Memorandum of Conversation, Prepared in the Department of State

Participants: Members from PS and ES71
Officers from the Naval Office of Occupied Territories.

The meeting was requested for the purpose of exploring the possibility of a continuing exchange of views concerning the military [Page 1187] government to be exercised by the Navy in the islands of the Central Pacific, particularly the Marshall Islands.72 We were informed that by agreement with the War Department, on the one hand, and with the British on the other hand, military government in the occupied islands of the Central Pacific theatre is to be exclusively in the hands of the United States Navy. A special agreement has been made concerning the Gilbert Islands, by which the British accept the position that their military governors in those islands should be responsible to the United States commander in the Central Pacific Theatre, until the “American forces move westward”.

The naval officers wished to be certain that the measures of military government which they are planning will conform to the policy of the Department of State as to the future political status of the islands. They said that they would, for example, be greatly assisted in planning measures of military government if they could be informed as to the views of the Department with regard to such matters as repatriation of Japanese, possible confiscation of Japanese investments, obligations arising from the mandate status. They seemed perplexed and somewhat disappointed at our inability to supply them with information as to the policy of the Department.

Commander Shears stated that the Dutch had expressed a desire to have Soerabaya be made an international base.

  1. Divisions of Political Studies and of Economic Studies.
  2. On January 31, 1944, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, established the first military government under exclusive authority of the United States in the Marshall Islands.