The Department of State to the British Embassy 11

This Government has given very careful consideration to the text of the declaration which the British Government proposes to make in regard to Thailand, a copy of which Sir George Sansom was so good as to bring personally to us. We have come to the conclusion that the declaration as it now stands would not be helpful in giving encouragement to the Thai people to resist the Japanese, might very likely be exploited by the Japanese to the disadvantage of the United Nations, and would augment distrust in the United States and in China and elsewhere of the motives of Great Britain. It is, in fact, this Government’s feeling that it would be better that the British [Page 1314] Government make no declaration rather than make the proposed one under consideration, and that, if the proposed declaration is to be made, it would be advisable that it include at least an unequivocal commitment that Great Britain has no territorial ambitions in Thailand.

As regards this Government’s attitude toward Thailand, you are of course aware that the United States has not declared war on Thailand although the Thai Government, after Japanese occupation of Thailand, declared war on the United States.12 We look forward to an early expulsion from Thailand of the Japanese invaders. Until the Japanese are expelled from Thailand, we shall treat Thailand for various purposes, including economic and psychological warfare, as enemy occupied territory. In any situation in which Thai nationals or groups actively engage in or cooperate with the Japanese in military operations, whether offensive or defensive, against the forces of the United States or of other of the United Nations, and in any situation in which presence of Thai armed forces obstructs the operations or threatens the security of forces of the United Nations, we shall treat those Thai forces as enemies.

The United States continues to regard Thailand as an independent state. We do not recognize the present Thai government. We continue to recognize as “Minister of Thailand” the Thai Minister in Washington, who has denounced his government’s cooperation with Japan. We regard with sympathy a free Thai movement in which the Thai Minister in Washington is a prominent figure. We have not made and we do not contemplate making at this time any political commitment to any particular Thai national or Thai group prejudicing the future political situation. We favor restoration to Thailand of complete freedom as a sovereign state and we favor creation in Thailand of a government which will represent the free will of the Thai people.

  1. Handed to the British Ambassador (Halifax) on March 20 by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle). This document incorporated the substance of two memoranda sent by Acting Secretary of State Stettinius to President Roosevelt on March 8. One gave the Department’s proposals “to crystallize its attitude towards Thailand” (892.01/50); the other stated the Department’s views regarding the proposed British declaration (892.01/53). Both memoranda received Presidential approval.
  2. See telegram 350, February 2, 1942, from Bern, Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. i, p. 915.