmof Americanoutragewhich
greetedthe Panay attackhad dissipated, a factdue in largepartto
Japan'sshrewdhandlingof the crisis: the westernnotesof protest
had beenacceptedand apologiesmadeby Christmas Day. Therewas
probablylittlecynicism in this,fortheJapanesecertainly did notwant
to provokea generalwar in 1938 and theyknewthata conciliatory
diplomacy wasalmosta guarantee againstan overwhelming combination.
Lindsayalso understood this,and,whenqueriedby theForeignOffice,
he was reluctantto pressagainfora naval demonstration. Roosevelt
had to educatehispublic,andhisAdministration was a 'horsethatwill
run best when the spur is not used'. The Americans, he added,
'greatlypreferto act independently of us and to avoidanyappearance
of collusionor of jointaction'.", But London determinedto resolvethe
issueandLindsaywasinformed on January7 thatBritish
navalprepara-
tionswerein theirmostadvancedstateshortof actualmobilisation:
was the Presidentlikelyto declarea stateof emergency in present
circumstances?News of further incidentsin Shanghaibroughtthe
ForeignOfficeto add that Britainmighthave to make a public
Is Chatfield,'Memorandum of Meeting with Captain Ingersoll',
January 3, 1938.
Adm. 116/3922.
19 Lindsay to F.O., tel. No. 5, January3, 1938. F98/84/10. (F.O.371/22106).
ANGLO-AMFRICANNAVAL CONVERSATIONS ON THE FAR EAST 757

announcement about its preparations.Would Roosevelt agree to


parallelsteps,suchas thedespatchof an advanceforceto Hawaii?
Roosevelt'sdecisionsweretakenon January10 and Lindsaywas
toldthat: (a) itwouldbe announced thatthreeAmerican cruiserswould
visitSingapore;(b) if-but onlyif-Britainannounceditspreparations,
withina fewdays it wouldbe announcedthatvesselsof the United
StatesPacificFleetwereto have theirhullsscraped,i.e., preparedfor
sea; (c) afterthat,an announcement wouldbe madethattheAmerican
Pacific manoeuvreswere being advanced to February. This was
certainly not a non possumus,and foronce the Britishhad to assess
theirown, ratherthan American,willingness to act. The Foreign
Office, Chatfieldand Chamberlain agreedthatonce an announcement
was madetheonlyfurther stepswhichcouldbe takenwouldbe actual
mobilisation followedby the despatchof the Fleet. Such burningof
one'sownbridges mightsetin motionan automatic sequenceof actions
and reactions, and heretheinternational situationin Europeintruded
intotheircalculations.Chatfield was disturbedaboutpossiblerepercus-
sionsin theMediterranean. ConversationswithItalywereplannedand
theabsenceoftheMediterranean Fleetwouldmeantheloss of Britain's
strongest bargainingcard(Chatfield,withtheotherChiefsof Staff, had
beenpressing formonths fora settlementwithMussolini).Chamberlain
agreedit wouldbe 'a mostunfortunate moment to sendthefleetaway
and I wouldtherefore takeno immediate actionwhichwouldinvolve
againin Tokyo
us in havingto do so'. It was decidedinsteadto protest
and to playfortime.20
* * *

These werethe last important exchangesarisingfromthe Panay


episode.The absenceof further seriousincidentsin theFar East and
theappearanceof a newinitiative realmof
by Rooseveltin theloftier
law-his so-called'peace plan' 21-defusedtheemergency
international
and deflectedAnglo-American relationsontoa newplane. But in view
of the usual historicalassumptionthatit was Americawho finally
retreatedfromco-operationduringthese weeks, the exchangesof
January 10-11areof someinterest. it had beenBritainwhich
In truth,
had been unableto acceptRoosevelt'stimetableof escalatorysteps.
Its positionin Europeand the Mediterranean was so dangerousthat
it was incapable of a seriousinterventionelsewhere. 'Imperiallywe
20 F.O. to Lindsay, tel. No. 19, January 7, 1938. F96/84/10. (F.O.371/22106);
Lindsay to F.O., tel. No. 29, January 10, 1938. F407/84/10. (F.O.371/22106);
minutesby F.O., Chatfieldand Chamberlain,January11, 1938. Ibid.
21 F. L. Lowenheim,'An Illusion that Shaped History: New Light on the History
and Historiographyof AmericanPeace Effortsbefore Munich', in D. R. Beaver
(ed.), Some Pathwaysin Twentieth-Century
History(Detroit: Wayne State University
Press. 1969).
758 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

are exceedinglyweak', Chatfieldcautionedthe MinisterforCo-ordina-


tion of Defence,Sir Thomas Inskip. ' If at the presenttime,and for
manyyears to come, we had to send a Fleet to the Far East, even in
conjunctionwith the United States, we should be left so weak in
Europe thatwe shouldbe liable to blackmailor worse.'22 The Chiefsof
Staffhad thereforeconcluded, and Neville Chamberlainagreed, that
the imperial predicament must be resolved throuighdiplomatic
approachesto Italy and Germanyaimed at a generalEuropean appease-
ment. The time for dealing with Japan would comle when naval
rearmamentwas completeand stabilityhad been achieved in Europe.
For Britainthat timeneverarrived.
Ingersoll's talks with Admiraltyplanningofficerswere completed
in just over a week and on January13 the AgreedRecord of Conversa-
tions was initialled(see below). A good deal of unexploredstrategical
materialrelatingto his mission still awaits its historian. A recurring
theme,for example, in the Britishdocumentsis the American plan
for an economic'quarantine' or distantblockade of Japan,and linked
to this can be seen the outlines of a doctrineof 'un.declaredwar'.
Was Lindsay correctin assumingthat these were the personal inspira-
tions of Roosevelt? CertainlyIngersollrepresentedthe blockade idea
as Navy Departmentstrategy(althoughthe line of demarcationwas
slightlymodifiedin his version). Roosevelt'sinterestin such a strategy,
based on an economyof violence in the Pacific and the avoidance of
an Asian land war, can be tracedback to the 1920s,but this does not
mean thata scenarioof naval blockade lay behindhis Chicago speech.
For his ideas seem to have been modifiedsubstantially by his advisers
duringthePaniayaffair.23
In the light of subsequent events, the related 'uLndeclaredwar'
themeis also of interest.This was definitely
Roosevelt'sown conception,
developed partlyfroman intellectualinterestin the militarystrategies
of the Axis nationsin Abyssinia,China and Spain, whereintervention
withoutformal belligerencyhad occurred,and partlyas a defensive
reactionto congressionaleffortsto restrictthe President'sauthorityto
declare and wage war. His remarksto the BritishAmbassador on
December 16, 1937, suggestthat he had given consideirablethoughtto
these issues and had already evolved 'a new doctrineand technique'
whichcould bringAmericainto 'hostilities' but not necessarily'war'.
If this has the ring of contemporary familiarity,it was neverthelessa
concept obscure to diplomatslike Lindsay who were conditionedto

22 Chatfieldto Inskip,January25, 1938. ChatfieldPapers.


23 On the speech and its aftermath, D. Borg, The United States aind the Far Eastern
Crisis of 1933-1938 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UniversityPress; London:
OxfordUniversityPress. 1964); J. McV. Haight,Jr.,'Roosevelt and the Aftermath
of the QuarantineSpeech ', Review of Politics,Vol. 24, 1962.
ANGLO-AMERICANNAVAL CONVERSATIONS ON THE FAR EAST 759

think in the dated 'either peace or war' school of international


relations. England would later have reason to be gratefulfor this
particularinspiration.
On the Britishside, Captain Ingersoll'svisittriggered no revolution
in strategicalthinking,but it seems at least to have thawed the
Admiralty'slong-standingsuspicions of American naval ambitions.
Chatfieldwas aware that the Navy Departmentcould make Britain's
furthernaval expansion politically delicate and he now used his
influenceto pressfora friendlier attitudeto thatpowerfulservice. The
Americans had proposed in January 1938 an arrangementwhereby
secrettechnicalinformation could be exchangedperiodicallyin London
on a quid pro qutobasis. Althoughhe consideredthathis own Fleet was
technicallysuperiorand thatBritainmusttherefore give more than she
could gain in such a scheme, Chatfieldsaw the potential political
gains far outweighingthis disadvantage. Accordingly,in May 1938,
at a moment,incidentally, when London was refusingFrenchrequests
for naval collaborationin the Mediterranean,the AdmiraltyBoard
reverseda 1936 rulingagainst preferential treatmentfor America and
authorisedfull co-operationin the new arrangement.In succeeding
months,against a steadilyworseninginternationalbackground,British
naval planners and the United States Naval Attache in London
exchanged ideas and informationon a varietyof subjects,including
fleet tactics,mine sweeping,naval construction,the Japanese Navy,
Japan's activitiesin the Pacificand Germiany's in the Caribbean.24The
logical sequel followed in the summerof 1939 when the Admiralty
secretlydespatchedone of its own plannersto Washingtonto informthe
Navy Departmentof changes in Britishstrategywhich had occurred
since Ingersoll'svisit.
These continuing exchanges kept the Americans apprised of
Britishnaval problemsand intentions, and to some extenttheyanticip-
ated the contactsestablishedbetweenRoosevelt and WinstonChurchill
afterthe latter'sappointmentto the Admiraltyon the outbreakof war.
They also formedthe backgroundto the President'sinterventions in
naval affairsin September1938-when Americancruiserswere kept in
Britishwatersin orderto impressGermany-and again in April 1939-
when the American Fleet was prematurelytransferred to the Pacific
in responseto Anglo-Frenchrequests. This policy can be tracedback
to the exchangesof December 1937, and if it did not exactlyherald
a new 'hands across the sea' period of Anglo-Americanrelations,it
was at least an importantbeginning. 'For from these firsthesitant
contacts would springthe entiretechnicalapparatus of co-operation
thatsupportedthe Anglo-Saxonrevivalof the war years.

24
Adm.116/4302.
760 INTERNATIONAL
AFFAIRS

25
RECORDOF CONVERSATIONS
The followingmemorandum containsthe agreedrecordof the conversations
betweenCaptainIngersoll,USN, and theNaval Staffat theAdmiralty.
Composition,
stateof readinessand initial
movementof Fleets
U.S. Fleet
The U.S. Naval view is thatno gestureshouldbe made unlessthe Fleet now
in commissionis broughtup to 100% full complementand preparedin all
respectsfor war. The abilityto bringthe Fleet up to full cornplementdepends
on the issue by the Presidentof a Declarationof National Emnergency.
The presentstate of readinessof the U.S. Fleet in comnmission as regards
personnelis as follows: -
Submarinesand Aircrafton the PacificCoast 100%.
Advance Force, consistingof 2 Squadronsof heavy Cruisersand 2 Squad-
rons of Destroyersand 1 AircraftCarrieris now being completed,as far
as practicable,to full complement.
Capital Ships,Cruisers,Destroyers
and Auxiliarieson thePacificCoast, other
thanAdvanceForce, 85% complement.
AtlanticCoast-3 Battleships,WYOMING and 1 Squadron of Destroyers
are used as a trainingSquadronwithabout 50%/complement.
It is the intentionof the U.S. Navy Departmentto send firstto Honolulu
the Advance Force, togetherwith about 15 Submarines.These could leave at
any time. There are alreadyabout 75 patrolplanes and about 20 submarinesat
Honolulu.
There are 6 Submarinesand 36 aircraftin the Panama Canal zone.
It is understoodthat all available capital ships would proDbably
be sent to
Honolulu. Allowingfor 2 or 3 ships refitting and 3 on the AtlanticCoast, 9
of 10 capital ships could be ready to sail 10 to 15 days afterthe Declaration
of National Emergency.
Subsequentlythe Navy Departmentvisualise a gradual advance across the
Pacific afterair reconnaissance,makinguse of JapaneseMandated Islands as
necessary,and finallyestablishingthemselvesat Truk or some otherpositionin
the same generalarea.
They do not at presentenvisageproceedingimmediately to Manila or any
otherPhilippineport.
A Fleet SupplyTrain withabout one month'ssuppliescould sail in about 20
days, and transports,tankersand auxiliaryvessels about :30 days after the
Declarationof a National Emergency.
The U.S. Navy Departmentintendalso to despatch2 submrLarines and a small
numberof aircraftand a seaplanetenderto operatefroma base at Unalaska.

BritishFleet
The Admiraltypolicy is to send to the Far East a forcewhichis sufficient
to engagethe JapaneseFleet undernormaltacticaland strategicalconditions.In
general,thisFleet would proceedto the Far East as a singletacticalunit.
The forcewhichit is at presentintendedshould formthe Far EasternFleet
is as follows:-Some of theseshipsare alreadyin Easternwaters.

Battleships......................... 8
Battlecruiser........................ I
AircraftCarriers ................ .. 3
* 8" Cruisers ......................... 8

25 Adm.116/3922.
ANGLO-AMERICANNAVAL CONVERSATIONS ON THE FAR EAST 761

* 6" Cruisers .......... ....... 11 (including 2 attached to Destroyer


Flotillas)
Cruiser Minelayer .................. I
Destroyer Flotillas ............... 7
Submarines ......... . ,.. 25

togetherwith the necessaryDepot and Repair Ships and certainminor war


vessels.
* 2-3" cruisersand 14" cruiserfrom Australiaand 2-6" cruisersfrom
New Zealand are in additionto the above and all come, probably,under
ordersof the Admiralty.
The exact compositionof the Far Eastern Fleet is subject to modification
with the passage of time: for instance,at a later date it may be desirableto
send 9 battleshipsto the Far East and to retainboth battlecruisers in Home
Waters. The above figures, however,serveas a generalguide to Britishstrength
in Far Easternwaters.
It is understoodthatthe shipsof the Home and MediterreanFleetswould be
readyto sail for the Far East at 10-14 days' noticeif mobilisationwas ordered
after15thJanuary,1938.
The BritishFleet would proceedinitiallyto Singapore.This base will not be
fullycompletedfor 18 months.The drydocks thereare readybut Singaporeis
not preparedat the presenttime to handle large repairsof ships damaged in
action. It can support,mainlyby commercialfacilities,in other respectsthe
forcecontemplated to be based there.
General Policy
Both partiesagree that,in principle,politicalmovementsshould keep step
withtheNaval situation, but it is realisedthatthismay be difficultto accomplish.
Ioth partiesalso agree that the political ancl Naval measuresof each nation
should be kept in step withthoseof the othernation. To thisend it is agreed
thatit is desirablethatthe arrivalof the BritishFleet at Singaporeand the U.S.
Fleet at Honolulu should,as far as possible,be synchronised. Nevertheless, it is
realisedthatthe circumstances, and particularly any incidentsprimarily affecting
one nationratherthanboth,may make it difficult to carryout the above policy.
It is assumed that all waters of the BritishCommonwealth, includingthe
Dominions,will be available for use of U.S. Naval Forces and that all waters
of the United States,includingthe Philippines,will be available for use of the
BritishNaval Forces.
It is understoodthattheGovernment of the UnitedKingdomcannotdefinitely
committhe Governments of the Dominionsof the BritishCommonwealth to any
actionin concertwiththe UnitedKingdom. The Admiraltyfeels sure,however,
that Canada, Australia and New Zealand would co-operatewith the United
KingdomagainstJapan in the circumstances underconsideration.
The Admiraltyis not at the presenttimeanticipating any directaid fromthe
Frenchor Dutch in the Far East, but theyconsiderthatit is possiblethat the
lattermightadopt a benevolentattitudeof nieutrality. The Admiraltyare not
countingon any aid fromRussia.
In the eventof Germanyprovinghostilea mostseriousproblemwould arise.
The Adniraltyis not so seriouslyapprehensiveof submarinesas they believe
that theycan successfullydeal withthem. They are, however,seriouslyappre-
hensiveof Britishtraderoutesin the Atlantic,should the Gernans use their3
PocketBattleshipsand the 2 new 27,000ton shipsas commerceraiders.
An even more dangeroussituationwould arise should hostilitieswith Italy
also superveneafterthe greaterpartof the BritishFleet had proceededto the Far
East. It would be necessaryfor the Admiralty to relyentirelyon the alternative
routeto the East via the Cape of Good Hope. In thesecircumstances the main
problemin the Mediterranean would be to hold the Suez Canal and Egypt. The
Admiraltywould have to depend on the French Navy to hold the Western
Mediterraneanand some of her Naval Forces would have to be based on
762 INTERNATIONAL
AFFAIRS

Gibraltarto securethe Westernentrance.They would themselves, however,keep


anti-submarine forcesat Gibraltar.In this connectionthe Admiraltyis of the
opinionthatthe Straitsof Gibraltarcan be made hazardousfor the passage of
enemysubmarines.
In the eventof such a generalEuropean war it would almost certainlybe
necessaryto effecta considerablereductionin the Britishstrengthin the Far
East. Withthe reductionof Britishstrength in the Far East underthesecondi-
tions the possible necessityof directtacticalco-operationbetweenthe U.S. and
BritishFleetswould requirefurther consideration.
Policy withregardto Forces now in the Far Ecast
U.S. Forces
It is understoodthatthe U.S. Navy Departmentwould like the U.S. garrisons
now in North China to be withdrawnand that in emergencythe U.S. Asiatic
Fleet would withdrawfromNorthernChineseWaters.
BritishForces
The Admiraltyis also concernedregardingthe Britishgarrisonsin North
China. Should parallel action in regardto the movementsof the two Main
Fleets be decided upon, considerationwould have to be given to the accurate
timingof the withdrawalof the Britishtroopsin North China to Hong Kong,
and the major unitsof the BritishChina Fleet would also have to withdrawto
thatplace or to Singapore.
Arrangements for inter-commiunication betweeniBritish
and U.S. Fleets
It is agreed that since the two fleetswill be widely separatedat firstand
probablyfor some timetherecould not be unityof commandin a tacticalor
strategicsense in the near future.It is, however,agreedthat strategicco-opera-
tion will be necessaryand that such co-operationwill require commoncom-
municationfacilities.
The followingarrangements have been agreedupon to thisend:-
(a) The Admiralty to all shipsof the BritishFleet,and arrange
will distribute
to depositat the BritishEmbassyin Washington, at Gibraltarand in the
Far East for issue to the shipsof the U.S. Navy, the necessarycopies ot
the followingbooks:-
(1) A suitableCoda
(2) Re-cypheringTables for use with the Codle by the Higher
Command.
(3) Re-cyphering Tables for use with the Code by the other Flag
Officers.
(4) Re-cyphering Tables foruse withthe Code by all ships.
(5) A Key Memorandumcontainingsimple recognitionsignals for
use by both Fleets.
(6) A book of War W/T Call SignsforbothFleets.
(b) A copy of the BritishNaval W/T organisationwiVLbe issued by the
Admiraltywiththe books to be distributed to the U.S. Fleet.
(c) The U.S. Navy Departmentwill make available the necessarycopies of
theirPacificand Asiatic Fleet W/T Organisationfor distribution to the
BritishFleet. These will be depositedas soon as practicablewith the
U.S. Embassyin London, on board the Flagship of the U.S. Squadron
in the Mediterranean, and on board the Flagship of the U.S. Asiatic
Fleet.
(d) CommercialW/T procedurewill be used forinter-communication.
(e) The Admiraltywill propose frequenciesfor inter-communication if and
whenthe occasionarises.
(f) Direct inter-communication by W/T betweenindividualships of the two
Fleets will not normallybe necessaryunless tactical co-operationis
envisaged.
NAVALCONVERSATIONS
ANGLO-AMERICAN ON THE FAR EAST 763

The inter-communication
procedureoutlinedabove will be subjectto adjust-
mentbetweenthe Commanders-in-Chief
of the two Main Fleets.
Interchangeof Communication Personnel
To facilitateinter-communication betweenthe two Fleets it is agreed that
the followinginter-changeof personnelwith experiencein WIT would be
desirable:
(a) 1 Officerand 1 ratingfrom U.S. Asiatic Fleet to be lent temporarily
to bothHong Kong and SingaporeW/T Stations.
(b) 1 Officer,if and when available, and 1 Chief PettyOfficerTelegraphist
to be lent temporarilyfromthe BritishChina Fleet to the U.-S.Asiatic
Fleet Flagship.
(c) 1 Officerand 1 ratingto be lentfromthe Britishand U.S. Navies to the
U.S. and BritishMain Fleet flagships
respectively.
(d) 1 BritishOfficerto be appointedfor dutywith the U.S. Navy initially
at Washington.One officer fromU.S. Navy to be attachedto the staff
of the U.S. Naval Attachein London -andto be available for communi-
cation duties.
GeneralLiaison
Both partiesagree thatno further measuresfor generalliaison purposesare
necessaryat the presenttime.
Should, however,parallel action be decided upon by the two Governments,
it would be necessaryto appointa BritishOfficerwithknowledgeof war plans
to Washingtonand a U.S. Officer withsimilarknowledgefor dutyin London.

StrategicalPolicy
Should the Governments decidedthata distantblockadeis to be established,
the BritishNaval Forces will be responsiblefor the stoppageof Japanesetrade
on a line running,roughly,fromSingaporethroughthe Dutch East Indies past
New Guinea and New Hebrides,and thenceto the Eastwardof Australiaand
New Zealand.
The U.S. Navy will be responsiblefor operationsagainst Japanese trade
throughout the WVestCoast of Northand South America,includingthe Panama
Canal and the passage roundCape Horn.
The U.S. Navy will also assume responsibilitv for the generalNaval defence
of the WestCoast of Canada.
In thesecircumstances it is agreedthatno hard and fast line of demarcation
betweenthe areas in whichthe two fleetswill.operateneed to be laid down at
thisstage.
(Sd.) R. E. Ingersoll,
Captain,UnitedStatesNavy.
(Sd.) T. S. V. Phillips,
Captain. Royal Navy.
13thJanuary,1938.

Lawrence Pratt is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the


Universityof Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.