740.0011 P.W. (Peace)/8–247

Memorandum by the Deputy Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Penfleld)7


We have now received replies from all the ten Governments we approached on July 11 regarding a conference on the Japanese Peace Treaty. We should make our next move without delay.

It will be noted from attached summary of views received (Tab A)8 that there are differences regarding date of the conference, voting procedure, and whether it should be Foreign Minister or Deputy level. However, all Governments except the USSR have agreed to an eleven [Page 477] power conference. The Soviets have not definitely refused to participate in such a conference but it is unlikely that they will show up. We may therefore in the final analysis be faced with the necessity of deciding whether we consider ourselves released from our “separate peace” commitment, in view of Soviet refusal to participate in the drafting or signing of a treaty. In this situation we should make every possible gesture to the Soviets which does not compromise our basic position, and we should be careful at all stages in the procedure to avoid slamming the door in their face.

With these considerations in mind it is recommended that:9

We immediately attempt to obtain from the Chinese Ambassador and the British Chargé d’Affaires assurances that their Governments will support us in refusing to consider that the Council of Foreign Ministers has jurisdiction over the Japanese Peace Treaty and in refusing to refer this matter to the Council.
Permission be obtained informally from the local diplomatic missions of the nine Governments concerned to circulate their views on our proposals of July 11, in an agreed summary form.
The attached note be dispatched to the Soviet Embassy (Tab B).10
Identic notes (Tab C) be dispatched to the other nine Governments represented on the Far Eastern Commission, enclosing copies of the Soviet Aide-Mémoire of July 22,10a our reply thereto,11 and a summary of the views of the Governments on our proposals of July 11 (Tab A).
In the event that the Soviets do not reply within two weeks, the Secretary should then consider whether formal invitations should be dispatched at once to the ten Governments inviting them to attend a Japanese Peace Conference on the following conditions:
  • Place: Washington
  • Date: September 8, 1947
  • Level of representation:
    • Each country to be represented by its Foreign Minister or a Deputy as it chooses.
  • Procedure: The conference to determine its own procedure after it convenes.

  1. Addressed to Under Secretary of State Lovett and General Hilldring.
  2. For summary, see telegram 318, August 13, 2 p.m., to Tokyo, p. 489.
  3. The recommendations made in this memorandum were approved by the Office of European Affairs and the Division of Eastern European Affairs. A memorandum of August 5 by the Executive Secretariat stated that General Hilldring had approved the recommendations, the first four for immediate action, the fifth conditionally. (740.0011 P.W.(Peace)/8–747)
  4. Note dated August 12, p. 488.
  5. See telegram 2486, July 23, from Moscow, p. 473.
  6. For U.S. reply to the aide-mémoire of July 22, see post, p. 488.