892.01/8–1644: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

6486. Further conversations between officers of the British Embassy and of the Department with respect to a proposed declaration by the British Government in regard to Thailand were brought to a pause by a statement from the British Embassy on July 31, 1944 to the effect that “His Majesty’s Government” does not believe that any useful purpose could be served by the issuance at this time of a statement [Page 1315] with respect to Thailand in the terms proposed. (See Department’s 3893 of March 28, 194413 enclosing copies of various documents regarding the Department’s attempt to elicit a statement of British attitude toward Thailand.)

It is requested that in your discretion you approach Mr. Eden14 and remind him that on February 26, 1944 Sir George Sansom, British Minister at Washington, transmitted to the Department a copy of a declaration which the British Government proposed to make in regard to Thailand to the effect that Thailand had “betrayed” its friendship with Great Britain, had collaborated with the enemy, had declared war, and that the Thai people would have to “work their passage home”. Subsequently on March 20 a statement regarding United States attitude toward Thailand was handed to Lord Halifax, British Ambassador in Washington, with comment that the proposed British statement was “rather rough” and that it might be misunderstood, as it failed to give any intimation that Thailand would be continued as an independent power. In the months that followed there were frequent discussions between officers of the British Embassy and of the Department which as indicated above were fruitless.

Several months ago officers of the Department raised the question with the Embassy as to whether the British Government had given consideration to the possibility of communicating to this Government a confidential statement of British policy toward Thailand. On July 31 the Embassy indicated that the matter of a confidential statement would be taken up with the Foreign Office by airmail.

You may say to Mr. Eden that this Government would view with extreme regret the inability, of the United States and the United Kingdom to take an identical position with regard to problems which involve the long-term objectives for which this war is being fought. If, however, the British Government is reluctant, because of considerations involving the security or integrity of any British territory, to give the undertaking desired for the confidential information of this Government, it would hardly be necessary to remind the British Government that any such undertaking, if given at this time, would in no way prejudice the right of the British Government to present any such problem of territorial security or integrity to the United Nations for such consideration and action as they might consider desirable and helpful to British interests.

You might also state that absence of a statement of British intentions with respect to Thailand causes considerable inconvenience to this Government in that it delays decision on important cognate matters relating to Thailand and Indochina.

  1. This instruction not printed.
  2. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.