The President opened the conversation with a reference to the Yalta Conference, saying that he had had a successful time. He then said, apparently referring to our last meeting at luncheon, “I liked Stanley” [Col. Oliver Stanley, British Secretary of State for the Colonies]. He thought that Stanley was more liberal on colonial policy than Churchill. He then asked me if Stanley was going to San Francisco. I said that I did not know. The President hoped he would. I told him that, although Stanley was hard-boiled, I felt there was a genuine streak of liberalism in him, and that under his leadership, the British would make some substantial changes in their whole colonial policy. I told the President of the £120,000,000 appropriation that Parliament has made for Colonial Development over the next ten years, and gave him some little detail of the debate in Parliament (February 7, 1945)…
The People of East Asia
The President said he was concerned about the brown people in the East. He said that there are 1,100,000,000 brown people. In many Eastern countries, they are ruled by a handful of whites and they resent it. Our goal must be to help them achieve independence–1,100,000,000 potential enemies are dangerous. He said he included the 450,000,000 Chinese in that. He then added, Churchill doesn’t understand this.
Indo-China and New Caledonia
The President said he thought we might have some difficulties with France in the matter of colonies. I said that I thought that was quite probable and it was also probable the British would use France as a “stalking horse”.
I asked the President if he had changed his ideas on French Indo-China as he had expressed them to us at the luncheon with Stanley. He said no he had not changed his ideas; that French Indo-China and New Caledonia should be taken from France and put under a trusteeship. The President hesitated a moment and then said–well if we can get the proper pledge from France to assume for herself the obligations of a trustee, then I would agree to France retaining these colonies with the proviso that independence was the ultimate goal. I asked the President if he would settle for self-government. He said no. I asked him if he would settle for dominion status. He said no–it must be independence. He said that is to be the policy and you can quote me in the State Department.