Lost Footsteps
Lost Footsteps
The 1945 Burma "White Paper"
event_note History Timeline

2 September 1945

The 1945 Burma "White Paper"

မြန်မာဘာသာဖြင့် ဖတ်ရန်

On 2 September 1945, the Empire of Japan formally surrendered to the Allied Powers on board the USS Missouri. Over 100 Allied warships and submarines were present that day in Tokyo Bay. The Allied were represented by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander. The Japanese were represented by Foreign Minister Shigemitsu Mamoru (in top hat and tails) and Chief of Imperial Army Staff General Umezu Yoshijiro.In Burma three days before (30 August), the Commander of the Burma Area Army Lt-Gen. Kimura Hyntaro had agreed to begin local surrender negotiations. The two sides would meet at a village along the Sittang River. The Japanese were then headquartered in Moulmein with 70,000 troops, having evacuated Rangoon in April. 150,000 Japanese had been killed and 80,000 wounded in Burma. British policy was then guided by the May 1945 Burma "White Paper". The plan was direct rule by the Governor (SIr Reginald Dorman-Smith), assisted by an appointed Executive Council, leading by December 1948 to elections, then a new constitution, and Dominion Status within the Commonwealth (like Australia, Canada). The major focus from 1945-8 would be on reconstruction and the rehabilitation of the country's rice, oil and other export industries. I suppose if this White Paper had been followed, Burma would have gone the way of Malaysia and Singapore, which achieved independence only in 1957. But nationalist pressures led the British to quit Burma by early 1948.

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