740.00119 Control (Japan)/12–540

The British Ambassador (Halifax) to the Secretary of State
No. 604

His Majesty’s Ambassador presents his compliments to the Secretary of State and has the honour to inform him that Mr. Bevin was informed by Mr. Byrnes when he was in London that General MacArthur had a Japanese battleship, two Japanese cruisers, and some Japanese submarines which he was proposing to sink. General MacArthur intended to delay a decision as to whether to sink them until the views of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, the French Government, and the Soviet Government had been obtained.

2. His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have consulted His Majesty’s Governments in the Dominions and they agree in the following expression of views:— [Page 1004]

They consider that the United States Government is entitled to determine the policy for the disposal of the Japanese fleet.
Their chief desire is to have the opportunity for making a technical investigation of some of the Japanese ships and to have access to technical and other naval intelligence.
They strongly support the proposal to scrap the submarines.
They are equally in favour of scrapping the surface fleet.
They consider however that if the United States Government consults the Russian and other Allied Governments they are likely to meet with pressure for the fleet to be divided between them. His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom would greatly prefer that all the ships should be sunk but if it is necessary to divide them, whether the surface fleet alone or both the surface fleet and the submarines, they would wish, after consultation with His Majesty’s Governments in the Dominions, to claim their due share.62

  1. On December 12 an official of the British Embassy informed an officer of the Department that, although the British note of December 5 did not so indicate, the British Government was aware of the U.S. Government’s position regarding disposition of the Japanese Navy and that he assumed further exchanges on this subject would probably be on a technical level between Navy Department officials and the British Joint Staff Mission (894.30/12–1245).