471 Ball to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram Department 33 TOKYO, 28 February 1947, 4.15 p.m.


The following are my comments on MacArthur's message to Congress.

[1] (1) in referring to the success of the occupation MacArthur's claims are much more cautious and modest than they were last year.

He continued the description of the ultimate objective of the occupation as complete spiritual reform of the Japanese people but he no longer speaks as if these reforms were completed but says 'probably are successful in the accomplishment of this purpose'.

(2) MacArthur says that the American occupation forces are the 'lowest numerical level consistent with either reasonable security or accomplishment of regeneration of an entire race'.

It is difficult to follow the argument here. If the Japanese people have proceeded as far as MacArthur and his officers claim, along the road to pacifism and democracy, it should be possible to reduce without physical danger the present strength of the Allied Forces here. Nor can I agree that the presence of tens of thousands of G.I.'s in Japan will necessarily contribute to the spiritual regeneration of the Japanese. If MacArthur envisages the possibility that he may need to intervene more directly and continuously in the work of the Government here it is trained civilians rather than soldiers he would need for such a task.

(3) I am confident that MacArthur's analysis of the food situation is detrimental and misleading. When MacArthur referred, in conversation with me a fortnight ago, to the urgent need for relief supplies of food this year I suggested that the need was not nearly as great as the statements from General Headquarters would imply. MacArthur seemed deeply concerned that I should question the validity of General Headquarters' analysis of food situation. Later at MacArthur's request I discussed this with [General] Marquat [2] I then summarised my views in a letter to Marquat. On receiving this letter, Marquat telephoned me to say that this was one of the most important documents he had received during his time in Japan, that he was calling for an immediate report from his food experts and that it appeared to him, after a careful reading of my letter, that 'some people down here have been duped'.

I have said in this letter that importation of an emergency reserve of about 400,000 tons of food was all that could be reasonably supported. S.C.A.P. had stated on February 3rd that 1,600,000 tons was the minimum necessary imports for 1947. (I am sending a copy of my letter to Marquat by bag.) (4) You will notice that when MacArthur asks for increased imports he goes on to urge the need for increased exports from Japan in order to save the American taxpayer from loss. This is connected with reparations for the American view on reparations appear[s to be] [3] to enable Japan to increase her export trade.

(5) The real danger is that American economic assistance to Japan whether by food exports or credits will bolster up more conservative Japanese groups and enable these groups to withstand internal pressure for social and economic reforms. The temptation to support these groups must be great since, however much S.C.A.P.

may deplore people like Yoshida and Ishibashi, he now feels that he can at least rely on Japan as Allies against Communism and the Soviet Union.

1 Extracts of MacArthur's two thousand word statement, transmitted through the War Department, were reproduced in the New York Times, 24 February.

2 Major General William F. Marquat, Chief of Economic and Scientific Section, General Headquarters, SCAP. The word 'General' was inserted by hand.

3 A sign here indicates 'word mutilated'. The words in square brackets were inserted by hand.

[AA : A1838, 479/5/2, i]