442 Makin to Evatt

Cablegram 814 WASHINGTON, 23 June 1947, 6.42 p.m.


Refer my 689.

The State Department have today sent me the following aide-memoire in reply to mine of May 29th.

'The questions raised by the Australian Ambassador in his aide- memoire left with the Under Secretary of State on May 29th 1947 have been considered and in reply the Australian Government is informed as follows:

The Angaur Island Phosphate Industry has been operated by the United States Navy and employing American contractors to mine the Phosphate rock. The output has been shipped to Japan to relieve the fertilizer shortage there, and a certain number of Japanese labourers have been employed in loading the rock for shipment. It is expected that control of the Industry will shortly be transferred to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan. The Supreme Commander had indicated that when and if this transfer is effected, he intends to employ Japanese technicians, labour and equipment in place of the American personnel and facilities presently working the deposits, in order to reduce [the] dollar cost of the operations. He has not indicated that responsibility for the management of the enterprise will be transferred to the Japanese Government or to Japanese private interests, or that he has any other intention than to retain this responsibility in his own hands. However, in order that his precise intentions may be ascertained, and in order that he may be acquainted with the Australian Government's view in the matter, the substance of these views is being transmitted to the Supreme Commander, and all pertinent information, with his comments requested. The Australian Embassy will be advised of the United States position in the matter, following receipt of the Supreme Commander's reply. [1]

Regarding the second point raised in the Embassy's aide-memoire, the Japanese have been invited to several International conferences abroad, in every case at the instance of the sponsoring organisations and a Japanese recently attended the Rice Study Conference, held under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organisation in India. This Japanese was authorised to advise on technical problems of rice production, on the other problems and was in no sense a representative of the Japanese Government. It is the Department of States's understanding that authorisation for Japanese to attend the World Federation of Trade Unions conference in Prague and the Union Postale Universale conference in Paris, have not yet been granted by the Supreme Commander in Tokyo.

A comprehensive programme, subject to appropriate limitations, for the interchange of persons between Japan and other nations to assist Japan's re-orientation and democratisation is now under consideration by the United States Government, and will shortly be submitted to the Far Eastern Commission.

The Australian Embassy was advised in a separate note dated June 9th, 1947 of this Government's decision in the matter of a second S.C.A.P. operated, Japanese manned Antarctic whaling expedition.

Regarding the final point in the Embassy's aide-memoire, the Australian Government may be assured that the United States Government's position in the matter of Japanese disarmament and demilitarisation remains as stated in Article 1A of the draft treaty on the disarmament and demilitarisation of Japan submitted to the Governments of China, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom in April 1946. The Japanese Constitution, moreover provides that "the maintenance of land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be authorised". If, contrary to this provision of the Japanese constitution, Japanese officials are indeed preparing proposals for a Japanese Army, Navy and Air Force for submission to the Peace conference, the Embassy may be assured that such proposals will in no way influence the position of the United States in the matter.'

1 On 24 July the Embassy received a further aide-memoire from the State Department, reporting MacArthur's assurances that Japanese personnel on the island were segregated and strictly controlled, and would be returned to Japan on completion of the project. The US Government's view was that the operation thus conducted 'does not threaten the security of or otherwise injure any nation, while permitting a significant saving in occupation costs'.

[AA : A1068, P47/10/61, ii]