The Department of State to the British Embassy 42


Reference is made to the British Embassy’s aide-mémoire of March 7, 1945,43 in regard to a conversation on February 26 between the Political Adviser to the South East Asia Command and the Thai emissary in Ceylon. It is noted that the Foreign Office observes that there appear to be some discrepancies between the statements made by the Thai emissary in Ceylon and those made, according to the report of the British Embassy at Washington, to the Department of State by the emissaries in Washington.

In the light of the Embassy’s aide-mémoire a careful review has been made of the record of the conversations which officers of the Department have had with the Thai delegation. In brief, according to the Thai delegation, the Thai Regent desires to declare war on Japan and other Axis states (the Thai state that their own declaration of war on Great Britain and the United States is illegal and not representative of Thai sentiments); to repudiate all treaties and agreements entered into by former Premier Pibul44 since December 8, 1941 (in this connection the Thai promise the unconditional return to Burma and Malaya of the areas acquired by the aid of Japan but request that in the post-war period a British-American arbitration committee be set up to consider Thai claims to areas in Indochina); to convince the Thai people of Allied good intentions and thereby unite the Thai people solidly in support of Allied military efforts in Thailand against the Japanese; and lastly to establish a [Page 1255] Free Thai provisional government abroad which would meet temporarily the present needs of the real leaders of the country within Thailand and which would be dissolved as soon as the Regent at Bangkok is in a position (presumably at the time the Allies enter Thailand with military forces) to appoint a new provisional government on Thai soil. (The same time sequence is suggested in the British Embassy’s aide-mémoire on page two, last sentence.45

On the basis of the statements in the British aide-mémoire the Department does not consider that there are material differences in the proposals made to HBM’s46 Political Adviser at Kandy and those made to officers of the Department by the Thai delegation in Washington beyond those which might be expected to arise from independent oral presentations of the same instructions.

The Department has noted the statement made by the Political Adviser to the effect that he “judged the desire for collaboration to be undoubtedly genuine”. The Department has reached the same conclusion, and has been impressed not only by the desire manifested by the Regent and the members of the Thai resistance movement to collaborate but also by concrete measures taken and contemplated against the Japanese. As a means of further stimulating a movement of substantial potential value to the Allies in connection with operations which may be designed to expel the Japanese from Thailand, it is believed that the British, Chinese, and American Governments might agree, as an initial step, to view with favor the establishment at this time of a Free Thai Liberation Committee abroad as the acknowledged symbol of the Free Thai resistance movement. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek has expressed to the American Ambassador at Chungking his willingness to support such a committee with Washington as its venue.47 Such a committee might well include representatives of the Regent to be stationed at London, Chungking and Washington, the capitals of the three principally interested United Nations. The Department is convinced that the establishment of such a committee, with the support of the three Governments mentioned, would be of definite value in the prosecution of the war in the Far East and in promoting the cause of the United Nations.

  1. Handed to the Second Secretary of the British Embassy (Everson) by Mr. Ballantine on March 16. A summary of this aide-mémoire was sent to the Chargé in China in Department’s telegram 453, March 16, 8 p.m., for transmittal to the Chinese Foreign Office (892.01/3–1345). In telegram 471, March 21, 9 a.m., the Chargé reported that this had been done the previous day (892.01/3–2145).
  2. Not printed.
  3. Field Marshal Luang Pibul Songgram resigned as Prime Minister on July 24, 1944.
  4. Of Section 2.
  5. His Britannic Majesty’s.
  6. In a memorandum of March 10 Mr. Landon gave General Hurley’s view that Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek “would probably support the idea of making a public statement on Thailand’s sovereignty and independence because the Chinese were fearful lest the British get a grasp on Thailand’s affairs during the liberation period”, had “no territorial claims” on Indochina, and was “willing to follow the American lead in policy toward Thailand and Indochina in most respects”. (892.01/3–1045) For documentation on United States policy regarding Indochina, see pp. 293 ff.