Attlee to Chifley

Cablegram 290 LONDON, 13 August 1945, 11.25 p.m.


As soon as the Japanese surrender has been accepted by the governments, the Allies will be faced with many tasks resulting from the Japanese capitulation. We trust that we may rely on your assistance in these and indeed we regard your assistance as indispensable. The proposals set out below are to be regarded as replacing the suggestion for a British Commonwealth force dealt with in telegram D.1330 [1] and connected subsequent telegrams.

2. The tasks confronting us are- (a) The reoccupation of key areas of occupied territories in order to secure effective control and to enforce the surrender and disarmament of the Japanese armed forces.

(b) Earliest release of British and Allied prisoners of war and internees.

(c) Participation in occupation of Japan.

(d) Protection of British interests in China.

(e) Ending our state of war with Siam.

3. Subject to your agreement we suggest that plans shall be made on the following assumptions on policy- (a) The South-West Pacific area will pass to the British and Australian Command.

(b) It is highly important that British Commonwealth forces should accept the surrender of Hongkong at the earliest possible date.

(c) A British Commonwealth force shall take part in the occupation of Japan. We suggest that it should be formed from one brigade group each of Australian, British, British/Indian, Canadian and New Zealand troops with a tactical air force contingent. Questions of command can be dealt with separately.

May we have your very early agreement in principle to these suggestions? 4. Orders have been given to S.A.C.S.E.A. and Commander in Chief British Pacific Force to make plans for the following operations- (a) The early reopening of the Straits of Malacca, the occupation of Singapore and the key areas of Malaya.

(b) The early reestablishment of a British garrison in Hongkong.

The proposal is that the Commander in Chief, British Pacific Fleet should embark from Borneo an Australian force of about one brigade strength and transport it with all possible speed to Hongkong. It will be relieved as soon as the Straits of Malacca are open by forces from South East Asia Command.

(c) The acceptance of the surrender of Japanese forces in Java, Sumatra and French Indo-China and the preliminary arrangements for handing back these territories to the Dutch and French.

(d) The occupation of Siam.

5. We should like to have your early agreement in principle that Australian forces, possibly in conjunction with New Zealand forces, shall initially be responsible for Borneo and all Japanese occupied territories to the east thereof including Ocean and Nauru Islands. Some assault and merchant shipping will be made available to you. Will you please let us know your minimum requirements? We will also make arrangements as soon as possible for the provision of cargo and personnel shipping for the maintenance of your forces of occupation in this area.

6. Since there will be many matters which will need local consultation we consider it most desirable that liaison missions should be exchanged between the Australian Commander in Chief and S.A.C.S.E.A. Subject to your agreement we will instruct S.A.C.S.E.A. accordingly.

7. We should be glad of information as to your intentions for the employment of the Royal Australian Navy squadron.

8. In view of the time factor we are informing the United States Chiefs of Staff of the proposals in paragraphs 3 and 4 above and inviting their comment.


1 Document 150.


[AA : A1066, P45/10/1/3, ii]