740.00119 P. W./8–2045: Telegram

The Ambassador in China (Hurley) to the Secretary of State

1402. While with the Generalissimo and the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Generalissimo’s place in the country yesterday August 19th, the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs handed me the following memorandum which he had just received from the British Embassy:26

“The text of the memorandum of August 16th27 which was presented by the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Counsellor of His [Page 507] Majesty’s Embassy was duly communicated to His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom.

His Majesty’s Government have considered this memorandum and regret that they cannot share the Chinese interpretation of the general order issued to the Allied Supreme Commander.

As regards Hong Kong, the general order provides that His Excellency the President of the Republic of China shall accept the surrender of the Japanese Commanders ‘within China’. This cannot, in the view of His Majesty’s Government, be interpreted as including Hong Kong. As stated in the communication of August 18 from His Majesty’s Ambassador to the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, His Majesty’s Government considers that, irrespective of the confines of an operational theater, wherever a sovereign power has sufficient forces available, it should resume its authority and accept the Japanese surrender in its own territory. Moreover, His Majesty’s Government feel confident that, as a soldier himself, His Excellency the President will understand that, as the United Kingdom was forced to relinquish possession of Hong Kong to the Japanese, it is a matter of honor for His Majesty’s Government to accept the Japanese surrender there. His Majesty’s Government would, however, welcome the presence of a representative of the President in Hong Kong on the occasion of the acceptance by a British force of the Japanese surrender and they trust that this arrangement will prove satisfactory to the Chinese Government.

As regards Saigon, His Majesty’s Government wish the Chinese Government to appreciate their standpoint: They consider that the proposals made in the Embassy’s memorandum of August 16th accord fully, in fact, with the terms of the general order to the Supreme Commander. In this case also, however, His Majesty’s Government would be glad to welcome the presence of a representative of His Excellency the President of China at the surrender ceremony at Saigon.”

This is the same message referred to in our 1398, August 19, 6 p.m., the contents of which was related to Briggs by Counsellor of British Embassy.

  1. A paraphrase of the instructions upon which this memorandum was based was transmitted to the Department by the British Embassy on August 21.
  2. See telegram No. 1370, August 16, 10 p.m., from the Ambassador in China, p. 500.