486 Ball to Chifley

Cablegram unnumbered TOKYO, 31 July 1947, 5 p.m.


1. May I recall the circumstances of my appointment to this post in February, 1946 and your talk with me here in May, 1946. [1]

2. I have tried to carry out faithfully all instructions. The work in this post has not been easy.

3. Some weeks before Doctor Evatt's arrival I found some difficulty in obeying his instructions immediately and literally.

I felt from my [2] of the situation here that it might not be opportune to make personal appeals to MacArthur in the literal terms of my instructions. For example I felt it impolitic to appeal to MacArthur personally within a period of a few days- (a) to issue a special invitation to Doctor Evatt to visit Japan, (b) to make a statement favourable to Dr. Evatt in connection with this visit, (c) to provide air transport from Australia for Dr. Evatt, (d) to cancel projected Antarctic whaling expedition, (e) to earmark a group of Japanese whaling vessels for Australia.

4. I telegraphed Dr. Evatt my feeling in case he should desire to modify his instructions. I learnt a few days later from Colonel Bunker, General MacArthur's Aide-de-Camp, that MacArthur was very concerned about a direct request he had received from Dr. Evatt for air transport. I felt very upset about the general situation and telegraphed Dr. Evatt that I wished to resign immediately. I received a reply from Dr. Burton accepting full personal responsibility for the misunderstanding and asking me to remain here. I agreed to stay at least until the end of Dr. Evatt's visit.

5. Since his arrival here I believe that Dr. Evatt has taken a line very damaging to Australia's reputation.

6. I believe the impression has been created in Tokyo that he has repudiated the line I have been taking here during the last 16 months.

7. I think it not necessary to elaborate in this telegram.

8. I have told Dr. Evatt that I can not in any circumstances continue to work under him since in my view this would be inconsistent with the maintenance of the minimum professional self-respect. Dr. Evatt has told me that I have been disobedient and disloyal.

9. I have told Dr. Evatt that I am prepared to maintain a social front until his departure, that if he desires me to carry on administration of this Mission for some weeks until my replacement is arranged, I am prepared to do so.

10. I hope to return to Australia by ship during August.

11. I shall at present make no public statement about my resignation.

12. I should be grateful for a personal acknowledgment of this telegram.

1 See Volume IX, and in Particular Documents 124, 188, 194 and 274.

2 A sign here indicates word or words missing.

[AA : A1068, X337]