The British Prime Minister (Attlee) to President Truman
Thank you for your personal and Top Secret telegram number 421 containing general order number one22 to General of the Army MacArthur, which you have approved with the understanding that it is subject to change both by further instructions issued through The Joint Chiefs of Staff and in matters of detail by The Supreme Commander for the Allied Forces in the light of the operational situation as known by him.
- I am in general agreement with your order which is now being examined in detail. Meanwhile I have the following comments about Hong Kong.
- Chiang Kai Shek is claiming that Hong Kong is in the area in which Japanese forces are to surrender to him as Generalissimo of the China theatre. While we are proposing to inform Chiang Kai Shek that we shall welcome the presence of a representative of his on the occasion of the acceptance of the surrender of Japanese forces in Hong Kong, we cannot accept any interpretation of general order number one as meaning that Hong Kong, which is British territory, is included in the expression “within China”.
- As has already been notified to The Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Chinese Government, a British naval force is now on its way to release Hong Kong from Japanese occupation, to bring aid to prisoners and internees situated in the colony and to restore the British administration. It may be that the Japanese commanders on the spot may regard Hong Kong as being “within China”, and I therefore request you to instruct the Allied Supreme Commander, General of the Army MacArthur to order the Japanese High Command to ensure that the Japanese local commanders in the British Colony of Hong Kong shall surrender to the commander of the British naval force on his arrival.
- Not found in Department files. Telegram No. 6935, August 16, 6 p.m., to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) stated: “General Order No. 1 was sent out from Washington last night by the White House directed for delivery to Prime Minister.” (740.00119PW/8–1645)↩
- For text of General Order No. 1, see directive by President Truman to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (MacArthur), August 15, p. 530.↩