362 British Commonwealth Conference
Verbatim Minutes (extracts) CANBERRA, 1 September 1947
The Conference resumed at 10.10 a.m.
Machinery for Enforcement (Contd.)- DR.EVATT: We come now to the method of enforcing the terms of the Treaty, or of taking action to induce the Japanese Government to carry out the terms of the Treaty. I think that as the Conference has progressed we have, in the course of discussion of a number of items, discussed the question of machinery. Sir Rama Rau has, throughout the Conference, reminded us of the difficulties of enforcement in the event of breach of the restrictions imposed. I notice that a section of the press has emphasised that some breaches might be comparatively trifling, while others might go right to the root of the Treaty. In defining the functions of the supervisory body, I do not think we can usefully do more than to provide that this body shall supervise the implementation of the Treaty by the Japanese Government. At a later stage it will be necessary to turn our attention to the Treaty to examine the nature of the obligations to be imposed and the action to be taken in the event of breach; and related to that is the matter of the force to be kept in reserve. Paragraph 32 of 'Preliminary Notes on Provisional Agenda' prepared by myself sets out certain alternatives. Those alternatives are not by any means exhaustive, but they indicate that there is a number of possibilities. These alternatives appear to include:-
(1) Japan to be occupied by forces of the Allied countries until the Supervisory Commission decided these forces should:
(i) be limited to certain points in Japan, or (ii) be evacuated altogether.
Meanwhile the occupying forces not to be restricted to any specified areas. These forces could, at the discretion of the Supervisory Commission, be supplemented by forces garrisoning adjacent island bases;
(2) Small garrisons of the Supervisory Commission for Japan might be placed at certain designated areas in Japan. These forces might be supplemented by forces garrisoning adjacent island bases;
(3) All Allied troops to be withdrawn from the main Japanese islands. Garrison forces under the control of the Supervisory Commission to be stationed in adjacent island bases. The Supervisory Commission for Japan to have the right to land forces in Japan for the purpose of preserving order or ensuring compliance by the Japanese Government with the terms of the Treaty; and full rights to patrol Japanese waters and the air above Japan with its naval and air forces.
The alternatives set out do not purport to cover the number of possibilities. I am most emphatically of the opinion that we cannot advance very far without frank discussion with the United States. That country, because of the major part it has played in the occupation of Japan, must be consulted and its views ascertained before we can proceed farther in discussion of this aspect.
In discussion of paragraph 20, relative to the establishment of a Supervisory Commission for Japan, the consensus of opinion was that the Supervisory Commission should be representative of the countries which will make the Peace. Paragraph 21 describes the Commission's functions in very wide terms, while paragraphs 22, 23 and 24 set out possible occasions for action by the Supervisory Commission. Paragraph 26 deals with the possible failure of Japan to fulfil her economic obligations, and suggests consultations with the Japanese Government. Paragraphs 27 and 28 deal with the type of machinery to be constituted. Paragraph 29 deals with the cost involved, suggesting that the expenditure of the Secretariat, Inspectorial Staff and Military Occupation Force should be borne by the Japanese Government, and salaries and allowances of representatives on the Commission by member governments appointing them.
Those suggestions are put forward simply as a basis for discussion, but in the absence of representatives of the chief participant, the United States, it is difficult to formulate a plan. For instance, supposing when the Peace Treaty is signed, the Government of the U.S.A. determines that it will not be necessary to maintain a force in Japan. My Government has not come to any decision in anticipation of such a happening, other than to express its determination to bear its full share of responsibility, but my personal opinion is that it will be necessary to maintain some force to support the Supervisory Commission in Japan. I look to the Supervisory Commission to be, in the main, an advisory body, working in close co-operation with the Japanese Government.
I think we should now have a general discussion of the two questions which are so inter-connected. We have already discussed the constitution and voting method to be adopted by the treaty- making body, and we agreed that there should not be a right of 'veto' because of the danger of stalemate. The main function of the Supervisory Commission will be the implementation of the Treaty. I do not think it is necessary for us to formulate any precise definition of the Commission's function; I think it will be left to the commonsense, wisdom and restraint of its members.
LORD ADDISON: As to the location of the force, our view is that, clearly, when the Treaty is drawn up and the control machinery is established it will be undesirable to have a force in Japan itself. We believe that that would make difficult Japan's recovery and would present a good many other difficulties which are obvious to all of us. So that, whatever striking force may be deemed desirable or necessary, our view on the whole is that it will certainly be desirable that that force should be outside Japan.
Another point which I regard as important is, as to whether the Supervisory Commission should be competent to call upon the striking force so as to give to it any form of direction. It is evident, I think, that whoever provided the striking force would claim that the use of its military forces must be at its own direction and not at the direction of somebody else, although the Supervisory Commission might represent to an appropriate body what its necessities were. That would necessarily raise the question as to whether, in the Treaty, there should be one instrument or two instruments; that is to say, a Treaty as such, and some other form of inter-allied body or agreement as to who should give directions regarding the use of the striking force. Supposing that the U.S.A., which is highly probable, provided the greater part of the striking force. I believe that they themselves would wish their command to decide how, when, and in what form that force was to be used if it were used, and that they should not be at the direction of somebody else. Therefore, I believe that there would necessarily be some body of persons to whom the Supervisory Commission would make its report, and who would be responsible for issuing directions, or at all events of conferring upon the method of use of the striking force. I can understand that the inspectorial and other functions mentioned by Dr. Evatt would be precisely as he has described them.
DR. EVATT: What Lord Addison has said about the second matter throws us back upon the matter of voting at the Supervisory Commission. Supposing no forces were available except those of the U.S.A., it is quite certain that they will not agree to accept a majority vote of the Supervisory Commission binding them to use their forces. They will have to consent to the use of their forces, I should imagine. These matters are related. We cannot yet see how the force will be composed, and the views of the U.S.A. on the matter are not known.
MR. CLAXTON: I believe that we agree very generally with the main line of your approach to this subject. Also, we certainly feel, as you do, that it is one of the most important and also one of the most difficult subjects that we have to deal with in making peace with Japan. I believe that in the relationship of the Supervisory Commission to any agency to execute the terms of the Treaty will be found an extraordinarily difficult area of matters which will probably have to be worked out, as you suggest, according to the good sense of the parties concerned. Unquestionably, since the U.S.A. will have the main if not the sole responsibility for carrying out the provisions, it will want to ensure that if it is to pay the piper to such a great degree it will be in a position to call the tune in regard to executive action. I do not think that anything that we can say can help very much in the approach to the negotiations which will have to go on when the conference meets. It would seem to me, for example, that the matters indicated in your paragraphs 22, 23, 24 and 26 tie in all along the line with the work of carrying out the Treaty, and that there might have to be a pretty wide area in which there will have to be reliance on the desire to co-operate and the good sense of the parties concerned. Here, we are dealing with three main objects in the Peace with Japan; first, demilitarisation; secondly, democratisation; and thirdly, the restoration of a viable economy.
It may be that the functions of the Supervisory Commission and its powers may vary in regard to each of those three matters, but generally speaking it would seem to me that the Supervisory Commission should largely be an agency which would be fact-finding and advisory but which probably it will be found desirable should not have very much executive power in the major fields of implementing the Treaty. There again we come to the relationship with the executive power, whatever it may be. We are very interested in the suggestions that have been made by New Zealand in regard to tying in this arrangement with the United Nations.
Without going into details, I believe that our view is that it would be generally desirable that that should be done as closely as it can be workable without bringing ourselves or the Supervisory Commission or anybody else within any of the veto provisions. It seems to us that the time during which the Supervisory Commission and the occupation are to last, is a very important matter. I know that our advisers hold the view that the occupation should last for possibly twenty years or something approaching that, which most people seem to agree will be necessary to complete the democratisation of Japan.
LORD ADDISON: Occupation by what-a Supervisory Committee or a military force? MR. CLAXTON: Not necessarily by troops within the country, but along the lines which you have suggested. Speaking personally, I seriously doubt the possibility of any democratic nation or group of such nations continuing to occupy or even to supervise a great power so as to enforce during that period a peace treaty which will not give a former great power a viable economy.
MR. CLAXTON: I do not think that it will work, but that does not mean that it should not be tried. I cannot envisage large bodies of troops remaining in occupation almost indefinitely. I do not desire a soft peace, but a long term view leads me to that decision. We may either plan for a shorter term, or follow the interesting suggestion of Dr. Norman  that provision should be made in the Treaty, or in some supplementary document, for the Japanese to free themselves progressively from some of the provisions of the Treaty as they demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Supervisory Commission, or some other agency of the United Nations, that they have in good faith carried out the provisions of the Treaty. Some kind of escalator to freedom would provide an incentive to the Japanese, and might also show the other nations that occupation or control for the full period of twenty years may not be necessary. That aspect of the Treaty should be carefully examined at Washington, or wherever the next conference is held, because it may be one of the most efficient ways of inducing Japan genuinely to accept and work under a democratic system.
DR. EVATT: Mr. Claxton's last point is not dissimilar to paragraph 24 of my preliminary notes on the Provisional Agenda. It follows Dr. Norman's line of thought-hope as well as fear.
DR. CLAXTON: At this stage, it is difficult for us to go into detail. All that we can do is to exchange views on general objectives.
MR FRASER: In what way is it proposed to prevent the Japanese from doing something forbidden by the Peace Treaty? DR. EVATT: You mean that when the Treaty forbids the Japanese to engage in the manufacture of aircraft, for instance, how are we to ensure that she does not, in fact, manufacture them? MR. FRASER: That is the kind of thing I have in mind. It is not proposed that we shall accept responsibility for the running of Japan or for its economic welfare. We will help Japan, but the Japanese Government must accept final responsibility.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to ensure that Japan does not infringe the provisions of the Treaty by doing those things that would make possible a military or naval resurgence.
MR. CLAXTON: Mr. Fraser has expressed the opinion of the Canadian Government on this point.
SIR RAMA RAU: There is a fundamental difference between the present situation in Japan, and the situation which may develop after the signing of the Peace Treaty and the withdrawal of the occupation force. At present, when the Supreme Commander gives an order it is readily complied with because the Japanese are only too anxious to get rid of the occupation force. Once that force is withdrawn the Japanese might not exhibit the same willingness to observe the provisions of the Peace Treaty. I am very much attracted by the idea of remote control by a military force situated on Okinawa or some adjacent Island.
MR. DEDMAN: I think we can gain some helpful information by studying the present methods of control in Japan, and by considering how they can be most effectively replaced. The Supreme Commander exercises control now by issuing orders which are enforced by the Japanese Government, and all the time his authority is backed up by the presence of a considerable occupation force. After the signing of the Peace Treaty the Supervisory Commission will take the place of General MacArthur and his forces. To what extent the functions of this Commission will be purely advisory, or to what extent it will be able to dictate terms to the Japanese Government, I do not know, but I imagine that its functions will be chiefly advisory. It will not be possible to maintain the military occupation of Japan for any considerable time. The Supreme Commander has already indicated that, in his opinion, the occupation forces should be withdrawn about June next, and the Australian Government is of the same opinion. For my part, I do not think that it is necessary to keep a military force in Japan in order to ensure that the plans of the Supervisory Commission are given effect. I believe that once the Commission is functioning, we can rely upon the control of Japanese exports and imports to ensure the obedience of the Japanese Government to the directions of the Supervisory Commission. It is true that this might involve the application of economic sanctions, enforced perhaps, by a naval blockade. But apart from this, there should be no need for a large military force either inside Japan or outside it. The question would then arise whether a naval force should be set aside especially for the purpose of ensuring the observance of the Peace Treaty, or whether use should be made in case of need of such general security forces as it was deemed advisable to maintain in the Pacific area. If a special force were organised and maintained to enforce the Treaty the U.S.A. would have to supply the bulk of it, but Australia would like to be associated with it and so, probably, would New Zealand. Such a force might be stationed at Okinawa or thereabout, and might be a purely naval force, or a combined naval and air force. Personally, I do not think it would be necessary to set up a force just for this purpose, and I incline to the belief that the functions we have in mind could quite well be exercised by a general Pacific security force. Indeed, I see nothing wrong in using the need for a force of some kind to ensure Treaty observance in order to secure as soon as possible the organisation of a Pacific security force.
SIR RAMA RAU: It is assumed that there will be a military or police force maintained in Japan itself in order to enforce compliance with import and export restrictions? It would be very difficult for a force stationed outside Japan to attend to matters of that kind.
MR. DEDMAN: That would come under the heading of inspection.
DR. EVATT: Let us take that as a good test of the problem following upon what Mr. Dedman has said. I think everybody appreciates the force of the point that, as Japan is so dependent upon imports, it is through imports that we can perhaps effect the greatest measure of control by prohibitions and restrictions. The aircraft industry, for instance, could not be carried on without the importation of certain raw materials from overseas. I understand that Japan has no bauxite, or materials of that kind, for the manufacture of aluminium. How is import control to be policed? Not by military police, but by the inspectorate of the Supervisory Commission. It is not suggested that the officers of the Commission should be located at the wharves, as arc customs officers, but that they should have access to all ships and be able to find out what is going on. I do not think it is proposed that there should be a military force to carry out any particular injunctions against the landing of any specified consignments. I emphasise the point made by Mr. Dedman, namely, that a good deal will depend on the attitude of the United States of America. I should like to make clear what the Supreme Commander told me. As you perhaps know, he thinks the time has come to make a peace settlement with Japan. He thinks the peace settlement should be made not later than the middle of next year. He hopes that it may be earlier. He contemplates that the present occupation by a large body of troops in Japan will no longer be continued. I think it is consistent with his view that there may be some relatively small force in Japan itself. This is my own view on the matter: If the Supervisory Commission requires a force of, say, a battalion, such a force would be no more than an indication of the authority of the Commission which represents a number of governments. I should have thought that that would possibly be what the United States of America would wish. The force would be completely different in numbers from the present force. Then you come to the question as to where the reserve force is to be located. That would depend, to some degree, on the territorial provisions of the Peace Treaty. It may be that the United States of America would wish to control the situation exclusively. I think that would be a very bad thing for the Pacific as a whole. It would be for the benefit of countries like Australia and New Zealand not to be excluded from such a body if one of its duties is to look to the enforcement of the Treaty.
When you come to economic sanctions, involving the use of naval vessels, you must face up to the fact that countries other than those which were at war with Japan are associated in some way with the problem. There will be some obligation imposed by the Treaty on the Japanese Government not to trade contrary to the terms of the Treaty with certain countries which did not declare war on Japan.
Mr. Dedman has raised the very important question of regional arrangements in the Pacific. Eighteen months ago or more the American Government suggested a four power treaty for protection against Japanese aggression for a period of, I think, 20 years.
Nothing has been done in connection with that. It may be that that proposal will be dealt with by the Peace Treaty on a somewhat different basis. The Australian viewpoint would be that an undertaking should be made against aggression in the Pacific, from whatever source the aggression may come, rather than that an instrument should be directed against Japanese aggression.
MR. DEDMAN: I cannot see how anything we have discussed here in relation to the Supervisory Commission would require a military force in Japan itself. The work of the Commission would mainly include civil inspection of what is going on. If, for instance, as the result of its investigations the Commission came to the conclusion that Japan was surreptitiously trying to revive its aircraft production industry, the Commission would advise that the importation for materials required for that industry should not be allowed. Then, the force, however it may be constituted, would be used to see that no importations of such materials were made. I should much prefer this to be linked up with general security arrangements in the Pacific. On occasions the enforcement of the provisions of the Treaty might require a very large force; it might require the stationing of vessels at every port around the coasts of Japan to ensure that prohibited imports were not being landed; but for the greater part of the time the force would have nothing to do. The nations of the Pacific jointly could, at request, provide the requisite forces.
MR. FRASER: That will have to be watched with great caution.
Nobody could undertake that task except the Security Council. I think it is desirable to have security on a regional basis, but the nations agreeing to the Treaty cannot be construed as agreeing to regional security. It is a question as to whether there can be such a thing as regional security, and whether we should not regard it as world security. We cannot overlook the growing antagonism in Russia and America and the fact that the press of both countries misconstrues and places the worst complexion upon everything done by the other. We should keep ourselves as free as possible to deal with any situation that may arise. In order to achieve security we must reach agreement not only with the principal nations but also with China, India, and even Mexico and most of the South American countries.
DR. EVATT: That links up with your previous point that we must work through the United Nations. If you have economic sanctions you might have a legal right to impose them under the Treaty, but you might get into great difficulties unless they are brought into the jurisdiction of the United Nations.