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Historical documents

22 Minute From Dexter[1] to Shaw

Minute, Canberra, 27 October 1950

Japanese Peace Settlement and Pacific Pact
The problems of a Japanese peace settlement and a Pacific pact are becoming increasingly intertwined.

2. Between the end of 1947 and mid-1950 the Americans showed little inclination to be involved in a Japanese peace settlement or a Pacific pact. Lately, however, and more particularly since Australian/U.S. co-operation in the Korean war, the Americans have made positive steps towards a Japanese peace settlement and they have shown themselves, at least on an official level, not unsympathetic towards a Pacific pact.

3. The British Commonwealth in May in London recognised the nature of the double-headed penny - security, namely, security of Japan against Communist aggression and the security of the democratic countries against a resurgence of a militaristic Japan. The Americans have also recognised the nature of the security problem and have not been altogether scornful of Australia's fears of a Japanese revival.

4. There seems to be little chance of a Pacific pact in isolation but in conjunction with a Japanese peace settlement there may be a distinct chance.

5. Consideration might therefore be given to developing the idea behind the proposed U.S./Japan bilateral defence pact [and suggesting][2] U.S./Australian, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Philippines pact. The Americans have said that Australia should not worry because U.S. would automatically and naturally come to their aid if attacked. Why should they not then be willing to say so in black and white?
6. There would thus be the following three major international agreements negotiated separately and signed at the same time:-

(a) Japanese peace treaty - multilateral treaty between Japan and all possible FEC[3] nations based on U.S. seven points[4] and British Commonwealth Working Party report.

(b) U.S./Japan bilateral defence agreement in which U.S. would guarantee Japan against Communist aggression.

(c) U.N. regional pact for Pacific between U.S., Australia, U.K., New Zealand and Philippines initially and perhaps others in which U.S. would guarantee these nations against Japanese aggression.

1 David St. Alban Dexter, Second Secretary, East Asia Section, Australian Department of External Affairs.

2 Words in square brackets were added by hand.

3 Far Eastern Commission.

4 The United States proposed that the Treaty with Japan should reflect seven principles. (1) The parties should include any or all nations at war with Japan which were willing to make peace as might be agreed. (2) Japan's membership of the United Nations would be contemplated. (3) Japan would recognise the independence of Korea, agree to UN trusteeship of the Ryukyu and Bonin Islands, accept the future decision of the UK, the Soviet Union, China and the United States with reference to the status of Formosa, Pescadores, South Sakhalin and the Kuriles or of the UN General Assembly if no decision were reached and renounce special rights and interests in China. (4) The Treaty would contemplate continuing co-operative responsibility between Japanese facilities and the United States in relation to security. (5) Pending the conclusion of new commercial treaties, Japan would extend most-favoured-nation treatment, subject to normal exceptions. (6) Parties would waive claims arising out of war acts before 2 September 1945. (7) Claims disputes would be settled by a special neutral tribunal to be set up by the President of the International Court of Justice.

[NAA : A1838, 535/6, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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