Memorandum Prepared in the Office of Far Eastern Affairs23

General Considerations

The area of the Pacific and eastern Asia is of greater importance, both absolutely and relatively, to the United States than most of our people realize.

The United States has longer coastlines on the Pacific than has any other power. We have more trade in and across the Pacific than has any other power. We have more wide-flung cultural interests in the Pacific than has any other power.

After the people who have come under the domination of Japan’s armed forces are liberated our task will be that of making the Pacific and eastern Asia safe—safe for the United States, safe for our Allies, safe for all peace-loving peoples. Once there is peace and security, the Pacific and the Far East will be areas of great opportunity—for their own peoples, for us, for all who seek honest and mutually profitable relationships on a basis of reciprocal fair treatment.

Toward achievement and maintenance of peace and security we rely heavily on the principles and provisions embodied in the Four Power Declaration of Moscow.24

Military victory of the United Nations will not by itself eradicate the roots of future conflicts in the Far East, nor will any balance of power concept, which would inevitably offer an opportunity for the resurgence to power of a militarist Japan, in application serve to maintain peace. Cooperation among the four great powers, all of which have an important stake in the peace and the stability of the Far East, offers a promising approach to the problems of the Far East.

Relations with China should be founded on mutual respect and understanding, and on collaboration. We do not, however, aspire to any exclusive relationship with China any more than we would welcome political combinations in the Far East which excluded us. Collaboration among the four principal powers of the Far East—the [Page 1233] Soviet Union, the British Commonwealth, China, and ourselves—is essential because no political relationship based on balance of power concepts can maintain peace.

It is our hope and expectation that there will be wider political participation of other Asiatic peoples in the post-war world. These peoples must be helped to develop materially and educationally and to prepare themselves for the duties and responsibilities of self-government and liberty. An excellent example of what can be achieved is afforded in the record of our relationship with the Philippines.

Specific Questions Relating to China

Press and thought control. We have been following closely and with a natural concern reports that Chinese governmental restrictions are operating to prevent the press from giving a true and objective picture of affairs in China, and also reports of measures to control the thought of Chinese students, including those sent abroad for study. We have noted as encouraging the fact, as evidenced by a recent public statement by Mr. Sun Fo, President of the Legislative Yuan, and by other signs, that Chinese liberal opinion is reacting strongly against such reported measures, and also statements by Chinese officials which would seem to indicate that the Government’s proposed action with regard to students may not be as far reaching as first reports suggested.25

Kuomintang-Communist differences.26 While the continued strained relations between the Kuomintang and the so-called Chinese Communists continue to give us concern from the point of view of our hopes for Chinese unity and tolerance, we regard as encouraging reports indicating that the Chungking authorities and the Communist groups are making efforts to reach amicable adjustment of their differences.

Lend-Lease assistance to China.27 Owing to transport limitations, our shipments of supplies to China have thus far been far below what we have wanted to deliver. However, the volume of goods sent into China has increased very rapidly in recent months, and, in the conviction that Chinese resistance will continue, the American Government is devoting constant thought and effort to carrying out its program of adequate aid to China as rapidly as possible.

[Page 1234]

Comprehensive commercial treaty. In line with the provisions of the recent treaty abolishing our extraterritorial rights and related privileges in China,28 we are giving intensive study to the subject of a comprehensive commercial treaty which we hope to negotiate with China at an early date.

The Status of Korea29

Our general policy in regard to Korea was stated definitely in the Cairo Declaration. In regard to the working out of this general policy, officers of the Department and of other agencies of the Government are giving constant thought to the subject, as are undoubtedly the governments of others of the United Nations concerned in the matter. Many Koreans and Americans interested in Korea naturally are impatiently desirous of ascertaining the exact nature of the postwar plans for Korea, but while the United Nations are engaged in the terriffic effort of winning the war and of formulating broad outlines for a post-war settlement which will provide security, it is impossible to produce complete blue-prints for the settlement of every problem which has arisen or which may arise.

Efforts of This Government in Behalf of American Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees in Japanese Hands30

The Department is continuing to explore every avenue in its efforts to cause the Japanese to accept and distribute relief supplies sent to American prisoners, to cause the Japanese to adopt humane practices in the treatment of such Americans, and to effect further exchanges of nationals, including the categories of military prisoners who are eligible for repatriation under the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention. Negotiations are now being conducted looking toward a third and further exchange of nationals, and we are still hopeful of success. It must be realized, however, that, although this Government will keep these matters continually before the Japanese Government, success or failure depends upon the response of that Government, as this Government cannot accomplish its aims in this regard by unilateral action. From such reports as are available, conditions in internment camps in general appear to have substantially improved over those prevailing in the earlier days of the war.

  1. Prepared for the use of the Secretary of State in conversations with persons outside the Department and indicative of the trend of thought among Department officers concerned with Far Eastern matters; copy transmitted in instructions of April 24, to the Embassy in Chungking, and July 7 to the Consulate at Colombo (neither printed).
  2. Signed on October 30, 1943; issued November 1, 1943; Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 755.
  3. For further reports on this subject, see vol. vi, pp. 11611164.
  4. See Foreign Relations, 1943, China, pp. 191399.
  5. See ibid., pp. 491514.
  6. Signed at Washington, January 11, 1943; 57 Stat. 767. Cf. Foreign Relations, 1943, China, p. 690.
  7. See also pp. 1290 ff.
  8. See also pp. 919 ff.