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Notes on The Memoirs of Cordell Hull
by William P. Meyers

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Page 31
Unconditional Surrendor, China Policy, and Retirement

The Principle of Unconditional Surrendor was a complete surprise to both Churchill and Hull when President Roosevelt announced it during the Casablanca Conference in January, 1943. Hull was against it as he felt it would prolong the war. [1570]

Hull says the United States objective for China during the war was building it up and getting it recognized as one of the major world powers. On December 17, 1943 Congress "passed an Act repealing the Chinese Exclusion Laws and permitting Chinese citizens to enter the United States as immigrants ... I considered the repeal of the Exclusion Laws necessary as one means of improving our relations with the Orient." But given the formula used, the number of Chinese allowed into the country "would be very small indeed." On February 8, 1944, President Roosevelt "set a quota of 105 Chinese immigrants annually." [1583]

As early as 1943 Japanese leaders sought a peace agreement with Chiang Kai-shek in China. At the Cairo Conference, President Roosevelt promised China would receive Manchuria, Formosa [Taiwan], and the Pescadores Islands after the Japanese were defeated. Hull was not consulted on this agreement. [1584]

Hull was also not consulted before Churchill, Roosevelt, and Chiang issued a statement "that independence would be restored to Korea "in due course."" Hull thought the statement unwise since "Koreans wanted their independence immediately Korea was liberated, and not in due course." [sic][1584]

In addition to sending soldiers to fight for and train Chiang's troops, assistance to China included a $500 million credit. [1584-1585]

Hull was not in favor of Vice President Henry Wallace's trip to China in 1944 to try to reconcile the Communists and Chiang. [1585-1586]

"It was obvious to me that Japan would disappear as a great Oriental power for a long time to come." [1587]

Hull resigned as of November 30, 1944. Roosevelt visited him in the hospital before the Yalta Conference, "but gave me not the slightest hint of his plans." [1587]

The government of Thailand declared war against the U.S. on January 25, 1942, but the U.S. took the position that the government of Thailand was controlled by Japan, and never declared war in return. [1588]

Hull decries Japanese treatment of Americans during the war, including Ambassador Grew. "The Japanese executed the American aviators who fell into their hands after General James Doolittle's raid over Tokyo." Japan was not a signatory to the Prisoners of War Convention. [1589]

Hull describes planning for the postwar governance of Japan by the United States [1589-1593]

Hull made U.S. policy that the European colonies in Asia should be prepared for self-government along the lines of the U.S. plan for eventually allowing quasi-independence for the Philippines. In particular Roosevelt wanted to take Indo-China (Vietnam) from the French and place it in an international trusteeship, with independence to follow. [1595] Hull informed Roosevelt that prior U.S. statements had committed the U.S. to supporting restoration of Vietnam & the rest of the the Empire to France after the war, but Roosevelt insisted on his view, and noted the British were disinclined to grant independence to their colonies. [1597]

Roosevelt told British Foreign Secretary Eden in March, 1943 that he favored a trusteeship for Korea, with the U.S. and China as core trustees. [1595-1596]

"At no time did we press Britain, France, or The Netherlands for an immediate grant of self-government to their colonies." Only Vice President Wallace argued for immediate independence. [1599]

"At the end of July, 1946, I was gratified by the issuance of the report of the Congressional Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack. The majority report, in which two Republicans joined, found: "The diplomatic policies and actions of the United states provided no justificable provocation whatever for the attack by Japan on this Nation." [1727]

[WPM: Former member of Congress and Secretary of State Cordell Hull died July 23, 1955. His Memoirs were published in 1948.]

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