161 Commonwealth Government to Addison

Cablegram 217 CANBERRA, 7 August 1945


Your telegrams D.1223, 1304 [1], 1305, 1306 [2] Siam.

We fully agree it is undesirable that United States Government take unilateral action and favour the procedure proposed, viz., a political agreement to be followed by military and other special arrangements. In the meantime we desire to be associated in the consultations with the United States and upon advice as to whether these will be held in London or Washington will instruct our representative accordingly.

2. We support your view that the state of war with Siam is not to be treated as a mere technicality. Australia declared war on Siam as from 2nd March, 1942, on substantial grounds that Siamese Government had permitted passage of Japanese troops to attack Malaya, that Siamese troops had invaded Burma and Siam had declared war on Britain and on our ally the United States. The Siamese also interned British, American, and Netherlands nationals, and in other ways assisted Japan. We appreciate the difficulties of the Siamese Government in 1941 faced with superior Japanese force and also the reason for American sympathy with Siamese people, but these should not outweigh realities.

Chauvinist and anti-Western elements in Siam contributed to the acutely dangerous situation in the Pacific in 1942. Allied policies toward the future of Siam should be such as to discourage such influences. While we concede that it is expedient to accept a resistance Government as an ally against Japan we wish to emphasise two things.

(i) that the new government must be democratic in character, and (ii) that because Siam made and assisted Japan to make war against us treatment of Siam must be stern.

We would oppose any toleration of Fascist elements or tendencies in government or administration and would resist any endeavour by the United States to soften the proposed terms.

3. The proposed terms are in general satisfactory. We have the following suggestions:-

(i) Leaders of pro-Japanese groups and any Siamese who have been notable for active assistance to Japan to be placed under arrest.

(ii) It should be made clear that Siamese as well as Japanese are covered by the provision concerning war criminals and that Siamese who have treated Allied prisoners of war or internees harshly will be apprehended and punished.

(iii) Siamese obligations in regard to future security to be more specific, e.g., an undertaking to place at the disposal of a power or powers specified by the Security Council such maritime, aviation and other facilities as the Security Council may require.

We would prefer your paragraph E.1. to read (after Indo-China) 'and the security of the Indian Ocean and South West Pacific Areas'.

(iv) Amnesty for Siamese who have assisted United Nations, e.g., in propaganda work. (In this connection we wish to draw your attention to the distinction between 'APHAIYATHOS' (pardon for a particular offence) and 'NIRUTHOSAKARM' (complete amnesty) and to suggest that consideration be given to the use of the latter.) It might also be considered whether the amnesty should be extended to cover political offences against the Pibul regime.

4. Reverting to the United States views (your D.1223) the admission of Siam to membership of the United Nations would depend on its conduct and on the judgment of the United Nations. We see no reason for haste about this. We would expect to see Siam pass through a period akin to tutelage, the first stage of which would be the occupation and Allied military control through a Siamese Resistance Government. We would wish to be represented directly on control bodies at all levels. These and subsequent arrangements should be compatible with the emergence of indigenous Siamese government on democratic lines and Siamese co-operation in international and regional welfare arrangements. We think it likely that measures of foreign assistance to Siam will be necessary for these purposes even after the military period, though it should be a basic policy to modify any such measures progressively with evidence of Siamese capacity for effective internal administration and international co-operation. As regards (2), our concern with security arrangements in this region is as vital as that of France or China. [3] We find nothing exceptionable in (3) (Commercial arrangements) or in your suggestions on Commerce, Navigation and Aviation, provided Australia's position is not prejudiced. In regard to frontiers, we think it is not right to discriminate against France even to the slight extent proposed in (4) (Indo-China Border). [4] Our views on (5) and (6) [5] have been stated above.

1 Dispatched 14 and 26 July respectively. On file AA : A1066, H45/1014/2.

2 Documents 144 and 145.

3 The U.S. Govt had suggested that future security arrangements concerning Thailand should be a matter for prior consultation between the U.S. and U.K. Govts, and that France and China should also participate.

4 Despite regarding the cession of Indo-Chinese territory to Thailand in 1941 as invalid, the U.S. Govt proposed that the French Govt should be prepared 'to seek an agreement' which would enable the Thai Govt to press its claims 'by peaceful processes'.

5 i.e. future status of the Thai Govt and civil administration and control.

[AA : A1066, H45/1014/2]