Washington Naval Conference

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The Washington Naval Conference was a diplomatic conference held in Washington, D.C. from November 1921 to February 1922. Held outside the auspices of the League of Nations, it was attended by nine nations having interests in the Pacific Ocean and East Asia. Soviet Russia was not invited to the conference. It was the first international conference held in the United States and the first disarmament conference in history.

It resulted in the conclusion of the Four-Power Treaty, Five-Power Treaty and the Nine-Power Treaty. These treaties preserved peace during the 1920s but are also credited with establishing the rise of the Japanese Empire as a naval power leading up to World War II.

For the American delegation, the primary objective of the conference was to inhibit Japanese naval expansion in the waters of the west Pacific, especially with regard to fortifications on strategically valuable islands. Their secondary objectives were intended to ultimately limit Japanese expansion, but also to alleviate concerns over possible antagonism with the British. They were: first, to eliminate Anglo-American tension by abrogating the Anglo-Japanese alliance; second, to agree upon a favorable naval ratio vis--vis Japan; and, third, to have the Japanese officially accept a continuance of the Open Door policy in China.

The British, however, took a more cautious and tempered approach. Indeed, British officials brought certain general desires to the conferenceto achieve peace and stability in the western Pacific, avoid a naval race with the United States, thwart Japanese encroachment into areas under their influence, and preserve the security of Singapore, Hong Kong, and dominion countriesbut they did not enter the conference with a specific laundry list of demands; rather, they brought with them a vague vision of what the western Pacific should look like after an agreement.

Japanese officials were more focused on specifics than the British, and approached the conference with two primary goals: first, to sign a naval treaty with Britain and the United States, and, secondly, to obtain official recognition of Japans special interests in Manchuria and Mongolia. Japanese officials also brought other anxieties to the conferencea strong demand that they remain in control of Yap, Siberia, and Tsingtao, as well as more general concerns about the growing menace of the American fleet in the Pacific.


See also

zh:华盛顿会议

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