281 Department of External Affairs to Evatt

Cablegram A1 CANBERRA, 30 May 1946

Following are Sir Frederic Eggleston's comments on United States draft treaty on disarmament and demilitarisation of Japan. [1]

(1) There is no specific reference in Potsdam Declaration of July 26, 1945 [2], to a treaty controlling the disarmament of Japan nor is there any such reference in any of the documents constituting the Japanese Surrender. The reference to Japanese disarmament in the Potsdam Declaration in Clause 7 is vague and incomplete. The citation of the declaration in the Preamble of the proposed treaty is not accurate. It seems reasonable, however, to set up a system of disarmament control and inspection and to agree to complete such disarmament as a condition of giving up occupation.

(2) I do not see anything in the terms of reference of the Far Eastern Commission and the Allied Council for Japan [3] which touches the matter of disarmament directly, but in my opinion the question of disarmament comes under clause 11 A (1) of the terms of reference of F.E.C.

(3) Whether the treaty should be confined to the four great powers and whether it should be pronounced upon by the Far Eastern Commission are matters of importance. If Australia is not included it should at least insist on reference to the Far Eastern Commission at the appropriate time.

(4) I gather from the report of the Council of Foreign Ministers that the two disarmament treaties for Germany and Japan were put in by the United States of America as a means of meeting Russian suspicion of United States motives and showing that United States was prepared to commit herself to the execution of the Peace Treaties. This seems to me to be statesmanlike. It is exceedingly important to get the United States of America deeply committed and to see that her move in this direction is not frustrated and my judgment is that it would be a mistake for Australia at this stage to do anything which might look antagonistic to the treaty.

(5) It looks as if Molotov is stalling Byrnes' move-see telegram 509, para. 15. [4] An attitude like this may precipitate the trend visible in United States of America towards isolationism and is to be regretted.

(6) The treaty can of course be criticised in detail, for example:-

(a) it does not actually set up the Commission but leaves it to subsequent agreement;

(b) action when called for has to await common agreement at the time;

(c) the terms are too sweeping and might prevent a good deal of peaceful activity.

1 Document 253, See also Document 255.

2 Volume VIII, Document 163.

3 See Document 6 and Document 124, note 2.

4 Presumably Addison's cablegram D506, dispatched 18 May. It described Molotov's blocking discussion of a U.S. proposal to speed preparation of a German peace treaty by appointment of special deputies. Paragraph 15 reported Byrnes' explanation that the U.S. Govt had only proposed disarmament and demilitarisation treaties for Germany and Japan after encouragement by Stalin, his emphasis that the United States was ready to play a part both in Germany and Japan, and his disappointment that a move unprecedented in U.S. history had been misunderstood.

[AA:A3196, 1946, 0.10773/87]