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341 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram 227[A] LONDON, 1 December 1943, 1.05 p.m.


Dominions Office telegraphing you urgently text of declaration [1]
by the Prime Minister, President and Chiang Kai-shek [2] with
regard to the Pacific which is being issued at midnight to-night.

The facts with regard to this declaration, which obviously should
not have been published until you had had an opportunity of
considering it, are as follows-
The text was received here on Monday night in a telegram from the
Ambassador in Cairo to the Foreign Office. Almost by an accident
it was disclosed to the War Cabinet at Monday night's meeting by
Sir Orme Sargent, representing the Foreign Office in Eden's
absence. [3] It came as a considerable surprise to the members of
the War Cabinet. The two points upon which anxiety was expressed
1. as to whether Stalin had been consulted and had agreed to the
publication and
2. that while the specific restoration of territories in the case
of China was laid down, nothing was said with regard to the
restoration of their territories to other powers.

I took the point very strongly that the text should immediately be
sent to Australia and that there should be no publication until
you had had an opportunity of considering it. I also raised the
point as to the position of ex-enemy territories in view of the
statement as to no territorial ambitions which, although only
binding the United Kingdom, might place us in an embarrassing
position in view of our great interest in the islands of the

There was general agreement that you should immediately be
informed of the text of the declaration but it was felt that you
should be informed by the Prime Minister and I was asked not to
communicate with you until he had had an opportunity of doing so.

This morning a reply has come in from the Prime Minister asking
that the text should be communicated to the Dominions from here
and adding that publication has been arranged for 12 o'clock to-
night. On this latter point the Prime Minister shows some signs of
grace by saying that he 'fears' that arrangements have been made
with the President and Chiang Kai-shek for this time of

I am afraid there is nothing that can be done about the matter and
apart from the question of principle as to consultation this is
probably immaterial.

The press are being informed that the intention is for territories
in addition to those of China to revert to their original owners
and the handling of ex-enemy territories will not in practice be
prejudiced by the declaration.


1 See Document 340.

2 Chinese President.

3 See Bruce's summary of this meeting, which took place on 29
November, on file AA:M100, November 1943. Bruce's view of the
declaration was that it was 'in the right direction', but had 'a
little the impress of the "big boys" dictating to the small ones'.

[AA:A989, 43/735/1016/2]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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