453 Chifley to Addison

Cablegram 460 CANBERRA, 15 December 1945

MOST IMMEDIATE TOP SECRET

My cablegrams 454, 456 and 457. [1] British Commonwealth Occupation Force.

The following signal [2] from Lieutenant General Northcott, Tokyo, is being considered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Australia immediately and their views will be communicated to the Governments concerned as soon as possible:-

Begins:-

T.O.O.140230Z.

Received very cordially by General MacArthur who is most anxious to meet our requirements to the maximum extent.

2. Our agreed proposals are:-

(A) Hiroshima Prefecture including cities Kure and Fukuyama allotted British Commonwealth Force.

(B) British Commonwealth Force will relieve the United States Corps at present located above area.

(C) Kure will be port for B.C.O.F. Port will be under B.C.O.F.

control.

3. ROLE:

Military control of area and demilitarisation and destruction of equipment, arms and other defences Hiroshima Prefecture.

4. CONTROL:

(A) All policy matters affecting B.C.O.F. which may require Governmental agreement will be the subject of direct discussion between General MacArthur or S.C.A.P. staff and myself.

(B) For operational and local control of areas B.C.O.F.

responsible to C.G. Eighth United States Army who will control whole area of Japan.

(C) Force Headquarters responsible for administration and maintenance B.C.O.F.

5. Agreed that role of Air Component is general support of B.C.O.F., reconnaissance being undertaken of airfields in area and adjacent thereto (mutilated group).

6. General MacArthur agrees that Australian Services Mission has completed its task and it is recommended that it be disbanded, and planning for the reception of B.C.O.F. be continued by Army and Air Force personnel who will become the Advanced Echelon of Headquarters B.C.O.F. Recommend Brigadier Anderson [3] be appointed Brigadier-in-Charge of Administration B.C.O.F. Other staff here will be nominated to appropriate vacancies in later signal. Commodore Collins [4] will continue to plan locally for the entry of the Port Party. United States Port Party Directorate will continue to function until our Port Party takes over.

7. General MacArthur is notifying Washington regarding the above agreed proposals and is prepared to go ahead at once with arrangements for reception B.C.O.F. at earliest practicable date.

8. Strongly recommend you accept the above agreements which I consider fully meet our requirements and notify Washington accordingly. In anticipation of your concurrence, am proceeding with staff discussions on the following basis:-

(A) APPROXIMATE STRENGTHS:-

Force Headquarters and Force troops 4,000 Anzac Division 15,000 British India Division 15,000 R.A.F. 6,000 R.A.A.F. 2,500 R.N.Z.A.F. 500 Naval Port Party 350 (B) TENTATIVE SCHEDULE OF ARRIVAL IN JAPAN:

28th January- Naval Port Party;

1st February- 34th Australian Infantry Brigade; Advance Parties and appropriate Force and Base Troops; Airfield Construction Squadron and First Echelons Air Component;

23rd February- Headquarters and Leading Brigade British India Division; Main Body Air Component;

23rd February- Headquarters Anzac Division;

15th March- Remaining Brigade British Indian Division;

23rd March- New Zealand Brigade.

Arrival of New Zealand Brigade has been placed in this order in view of long sea movement and possible delay shipping from Italy.

If arrangements possible for earlier arrival this can be accepted.

Suggest New Zealand advise immediately convenient date.

ENDS.

1 Dispatched 13 December. On file AA : A816, 52/301/223. Cablegram 454 invited observations on the contents of 456 and 457 which contained respectively the views on general principles and detailed comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Australia on the general principles involved in the U.S. Govt's reply (Document 440).

2 On the file cited in note 1. Its date, given only as December, was probably 14 December.

3 Then Senior Administrative Officer attached to U.S. Eighth Army.

4 Commodore Commanding Royal Australian Naval Squadron.

[AA : A816, 52/301/223]