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Historical documents

342 Makin to Marshall

Note 328/48 (extract) WASHINGTON, 2 September, 1948

2. The United States Government having approved of the withdrawal
of the United Kingdom, Indian and New Zealand contingents of the
B.C.O.F. [1], the Force now consists of Australians, a few United
Kingdom specialist personnel and some New Zealanders whose
movement from Japan is now in train. The size of the British
Commonwealth force proposed by the United States Government would
involve a substantial increase in the present strength of the

3. The reasons given when the approval of the United States
Government was sought for the complete withdrawal of the U.K. and
New Zealand contingents from the Force are still applicable and so
neither the Government of the United Kingdom nor of New Zealand is
in a position to participate further in the occupation of Japan.

4. The situation in regard to Australian land forces is that
despite every effort the numbers of recruits forthcoming have been
insufficient to maintain even one brigade in Japan. Many personnel
at present serving there are due for release from army service
before the end of this year and the Government's service advisers
have again reported that after December next it will be quite
impracticable to provide and maintain in Japan a greater force
than 2,750 all ranks.

5. The Australian Government regrets that the services manpower
position in Australia leaves the Government no option but to
request the United States Government to agree to the reduction of
the Australian contingent of the B.C.O.F. to the maximum force
which can be maintained in the present circumstances, namely, one
infantry battalion, one air force squadron with the necessary
administrative units for their maintenance.

6. It is noted that the United States is unable to provide
additional troops to S.C.A.P. to take over the B.C.O.F. areas. The
Australian Chiefs of Staff Committee is being requested to
instruct the Commander-in-Chief to consult S.C.A.P. in regard to
the area for which responsibility should be accepted which is
consistent with the strength of the reduced force. [3]

1 Approval was given in 1947 for the Indian withdrawal, in January
1948 for the UK withdrawal and in May 1948 for the NZ withdrawal.

2 The reasons given were manpower shortages and, in the cue of the
United Kingdom, financial difficulties also.

3 The Department of Sure replied in a note on 3 November renewing
the request in Document 341 and adding that the US Amy was
'anxious that Australia should keep high-ranking officers; in
Japan'. The Australian Government replied on 24 November that no
change was contemplated in the position of the Commander-in-Chief,
but should my be made, regard would be taken of 'the special
nature and functions of the BCOF in determining the sums of a

[AA:A3300/7, 689]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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