364 Department of External Affairs to Embassy in Washington

Cablegram 509 WASHINGTON, 13 September 1949, 4.10 p.m.

CONFIDENTIAL

Your 831 (FEC 119). [1]

We consider the best course would be to try at Thursday's meeting to have the matter brought to a vote on its merits. Our main argument should be that Thailand was at war with us and other Allies and that no assets should be released to Thailand until all outstanding wartime claims against Thailand have been settled. We would not be unduly disturbed if FEC should decide that Indo- China's share should be released forthwith, though we are still doubtful about legality of title in both cases. An immediate vote on the substantive question would safeguard the authority of FEC and would at the same time place on the United States the onus of deciding whether to veto if it found itself in minority.

If however FEC is unwilling to consider proposal on its merits, you should move that directive be postponed until question can be fully investigated, considered and decided by FEC in interests of all Governments which participated actively in war against Japan.

We are doubtful whether there is anything to be gained from entering into legal argument on question of tide. Investigation might show that legal title is valid, but this is in any event secondary to main consideration that Thailand has not even yet settled outstanding claims [by] [2] Australia.

1 Document 362.

2 The text reads 'against'.

[AA:A1838/2, 479/10/11]