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Historical documents

173 Ball to Evatt

Cablegram [Following]for the Minister from Macmahon Ball 24 TOKYO,


Your 134. [1]

I have been consistently cautious about supporting Derevyanko on
the Council. On questions of substance he and I have always taken
separate and independent lines, though at some points these lines
have converged. For example my attitudes towards land reform and
towards coal mining have agreed with his on some points but on
others we were in sharp opposition. I do not think that on a
single question of substance it can be accurately stated that I
'supported' Derevyanko.

On some questions we have been in agreement, but even here I think
in every case we had the concurrence of the Chinese member. On
several questions of procedure which Derevyanko considered vital I
have declined to support him. Where I have supported him has been
on his right to seek information from SCAP. In supporting
Derevyanko on such procedural questions I was not attempting to
defend Derevyanko, but to defend the rights of the Council to play
at least a minor advisory role in Japan.

I believe it true that a number of SCAP senior officers and some
sections of the press tend to link Derevyanko and me. There are
several reasons for this.

(a) The settled policy of SCAP is not to treat questions raised by
Derevyanko on their merits but to 'take a firm line with him'.

It has been put to me by senior SCAP officers that I make a
mistake in this attempt to discuss questions on the Council on
their merits since the only important feature of International
life today is that the Americans and British stand together and
that the Russians are their common enemy. In these circumstances,
it is argued, it is most undesirable for there to be any deviation
in the attitude of American and British members of the Council.

Consequently if I express a view point even mildly divergent from
Atcheson there is a tendency in SCAP quarters to play it up as un-
American and undemocratic.

(b) Derevyanko is hard pressed and he and the Moscow press do
everything possible to play up any CRUMBS of support which I give
him in an effort to show that Russia is not completely isolated.

(c) Likewise left wing pressmen here who are fiercely critical of
MacArthur are anxious to play up any statement of mine which might
be construed as evidence that criticism of MacArthur does not come
only from the Russians.

3. [2] The foreign correspondents here are sharply divided between
left wingers and right wingers. Noble belongs to the right wing.

The right wingers would tend to group me with Derevyanko. The left
wingers all deplore that I give him such little support and just
because of that, would play up any occasion in which he and I are
in agreement.

4. I suggest, however, that there is a deliberate effort here to
drive a wedge between Australia and the United Kingdom. In part
this takes the form of discreet private enquiries whether Macmahon
Ball does represent the United Kingdom or only Australia. The
strong assumption underlying this movement is that SCAP could
count on complete support from the United Kingdom, but that
Australia is liable to take a different and sometimes troublesome
line. I am sure that the proposal to extend the membership of the
Council was directed partly towards submerging the Australian
point of view with the United Kingdom point of view on Council
questions. I believe that it is also felt that the United Kingdom
has been more tractable than Australia on the questions of the
constitution and Whaling. I think that SCAP feels that he can rely
on the United Kingdom giving him a blank cheque on political
policy on Japan so long as certain British commercial interests
are safeguarded, whereas he feels that Australia desires to retain
the right to an independent line. I believe that this is the real
problem of British Commonwealth representative in Japan at the

5. Thank you for the unequivocal government statement issued from
Canberra on 21st. [3]

1 Dispatched 21 October. It requested comment on the view of W. S.

Noble, of the Melbourne Herald, that Ball usually supported the
USSR representative on the ACJ.

2 Presumably the numbering of paragraphs 1 and 2 was inadvertently

3 In this statement Evatt indicated that he had the fullest
confidence in Ball.

[AA:A1838/238, 482/1/7]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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