740.00119 PW/8–2145: Telegram

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

[White House No. 337.] The following message is from the President to Generalissimo Chiang in response to the Generalissimo’s message to the President conveyed in your 1414, August 21, 8 a.m.:

“My Dear Generalissimo: I have received your message transmitted by Ambassador Hurley in regard to surrender at Hong Kong. On August 18 I sent the following message to Prime Minister Attlee:

‘From the U. S. standpoint there is no objection to the surrender of Hong Kong being accepted by a British officer providing full military coordination is effected beforehand by the British with the Generalissimo on operational matters connected with assistance and support through that area to Chinese and American forces who may still be either engaged against the enemy or involved in securing the surrender of Japanese forces in the hinterland. General MacArthur will be instructed to arrange for the surrender of Hong Kong to the British Commander whenever the above coordination is effected.

The Secretary of State informed T. V. Soong here this morning of this contemplated action stating that it did not in any way represent U. S. views regarding the future status of Hong Kong.’

I had assumed that Premier Soong would inform you of the views expressed in my message to the Prime Minister.

The situation with regard to the Japanese surrender at Hong Kong presents a problem which is to my mind primarily a military matter of an operational character. No question arises with regard to British sovereignty in the area and it is my understanding that you do not desire to raise such a question. It was with these considerations in mind that I prepared the message to Prime Minister Attlee quoted above. It seems reasonable that, where it is practicable to do so, surrender by Japanese forces should be to the authorities of that nation exercising sovereignty in the area. In the case of Hong Kong it appears to me quite practicable to effect military coordination between the British and yourself on operational matters which would make feasible the surrender of the Japanese at Hong Kong to British military authorities.

I sincerely hope, my dear Generalissimo, that you will be able to see this matter in the same light as I do and that, in the spirit of cooperation and understanding which has characterized the relations between our Governments and peoples for so many years, you will see your way clear to authorize the military coordination with the British, which I have recommended, in order that appropriate instructions can be given General MacArthur to arrange for the surrender of Hong Kong to a British Commander.

I fully appreciate the motives which prompted you to make the proposal contained in your message to me but I believe that, taking into account all the factors, the procedure which I have proposed provides a reasonable solution. Harry S. Truman.”