463 The MacArthur-Northcott Agreement

Extracts TOKYO, 18 December 1945

SECRET

MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD Tentative arrangements covering establishment of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan have been effected between Staff Conferees of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers and the British Commonwealth Force as enumerated below. These arrangements have been concluded on a staff level to facilitate establishment of the Force in Japan when directed. It is understood that they are subject to agreement between the Governments concerned and in no way constitute commitments of the parties to specific courses of action. The substance of these arrangements is being communicated by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers to the United States Government, and by the GOC, British Commonwealth Force, to the Australian Government, for appropriate action.

1. COMMAND RELATIONSHIPS:

a. Mission The British Commonwealth Force will constitute a component of occupation forces in Japan under the supreme command of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. It will be charged with the normal military duties of a force of its size and composition, including military control of Hiroshima Prefecture and such other ground and air areas as may be allocated to it for this purpose, demilitarization and disposition of Japanese installations and armaments within such ground areas and measures necessary for the security of the Force. These areas do not constitute a national zone. It will accomplish such ground and air patrol and surveillance missions within allocated areas as may be directed.

Military Government functions within areas allocated to the British Commonwealth Force will be conducted by U.S. agencies as directed by SCAP. Relationships of the British Commonwealth Force with the Japanese, and routine security functions pertaining primarily to Eighth Army operations as a whole, will be prescribed by the CG, Eighth Army. The British Commonwealth Force will conduct such military operations outside normally allocated areas as may be directed to the CG, Eighth Army for Ground Forces and the CG, Fifth Air Force for Air Forces.

b. Command Organization SCAP will assign ground forces of the British Commonwealth Force to operational control of the CG, Eighth U.S. Army. SCAP will assign operational control of the air component of the British Commonwealth Force to the CG, PACUSA. Such air component will function as a separate air command under the Fifth Air Force. SCAP will assign operational control of Royal Naval Port Party, British Commonwealth Force, to the U.S. Naval Commander exercising jurisdiction over Japanese ports, for operation of the port of Kure. Such assignments to operational control will become effective upon arrival of the Forces concerned at Japanese ports of debarkation. Ground Forces of the British Commonwealth Force will function as a corps of two divisions under the command of the GOC, British Commonwealth Forces as Corps Commander. The Corps will be composed of one British-Indian Division of two brigade groups with supporting troops, and an Anzac Division of one brigade and one brigade group with supporting troops. Logistic organization of the British Commonwealth Force will be as prescribed by the Commander thereof. GOC, British Commonwealth Force will remain responsible for the maintenance and administration of the British Commonwealth Force as a whole.

c. Command and Administrative Channels (1) GOC, British Commonwealth Force will have the right of direct access to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers for matters of major policy affecting the operational capabilities of the Force.

(2) GOC, British Commonwealth Force will retain the right of direct communication with the British Commonwealth Joint Chiefs of Staff in Australia on administrative matters affecting the Force.

(3) It is understood that for matters of Governmental concern [a]ffecting the policy and operations of the British Commonwealth Force, the channel of communication lies from the Australian Government as representative of the British Commonwealth of Nations through the United States Government and the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.

(4) In administrative matters pertaining to relations with United States Forces or with the Japanese, the GOC, British Commonwealth Force will be governed by policies prescribed by Commanders exercising operational control. Such policies will in general conform to those prescribed for United States Forces. In case of conflict between such administrative instructions received from the CG, Eighth Army and the CG, PACUSA (or his designated representative), the matter will be referred to GHQ, SCAP for decision.

[matter omitted]

2. AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY:

a. The British Commonwealth Force will be allocated Hiroshima Prefecture for exercise of the functions and responsibilities enumerated in sub-paragraph 1a above.

b. If proven necessary by reconnaissance, the British Commonwealth Force may be allocated an additional area or areas by SCAP for air base purposes. Within such areas, British Commonwealth Force will exercise the security and surveillance functions and responsibilities prescribed for Hiroshima Prefecture, subject to local modification at the direction of CG, Eighth Army.

3. FORCES:

a. It is understood that the total strength of the British Commonwealth Force will be determined by inter-governmental decision. It is also understood that the British Commonwealth Force plans to maintain its basic organization as a Corps of two divisions of two brigades each, with suitable air and (air and ground) service supporting elements within the strength eventually determined. Major unit strength will be adjusted to meet the total strength determined by inter-governmental decision. Composition and strength of the air component of the Force is also subject to inter-governmental decision.

b. It is understood that the British Commonwealth Force may be withdrawn wholly or in part upon agreement between the Governments of the United States and Australia or upon six months notice by either party. It is also understood that reductions will be made in the British Commonwealth Force from time to time in conformity with progressive reductions in United States Occupation Forces in Japan. [1]

[matter omitted]

J. NORTHCOTT, R.J. MARSHALL, Lieutenant General, A.I.F., Major General, G.S.C., Commanding, British Chief of Staff.

Commonwealth Force Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.

1 This agreement was acceptable to the Commonwealth Govt. See Chifley's cablegram 462 to Addison, dispatched 19 December, on file AA : A816, 52/301/223.

[AA : A5954, Box 1699]