308 Burton to McIntosh

Letter (extracts) CANBERRA, 19 April 1947


On Jap. Reparations, you tend to look at the matter objectively and from the point of view of getting reparations-we are still more preoccupied with the principle involved [in] the procedure.

Probably we have given up hope of much in the way of reparations and don't attach much importance to means of physically extracting them.

I cannot agree that, if the majority of F.E.C. wanted an early peace conference, United States could object. I do agree regarding the dangers of no continuing occupation force, but our firm intention is to press for a continuation of controls. [1] Reports we have received from Mac. Ball, indicating that the U.K.

Ambassador, MacArthur and the Japs have all agreed that there must be a substantial Jap Force immediately after the Peace Settlement to prevent infiltration from Korea and elsewhere, are extremely disturbing. It is apparent there must be a force, but I cannot see that Australia and New Zealand could agree to a Jap Force. If there is no prospect of a continuation of Allied control, there is some reason for not pressing for an early settlement, but our view has been that there can be a settlement which would provide for continuation of control.

Of course, our case is weakened by our obvious lack of enthusiasm about maintaining control forces.

[matter omitted]

With regard to the tone of our 'blasts', I think you can assure Mr. Fraser that this was just a spasm provoked by a set of circumstances. [2] I was glad, in this connection, to receive your comments on our draft to U.K. on the proposal for a British Commonwealth meeting on Jap Settlement. I hope the final text was to your liking. On that, if the U.K. pressed us, we would probably accept London, but they will have to press us.

1 In a letter to Burton on 12 April, McIntosh had suggested that the peace conference should not be held until the reparations question had been settled and a decision taken on what forms of control would be adequate for Japan following the occupation. He added: 'If the early holding of a Peace conference presupposes the early end of occupation, which I think is in the American mind, then we would do better not to force the issue at this stage.' 2 In the letter cited in note 1, McIntosh had written: 'I think I should tell you that Mr Fraser has been somewhat perturbed by the tone of the blasts you have been sending to the British. It is agreed that there is a great deal of substance in what you say in many instances but, quite frankly, we will have difficulty in associating ourselves with telegrams which may cause unnecessary heartburning at the other end.' Fraser presumably had in mind cablegrams such as Document 264.

[AA: A1838, 371/3/1]