740.0011 PW (Peace)/7–1547

The British Embassy to the Department of State

Substance of a Message From the Foreign Office to His Majesty’s Chargé d’Affaires Dated 15th July, 1947

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom having accepted, together with other members of the Commonwealth, an invitation from the Australian Government to proceed to Canberra for a meeting on 26th August for a preliminary exchange of views about a Japanese Peace Settlement, would find difficulty in attending a meeting in the United States as proposed on 19th August. It has long been the practice for members of the British Commonwealth to exchange views on questions of mutual interest in advance on international conferences and in this case His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom feel that such an exchange of views would facilitate procedure when the International Conference is summoned to discuss a Japanese Peace Treaty.

While it would thus be difficult for His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom to be represented at a meeting on 19th August, they are in no way opposed in principle to the suggestion for an early meeting to discuss the Japanese Peace Settlement and would welcome any suggestion the United States Government may be willing to make for a date which would not conflict with the meeting at Canberra (bearing in mind of course the other international engagements to which Ministers of the Powers concerned are likely to be committed).

On the remainder of the proposals made by the United States Government, His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom would [Page 472] wish to defer their comments for the present except to say that they are of the opinion that questions of policy and principle should be determined first on a ministerial level before deputies and experts proceed to the task of examining the Japanese Peace Treaty in detail.1

  1. Australian and New Zealand views of a similar nature were also expressed on July 16 in visits to the Department.