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199 Extracts From Brief For Menzies [1]

8th April, 1957


The primary purpose of the Prime Minister's visit is to develop
understanding between Australia and Japan on the part of Ministers
and officials and of the general public in both countries.

The Attitude of the Japanese Prime Minister
Mr Kishi, who is Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Japan, has
never been farther abroad than Manchuria and is a relative
newcomer in the field of foreign relations. His thinking on
foreign policy has tended to focus on the United States, the
U.S.S.R., China, and on the nature of Japan's relationship to
other members of the Afro-Asian group. The Japanese Ambassador to
Australia (Suzuki) told us when he returned from his visit earlier
this year to Japan that Kishi (who was then Foreign Minister only)
had not seemed really conscious of Australia. Suzuki implied that
Australian reactions and interests were not really a factor in
Kishi's mind when he made decisions. This may help to explain
Japan's vote against Australia on Dutch New Guinea [2], which was
contrary to the impression that we had been given of the likely
Japanese attitude.

3. A valuable consequence of the Prime Minister's visit to Japan
could be a realization by Kishi personally that Australia exists,
that our friendship is worth having, and that our reactions and
interests could have some consequence for Japan.

[matter omitted]

Australia's Basic Approach to Japan
12. Our disagreement with Japan on pearling does not in any way
imply a misunderstanding on our part as to the status of Japan.

Australia's basic approach to Japan has been guided by a belief
that Japan must be given an opportunity to develop peacefully in
association with the countries of the free world, or else she will
be forced to come to terms with Communist China and the Soviet
Union. Hence Australia has sponsored Japan's entry into the
Colombo Plan and international organizations. Australia recognizes
Japan's economic needs in the trade agreement which is now being
negotiated. Our approach is evidence of Australia's desire to
assist Japan to play her proper role in the family of nations and
is an indication of how Australia can be of practical assistance
to Japan. Australia's understanding of the status of Japan and of
its needs is something that could be stressed in public speeches
by the Prime Minister.

Japan's Attitude towards South East Asia
13. One line of thought that might be developed with the Japanese
is that Japan is not a small power-it is an important power, and
it is not in Japan's interests to submerge its identity completely
in a grouping like the Afro-Asian bloc, where Japan might be
dragged along at the heels of many countries which may have an
equal vote but not an equal weight in the world.

14. On South-East Asia, it could also be pointed out to Japan that
on the whole she has found a more friendly reception from
Australia than from most countries in South and South-East Asia.

For example, Australia did not seek reparations from Japan,
whereas Burma and the Philippines are receiving reparations and
Viet Nam and Indonesia are making substantial claims (which have
not yet been settled). The Australian Government is showing no
hostility towards Japan and has taken positive steps to help her
in her international and other problems, whereas in some South-
East Asian countries, such as Indonesia, there is active and
continuing antagonism in many key quarters.

Dutch New Guinea
15. This brings us to the question of Dutch New Guinea, on which
Japan voted this year, against Australia's wishes, for a good
offices committee of the United Nations. In explaining this vote
to Sir Alan Watt, Kishi said that it was Japan's policy not to
'hurt unnecessarily' the feelings of members of the Afro-Asian
bloc. It would be useful if the Prime Minister could vigorously
express Australia's disappointment at Japan's attitude; point out
to Japan the dangers to Japan's own position of submerging its
identity in the Afro-Asian bloc regardless of the merits of an
issue; and point out that Japan has something to get from
Australia and Western countries no less than from the Afro-Asian

1 Prepared in the Department of External Affairs. Menzies was to
be in Japan from 11 to 17 April. Brown and Plimsoll travelled with
his party.

2 A resolution calling for the appointment of a Good Offices
Commision to assist in negotiations between Indonesia and the
Netherlands was passed by the Political Committee of the Eleventh
Session of the UN General Assembly, but failed to obtain the
necessary two-thirds majority in the plenary meeting, Forty
members, including Soviet bloc and most Afro-Asian countries,
supported the resolution; twenty five, including most European
countries and the 'old' British Commonwealth, opposed it. There
were thirteen abstentions, including the United States and most
Latin American countries.

[AA : A1838/278, 3103/10/11/2/1, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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