Before embarking on a detailed analysis of British disarmament policy in the years 1919-34, it is important to define what exactly is meant, for the purposes of this study, by the term 'disarmament'. It has been used to cover all conditions, from the complete abolition of armaments, to the reduction of levels of armaments, and even to the increase in their level where the aim is to achieve a measure of limitation and control. It can thus be seen that the term is open to great misinterpretation, and in order to avoid such misinterpretation a number of political scientists, after the Second World War, began to use the term 'arms control' rather than the traditional 'disarmament' as the generic word for negotiations which sought to limit armaments by international agreement. Control of armaments, it was felt, removed the apparent anomaly of a 'disarmament' agreement which actually led to an increase in their level. As far as Hedley Bull, one of the most important of the British political scientists to adopt this phrase, was concerned, the aim was to counter the proponents of 'general and complete disarmament' such as Philip Noel-Baker. 1 The academic debate over 'disarmament' and 'arms control', however, did not really begin until the 1950s and so is not dealt with in the present study.
During the inter-war period the generic term 'disarmament' was used by politicians, diplomats, political scientists, journalists and the public alike to describe the limitation and control of armaments by international agreement, and this is the definition of the term used in the present study. The term was useful in that it could be used to describe all manner of situations and occasions-disarmament conventions, disarmament conferences, qualitative disarmament, quantitative disarmament, naval disarmament, land disarmament, chemical disarmament-it was a simple word to cover what, to the comparatively uninformed, was a simple concept. But once the concept began to be explored in depth, it became markedly less simple, and it is this confusion of interpretation which underpins the present study. Just what did disarmament mean to successive British governments during the