364 Evatt to Legation in Rio de Janiero for Marshall

Cablegram 45 CANBERRA, 2 September 1947


Please pass the following message to Marshall [1] from Ambassador Butler. It is text of message given to Ambassador by Dr. Evatt.

Begins: Except for the formal conclusion which will take place in public tomorrow, the British Commonwealth Talks on the Japanese Peace Settlement have concluded. The countries attending were Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Pakistan and Burma. The proceedings have been in secret session throughout, therefore the newspaper reports have been very sketchy and often somewhat inaccurate. The broad result of the Conference is to confirm the initiative of the United States and of General MacArthur in moving towards an early settlement with Japan, which initiative has been supported throughout by myself.

2.Conference accepted the necessity and desirability of an early Peace Conference, believing that problems in relation to Japan are less complex and present fewer difficulties than those in relation to Germany. The democratic procedure of the two-thirds majority at the Conference of the nations who took part actively in the Japanese War is accepted. Wrapped up in this is the denial of any veto right.

3. With two main exceptions, territorial changes are covered in principle by the Cairo, Yalta and Potsdam Agreements. Despite the secrecy of the Yalta Agreement, it looks as though it must be accepted. Australia has pressed the view that the chain of islands between Japan and Formosa should be in the sovereignty or at least exclusive control of the United States, and, similarly, the chain of islands joining Japan to the Marianas should also be under the sovereignty or exclusive control of the United States. These would give the United States permanent control over Okinawa and Iwo Jima. Quelpart might also come in the same category as these two important groups of islands.

4. On the future of Japan, it has been felt that demilitarisation and disarmament have been completed in substance owing to General MacArthur's outstanding work, and that, although it will be necessary to make special provision in relation to certain industries with obvious war potential, at the same time it should be possible to give the Japanese people an opportunity to become economically self-sufficient to maximum degree.

5. It is felt that General MacArthur has established the frame- work of democratic institutions and that, after the peace settlement, the Supervisory Commission of Representatives of the Governments directly concerned should be able to assume the role of advising the Japanese Government and guiding it in the proper development of these basic institutions as provided for in the new Japanese constitution.

6. With regard to the Supervisory Commission itself, there is a general feeling that this body can continue the pioneer work already performed during the occupation period.

7. With regard to the liquidation and ultimate winding-up of occupation, I strongly expressed the view that the United States' views would have to be first ascertained, as I know how strongly General MacArthur feels on many of these points. Accordingly, there has been no attempt to reach any decision on occupation or control, still less any attempt to bind each other as a group in any direction.

8. As you know, Australia has always recognised the leadership of the United States in the Pacific Area. At the same time, under United States leadership, the second most active role in the war under the command of General MacArthur was taken by Australia: if the United States decides to continue occupation forces after the Peace Treaty in bases near Japan or even in Japan, Australia would probably continue its share in obligations under American command.

9. I shall be leaving for the United States in a few days for the Assembly meetings and should be glad to furnish any further details for the information of President Truman or Mr. Marshall.

10. The broad fact is that the whole Conference, strongly urged by Australia, has frankly recognised United States leadership, while at the same time believing that the United States in its turn is quite aware of the relative contributions of the Pacific Nations towards ultimate victory and that proper account of this will be taken in all negotiations relating to the Peace Treaty. Therefore, I feel that the Conference has been an outstanding success from the point of view of United States - British Commonwealth relationships. Conference accepted my general assessment of MacArthur's outstanding achievement in Japan. It also favoured the general principle of peace-making which, in conjunction with United States Government and General MacArthur, I have endeavoured to state previously and publicly. Ends.

1 Marshall was in Rio leading the US Delegation at the Inter- American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace and Security.

[AA: A1838, 538/1, ii]