"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] State Department Memorandum on the Japan-Soviet Negotiations, The Aide-Memoire

[Date] September 7, 1956
[Source] Nichibei kankei shiryo-shu 1945-97, pp.375-376. Department of State Bulletin, (September 24, 1956), p.484.
[Full text]


"Pursuant to the request made by the Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr. Shigemitsu, in the course of recent conversations in London with the Secretary of State, Mr. Dulles, the Department of State has reviewed the problems presented in the course of the current negotiations for a treaty of peace between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Japan, with particular reference to the interest of the United States as a signatory of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, and on the basis of such review makes the following observations.

"The Government of the United States believes that the state of war between Japan and the Soviet Union should be formally terminated. Such action has been overdue since 1951, when the Soviet Union declined to sign the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Japan should also long since have been admitted to the United Nations, for which it is fully qualified; and Japanese prisoners of war in Soviet hands should long since have been returned in accordance with the surrender terms.

"With respect to the territorial question, as the Japanese Government has been previously informed, the United States regards the socalled Yalta agreement as simply a statement of common purposes by the then heads of the participating powers, and not as a final determination by those powers or of any legal effect in transferring territories. The San Francisco Peace Treaty (which conferred no rights upon the Soviet Union because it refused to sign) did not determine the sovereignty of the territories renounced by Japan, leaving that question, as was stated by the Delegate of the United States at San Francisco, to 'international solvents other than this treaty'.

"It is the considered opinion of the United States that by virtue of the San Francisco Peace Treaty Japan does not have the right to transfer sovereignty over the territories renounced by it therein. In the opinion of the United States, the signatories of the San Francisco Treaty would not be bound to accept any action of this character and they would, presumably, reserve all their rights thereunder.

"The United States has reached the conclusion after careful examination of the historical facts that the islands of Etorofu and Kunashiri (along with the Habomai Islands and Shikotan which are a part of Hokkaido) have always been part of Japan proper and should in justice be aknowledged{sic} as under Japanese sovereignty. The United States would regard Soviet agreement to this effect as a positive contribution to the reduction of tension in the Far East."