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325 Shaw to Evatt

Dispatch 1/1948 TOKYO, 13 January 1948


I have the honour to report that in Section 3 of my dispatch No. 5
of 12th December, 1947 [1], I mentioned briefly the difficulties
in maintaining the work of the Allied Council for Japan for the
indefinite period which may elapse until the completion of the
Peace Treaty. Following my arrival in Tokyo in September 1947, the
Chairman of the Council, Mr. W. J. Sebald-the American Member,
presented a series of SCAP reports on various topics of the
Occupation. These reports formed the basis of discussion on the
Council but the comments of the Members and in particular of the
Soviet Member were considered by the Supreme Commander to be too
critical and unconstructive. General MacArthur felt that the
Council was being used as an instrument for national propaganda
and that it was not advising him on aspects of the Occupation in a
sufficiently detached manner. Accordingly I gathered that the
Supreme Commander instructed Mr. Sebald not to proceed with the
presentation of six further SCAP reports which might have formed
the basis of discussion at further meetings of the Council. Since
my return to Tokyo a few days ago I have suggested to Mr. Sebald
that he continue the presentation of his reports in order to keep
the Council going. It is clear that at the moment he is not
prepared to do so. He personally would prefer to see the Council
discontinue its work altogether, although he admits it would be
impracticable to alter the terms of the Moscow Communique of
December, 1945, under which the Council was constituted. It would
appear that he is disposed merely to call meetings of the Council
but not to give it any work.

2. I personally cannot see what topics for discussion I can
usefully bring forward unless there are some matters which can be
referred either by yourself or by the Far Eastern Commission. I
have discussed the matter with the Head of the United Kingdom
Liaison Mission [2] and he also has no ideas. His inclination as
British Ambassador is to belittle the Council of which he is not a
member and helpful advice on the Council's work cannot be expected
from him.

3. So far as other members of the Council are concerned, the
Chinese representative [3] plays a very negative role and it is
hard to imagine that he will present matters for discussion
despite China's close interest in this country and despite his
very large staff of experts.

4. On the other hand, the Member for the Soviet Union might well
feel it important to keep on the Agenda of the Council items under
which some critical comment can be expressed of American
Occupation policy in Japan. The terms of reference of the Council
are wide and it would not be possible for the Chairman to prevent
the Soviet Member from initiating discussion on a large number of
topics. Our experience in the past few months has been that the
debates have been acrimonious and often personal. The remarks of
the Russian delegate would be extremely distasteful to the Supreme
Commander but some useful views and information on the Occupation
might be aired.

5. The last Meeting of the Council on the 7th January, which was
reported briefly in my telegram of that date, was devoted entirely
to a discussion under rules of procedure arising out of an effort
by the Soviet Member to introduce a discussion on disarmament and
demobilisation in Japan. Some days previously General Kislenko had
written formally to the Secretary General of the Council
requesting that an item be placed on the Agenda entitled
'Statement by the Chairman on the Progress of Demilitarisation and
Demobilisation in Japan', and listing ten lengthy questions
incorporating demands for information. Mr. Sebald took the view
that an Agenda item calling for a report by himself was not in
order and that many of the points covered by the questions had
already been the subject of full reports by SCAP. On these grounds
he rejected the item for the Agenda as proposed. In addition, I
gather that he lectured General Kislenko, in General MacArthur's
view that the Council should not be made a sounding board for
critical comments on the Occupation, expressed from a national

6. The Soviet Member did not accept the rejection of his item and
made a statement on the incident at the following Meeting of the
Council on the 7th January. The verbatim minutes of this Meeting
are attached, from which you will see that the American and Soviet
Members engaged in acrimonious and often irrelevant controversy. I
had not been prepared for the incident at all but it appeared that
Mr. Sebald was within his grounds in rejecting the item for the
Agenda in the form in which it was submitted. I have since
discussed this with Mr. Sebald informally and he agrees that
should General Kislenko list for discussion a report or statement
by himself on the subject of the progress of demilitarisation and
demobilisation in Japan it would have to be accepted even though
he believed that it would be the starting point for another
critical debate which, in his view, would be profitless. I was
relieved to hear that he took this view as if the question had
again emerged at the Allied Council under procedure it would have
been clearly necessary for me to support the Soviet Member's
contention that members should have the fullest right to submit
items for discussion. I would assume from this that the Soviet
Member would resubmit his item and that this will be accepted for
discussion at the next Meeting. It is clear however that the
American Member will take the view that the fullest information on
this subject has already been widely circulated and that he will
regard the Soviet Member's statement, no matter in what form it is
presented, as an attack on the Occupation policy. In such an
event, a further repetition of the rather barren controversy which
took up the time at the last Meeting is an that can be expected.

In such a controversy there is little that I or my Chinese
colleague could do.

1 Volume 12, Document 498.

2 Sir Alvary Gascoigne.

3 General Shang Chen.

[AA:A1838/278, 482/2, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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