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334 Department of External Affairs to Noel-Baker and Mission in Tokyo

Cablegrams 214, 348 CANBERRA, 16 August 1948, 6.10 p.m.


Our 207 [1] Japanese Public Service Legislation.

We understand from United Kingdom High Commission Canberra and
from British Commonwealth Member of Allied Council for Japan that
United Kingdom Government would feel unable to associate itself
with attempt to amend the pending Japanese Public Service Bill. We
gather that you feel that to raise the issue at this stage in the
Allied Council might exacerbate present delicate situation vis-a-
vis U.S.S.R.

2. While admitting that raising the matter in the Allied Council
might irritate SCAP H.Q., we do not feel that wider consequences
would be dangerous as you appear to imagine. In our view, this is
a clear cut instance where Allied Council would be neglecting its
duty if it failed to take prompt action at least to discuss
legislation which is at variance with a policy decision of F.E.C.

The Bill in question is to be considered by the Japanese
Government next week and we feel that early intervention by Allied
Council might influence its final form. We understand
confidentially that Ashida went a little too far and that the
Japanese Government's proposed action goes beyond a reasonable
interpretation of it. State Department is trying to persuade Army
Department to have SCAP issue a statement that while strikes of
Government workers may be intolerable in present phase of
occupation there is not justification for Japanese interpreting
letter to mean that the National Public Service Law should be
amended to prohibit all government workers permanently from
striking. Statement along these lines would of course meet our
point in that it would remove basis which Japanese Government
claims as authority for its action. It is, however, doubtful
whether United States Army will agree, and timely action in the
Allied Council seems desirable before matters go too far. It may
be that SCAP will furnish the Allied Council with explanation
which can be accepted as satisfactory. We consider however, that
Council is at least entitled to such explanation, and we have
accordingly instructed British Commonwealth Member at next meeting
of Allied Council to ask at least on behalf of Australia
information without offering criticism or suggesting any
particular amendments to legislation, and at the same time, to
reserve his right, if necessary, to raise question again at later
date. We hope you will feel able to be associated with Shaw's
action, which would be aimed solely at eliciting more complete
information on proposed legislation. As time is short, you will no
doubt send advice through United Kingdom Liaison Mission, Tokyo.

1 Document 332.

[AA:A1838/278, 478/2/5, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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