413 Evatt to Chifley

Cablegram E50 WASHINGTON, 24 November 1945, 1.59 a.m.

SECRET

British Occupation Force for Japan.

The answer of the United States Government received this evening is as follows:-

The United States Government accepts in principle the participation in the occupation of Japan of British Commonwealth Forces and will be pleased to enter into conversations with Representatives of the Australian Government with a view to defining the conditions under which that participation will take place.

In general the United States Government envisages that the Commonwealth Forces so provided will be integrated operationally into the United States Forces under the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, that they will be balanced and self supporting, that the maintenance of these forces will be the responsibility of the Commonwealth and that the Supreme Commander will utilize these forces in any area or manner when, in his opinion, the military situation may require.

I shall not fail to communicate further with you in this connection in the very near future and in the meantime would appreciate information as to the identity of the Australian Representatives who will be named to discuss the participation of the Commonwealth Forces. (Ends).

Subject to your approval I propose that Lavarack and myself shall take up the question of the detailed arrangements.

I regard the reply as a very substantial step forward in the acknowledgement of Australia's special position in the Pacific and am pleased to be associated with you and the Government in so notable an advance where Australia is recognised as taking the lead on behalf of the other Commonwealth Countries.

In view of this reply you will see the reason I took no action on your telegram 1766 of 21st November. [1]

1 Document 401.

[AA : A816, 52/301/222]