61 Ball to Evatt

Cablegram Following for the TOKYO, 10 August 1946, 5 p.m. Minister


Following for your information.

1. During the recent week cordial exchanges of mutual respect between S.C.A.P. and the Japanese Government have increased in frequency. In two important issues-land reform and operation of purge Atcheson has publicly and spontaneously commended the Japanese Government for its good and sincere work. In each case I believe evidence shows that the Government is evasive and insincere.

2. During last week, great publicity has been given to expressions of the eternal gratitude of the Japanese people to MacArthur and the American people for their generosity and self sacrifices in sending food here to tide the Japanese over the food crisis. As I have previously reported, the food 'crisis' in Japan has been and continues to be grossly exaggerated in S.C.A.P. statements since S.C.A.P. has been deceived by the Japanese reports of the shortage.

3. During the last few days the Japanese press gives great prominence to Senator Ellender's report that MacArthur had told him that the American troops in Japan could soon be cut down to a 'handful of men'. Similar prominence has been given to Yoshida's statements, with the Diet's authority, that the Japanese Foreign Office is now preparing for the peace conference which he expected to take place some time before next August.

4. Today's Nippon Times editorial states 'Japan of today has become altogether different from the Japan of a year ago'. This is the 'result of the work of the incomparable Commander and of the splendid men who have been his fitting instruments'. These revolutionary changes have 'torn down and made impossible the resurrection of the evils which characterised the old regime'.

5. My own view is that this is all humbug and dangerous humbug.

6. The same number of Nippon Times carries slighting reference to Derevyanko and commendation of Atcheson as well as two 'colour sketches' written in skittish and suggestive vein on the way the Americans are finding Japanese young women increasingly attractive, from a story of one American 'who we suspect is making a study of Japanese female anatomy in his spare moments'. Nippon Times is written by the Japanese under S.C.A.P. censorship.

Following is my personal reaction to these developments:

The United States may feel that the danger of war with Russia overshadows all else in the international politics today and that Japan cannot in the near future be military menace but may be a valuable ally against Russia. On this view United States may wish to initiate now a spirit of cordial collaboration with present Japanese ruling groups as preparation for future military contingency. I am unable to say whether this is a sound long term policy in interests of Australia and the British Commonwealth. In any case, however, I feel that our pre-occupation with such an objective should not blind us to the actual situation in Japan today. In my view there is no substantial change in the outlook or the ideals of the Japanese people during the last twelve months.

[AA:A1838/238, 482/1/7]