248 Ball to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram ACJ10 TOKYO, 16 May 1946, 8 a.m.


Fourth meeting of the Allied Council held on May 15th was interesting in two respects.

1. Atcheson made explicit his determination to permit the Council nothing more than to give formal approval of MacArthur's acts.

2. He epitomized the prevailing American attitude towards the Soviet by almost directly accusing the Russian member of fabricating the Japanese May Day p[et]ition [1] to the Allied Council and followed this with hostile comments on communism in Derevyanko's presence. The meeting began in an atmosphere of calm good humour but became increasingly tense and ended on a note of frustration. I initiated no discussion explaining that I was not prepared to proceed further on the held-over food policy item at this stage. [2]

The first Russian question which sought to discover how the Japanese officer [Corps] was being demobilized and what precautions were being taken to prevent its members undermining the occupation policy was answered reasonably and informatively and there was agreement that Council members should have periodical access to information about absorption of the Corps into civil life. The only notable reflection on this item is the question whether the Japanese Government is more interested in effectively destroying the Officer Corps spirit [or convincing] SCAP [that it] has done so since the system of surveillance in thinly occupied areas depends for effectiveness on the sincerity of the Japanese administration. The second Russian item seeking to make SCAP directives on matters of substance the subject of debate by the Council before they are issued was the occasion for Atcheson's most positive demonstration so far that he sees eye to eye with MacArthur [on] the Council's role. Admittedly Derevyanko's proposal was quite inappropriate and was not supported by Chu [3] or me though we agree with him that the present method of presenting Council members with drafts of directives forty eight hours before they are due for issuance give no time for reflective thought or consultation about more important orders. Immediately discussion opened, Atcheson politely informed the Russians that the Council was set up to assist rather than obstruct machinery of occupation. Through translation difficulties Derevyanko began to flounder at this stage and Chu and I attempted to help with a suggestion that what was needed was a change in the Council's machinery to enable it to keep pace with the machinery of Government. I said I thought it a pity if we should give the impression that Derevyanko was urging [something] inconsistent with what other members of the Council desired. He really wanted two things. He would like it if possible to give advice or judgement as a corporate body and he would like it to have every kind of opportunity to study the kind of problems presented to us. I suggested that the Supreme Commander might give the Council some indication of the nature of the directives while they are still in staff study stage so that Council members could prepare their minds and be in a position to give critical [4] advice by the time the draft directive was ready. To this suggestion Atcheson had only one practical alternative, namely, that members of the Council should be able to anticipate in their minds nature of all directives that might be issued and be prepared at 48 hours notice to give advice on any subject that might arise. He said that there were practical objections to Chu's and my suggestion that we might be informed of the nature of the directive when it was in the preliminary stage and characterised this as fantastic.

He said the present procedure was entirely consistent with the Council's terms of reference. He said that after all when a directive was issued it was issued pursuant to a policy decision our Governments had taken. I said that agreements made between governments were generally made in very general terms and sometimes the most important thing about them was the way they were carried out on the spot. If this was not important then there was not any reason for this Council at all.

The fact that our Governments made an agreement some time in the last two years in extremely generalized terms did not show that there are not a number of questions involved, we, as the Council should follow up. Atcheson declined to move from this attitude. He also expressed the view that it was not settled in the Moscow communique that the Council should give advice as a corporate body. The Russian's final submission asked, how SCAP was studying the May Day address of the people's meeting, which alleged mal- administration by Japanese Government and victimization of the workers. This was contained in the unsigned letter addressed in Japanese to MacArthur and the Council (copy supplied to you by Ballard). Atcheson said that the document had been investigated and according to information in SCAP possession was not based on fact. it was a rather curious document in that it was not written in idiomatic Japanese but SCAP translators have a clear impression that it had been drawn up in Russian [5] language and then translated into Japanese for interpretation. After saying that the United States although it did not favour communism, either at home or in Japan, had not suppressed the communist party in Japan, Atcheson declared that 'I offer as my personal opinion that this document which we have under discussion contains the outward marks of Communistic propaganda.' The whole discussion was unfortunate.

Derevyanko presented his questions clumsily and there was little point for putting his final items on the agenda at all.

1 Material in square brackets has been inserted from the Tokyo version on file AA:A5104/2, 1/3/2.

2 See Document 236.

3 General Chu Shih-ming, Chinese representative.

4 The Tokyo version here reads 'helpful advice'.

5 The Tokyo version reads 'foreign language'.

[AA:A1067, ER46/13/21]