Lot 54 D 423

Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs ( Rusk ) to the Secretary of State 1

Subject: Invitation to Associated States of Indochina to Attend San Francisco Conference


To decide whether or not to invite the three Associated States of Indochina to attend the Japanese Peace Conference at San Francisco.


All of the Associated States, as well as France, have made vigorous representations to the Department with a view to having the Associated States invited to the San Francisco Conference. The Department has ascertained through telegrams to the U.S. Missions in various countries that India, Indonesia and Burma would definitely not be in favor of issuing such invitations. These States do not recognize the Associated States of Indochina and look upon them as French puppets. It has been feared that if an invitation were issued to these States, it might be the factor which would swing the balance against participation at San Francisco by India, Indonesia and Burma. On the other hand, France has taken a very strong position and at one point [Page 1278] stated that it would be most difficult, if not impossible, for Foreign Minister Schuman to come to San Francisco if the Associated States were not invited. Pakistan2 and Ceylon have agreed to extending invitations and the Philippines has indicated it would not object.

Acceptance by Russia of the invitation to the San Francisco Conference has, however, altered the situation as it now seems likely that the doubtful states, such as India, will attend and the fact of an invitation to the Associated States will not block such attendance.3 In the circumstances, it is believed the Associated States should be invited to San Francisco and it has been ascertained that the United Kingdom, joint sponsor of the Treaty draft, agrees with this position. The American Ambassador in India, Mr. Henderson, in his telegram 657 of August 19,4 also agrees with this view. In view of the fact that in the last analysis India, Indonesia and Burma may refuse to sign the Treaty and as it is believed important for as many Asiatic States as possible to sign, it is considered advisable to issue an invitation to the Associated States as soon as possible.


It is therefore recommended that an invitation be issued at once to the three Associated States and that this then be made public.5

  1. Memorandum drafted by Mr. Allison.
  2. In telegram 174 from Karachi, August 17, Ambassador Alva M. Warren had reported that the Foreign Minister, Sir Mohammed Zafrullah Khan, had informed him Pakistan would not object to participation of the Indochinese states in the Japanese Peace Conference. (694.001/8–1751)
  3. In telegram 1032 to London, August 17, drafted by Mr. Allison, the Department had stated in part its opinion that India might not sign the treaty even if it attended the conference. (740.5/8–1751)
  4. In this telegram the Ambassador had stated in part his advice that India be informed of the U.S. [and U.K.] decision to invite the Associated States to the conference before the Government of India made its decision regarding acceptance of its own invitation. “Otherwise GOI might charge US, at least, with bad faith, if, after GOI decision to attend conf San Francisco, we shld announce intention invite three Assoc States after having indicated last month (Embtel 187, July 13, not printed) that we disinclined invite them if GOI opposed which we know has been case.” (694.001/8–1951) The final British decision to concur in the invitations to the Associated States had been communicated to the Department and to the Embassy in India on August 18. (Telegram 937 from London, August 18, repeated to New Delhi as number 31, 694.001/8–1851)
  5. At the end of this memorandum, unsigned but apparently in Mr. Rusk’s handwriting, is the following sentence: “We are already strongly committed on this point.”

    The entire text of the Secretary’s memorandum of Item 3 of his conversation held with the President, August 20, follows: “The President approved an invitation to the Associated States of Indochina.” Remaining items did not concern Indochina. (Lot 53 D 444)

    However, in despatch number 418 from New Delhi, August 21, Fraser Wilkins, First Secretary of Embassy, reported in part that on the previous day the Embassy had informed the Indian Government of the decision of the United States to invite the Associated States to the San Francisco Conference, as the Embassy had been instructed to do by the Department’s telegram 405 of August 18, not printed. (694.001/8–2151)