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London Naval Treaty

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Title: London Naval Treaty  
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Subject: La Galissonnière-class cruiser, Second London Naval Treaty, Washington Naval Treaty, Battle of the Atlantic, USS South Dakota (ACR-9)
Collection: 1930 in France, 1930 in Italy, 1930 in Japan, 1930 in London, 1930 in the United Kingdom, 20Th-Century Military History of the United Kingdom, Arms Control Treaties, British Defence Policymaking, History of the French Navy, History of the Royal Navy, History of the United States Navy, Imperial Japanese Navy, Interwar Period Treaties, Japan–united States Relations, Naval History of Italy, Naval History of Japan, Treaties Concluded in 1930, Treaties of the Empire of Japan, Treaties of the French Third Republic, Treaties of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946), Treaties of the United Kingdom, Treaties of the United States, United States Navy in the 20Th-Century
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London Naval Treaty

The Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament, commonly known as the London Naval Treaty, was an agreement between the United Kingdom, the Empire of Japan, France, Italy and the United States, signed on 22 April 1930, which regulated submarine warfare and limited naval shipbuilding. Ratifications were exchanged in London on October 27, 1930, and the treaty went into effect on the same day. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on February 6, 1931.[1]


  • Conference 1
  • Terms of the Treaty 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Menu and List of Official Toasts at formal dinner which opened the London Naval Conference of 1930.

The signing of the treaty remains inextricably intertwined with the ongoing negotiations which began before the official start of the London Naval Conference of 1930, evolved throughout the progress of the official conference schedule, and continued for years thereafter.

Terms of the Treaty

The terms of the treaty were seen as an extension of the conditions agreed in the Washington Naval Treaty. That treaty had been an effort to prevent a naval arms race after World War I.

The Conference was a revival of the efforts which had gone into the Geneva Naval Conference of 1927. At Geneva, the various negotiators had been unable to reach agreement because of bad feeling between the British Government and that of the United States. This problem may have initially arisen from discussions held between President Herbert Hoover and Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald at Rapidan Camp in 1929; but a range of factors affected tensions which were exacerbated between the other nations represented at the conference.[2]

Under the Treaty, the standard displacements and gun calibres of submarines were restricted for the first time, thereby putting an end to the 'big-gun' submarine concept pioneered by the British M class and the French Surcouf. The Treaty also established a distinction between cruisers armed with guns no greater than 6.1 inches (155mm) calibre ("light cruisers" in unofficial parlance), from those with guns up to 8 inches (203 mm) calibre ("heavy cruisers"). The number of heavy cruisers was limited – Britain was permitted 15 with a total tonnage of 147,000, the US 18 totalling 180,000 and the Japanese 12 totalling 108,000 tons. For the light cruisers no numbers were specified but tonnage limits were 143,500 tons for the US, 192,200 tons for the British and 100,450 tons for the Japanese.[3]

Article 22 relating to submarine warfare declared that international law applied to them as to surface vessels. Also merchant vessels which did demonstrate "persistent refusal to stop" or "active resistance" could be sunk without the ship's crew and passengers being first delivered to a "place of safety".[4]

The next phase of attempted naval arms control was the Second Geneva Naval Conference in 1932; and in that year, Italy "retired" two battleships, twelve cruisers, 25 destroyers, and 12 submarines—in all, 130,000 tons of naval vessels (that were either scrapped or put in reserve).[5] Active negotiations amongst the other treaty signatories continued during the following years.[6]

This was followed by the Second London Naval Treaty of 1936.

See also


  1. ^ League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. 112, pp. 66–96.
  2. ^ Steiner, Zara S. (2005). pp. 587The Lights that Failed: European International History 1919–1933,-591.
  3. ^ U.S. Department of State. "The London Naval Conference, 1930". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armaments, (Part IV, Art. 22, relating to submarine warfare). London, 22 April 1930
  5. ^ "Italy Will Retire 130,000 tons of Navy; Two Battleships, All That She Owns, Are Included in the Sweeping Economy Move. Four New Cruisers to go [plus] Eight Old Ones, 25 Destroyers and 12 Submarines Also to Be Taken Out of Service," New York Times. August 18, 1932.
  6. ^ "Naval Men See Hull on the London Talks; Admiral Leigh and Commander Wilkinson Will Sail Today to Act as Advisers," New York Times. June 9, 1934.


  • Steiner, Zara S. (2005). The Lights that Failed: European International History 1919–1933. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-822114-2; OCLC 58853793

External links

  • Text of the treaty
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