224 Shaw to Chifley

Ministerial Dispatch 3147 TOKYO, 30 September 1947


In my first despatch No. 1 of 16th September, 1947, I remarked on the bitterly anti-Soviet sentiment which was so openly displayed by most of the staff of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan. After making some closer contacts with the highest ranking American officers in Japan, I have been further impressed by the advanced stage to which their future planning has apparently already gone. The impressions recorded briefly in the following paragraphs were gained in quite informal and personal conversations. Their possible interest lies in their general trend and not in the details, which I would be in no position to confirm. Nor can I estimate to what extent their views are accepted in Washington.

2. The generals on the staff of SCAP are unanimous and frank in expressing their beliefs on the lines that the dangers and unrest in the world today stem ultimately from the USSR, that the only way to deal with Communists is to exterminate them and that the USA should do this by using atomic weapons against the USSR. To this end the US bomber air force is being built up in Europe and the Far East. Although they have long range plans for the production of jet propelled bombers, at present their efforts are concentrated on building up squadrons of atomic bomb carrying B29s.

3. The U.S. Army and Air Force officers here apparently believe that the fighting strength of the USSR could be destroyed in perhaps one day with the atomic bombing of just under 200 main urban and industrial targets. Most of these would be reached from Western Europe from bases in Germany. In the Pacific, the island of Guam remains the main base with Okinawa and the Japanese main islands being regarded as staging posts. Okinawa is well developed, there is a good air field used by the 5th Air Force at Nagoya in the Japanese main island of Honshu, and a larger field is being constructed near Sendai in northern Honshu. It is on this base near Sendai that the largest constructional effort in Japan is being at present directed, the expense of which consumes about 80% of the supplementary budget.

4. I have the impression that at Nagoya the US 5th Air Force already hold about nine atomic bombs. The effective range of the B.29 air-craft is 3,000 miles and the Americans boast that there are plenty of American volunteers of the 'kami kaze' school to make this a one way range. I gather also that one new squadron of B.29s is coming forward each month.

5. The American service leaders here believe that the USSR is not yet in possession of atomic bombs but will ultimately make them.

They say they have detailed orders for attacking the USSR which they can implement on their own initiative in the event of some disaster overtaking Washington or the President. They are convinced that a policy of attacking the USSR would not run counter to the present state of public opinion in the United States.

6. So far as American policy in Japan is concerned, the thinking of the US Army officers which I have been discussing is framed on their estimate of Japan's future usefulness as an American base and possibly as an ally in the coming struggle with the USSR.

There are a few Japanese who, like the Filipinos, are somewhat sceptical as to the advantages of being an anchored aircraft carrier in a new global war. Some, however, see in such a conflict the quickest chance to restore their country's dominant position in East Asia.

7. I might add that the American generals of my acquaintance express the highest regard for the Australian forces with which many of them worked during the Pacific War. They are very keen for Australia to maintain a force in Japan on a fitting ratio with the American forces. Their assumption is that such forces would play a part in whatever operations were thought necessary by the United States in this area at a later date.

[AA: A1068 T4, DL47/5/8C]