THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Curious diplomatic incident as new Five Powers Naval Treaty is signed

From the News Letter, April 27, 1930

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 10:28 am
Signing of the Washington Naval Treaty (Five Powers Naval Treaty) in 1922
Signing of the Washington Naval Treaty (Five Powers Naval Treaty) in 1922

On this day in 1930 the News Letter published a curious story of interesting change in international diplomacy during the preparations for the signing of the newly “modified” Five Powers Naval Treaty.

For centuries vellum had been used but it was found that it was inclined to leave a smeared effect when printed on and the decision had been made to use specially prepared paper.

The original treaty, which had been signed in 1922, had limited the naval armaments of the signatories, namely the USA, the British Empire, the Empire of Japan, the French Third Republic and the Kingdom of Italy.

Mr Stephen Gaselee, the librarian and keeper of papers at the Foreign Office, had told the Press Association: “The paper used was not the best. We should have liked to have had the Treaty on a very fine gilt-edged paper. This, however, was not possible because of the greater length of time needed to print on this quality paper. We used instead a very good handmade cream laid paper supplied to the special specification of the Stationery Office.”

But there was a fear that signature of those who signed the treaty might fade over time but that it would had to be kept in a huge safe “with enormous iron doors”.

The reason for the speeding up of the preparation of the modified treaty noted the report was because the French and Italian delegates had been eager to return to their departmental affairs before the start of Easter. On this day in 1930 the News Letter published a curious story of interesting change in international diplomacy during the preparations for the signing of the newly “modified” Five Powers Naval Treaty.

For centuries vellum had been used but it was found that it was inclined to leave a smeared effect when printed on and the decision had been made to use specially prepared paper.