845C.00/1–2847: Telegram

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

us urgent

606. Prime Minister read to packed and attentive Commons today a statement summarizing provisions of the agreement reached between British and Burma delegations (Lord Pethick-Lawrence25 at same time read same statement before Lords). Text of this agreement was issued simultaneously.26

Prime Minister mentioned that two of Burmese delegation had seen fit to disassociate themselves from agreement at last minute but that they had no constructive alternatives to offer and their refusal to sign did not impair solid accomplishments contained in agreement. Mr. Churchill immediately rose and asked Prime Minister whether his statement meant simply “go” or whether it meant both “go and pay”. Attlee who appeared to have great measure of support on both sides of House refused to be drawn by Churchill into an exchange of type which latter led on December 20. Attlee said that at this stage there was no question of either going or paying because people of Burma would make their free choice as to whether to remain in British Commonwealth and because financial matters were covered by loans which were fully justified by ravages of war suffered by Burma, both at the hands of enemy and by orders of British commanders in prosecution of war.
Prime Minister’s statement indicated that Parliamentary Under Secretary for Dominions, Mr. A. G. Bottomley, would depart in near future for Burma to study wishes for future of Burmese people in general and tribal areas in particular. He would be available for consultation with Burmese nationals but he would not carry with him comprehensive instructions or powers.27
General impression received by Embassy observers present was that Prime Minister’s deft handling of opposition obviated difficulties [Page 11] inherent in disaffection of two Burmese delegates and forestalled any phrase making by Churchill.

Sent Dept 606, repeated New Delhi 10; Department please pass to Rangoon as our No. 6.

  1. British Secretary of State for India and Burma.
  2. British Cmd. 7029: Conclusions reached in the Conversations between His Majesty’s Government and the Delegation from the Executive Council of the Governor of Burma, Presented by the Prime Minister to Parliament by Command of His Majesty January 1947.
  3. In an analysis of the agreement, Mr. Andrus in telegram 612, January 28, 7 p.m., from London, stated that “Burma’s interim status fully equal to India’s. External affairs and defense no longer given special reserved treatment.” (845C.00/1–2847)