892.01/11–2444: Airgram

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

A–1404. There is given below complete text of Mr. Eden’s reply to the Ambassador’s note of October 21 regarding coordination of British and American policy toward Thailand, which was delivered in accordance with the Department’s cable no. 8676, October 19.

“22nd November, 1944. No. F 4969/23/G. Secret.

“My Dear Ambassador,

“Since my return to this country I have been giving some thought to your note No. 4013 of the 21st October about Siam.

“Such difference as may still exist between the respective points of view of our two Governments results, I think, from the different angle of approach which I mentioned in my letter of the 4th September and which your reply recognises. To us Siam is an enemy who must ‘work her passage’ before she can rehabilitate herself; whereas the United States Government regard her, in spite of her declaration of war, merely as an enemy-occupied territory.

“The two conditions suggested in my letter of the 4th September, on which you asked for further clarification, were in the nature of general reservations to be filled in in detail when the outline of the post-war settlement in the Far East is clear. I should like to meet your Government’s wish for greater precision, but I do not really think that it is practicable to be more precise at this stage when there are so many unknown factors as regards the future. Nor could I in any case attempt a binding definition without prior consultation with experts in this country, with the Dominions, and with the Cabinet. [Page 1320] But I shall be happy to review the matter with you from time to time as the situation develops.

“I cannot think that the general reservation which I made in paragraph 5 of my letter of the 4th September will be other than acceptable to the United States Government. It is, I suggest, a matter of ordinary prudence, even in the case of those who are but the satellites of our main enemies, to re[serve the right to stipulate that as a condition of their20] ultimate freedom, sovereignty and independence they should accept such special arrangements for security or economic collaboration as may be judged necessary to the functioning of the post-war international system.

“As regards the special reservation affecting the Kra Isthmus, it is a matter for our respective military experts to recommend what regime may be necessary in the circumstances of the post-war world. But the part which this area played in the Japanese plans for the capture of Singapore and the ultimate subjugation of Burma suggest that it will have to figure in whatever arrangements may be made for the future security of South-East Asia, and in particular for the defence of Singapore within the framework of the future international system.

“Finally, let me say that I welcome the statement in paragraph 5 of your note about the restoration of territory acquired by Siam at the hands of Japan from Burma, Malaya and Indo-China. This statement is valuable as it further narrows whatever difference there may be in the respective points of view of our two Governments.

“Yours sincerely, (signed) Anthony Eden.”

  1. Insertion taken from telegram 10341, November 24, 5 p.m., from London (not printed).