Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Merchant)

top secret

Subject: Burma

Participants: Mr. Tomlinson, Counselor—British Embassy
FE—Mr. Merchant

Mr. Tomlinson called on me this afternoon at his request. He said that he had reported to the Foreign Office his and Minister Steel’s conversation with Mr. Lacy and me last week regarding the KMT troops on the Burmese-Yunnan border and that in his telegram he had reported my statement that there were no Americans with the KMT troops in question. He went on to say that he had now received a “weighty” telegram from the Foreign Office, from which he had abstracted certain statements regarding their information on this operation. Mr. Tomlinson added that London believed the time had come to lay our cards frankly on the table with each other, since London is disturbed by the “near hysterical” frame of mind of the Burmese Government on this matter and fear that the Burmese will take it to the UN with resultant difficulty and embarrassment for all concerned.

I took as long a time as I could in reading the document and then remarked that it seemed to contain an extraordinary amount of circumstantial detail. I apologized for not having yet been able to review all of our information on this subject as I had promised, but said that I would do so promptly and would plan to talk to Mr. Tomlinson further before the end of the week.

Immediately after Mr. Tomlinson’s departure I talked to Mr. Krentz,1 giving him the paper which Tomlinson had left with me.2 Mr. Krentz undertook to inform Mr. Matthews3 of this development and to arrange for an appropriate meeting among ourselves at the earliest possible moment.

  1. Kenneth C. Krentz, member of the Policy Planning Staff.
  2. Not printed.
  3. H. Freeman Matthews, Deputy Under Secretary of State.