London Naval Treaty
The London Naval Treaty was an agreement between the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, signed on April 22, 1930, which regulated submarine warfare
Submarine warfare
Naval warfare is divided into three operational areas: surface warfare, air warfare and underwater warfare. The latter may be subdivided into submarine warfare and anti-submarine warfare as well as mine warfare and mine countermeasures...

 and limited naval ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

building. 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.


The signing of the treaty remains inextricably intertwined with the on-going negotiations which began before the official start of the London Naval Conference
London Naval Conference
There were three major international naval conferences in London, the first in 1908-09, the second in 1930 and the third in 1935. The latter two, together with the Washington Naval Conference in 1921-22 and the Geneva Conferences , resulted in agreements between the major powers on navy vessel...

, 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
Washington Naval Treaty
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was an attempt to cap and limit, and "prevent 'further' costly escalation" of the naval arms race that had begun after World War I between various International powers, each of which had significant naval fleets. The treaty was...

. The agreement is officially termed the Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament.

The Conference was a revival of the efforts which had gone into the Geneva Naval Conference
Geneva Naval Conference
The Geneva Naval Conference was a conference held to discuss naval arms limitation, held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1927. This is a separate conference from the later general disarmament conference, the Geneva 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
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

 and Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Ramsay MacDonald
James Ramsay MacDonald, PC, FRS was a British politician who was the first ever Labour Prime Minister, leading a minority government for two terms....

 at Rapidan Camp
Rapidan Camp
Rapidan Camp in Shenandoah National Park in Madison County, Virginia, was built by U.S. President Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou Henry Hoover, and served as their rustic retreat throughout Hoover's administration from 1929 to 1933...

 in 1929; but a range of factors affected tensions which were exacerbated between the other nations represented at the conference.

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
British M class submarine
The British Royal Navy M-class submarines were a small class of diesel electric submarine built during World War I. The unique feature of the class was a 12-inch gun mounted in a turret forward of the conning tower.-Background:...

 and the French Surcouf
Surcouf (N N 3)
Surcouf was a French submarine ordered to be built in December 1927, launched on 18 October 1929, and commissioned in May 1934. Surcouf—named after the French privateer Robert Surcouf—was the largest submarine ever built until surpassed by the Japanese I-400s. Her short wartime career was marked...

. The Treaty also established a distinction between cruisers armed with guns no greater than 6.1 inches (155mm) calibre ("light cruiser
Light cruiser
A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck...

s" in unofficial parlance), from those with guns up to 8 inches (203 mm) calibre ("heavy cruiser
Heavy cruiser
The heavy cruiser was a type of cruiser, a naval warship designed for long range, high speed and an armament of naval guns roughly 203mm calibre . The heavy cruiser can be seen as a lineage of ship design from 1915 until 1945, although the term 'heavy cruiser' only came into formal use in 1930...

s"). The number of heavy cruisers was limited - the US were permitted 18 with a total tonnage of 180,000, the British 15 totalling 147,000 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.

Limits on total tonnage were placed on most categories of naval vessels for each signatory nation.

Article 22 relating to submarine warfare declared that international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

 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".

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. Active negotiations amongst the other treaty signatories continued during the following years. This was followed by the Second London Naval Treaty
Second London Naval Treaty
The Second London Naval Disarmament Conference opened in London, the United Kingdom, on 9 December 1935. It resulted in the Second London Naval Treaty which was signed on 25 March 1936.- Description :...

of 1936.

External links

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