Attlee to Chifley

Cablegram 288 LONDON, 11 August 1945, 11.35 p.m.


We have been giving urgent consideration to the problem of re- occupation of Hong Kong in the event of the Japanese surrender. I feel that it is of great importance that the Japanese surrender in Hong Kong should be accepted, and Hong Kong itself initially occupied by British Commonwealth Forces rather than by Chinese or American troops from the mainland of China. Our idea is to send a detachment of the British Pacific Fleet to Hong Kong as soon as the Japanese Government have surrendered.

It will be left to the discretion of the Naval Commander as to whether he should put a party ashore to accept surrender, although we very much hope that this will be possible. It will, however, be necessary to put a substantial body of troops, which we estimate at one brigade, ashore as soon as practicable to disarm the Japanese forces and to take control. By far the quickest means of finding such a force initially appears to us to be by taking Australian troops from Borneo or Morotai and moving them in further ships of the British Pacific Fleet. This force will be relieved by troops from South East Asia Command as early as is possible after the opening of the Malacca Straits. I should be grateful for your agreement in principle to this proposal.

It will, of course, be necessary for the Commander-in-Chief of the British Pacific Fleet to make all arrangements in concert with Gen. MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz.



[AA : A3195, 1945, FOLDER, TOP SECRET, INWARDS FROM SECRETARY OF STATE, D1157-3/7/45 to D2033-2/11/45, 1.26007]