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[[File:Coolidge_at_National_Portrait_Gallery_IMG_4494.jpeg|thumbnail|left|300px|President Calvin Coolidge]]
The Geneva Naval Conference of 1927 was a gathering of the United States, Great Britain, and Japan to discuss making joint limitations to their naval capacities. The conference was a failure because the parties did not reach an agreement and the naval arms race continued unabated after the conference.
Initial Arms Limits==
After World War I, many nations became concerned about the threat of another war and the possibility of an arms race. In 1922, Great Britain, the United States, Japan, France, and Italy signed the Five Powers Treaty at the Washington Conference to address these issues in the naval arena. In the treaty, the powers agreed to a 5:5:3:1.75:1.75 ratio of naval tonnage and restrictions concerning building both new ships and bases.
The League of Nations was already engaged in preparing a more comprehensive disarmament conference (which took place in Geneva in 1932), and the two powers preferred to wait until that event to discuss air, land, and sea armaments all at once.
The other three powers met in Geneva and began negotiations on the extension of naval limitations. The United States proposed that the existing 5:5:3 ratios between the three powers be extended to include auxiliary vessels; that the maximum size of cruisers remains at less than 10,000 tons with 8-inch guns; and that the total tonnage of cruisers is limited to 400,000 for the United States and Great Britain (240,000 tons for Japan). The latter measure was designed to prevent the United States from having to embark on a massive building program to keep its fleet in line with the ratios established at the conference; as it was, to reach 400,000 tons, it would have to build several new ships.
Second, Great Britain set forth what is called the “doctrine of requirements,” which asserted that the size of a nation’s naval fleet should be based on what is required to defend its territory; this idea was in opposition to the American preference that the size of the fleet required should be proportional to the size of the navies of other nations in the world. Accepting the “doctrine of requirements” would mean agreeing to the British demand for many cruisers and then undertaking a massive American building program to achieve parity, so neither the United States nor Japan approved of it. Although the three countries made some progress in their discussions over other classes of auxiliary ships, the powers were agreed that there would only be a new treaty if the “cruiser controversy” were solved. As a result, the stalemate over the cruiser question ended the conference without a new treaty.
Failure to Form a Treaty==
The conference's failure can be attributed to the inability of the United States and Great Britain to come to terms on these issues; one side or both needed to make substantial compromises to solve the problem. Far from allowing the “friendship” of their shared heritage to bring cooperation, it seemed that few at the conference on either side had definitively ruled out the possibility of the two nations engaging on opposite sides of a future conflict, so each hoped to maintain as much of an edge as possible in a naval capacity.