356 Makin to Spender

Cablegram 1227 WASHINGTON, 20 December 1949, 9.24 p.m.


FEC 148.

State Department has requested that we abstain from voting in Far Eastern Commission on proposal which would permit Japanese Government to appoint agents in any country willing to receive them for the purpose of facilitating Japanese trade and/or handling matters affecting the civil status or property rights of Japanese nationals. (See memorandum No.1528/49 of 2nd December).

Australia has hitherto opposed this policy.

2. At this morning's meeting of Far Eastern Commission Steering Committee the above proposed policy was divided into two parts providing for- (a) Appointment of Japanese trade agents and (b) Appointment of agents to handle matters affecting the civil status and/or property rights of Japanese nationals. [1]

Both proposals were approved by Steering Committee and will be considered at next meeting of Commission on Thursday 22nd December. It is considered that there is little to be gained by continuing to oppose a policy which is strongly supported by the United States and acceptable to the majority of the members of the Commission and it is suggested that an abstention by Australia could be justified for the following reasons- (a) Although Australia does not intend to receive Japanese trade agents it would not wish to stand in the way of countries which consider this desirable.

(b) Countries with large Japanese populations are best able to judge the need for agents to handle matters affecting civil status or property rights of resident Japanese nationals since such countries are obliged to carry the administrative burden of looking after the interests of resident Japanese.

3. If you approve of abstention by Australia I would suggest that we endeavour to have clause inserted in proposed policy prohibiting Japanese agents from indulging in political activity and that we make it clear that Japanese trade agents should in no circumstances be designated as Consuls.

1 FEC 345 and FEC-346 respectively.

[AA:A1838/278, 483/2, V]