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Historical documents

34 Ball to Evatt

Cablegram [Secret and] Personal for Minister 3 [1] TOKYO, 23 July


I feel the least happy [2] about the situation that is developing
here. I am sure there is a quiet and effective campaign to
minimise in Japanese eyes the influence and prestige of all Allied
Powers but the American. I do not think that this campaign is
directed primarily or even particularly against us but since after
the United States we are the most strongly represented Nationals
in occupation, it affects us most.

2. What is happening tends to defeat your object that Australia
and the British Commonwealth should exert an influence on post-
armistice control of Japan commensurate with their contribution to
the defeat of the Japanese in the Pacific war.

3. The policy being followed by S.C.A.P. is covert rather than
overt and takes the form of inflicting minor indignities on the
staffs of diplomatic missions and subjecting them to restrictions
which seriously hamper their work. For example S.C.A.P. has
addressed a public memorandum to 'Heads of Foreign Missions' and
has explained that all people here other than Japanese and United
States citizens are 'foreign nationals'. S.C.A.P. insists that all
communications between them and competent sections of G.H.Q. and
the Japanese Government must be through S.C.A.P. Diplomatic
Section, that requests for information must be made in writing and
moreover that requests for information from members of the Allied
Council must be through the additional Agency of the Secretary
General of the Council. I have made two written requests for
information and each time have been kept waiting four weeks for a
reply. S.C.A.P. has recently asked the Council a number of
questions of a highly technical and administrative kind, has given
three working days notice of these questions and has blocked the
channels of information and then Atcheson has expressed
disappointment that the Council has not been able to give
MacArthur 'constructive and specific advice'.

4. I think that there is no doubt that the American attitude
towards the Council is to undermine its effectiveness wherever
possible. It cannot succeed as a deliberative body since his habit
is to come armed with prepared speeches which may or may not be
appropriate to the tenor of the discussion and which he seems
mainly concerned should reach the press before other Council
members have made any statements. I do my best to preserve the
Council's and our own status but do not always succeed for fear of
saying something that might be construed as a breach of Anglo-
American accord. I feel that Atcheson takes advantage of this
situation and I seriously question whether it is desirable for us
to submit ourselves indefinitely to the kindly contempt he
regularly shows towards 'foreign' colleagues. While I recognise
the importance of permanent union of all British and American
interests I doubt whether our continued swallowing of indignities
will help that cause to prosper. The British Commonwealth is
necessary to American survival as America is to ours. I think that
MacArthur and Atcheson living in the isolated atmosphere of
Occupation Headquarters and dealing continually with sycophantic
Japanese may often forget this. I believe that we can afford to
rise from our knees and talk on our feet. I would therefore urge
that it should be decided on highest level whether the execution
of the occupation policy in Japan should be an Allied or
exclusively American responsibility and if it is to be exclusively
American I regard it advisable to remove the pretence of an Allied

5. In the light of the foregoing considerations my position as
your appointee has not been made easier by Gascoigne's
appointment. [3] My own and I am sure the general understanding
was that Australia would 'represent' the entire British
Commonwealth in the Pacific by virtue of her territorial position
and her part in the prosecution of the war. The arrival of
Gascoigne with Ambassadorial status means that the representative
of the whole now becomes junior [to] representative of part.

Gascoigne will inevitably be regarded as senior British
Commonwealth Diplomatic Representative in Tokyo thus further
reducing our standing on the Council. The situation is aggravated
by the fact that the American and Chinese members both have
Ambassadorial and that the Russian member's political adviser has
the same status. I suggest you might consider whether it is
desirable for the British Commonwealth Member to continue in a
subordinate position.

6. Please understand that while the general situation does not
grow more happy I think my personal relations with MacArthur are
satisfactory. Gascoigne shows a strong desire to co-operate on the
friendliest basis and all the United Kingdom Officers go out of
their way to give me the fullest help.

7. Thank you for your last telegram.

1 For explanation of cable series initiated by Ball, see Volume
IX, Documents 190, note 6, and 298, note 1.

2 All versions have this wording.

3 Sir Alvary Gascoigne, appointed U.K. Political Representative,
Japan, with rank of Ambassador, on 17 June.

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