740.0011 P.W. (Peace)/5–1447

Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Vincent)


Memo for the Record

Recommendation hereunder agreed to by Secretary on May 14, 1947, in conference with General Hilldring and Mr. Vincent with following modification:

We are prepared to agree to four-power unanimity as stated in the attached memorandum but are not prepared to agree to six-power unanimity as stated therein. The Secretary believes that the inclusion of France, in view of its negative record in the Pacific during the war, among the “principally interested” powers would inevitably raise embarrassing [Page 458] issues with other Pacific nations, such as New Zealand, the Netherlands, India and the Philippines.


Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Vincent) to the Secretary of State


Preparatory Conference on a Japanese Peace Treaty

Officers of the Department have discussed methods for initiating action on the above subject. There is complete agreement that a preparatory conference should not be confined to the representatives of only four nations (US, UK, USSR and China) or of the CFM powers (France in addition to the four powers named). A majority of the officers felt certain that the USSR would not join in a conference of eleven nations which did not provide for large-power unanimity (for a Soviet veto). Some officers felt that Russia would, faced with a definite decision to hold an eleven-power conference based on a two-thirds voting procedure, choose participation as less disadvantageous than abstention. There were some officers who felt that the US itself should retain some kind of veto.

Discussion produced general agreement to proceed as follows: Ambassador Smith upon his return to Moscow would consult with Molotov. Simultaneously, Department officers would consult with the Ambassadors in Washington of the other nine powers. An eleven-power preparatory conference to meet in Washington at an early convenient date would be suggested, and the views of the various governments would be solicited. In response to the inevitable question as to voting procedure, we would express a preference for a two-thirds majority system and request the views of the various governments as to what nations might be considered as “principally interested” if large-power unanimity were desired.

It is recommended that we make the approaches to the representatives of the various governments as indicated above; that we be prepared to reject flatly any suggestion of a conference limited to only four, five or six powers; that we stand firm on our desire for a conference composed of eleven powers; and that we be prepared to accept the principle of large-power unanimity on a basis of four powers (US, UK or Australia, USSR and China) or six powers (US, UK, USSR, China, Australia and France).