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148 Extract Of Memorandum 816 From Watt To Tange

27th September, 1956


14. In conclusion, may I be permitted to express the opinion that
it would be unwise for us to regard relationships with Japan as
limited to matters of trade or defence, or both. Japanese foreign
policy can swing in any direction and great changes can take place
quite quickly in the postwar political setup in this country. I
believe it is in Australia's interest to develop positive plans to
help shape the new Japan, although we must of course avoid any
course of action which would lay us open to the charge of
interfering in Japanese domestic affairs. The initiative must come
from us-for various reasons. For instance, Japan's attitude
towards the Suez issue demonstrates clearly enough her extreme
reluctance to sponsor a foreign policy which would result in Japan
finding herself 'off side' with Asian nations. Australia is not
included in this category. There is little doubt that Japan
regards Australia, on the Suez issue, as a Western country whose
interests and attitude are more or less identical with those of
the United Kingdom. I strongly recommend that we make every
imaginative effort to build up direct contacts with Japan in
permissible fields in an endeavour to make her realize that,
though Australia's tradition is European, she is geographically
part of Asia and anxious to develop relationships with Japan on a
different qualitative basis than distant European countries whose
vital interests are inevitably concentrated elsewhere.

[AA : A1838/278, 3103/10/10/1, iv]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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