370 Evatt to Marshall

Letter [NEW YORK], 16 October 1947

I refer you to the communications from me about Japan made after my visit to Japan and my talks with General MacArthur. I beg to bring formally to your notice also the subject of my conversations, first with you in the middle of September, and later with President Truman and Mr. Lovett last week, on the subject of convening the conference on the Japanese peace settlement.

As you will remember, action was taken by the United States Government last July to issue invitations to the eleven Governments which are members of the Far Eastern Commission to attend preliminary talks on the Japanese settlement on 19th August. These talks were subsequently postponed, because the Canberra Conference of 26th August made it impossible for members of the British Commonwealth to be present at a conference in America at that time. Under the United States proposal, decisions of the conference were to be made by two-thirds majorities, a proposal which the Australian Government supported.

In the opinion of the Australian Government, the question is one of great urgency. The situation may well deteriorate unless definitive action is taken quickly to bring about an early settlement.

The Korean situation is an essential and integral part of the Japanese peace settlement. But, instead of it being handled as such, steps have been taken to bring it before the General Assembly of the United Nations, which includes many nations which are not directly concerned in the Pacific settlement and even nations which were not at war with Japan. It is the view of the Australian Government that, if it has been found impossible to carry out the agreement on Korea formulated by the Moscow Conference of December 1945, the matter should be referred, in the first instance at least, to the States directly concerned in the war with Japan, and not to the General Assembly.

As far as Australia is concerned, you will know that on two separate occasions the United States Government has given assurances that Australia will be regarded as a party principal in connexion with all matters relating to the Japanese peace settlement. Australia has steadfastly objected to any discussions of the Japanese settlement by the Council of Foreign Ministers, taking the view that, except for the United States, no other country made so vital a contribution to the Pacific victory as Australia and that Australia has supplied the main portion of the British Commonwealth occupation forces in Japan. Australia also has a special interest in the Korean situation because, as you are aware, the United Kingdom has agreed that Australia should occupy the place of the United Kingdom on the four-Power trusteeship for Korea if one is established in accordance with the Moscow decision of December 1945.

For these reasons it is submitted that definitive action should be taken to fix the time and place of the conference which only a few weeks ago you regarded as possible to be convened for preliminary work during the present Assembly. The date should be chosen after consultation with the interested Powers. It is also submitted that no discussions should take place in the absence of Australia in regard to any part of the Pacific settlement, including Korea.