367 Eggleston to Evatt

Letter MELBOURNE, 1 October 1947


I am forwarding to you the transcript of the Meetings of the Advisory Committee on the Japanese Peace Settlement, together with some comments.

I could not refrain from dealing with the big issues as affected by the statements in this Committee and in the British Commonwealth Conference as the short memorandum which I sent to you before you left was inadequate.

I have been somewhat stirred up on this point because of the nature of the reactions to the points raised which you put clearly to the British Commonwealth Conference. There is a mood of complacent acceptance which alarms me.

What angered me most was the reversal of opinion at the last moment by the Defence Department. In my discussions with them and in the Report of the Planning Committee, they advised a long occupation of Japan. Then they came to the Conference led by that redoubtable figure, General Robertson, and advised an immediate evacuation. I tried to get the reason and two were suggested; one by a member of the Defence Staff that at all costs we must keep friendly with the Japanese Government. Can you beat it! Have they a staff brain on the show? What is the friendship of Japan worth if she is completely demilitarised? The other was that of General Robertson who said that, if we did not evacuate on the signing of the Peace, the Japanese people would become hostile and stab our soldiers in the back. They have done this for several years and we thought it our duty to resist them.

With these things in mind, I feel that I cannot do less than press my point.