740.00119 PW/8–2145: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

8460. In commenting briefly this morning on that portion of Foreign Minister’s speech29 yesterday which dealt with Far East, Sterndale Bennett30 stated it had been hoped in beginning that statement concerning Japan could be included but it was finally decided that time was not yet ripe and that such statement would be postponed at least until after final surrender had been signed and MacArthur had arrived in Japan. In this connection reference was made to attitude of Jap Ministers in Bern and Stockholm concerning handing over of Jap Govt property and archives. Sterndale Bennett feels there will probably be no progress in this matter until after MacArthur is in Tokyo and in position to give direct orders to Jap Govt. He is not seriously concerned about the delay for British apparently feel that any important archives have probably already been destroyed.

Sterndale Bennett referred to Foreign Minister’s statement regarding Hong Kong and said Foreign Office had been considerably disturbed by publicity given in British press over weekend to alleged rivalry between Chinese and British over who should receive surrender of Hong Kong. According to him, there are naturally practical difficulties in view of fact that nearest troops to Hong Kong are in Chinese theater and therefore under Chiang Kai-shek whereas Hong Kong is under British sovereignty and its surrender should be to the country possessing sovereignty. He said there were no political questions involved at present and he felt that everything would be straightened out without undue difficulty. The general tenor of his remarks taken together with official statement by Foreign Minister makes it apparent that coming into power of the Labor Govt will produce no immediate change in British imperial policy despite such predictions as made in last week’s New Statesman and reported in Embassy’s 8356, August 18.31

In discussing British-Chinese relations, Sterndale Bennett referred to invitation which has been issued to T. V. Soong to visit London. He said this was an invitation of long standing, having been originally given at San Francisco, and that Foreign Office hoped very much [Page 511]Soong would be able to come here in near future although no definite plans have yet been made. Sterndale Bennett expressed considerable distress at the internal situation in China although he hoped signing of Russo-Chinese agreement32 would have salutary effect.

He stressed need of Anglo-American cooperation in China and said “There is an awful mess blowing up there and it is up to us to do what we can to stop it.”

Winant
  1. For speech made by the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Bevin) before the House of Commons in London on August 20, 1945, see United Kingdom, Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 1945–46, 5th series, vol. 413, pp. 283–299; for portion concerning the Far East, see pp. 297–299.
  2. John Cecil Sterndale Bennett, head of the Far Eastern Department of the British Foreign Office.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Treaty of Friendship and Alliance Between the Republic of China and the U.S.S.R., August 14, 1945, Department of State, United States Relations With China (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), p. 585.