348 Mission in Tokyo to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram Dep 352 TOKYO, 4 August 1947

Following is text as published in Nippon Times of 3rd August of statement by Dr. Evatt prior to his departure begins- While in Japan I have been afforded the fullest facilities for seeing the situation here at first hand. I have conferred with General MacArthur on the progress of the occupation. I have met the leading officials of the occupation both military and diplomatic and have discussed the situation with all four members of the Allied Council and with the heads of many diplomatic missions including the representatives of the British Commonwealth.

The Supreme task of the occupation has been the physical disarming and demilitarisation of Japan. That task has now been practically completed.

It has long been clear that the Australian Government shared General MacArthur's views as the desirability of an early conference in order to negotiate a definite Japanese peace treaty giving effect to the general principles already laid down in the basic policies of the Far Eastern Commission. It is especially satisfactory to be able to add that there is early substantial area of agreement with leading United States authorities in Japan on the major issues which will arise at the conference. There is also wide acceptance of Australia's view that the peace settlement should be negotiated along Democratic lines giving all eleven victorious Allied nations in the Pacific war right of full participation in the settlement.

I am satisfied that with continuous drive and determination the peace treaty with Japan could be completed at a comparatively early date and the necessary machinery of peace time supervision by Allied Nations successfully launched. This does not mean that the peace document will be in itself a guarantee that all the Allied objectives will be automatically achieved. Documents in themselves guarantee nothing. But broad plans for the future of Japan can be built based firmly on the foundations of the highly successful occupation in which military disarmament has been carried out with extraordinary care and efficiency.

During my visit I have also met several leading Japanese including the premier Mr. Katayama [1] and trade union leaders and have discussed some of these problems. I have pointed out that the Japanese people [will have] to prove their good faith and renunciation of aggression not by words only but by conduct and good behaviour. If they do this as a democratic and peace loving power there is no reason why they should not redeem themselves and in due course take an active part in contributing to the welfare of Eastern Asia and the Pacific.

I should like to pay tribute to the magnificent bearing and behaviour of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces and also of their comrades of the American Occupation Forces. Australia is proud to be associated in the British Commonwealth forces under General Robertson and to have all our Australian troops serving again under General MacArthur's inspiring leadership.

Everywhere I have found great goodwill towards Australia among all Americans. The bond of comradeship between Australia and the United States forged in war will stand firm in peacetime. Many leading American officers here like General Eichelberger [2] served in Australia during the war and have been extremely helpful towards my mission. Australia for its part can never forget what it owes to the American forces and we look forward to welcoming many of them back to our country.

We are most grateful to the Supreme Commander and his officers for their helpfulness and cordiality. Their counsel and advice will be of great assistance to Australia in the future consideration of problems of Pacific security and Pacific welfare which are the two great objectives we are bound to pursue in the Japanese peace settlement not only in our own interest but in the interests of International Peace and International Justice. Ends.

1 Tetsu Katayama, Prime Minister of Japan, May 1947 - March 1948.

2 Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger, Commander US Occupation Force, Japan.

[AA : A1068, ER47/31/26]