740.00119 PW/8–2145: Telegram

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

1414. The Generalissimo has asked me to forward through you the following urgent message from the Generalissimo to President Truman:

My Dear Mr. President: On August 20 I received the following memorandum from His Excellency the British Ambassador in Chungking:

‘His Majesty’s Embassy learns that Dr. T. V. Soong has been informed by the United States Secretary of State in Washington of the action contemplated for the recovery of Hong Kong by a British naval force.

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‘The Embassy has been instructed to inform His Excellency the President of the Republic of China that the British service authorities concerned have been given the appropriate instructions, in order that full military coordination may be effected beforehand with the Chinese High Command on operational matters connected with assistance and support through the Hong Kong area to Chinese and United States forces engaged against the enemy or involved in securing the surrender of Japanese forces in contiguous areas.’

In delivering the memorandum, the British Ambassador informed Dr. K. C. Wu, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, that you had wired Prime Minister Attlee28 that the United States has no objection to the recovery of Hong Kong by a British naval force. The British Ambassador also stated that you had authorized the British to accept surrender of Japanese troops in the ‘area’ of Hong Kong. We have not heard either from Dr. Soong or from you, Mr. President, any word that affirms or denies the claim made by the British. If you have not sent such a telegram to the British, I would strongly advise against any unilateral alteration of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and the surrender terms already issued by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. A change now in the surrender order could create a bad precedent that might have more serious consequences in places other than Hong Kong. The British should conform to the general order and refrain from landing troops in Hong Kong or attempting to accept the surrender of Japanese in this theater.

If you have already sent the telegram to Prime Minister Attlee as stated by the British Ambassador, in order to avoid causing you embarrassment, I make the following proposal. The Japanese forces in Hong Kong should surrender to my representative in a ceremony in which both American and British representatives will be invited to participate. After the surrender the British will be authorized by me to land troops for the reoccupation of the island of Hong Kong. The British should not, under any pretext, land any troops on the mainland of China. It is with reluctance that I make the above concession. I hope that Your Excellency will support this position and that you will obtain cooperation in this proposal from the British. I am awaiting your reply before I make definite arrangements with His Majesty’s Government.

Chiang Kai-shek by K. C. Wu.”

  1. See White House telegram No. 337 to the Ambassador in China, August 21, infra.