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13 Dixon to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 32 WASHINGTON, 13 January 1944, 1.32 a.m.


A meeting of the Pacific War Council was held January 12th. There

were present:-

The President. [1]

Ronald Campbell [2], Great Britain.

Leighton McCarthy [3], Canada.

Walter Nash, New Zealand.

Owen Dixon, Australia.

Osmena [4], Philippines.

Loudon [5], Netherlands.

Wei Taoming [6], China.

The President opened by remarking on the length of time since the

last meeting, saying that he had in the meantime travelled a good

deal, and that he considered the Pacific War was going pretty

well. He said that he saw no reason why the Pacific War Council

should not take part in the discussion of the question-what should

be done after the War about strategical bases and other places in

the Pacific.

He said that as we all knew he had seen Chiang Kai Shek first, and

afterwards Stalin. [7] The latter had offered no objections

whatsoever to what they had done at Cairo. He wanted no territory

in Asia, but considered that they were quite right in the plan

made at Cairo with reference to the restoration of territory to

China. He made no criticism of the idea of a Korean trusteeship.

He raised only one thing, namely, that Russia and the whole of

Siberia had no completely ice-free port. He, President Roosevelt,

had said in answer that there was only one place for it, namely,

Dairen or Port Arthur. Stalin asked whether he had thought about

it and he said 'Yes he had talked of it to Chiang Kai Shek', that

he had proposed to the latter that Dairen should be a free port,

free for the commerce of all the world. The railway to it belonged

to Manchukuo and automatically the railway would come under China.

But all that would be necessary would be to arrange that all

commerce should go over the railway to and from Siberia in bond,

so to speak.

Stalin said that was a very interesting suggestion and it appeared

that it might solve the problem.

He, President Roosevelt, had mentioned to Stalin that the Russians

should have the Kurile Islands so as to make the trade going in

and out secure from a military point of view. They had talked in

Cairo with Chiang Kai Shek about other islands, but nothing had

been settled. He could see no reason why the Pacific War Council

should not talk about them too.

Chiang Kai Shek had pointed out that the Bonin Islands and the

Luchu Islands [8] had originally been a part of China. Indeed,

China had once appointed the King to the latter. They were not

worth much except for military purposes and that to Japan. He, the

President, saw no reason why the civil administration should not

revert to China. if the United Nations considered that it was

important to have what he might call a policeman there, and it was

felt that China was not yet ready with planes and guns to play

that part, then he understood Chiang Kai Shek would have no

objection to that part being played by someone else under the

United Nations.

Then there are hundreds and hundreds of Islands mandated to Japan

which must be taken away from them. That raised the problem of how

they should be administered. Chiang Kai Shek and he were inclined

to think, although there was nothing final in their views, that a

United Nations body could be set up to administer them. He had in

mind the Marshalls, Marianas, and the Carolines. It was clear that

if anyone took them over it would be an out of pocket thing. They

must be administered for the good of the islanders and they were

of various races. For example, he understood the inhabitants of

Guam were entirely different from those of the Marianas Islands.

It would be an experiment if they were taken over by no single

nation, but were turned over to the United Nations as a body. But

when it came to the military end, it would be difficult to know

what in the future would be the important places. For instance,

Guam has a bad harbour but for aerial war it might be very


The United States of America would be glad to act as what might be

called a 'police agent' in cases where another country, for

instance, the Chinese, were not ready for that part. How we should

manage the policing of the world in relation to these Islands is a

question we should all be thinking of. one thing suggested is to

invent a new kind of sovereignty, the sovereignty of the United


South of the Equator, the islands fall really into three areas,

the Northern Islands, the Mandated Islands South, and the Dutch

area. It is not a homogeneous arrangement. It had grown up

fortuitously. Perhaps it would be possible to make some

arrangement in the allocation of those Islands.

Timor is another thing we should discuss. It is a thing which it

would be necessary for Churchill to talk about also in London.

Then there is the question-what we should do with the French

Islands. He, President Roosevelt, had said to Winston Churchill

that the French should not have New Caledonia back under any

conditions and that he believed that in this view Australia and

New Zealand would back him up. He had spoken only yesterday to

Admiral Halsey [9], who said whatever you do, do not give New

Caledonia back to the French. Its whole administration is a

disgrace. At present it is a big and important base. it could be

placed under the agency of Australia or New Zealand and Australia

might be joint agents for its development. It was. difficult to

say what word should be used. The word was not 'mandate', many of

the mandatories had considered the territories their own. Perhaps

the word 'agent' was the best.

He had sent Admiral Byrd [10] back to the Galapagos and the

Marquesas islands to examine their use in air routes. It looked as

if those Islands should be thrown open as international airports

of the world. Clipper ton Island is also French, and it might be

used on an air route going across Panama. He believed that, by and

large, air routes should be free to all the world with a

limitation against the use by aircraft foreign to any country of

its facilities to carry domestic traffic within that country. He

said he thought it was much the simplest way. Any airport in the

world ought, he thought, to be open for obtaining fuel and

supplies for the journey and for picking up and depositing

passengers. Leighton McCarthy interposed to say that he thought it

was the question of picking up that made it difficult and that,

for instance, the President would find that United States air

transport companies would object to Canadian aircraft picking up

passengers in the United States and taking them down, say, to

Mexico. But he was very pleased indeed to know that these were the

President's views.

If the President thought fit to make them public, it would go far

to remove misapprehensions. The President said that Churchill knew

about them, though they had not been made public. He ought to add

that he could never get Congress to allow any United States

internal airline to be owned by external capital, for instance,

British capital, and he thought that this was right. In the same

way he learned from conversations in Brazil that the Brazilians

would not let a Brazilian internal airline be owned by Argentine

capital. Leighton McCarthy said that he believed that in the case

of Canada, control of Canadian internal airline systems would be

concentrated in a Government-owned Company-the Trans-Canadian.

The President said that Winston Churchill, Stalin and himself were

definitely determined that no aircraft should be made in Germany

and that the Germans should not teach aeronautics or the use of

gliders. They were very strong about that.

In answer to a question, the President said that the whole of

Sakhalin should go to Russia. He added that Salazar [11] was at

present making an awful noise about Portuguese Timor. He referred

again to the French possessions and said that on the Atlantic side

consideration must be given to Dakar and Cape Verde as strategic

points. There was also Madagascar. It was not intended that the

French Committee of National Liberation, or indeed any French

Committee should be told of any of these discussions or questions.

After all, it was not the French who were winning the War, and

decisions had to be made on what was best for the future.

1 President Roosevelt.

2 Sir Ronald I. Campbell, U.K. Minister to the United States.

3 Canadian Minister to the United States.

4 Vice-President of the Philippines.

5 Netherlands Ambassador to the United States.

6 Chinese Ambassador to the United States.

7 See Document 3, note 1.

8 Also known as the Ryukyu Islands.

9 Allied Commander, South Pacific Area.

10 Naval Aviation Adviser attached to Headquarters, Commander-in-

Chief, U.S. Fleet.

11 Portuguese Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and, until 6

September, War Minister.

[AA:A6494, SPTS/1/2]

Last Updated: 2 February 2011
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