The Secretary of State to the French Ambassador ( Bonnet )

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to his Excellency the French Ambassador and has the honor to refer to the Ambassador’s notes no. 3 of January 8, 1946, and no. 60 received on January 22, 1946,88 regarding the desire of the French Government for replacement [Page 482] of destroyed Saigon Navy Yard harbor equipment; to use, by agreement with the Commanders in Chief concerned, the Japanese naval matériel which is in Indochina; and to receive from the Japanese fleet one surface vessel of large tonnage, preferably an airplane carrier, and four modern destroyers of from 2100 to 2300 tons.

It is considered that disposition of Japanese naval matériel captured in Indochina is subject to the policies of the appropriate military commanders, and this Government therefore has no objection to any arrangements which the French authorities may make with these commanders regarding such matériel.

This Government considers that disposition of Japanese property in Indochina not owned by the Japanese Army or Navy and transfer to Indochina of Japanese equipment from outside Indochina are matters for decision in accordance with reparations policies which may be agreed to by the Allies. This Government, for its part, has no objection to the French Government’s taking possession of and using such property in Indochina pending final settlement in accordance with these policies.

In the view of this Government all Japanese combatant naval vessels should eventually be destroyed and it has been agreed that submarines and combatant vessels larger than destroyers are to be destroyed. Many of the Japanese destroyers and surface vessels of lesser tonnage are at present being used for repatriation work, for minesweeping, and for other tasks connected with the implementation of the Japanese surrender. In view of the considerations mentioned in the Ambassador’s notes under reference, this Government is agreeable in principle to making suitable arrangements for the transfer to the French Government of part of the United States share of Japanese surface vessels of destroyer class and lesser tonnage, when the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers determines that they are no longer needed for any task connected with the implementation of the Japanese surrender.

  1. See footnote 64, p. 472.