740.00119 P. W./8–2745: Telegram

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

1455. The following message from Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek for the President has just been received from Dr. K. C. Wu, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs:

“My Dear Mr. President: Out of my great desire to cooperate with you, I informed you on August 2334 that I had notified the British that as Supreme Commander of this theater I agreed to delegate my authority to a British Commander to accept the surrender of the Japanese forces in Hong Kong. On August 23 I received your most cordial and encouraging reply35 transmitted by Ambassador Hurley, which is in full as follows:

‘Please accept this expression of my appreciation of your considerate action in regard to the surrender of the Japanese in Hong Kong to a British Commander by which action you eased a difficult situation.’

Today the British Government has addressed the following verbal communication to me through its Ambassador in Chungking:

‘His Majesty’s Government are anxious to reach a mutually satisfactory arrangement. They do not doubt that the Generalissimo will understand their feelings that Great Britain must reestablish status quo in Hong Kong after the defeat of Japan. Therefore, they much regret that they are unable to accept the suggestion of the Generalissimo that the officer of the British Forces should accept surrender on this British territory as the Generalissimo’s delegate. They welcome the Chinese representative and also the American officer. Surrender will be accepted by British officer who would be empowered for this purpose under General Order No. 1. The Chinese and American officers designated by the Generalissimo will attend as representatives of the Supreme Commander of the China Theater. On the assumption that there is a surrender document, they would sign as witnesses.’

The British Ambassador further informed me that his Government has designated Bear Admiral C. H. J. Harcourt as the commander to accept the surrender of the Japanese at Hong Kong.

I told the British Ambassador that I could not subscribe to the position taken by the British Government in this matter. The British desire to reestablish status quo in Hong Kong has never been affected since from the very beginning I have assured them that it is not the intention of this Government to send Chinese troops to occupy Hong Kong. Hong Kong is not included in the areas to be surrendered to the British, according to General Order No. 1. Hong Kong lies definitely within the China Theater. As Supreme Commander of this theater, I have my duties to fulfill and the agreements with the Allies to observe. I have made the concession to delegate my authority to a British Commander to accept the surrender there purely out of my desire to keep friendly relations with our Allies. And, in making this concession, I have your concurrence and approval. [Page 513] To go beyond that on my part would be neither in accordance with the agreements of the Allied Powers nor compatible with my duties as Supreme Commander of this theater.

I have also notified the British Ambassador that since Rear Admiral Harcourt has been nominated by his Government to accept the surrender of the Japanese in Hong Kong, I do delegate my authority to him as from today.

As the American people and you, Mr. President, have always shown the highest regard for fair dealing and scrupulous observance of agreements in international relations, I trust that you will support me in this position and instruct General MacArthur to issue the necessary instructions to Admiral Harcourt.”

  1. Telegram No. CFB 5633, August 23, p. 511.
  2. White House telegram No. 338, August 23, supra.