191 Ball to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram BCOM2 TOKYO, 15 April 1946


The Japanese people have not been told how long the Allied occupation or control will continue. In my view this ignorance of Allied intentions causes obstructions to successful application of Allied policy. The hope that occupation will be short encourages militarists and reactionaries now in obscurity to plan for restoration of their power as soon as the Allies move out. The fear that occupation will be short deters radical and liberal people from transferring to open initiative and leadership lest when occupation ends the former leaders acquire power and treat them as quislings.

I believe it is urgent that an authoritative Allied statement should be made forthwith expressing without equivocation the Allied intention to maintain control of Japan for a generation, say 30 years. I would suggest that there is an important distinction between long occupation and long control.

Military occupation on the existing scale is only o[ne] of a number of methods by which the Allies might exercise control. The techniques of control may well be altered to meet changes in circumstances. The successful completion of a most important phase of occupation policy may make desirable the shifting from military to civilian control.

I would suggest that this statement should make two things clear.

Firstly that reduction or withdrawal of occupation forces does not mean the end of control. Secondly that control will include not merely prohibition but a positive programme to foster a democratic way of life. [1]

1 This cablegram was repeated to Evatt on 24 April, with a comment that similar views had been expressed in Forsyth's report on the visit of the F.E.A.C. to Japan and publicly by Berendsen. No reply has been found.

[AA:A1067, P46/10/33/19, i]