481 Ball to Evatt

Cablegram Top Secret and Personal for the Minister 6 TOKYO, 16 June 1947, 9.30 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE

Your 302.

1. As soon as I received your telegram this evening I went to MacArthur's Headquarters. He was in conference and I indicated to Colonel Bunker his aide-de-camp and influential adviser the nature of the first question I wished to discuss.

2. I said you were disturbed at the breakdown in communications which had so long delayed your receipt of MacArthur's invitation.

You would have wished to have publicly and immediately expressed your acceptance and appreciation. At this stage I said I felt you would think it more proper for MacArthur to make a statement for the Press and you would be happy for him to do so. Bunker then said he felt he could confidently express the General's view and this would be that it 'might get him in bad with the people at home' if he were to say that he had [1] specific and special invitation after the announcement of the Canberra Conference. The people at home might think MacArthur was making a special effort 'to get you in'.

3. Since MacArthur's Conference showed no signs of ending I told Bunker I would not wait longer but discuss questions associated with your visit later.

4. May I suggest that you reconsider the idea of asking MacArthur for transport. I feel- (a) that in the light of the reaction above described it might embarrass MacArthur to offer transport and embarrass us if he refused, (b) newspapermen in Japan are awaiting your arrival with excited confidence. The general line they take is 'now at last we will have someone come here who will speak his mind and not bend the knee to MacArthur and leave with the statement that the occupation has been a fabulous success', (c) there has been a continuous comment here that 'the British go cap in hand to the Americans for everything'.

If you were to travel in MacArthur's plane the impression might be created that Australia feels obliged to take the same line.

5. 1 hope you will forgive me for not carrying out your instructions literally and immediately. I am merely reporting back in case in the light of what I report you may wish to modify them.

1 A sign here indicates 'as received'.

[AA : A1838, 480/2/10/9]