845C.00/1–2347: Telegram

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


483. U Ba Pe17 of Burma delegation presented Packer’s letter of introduction to Embassy today and in general conversation made following points:

While he had only attended two meetings so far Ba Pe said that he had been favorably impressed by sincerity with which Prime Minister was conducting talks.
Ba Pe feels that purpose London talks is to decide how, rather than whether, 1935 axe [Act18] will be buried.
Ba Pe volunteered that “British have their own difficulties” re Parliament and British public opinion and said that Burma delegation would agree to convention mentioned by Laithwaite (Embassy’s 382, January 18, paragraph 419) “there being no alternative”.
There were “very few” Communists in Burma “but they have loud mouths” which gives them false appearance of importance. He said Communists were split into two groups, one of which works closely with Indian Communists.
The “frontier areas” are a British creation. He thought the “really backward people” of these areas probably did not exceed 100,000. Although there were difficulties he thought that the greater part of tribal area wanted independence and wanted it within the structure of Burma proper.
He said that conversations regarding financial questions began yesterday. He hoped they would prove fruitful and that at early date US-Burman trade relations could progress.
Ba Pe said that as soon as dollars were available Burma wanted to increase number of Burma Government students attending US colleges and in this connection Burma desired to send official to US to look after their welfare. Asked whether this official would be attached to the British Embassy in Washington temporarily, Ba Pe replied that “this is just what we want to avoid”.
Ba Pe approved secrecy with which talks have been conducted so far. He thought that within few days enough progress will have been made to issue a joint communiqué.

  1. Member of the Burmese Executive Council (Commerce and Supply) and of the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League. He had arrived late for the London meetings.
  2. The Government of Burma Act, 1935.
  3. Telegram not printed; paragraph 4 concerned a suggested temporary convention under which the Governor would withhold the use of his powers (845C.00/1–1847).