90. Telegram From the Secretary of State to the Department of State 1

Dulte 20. Reference: Secto 33,2 and Tosec 40, repeated information Tokyo 381.3

Shigemitsu apparently in worried and distraught condition as result collapse Soviet peace treaty talks. He several times referred vaguely to desirability US calling conference of Japan, USSR, UK, perhaps others to consider question final territorial dispositions. It would presumably be predicated upon residual and inchoate right of victors to dispose finally of territories over which Japan had renounced sovereignty but where no new sovereignty internationally agreed upon. Apparently Shigemitsu feels it might thus be possible work out [Page 205] better deal for Japan on Kuriles than would otherwise be possible. He says when Japan talks to Russia alone, Russia is “very hard” and does not even listen.

I had assumed4 Shigemitsu merely throwing out vague suggestion requiring no response but yesterday he asked me specifically what US position would be re such proposal. I am not sure that Shigemitsu speaks on this matter with governmental authority but yesterday I told him I would forward his suggestion to Washington.

I am generally sympathetic to trying to help out Japan as against USSR but believe this procedure would require thorough study lest it open up disagreeable questions re Ryukyus and Taiwan.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.941/8–2256. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Tokyo. Another copy of this telegram indicates Dulles drafted it. (Ibid., Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 750)
  2. See footnote 6, supra.
  3. In Tosec 40, August 20, the Department, after mentioning several alternatives, concluded that “at this point” it would be “on balance” best to offer no advice to Japan on the territorial issue. (Department of State, Central Files, 661.941/8–2056)
  4. In the source text this phrase reads “I has assured”. The correct reading is taken from the Conference File copy.