Warren G. Harding photo

Statement on the Four-Power Treaty

December 23, 1921

THE WHITE HOUSE, December 23, 1921.

The President will offer no comment on the disputes which attempt to magnify the differing constructions on the Four-Power Treaty. To him these are unimportant. The big things aimed at are understanding for peace and an agreement to meet and discuss the preservation of peace whenever it is threatened.

No alliance or entanglement is thought of, none will be negotiated. It would be better to rejoice over things accomplished than to dwell on differing views which can be of no great consequence.

The President is unwilling that the unjustified charge that the United States delegates are withholding information shall go unchallenged. He had full confidence, else he had not chosen them, and he has full confidence now and is more than gratified over their efforts, because they are working out the greatest contribution to peace and good-will which has ever marked the Christmas time in all the Christian era.

It is one thing to talk about the ideals of peace, but the bigger thing is to seek the actuality. This the Conference is doing, in harmony with an overwhelming American sentiment and world sentiment, too, and in full accord with cherished American traditions.

Note: In an interview with newspaper correspondents on the afternoon of December 20, President Harding announced that, according to his understanding, the Four-Power Treaty did not cover the islands which form Japan proper. On the evening of the same day, however, the White House issued a statement to the effect that the American delegation to the Conference construed the treaty as covering Japan proper, and that the President had no objection to that construction. This is a later statement by President Harding alluding to this difference of opinion.

Warren G. Harding, Statement on the Four-Power Treaty Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/355744

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