493 Department of External Affairs to Embassy in Washington
Cablegram unnumbered CANBERRA, 12 August 1947, 11.10 p.m.
Statement by Dr. Evatt.
During my visit to Japan chiefly a factfinding mission I had full and frank discussions with those on the spot about the occupation and the problems which will confront the Allies in writing the peace. I am satisfied that the way is clear to the making of a peace settlement which will be a stable foundation for the security of the Pacific.
Consultation with MacArthur. I had frequent discussions with General MacArthur and also with leading officials of the occupation, diplomatic representatives of other powers and a few of the Japanese Parliamentary and trade union leaders. From all these discussions and personal observation I am able to appreciate still better the undoubted achievements of an extremely difficult and complex military occupation and administration. My consultations with General MacArthur showed a broad agreement on the steps to be taken in preparing the treaty, on the principles which should be contained in it, on the type of supervisory machinery which should be established under it and on many of the other important matters with which the settlement must deal.
Australia's policy confirmed. It has been most encouraging to find that all my discussions and observation have amply confirmed the soundness of the policy which the Australian Government has consistently advocated towards Japan. The two great objectives are the security of Australia and other Allied Powers from a resurgence of Japanese aggression and a positive programme for assisting Japan to develop gradually into a democratic and peaceful member of the society of nations. Almost equally important is the method of peacemaking. The peace treaty should be negotiated as soon as possible along democratic lines by all those Powers which played a substantial part in the Pacific War. Because of her outstanding war effort Australia is clearly entitled to be a party principal to the settlement and that is now universally recognised.
The next steps. The military occupation has now almost accomplished its primary task which was the complete physical disarmament and demilitarization of Japan. It has also taken important initial steps towards the democratic reconstruction of Japan. For example, through the adoption by the Japanese people of a new constitution and the encouragement of trade unions. The peace treaty could and should contain provisions designed to secure the accomplishment of the long term objectives which are to prevent any regrowth of a war potential and to stimulate and consolidate the growth of democracy in Japan. These problems will form the subject of discussions between members of the British Commonwealth at the Canberra Conference on 26 August. That beginning will be followed in due course by a conference of all the Powers that took a substantial role in achieving victory in the Pacific war.
Australian occupation forces. I was greatly impressed by the bearing and behaviour of the Australian servicemen and the rest of B C 0 F in Japan. They have greatly assisted in the success of the occupation and have demonstrated to Japan and the world at large Australia's major interest in the Pacific. The cooperation between B C 0 F and the United States forces has strengthened an association and comradeship which did so much for Australia during the crisis in the Pacific war when our homeland was threatened.