Wednesday marked 72 years since Japan’s surrender was accepted in Taiwan. At the time, the Republic of China (ROC) was playing tricks and when Chen Yi (陳儀) handed Order No. 1 to General Rikichi Ando, Japan’s last governor-general of Taiwan, it had the text “Receiving the territory of Taiwan and the Penghu archipelago,” with the result that Ando did not sign the surrender document.
To this day, Ando’s surrender cannot be found in the ROC, although the acceptance of the surrender took place in Taiwan. This led to the lie that Taiwan and Penghu were handed over to the ROC through the Treaty of Taipei on April 28, 1952.
First, on Sept. 17, 1951, then-US ambassador to Taiwan Karl Ranking warned then-minister of foreign affairs George Yeh (葉公超) that the Treaty of Taipei could not imply that Taiwan became a de jure part of Chinese territory.
On May 13, 1952, the ROC’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) stated in Volume 54 addressing the peace treaty with Japan that “the San Francisco Peace Treaty only stipulates that Japan renounce sovereignty over Taiwan and Penghu, but does not specify to whom, and this cannot be remedied through the peace treaty with Japan.”
On July 16, 1952, a Central Daily News article said: “In accordance with the Cairo Declaration, we have received Taiwan and Penghu, where we are exercising executive power, and there is no doubt that Taiwan and Penghu are part of our territory. The Treaty of Peace between the Republic of China and Japan has been executed exactly in accordance with the San Francisco Peace Treaty, and on this matter, we have done all we can to add further stipulations, but in the end, we did not achieve our goals.”
On July 23, 1952, Dispatch No. 31 from the US embassy in Taiwan reported to the US Department of State that Yeh had said that due to the delicate international situation, Taiwan and Penghu “do not belong to us. In the current situation, Japan has no right to hand over Formosa and Penghu to us, nor can we accept such a transfer from Japan even if it so wishes.”
However, MOFA says that no such files exist.
On July 13, 1971, then-US Department of State legal adviser Robert Starr in a note to Office of Republic of China Affairs director Charles Sylvester confirmed the text in the previous point, “nor can we accept such a transfer from Japan even if it so wishes.”
Sim Kiantek is a former associate professor in the Department of Business Administration at National Chung Hsing University.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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