234 Letter From Casey To Mcewen

16th April, 1959


I should like to give you an account of my visit to Japan. [1] First of all, however, I wish to thank you for the briefing material prepared by your Department. This background information, together with your letter of 19th February describing your talk with Suzuki, was of considerable value and I was able to draw upon this material on a number of occasions.

The discussions about the GATT problems were quite short. Mr.

Fujiyama, the Japanese Foreign Minister, briefly stated that he hoped that Australia would send a good delegation to the Tokyo Conference and that Australia would be able to withdraw the application of Article XXXV. I replied that you had recently conveyed our position on Article XXXV to Mr. Suzuki, and that we intended to study the question at the appropriate time in the light of further experience of the present Trade Treaty. I added that Japanese trade with Australia had not been adversely affected by the application of Article XXXV. Mr Fujiyama did not take the subject any further.

Subsequently one of the officers travelling with me went over the ground with Japanese Foreign Office officials. He thought that the Japanese understood and appreciated the points you had made to Suzuki.

The trade topic, in a general way, was in the forefront during a great part of my visit-which is perhaps not surprising in view of Japan's dependence on external trade and the importance of economic questions in its foreign relations. Not that I was under pressure on trade questions; on the contrary, there seemed to be satisfaction on the Japanese side with the present state of our trade relations. I had good opportunities to explain our attitude and interests at press conferences, at functions given by the Japan-Australia Society and the Foreign Correspondents' Club, and on other occasions. I was impressed by the vigorous interest shown by a range of top Japanese business executives in trade, commerce and shipping with Australia. The Japanese seem confident of their ability to keep on improving their position in our market and I surmise that Australia may be of growing interest to them from the standpoint of investment, assured access to raw materials, etc. I have noted also, from your letter of 19th February, that you are assisting the Japanese with studies on how they might develop their trade to meet essential import requirements.

I came away from Japan with an acute realization of the importance of trade relations within our overall relations with that country.

I believe that the goodwill shown on both sides and the business- like administration of the Trade Treaty have contributed much to the steady improvement in general relations. Indeed, I would not wish to minimize the value of this favourable trade climate for enhancing cooperation and understanding in other fields.

My talk with Fujiyama ranged over the main political questions in North Asia and South-East Asia. I think progress was made in these discussions in encouraging the Japanese to reveal their thoughts to us on political matters of common concern.

The United States Ambassador, Douglas MacArthur had a long talk with me in which he gave me his views on Japan, to which I was largely content to listen. I am enclosing a lengthy summary of his review which speaks for itself. My subsequent talks and observations confirmed the importance and general validity of his views. Japan has emerged as an independent and major world power and is bound to reestablish for herself an active political and diplomatic role in Asia. I was encouraged by the realization among Japanese leaders that Japan's interests lay with the free world.

This is not confined to retaining the security and defence protection afforded by the United States. I think there is an awareness that Japan's interests as a trading and shipping nation, vitally dependent on foreign markets for her products and on foreign sources of supply for raw materials, can best be served by her belonging to the community of nations pursuing multilateral trade policies.

In contrast, the Chinese Communists have broken off trade relations with Japan and are crudely and openly using the trade weapon to induce Japan to grant them political recognition and sever relations with the Chinese Nationalists. Their tactics were the object of much public attention while I was in Japan. I believe that as a broad aim, the countries of the free world should provide a continued demonstration of their willingness to give Japan reasonable trading opportunities; this is the best counter to these Communist efforts to use trade in order to force a reorientation in Japan's external relations.

In as much as these matters relate not only to Australian-Japanese relations but also in various ways to international trade discussions, I trust you will find these observations of some interest and value.

1 Casey had not visited Japan since 1951.On arrival in Tokyo on 23 March he spoke of the purpose of this visit being 'to discuss with your political leaders such things as our mutual interests, the extent to which we can act together in the international field, and the possibility of promoting greater understanding and awareness of the national outlook and characteristics of our two countries'.

[AA : A1838/283, 3103/10/1, vii]