322 Shaw to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 176 TOKYO, 27 March 1948, 1.40 a.m.

SECRET

Your telegram 109. Male-Catcher Vessels.

In personal talk on 26th March General MacArthur condemned in the strongest terms your suggestion for making available Japanese vessels to Australia. Matter could, he said, be taken up with F.E.C. or [United States Government]. [1] He personally could see little hope. The Japanese needed food and to disrupt the whaling fleet would mean another 26 million dollar burden on the American taxpayer. He could not see on what Australia's claim for reparations was based. We had had no whaling potential destroyed in the war. So far as repairing and equipping the ships was concerned this would have to be done by the United States.

MacArthur maintained that our previous attitude to whaling had aroused the strongest possible opposition in the United States. It was a pity to lose goodwill over such a small matter. He concluded however, that we had chosen to side-step him before and might like to take it up with F.E.C.

1 Words in square brackets inserted from copy in AA:A3195, 1948, 1.5358.

[AA:A1838/2, 479/10, iv]