SECRETARY of State Marshall proposed a conference to draw up a treaty of peace with Japan in notes which he sent to China, Britain and the Soviet Union on July 21, 1947, about three months after the Council of Foreign Ministers at Moscow failed to reach any agreement over a treaty with Germany. He suggested that a conference of the 11 members of the Far Eastern Commission -- namely, Soviet Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and the Philippines -- be convened either at Washington or San Francisco. He asked that it should take decisions by a two-thirds majority rather than unanimously, as at Moscow.
The three countries addressed returned different answers. Britain expressed agreement with Secretary Marshall's suggestions, with the full concurrence of the Commonwealth nations which were then meeting at Canberra. In a later note of December 12, however, she desired to have Pakistan and possibly also Burma take part in the conference. The response from Moscow, which came promptly on July 22, was unfavorable. Soviet Russia maintained that the drafting of the Japanese treaty was the exclusive task of the four principal Powers -- the United States, Britain, China and herself -- and insisted that each should enjoy the right of veto. The view was repeated in later Soviet notes, though the last modified the earlier position in that Soviet Russia expressed a willingness to have the other Powers in the Far Eastern Commission take part in the conference as members of the various committees, in a purely advisory capacity.
The Chinese response has been and remains in the nature of a compromise. While agreeing with Secretary Marshall that decisions be by a two-thirds majority of the 11 Powers, China agrees with the Soviet Union that any decision must have the full concurrence of all the four principal Powers. In other words, each of these Powers should have the right of veto. There is thus a three-cornered disagreement which has remained substantially unchanged for
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