474 Ball to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram Department 47 TOKYO, 25 March 1947, 2.15 p.m.


For your information.

1. Yesterday an exclusive United Press interview with Gascoigne was given prominence in the Nippon Times and the Stars and Stripes. The report stated that Gascoigne was 'speaking in a personal capacity'. Gascoigne said that his country particularly desired immediate restoration of private trade with Japan.

Gascoigne felt that private trade, as free from restrictions as possible, should be restored at once. British areas need Japanese goods and raw materials and are ready to supply raw materials and manufactured articles in Japan.

2. Reparation claims against Japan should not be so heavy as to ruin the chance of Japan's reconstruction.

3. General MacArthur is doing 'a superb job'; his 'occupation with understanding has proved itself superior to an occupation with an iron FIST'.

4. Leading British personnel in Japan feel that occupation has been satisfactory in the British zone, and that the Japanese people have demonstrated a bona fide effort to measure up to Allied terms.

5. Although Japan 'lost a great deal in the War', Gascoigne feels 'optimistic' about the [future] of Japan. The loss of ideals inflicted by the War was one of the gravest blows the Japanese suffered.

6. British air interests may eventually be interested in operating an internal Air Service in Japan since it may be years before the Japanese will be permitted to operate a Civilian Air Service of their own.

7. Following the above on the record interview with United Press, Gascoigne today spoke at Tokyo Press Club Luncheon party off the record. When asked if he felt that the Japanese were doing their utmost to restore their economy, Gascoigne referred at first to uncertainties for reparations and lack of raw materials due to trade controls but concluded 'the Japanese on the whole have not done what they could'.

8. He said that at the peace conference, the British Commonwealth would negotiate as a bloc but Member Nations would probably sign separately. He envisions the withdrawal of Military Forces from Japan after the Peace Treaty without endangering democratization.

9. He said that Japan must have a guarantee against aggression and that protection of the Japanese must fall on the United Nations.

He referred to the possibility of a United Nations Commission with freedom to go everywhere in Japan.

10. Discussing reparations, he said that Japan must not be stripped of her industrial capacity to such an extent that she could not recover.

11. All the above statements were made off the record.

12. Neither before giving the United Press interview nor addressing the Press Club, did Gascoigne consult me about the lines he proposed to follow. A number of questions he discussed are basic to the British Commonwealth Occupation and Post occupation policy and I feel that Gascoigne's expression of 'British view' on these questions without consulting me makes my representation of the United Kingdom on the Allied Council unreal.

13. It may have not been merely accidental that Gascoigne recently presented me to the newly arrived Danish Minister as 'the Australian representative'.

1 Dispatched 2 February. Ball drew attention to Australia's diminished political standing in Japan and cited a number of examples including SCAP's unwillingness to give diplomatic recognition to Australian staff. He recommended that in the interests of Australia's prestige in the region its political representation should be recognised as an Australian Mission.

2 On 31 March Ball informed the Department of External Affairs that MacArthur approved of the Australian Government's suggestion to constitute a single Australian mission in Japan with Ball as its head.

[AA : A1838, 481/1]