845C.00/2–1247: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Gallman) to the Secretary of State


978. Embassy today presented Andrus to Sir Gilbert Laithwaite and F. W. H. Smith, Burma Office, who made following points in general conversation:

Aung San and co-signers have somewhat to British surprise “behaved like gentlemen” since their return. Laithwaite has noted with pleasure fact that Aung San has resisted temptation to parade in Burma as victor over vanquished British. As example of good feeling which Burma Delegation appears to have for British, Laithwaite cited a “purely gratuitous” telegram sent to Attlee by Burma Delegation expressing its thanks for friendly reception and treatment accorded it while in London. A.F.P.F.L. recently cabled condolences regarding death Ellen Wilkinson.44
Present prospects from Panglong were “excellent”.45 Laithwaite understood that arrangements are likely to be made for appointment Shan Councillor and Kachin and Chin Deputy Counsellors.
Sir Gilbert discounts opposition U Saw and other “ex-Premiers”.
Communists next to A.F.P.F.L. in strength, with Thein Pe group representing about ⅔ Communist strength. Laithwaite understood there was possibility this group re-entering Cabinet if A.F.P.F.L. will agree to receive it. He sees group as right wing of Burmese Communists, who probably place Burma above international communism. He said that there was no evidence link between Burmese communism and Russia, except perhaps through Joshi and Indian Communists.
Laithwaite believes it politically impossible Aung San or other [Page 19] Burmese politician to come out for dominion status this time, which accounts for Aung San’s noncommittal statements this subject. He thought that while logically Constituent Assembly might settle this issue early its deliberations, it was likely that for same political reasons, decision might be deferred as long as possible.
Laithwaite said that his greatest immediate concern was Rangoon strike, which may be attributed to agitation in Burma during London talks which could not be shut off immediately. He hoped Aung San on return from Panglong would get to grips with situation.

Sent Dept 978; repeated Rangoon 13.

  1. British Minister of Education.
  2. The Panglong agreement was reported in telegram 119, February 13, from Rangoon, not printed; for text of agreement, signed at Maymyo, April 24, 1947, see British Cmd. 7138: Burma, Frontier Areas Committee of Inquiry, 1947, Report to His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and to the Government of Burma, Presented by the Secretary of State for Burma to Parliament by Command of His Majesty June, 1947, p. 13.