510 Australian Government to Noel-Baker

Cablegram 355 CANBERRA, 24 December 1947

The Acting Minister for Defence, the Hon. Arthur S. Drakeford M.P.

said today that the British Commonwealth Governments whose troops are taking part in the occupation of Japan have recently reviewed the system for the control and administration of the British Commonwealth occupation force which was instituted at the inception of the occupation. They have decided in the light of experience gained in controlling this integrated force to modify the organisation for combined control by the Governments concerned.

It has been agreed subject to the continued retention by participating Governments of sovereign control of their own policy and full consultation when their interests are affected that responsibility for the control and administration of the British Commonwealth occupation force will be assigned to the Australian Government and that this responsibility will be exercised through the higher defence organisation of the Department of Defence in relation to joint service matters and through the Departments of the Navy, the Army and Air in regard to matters within their respective spheres of responsibility.

The new system is to be introduced at the beginning of January 1948. The Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee in Australia which has planned for and controlled the British Commonwealth occupation force on behalf of the British Commonwealth Governments taking part in the occupation of Japan will be dissolved when the new system is introduced. Service representatives of other participating British Commonwealth Governments will continue to be associated with the Australian machinery for consultation and advice in connection with their respective countries interests.

Rear Admiral A.R.M. Bridge C.B.E. R.N. will act as the Chief United Kingdom Liaison Officer and Colonel C.J. Duff D.S.O. has been appointed as the New Zealand Joint Service Representative in Australia.

[AA : A3196,1947,0.21413/21414]