The British Embassy to the Department of State 64

Notes for Oral Communication to Mr. Ballantine

Before a formal reply can be returned to Department of State note of March 15th, 1945, Dominion Governments must be consulted and final Cabinet approval be obtained. This may take some time. Meanwhile, preliminary reactions by Foreign Office are as follows:—

1. It seems clear that ultimate objects of U.S. Government and H.M. Government are much the same. It is hoped, however, that State Department will understand our position during the intervening period and will recognize that the problem of Siam is one which concerns us much more directly and closely than it does the United States. Siam is contiguous with Burma and Malaya, and went to war with us despite a non-aggression treaty, and accepted British territory at the hands of the Japanese, besides doing us other damage. We therefore have to consider our approach very carefully. It is impossible to say now what form the eventual settlement with Japan [Siam]65 will take, but certainly the position created by Siam must be radically altered by Siam before our old friendly relations can be restored. We hope that the United States Government will not misunderstand this attitude of reserve, and in particular will not feel that we are not taking seriously the recent approach by the Regent. On the contrary; we are proceeding [Page 1263] ion the assumption that there is no doubt as to the genuineness of Ruth’s66 desire for collaboration with the Allies.

2. The Secretary of State does however still feel that there are some material differences between the approaches made by the Siamese in Washington and what was said by Omar67 in Kandy. Notably the proposal made by the mission to Washington for the establishment of a “Free Thai Provisional Government” or at least a “Free Thai Committee” as acknowledged symbol of a resistance movement was not put forward or suggested by Ruth.

These proposals seem to be of doubtful expediency at the present time and also of doubtful practicality.

In general our experience of “free movements” is not such as to encourage us to expect useful results, especially in such a case as that of Siam, where there are so few persons of influence outside Siam to form the nucleus of a free movement. There is perhaps the additional difficulty that the setting up of a provisional government or liberation committee outside Siam might add to the difficulties of a resistance movement inside the country and precipitate strong Japanese action.

Moreover, now that direct contact has been established with “Ruth”, it seems better and more practical to continue to deal with him through existing secret channels rather than through intermediaries.

3. Consequently, since we have already outlined to Ruth the steps which we expect Siam to take in order that our old friendship may be resumed, the Secretary of State suggests that the most hopeful means of stimulating Siamese collaboration with the Allies will be to develop this direct contact until the moment is ripe for setting up a Provisional Government on a portion of liberated Siamese territory as contemplated by “Ruth” himself.

  1. Handed to Mr. Ballantine by Sir George Sansom, the British Minister; memorandum of April 5 covering the ensuing conversation not printed, but for nature of the comments by the British Minister, see memorandum of April 9 by Mr. Ballantine, infra.
  2. Correction made by the British Minister on April 10.
  3. Code name for the Thai Regent.
  4. Code name for a Thai emissary who arrived in Ceylon late in February 1945 for discussions with the British.