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Unformatted text preview: Washington Naval Conference Five-Power Naval Limitation Treaty February 6, 1922 The leading post-World War I naval powers of Britain, France, Italy, Japan and the United States concluded a landmark agreement that was intended to slow the burdensome arms race and, it was hoped, reduce the possibilities for future wars. Charles Evans Hughes opening remarks to the Washington Naval Conference established the framework for an agreement that included the following points: All signatories pledged to maintain a balance in their respective capital* fleets under a predetermined ratio: Britain 5 United States 5 Japan 3 France 1.67 Italy 1.67 All signatories agreed to honor a naval construction holiday for a period of 10 years. The major Pacific naval powers Britain Japan and the United States with some specific exceptions, agreed not to increase fortifications on their Pacific bases. This provision was included to help Japan overcome its reluctance to accept a smaller naval role. The results of this treaty were significant. In an almost unprecedented action, major powers voluntarily reduced their navies. The United States scrapped or halted current construction on 26 ships, the British 24 and the Japanese 16. The Five-Power Pact continued to be observed into the 1930s, but then an increasingly militant Japan demanded parity with the U.S. and Britain. That request was denied and Japan in 1934 gave notice that it would withdraw from the treaty in two years and did so. Harding and Foreign Affairs Washington Naval Conference November 1921-February 1922 More formally known as the International Conference on Naval Limitation, this disarmament effort was occasioned by the hugely expensive naval construction rivalry that existed among Britain, Japan and the United States. Senator William E. Borah, Republican of Idaho, took the lead on this matter and urged that the major Allied nations from the recent war gather in an effort to slow the arms race. The proposal was not met with initial enthusiasm by the Harding administration, but it became a political imperative when it was portrayed as a Republican alternative to League of Nations peace efforts. In the summer of 1921, Harding extended invitations and expanded the agenda beyond arms control to include discussion of issues in the Pacific and Far East. The formal opening of the conference occurred on Armistice Day 1921. The major naval powers of Britain, France, Italy, Japan and the United States were in attendance as well as other nations with concerns about territories in the Pacific Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and China who were not parties to the disarmament discussions. Soviet Russia was not invited, nor were the defeated Central Powers. The American delegation was led by Charles Evans Hughes , the secretary of state, and included Elihu Root , Henry Cabot Lodge and Oscar Underwood, the Democratic minority leader in the Senate....
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- Spring '05
- The American