148 Extract Of Memorandum 816 From Watt To Tange

27th September, 1956


14. In conclusion, may I be permitted to express the opinion that it would be unwise for us to regard relationships with Japan as limited to matters of trade or defence, or both. Japanese foreign policy can swing in any direction and great changes can take place quite quickly in the postwar political setup in this country. I believe it is in Australia's interest to develop positive plans to help shape the new Japan, although we must of course avoid any course of action which would lay us open to the charge of interfering in Japanese domestic affairs. The initiative must come from us-for various reasons. For instance, Japan's attitude towards the Suez issue demonstrates clearly enough her extreme reluctance to sponsor a foreign policy which would result in Japan finding herself 'off side' with Asian nations. Australia is not included in this category. There is little doubt that Japan regards Australia, on the Suez issue, as a Western country whose interests and attitude are more or less identical with those of the United Kingdom. I strongly recommend that we make every imaginative effort to build up direct contacts with Japan in permissible fields in an endeavour to make her realize that, though Australia's tradition is European, she is geographically part of Asia and anxious to develop relationships with Japan on a different qualitative basis than distant European countries whose vital interests are inevitably concentrated elsewhere.

[AA : A1838/278, 3103/10/10/1, iv]