321 Shaw to MacArthur

Letter TOKYO, 24 March 1948

As you may have heard, Dr. Evatt recently instructed me to return to Australia for general consultations with himself and the Advisory Committee on the Pacific Peace Settlement. [1] My present plan is to leave Tokyo on Sunday 28th March and to return to Tokyo about the middle of April. I have arranged with Colonel Bunker to see you prior to my departure.

I have been asked to approach you informally before I leave about the following matter. Recently the Australian Government has been enquiring about the availability of whale-catcher vessels (chasers) for use in future whaling operations off the coast of Australia. It has been ascertained that such vessels are not readily available from the United Kingdom and it has occurred to the Australian Government that such vessels might be obtained from Japan within the scope of the present trade arrangements.

The following are briefly the Australian requirements- (a) Three modern-type diesel whale-chasers (if not diesel, oil burning) complete with guns, spring gear and all necessary equipment ready for hunting.

(b) Vessels are required for delivery by end of May, 1948.

(c) Vessels to be obtained on lease basis with possibility of ultimate purchase. (They might ultimately be part of Australia's reparations share).

I have been asked to obtain your informal reaction to such a claim. Should there be any possibility of the vessels being available our suggestion is that the hire money should be paid to your interim sterling account and we would willingly agree that such money should be used for the purchase of Australian exports to Japan. I have been asked to take this question up as one of urgency in view of the coming advent of the Australian whaling season and the fact that the Japanese fleet will be shortly returning from the Antarctic.

If I can have some indication of your views before I leave for Australia, I should be most grateful.

1 That is, the Advisory Committee on the Japanese Settlement.

[AA:A5104/2, 6/3/3/1]