334 Department of External Affairs to Noel-Baker and Mission in Tokyo

Cablegrams 214, 348 CANBERRA, 16 August 1948, 6.10 p.m.


Our 207 [1] Japanese Public Service Legislation.

We understand from United Kingdom High Commission Canberra and from British Commonwealth Member of Allied Council for Japan that United Kingdom Government would feel unable to associate itself with attempt to amend the pending Japanese Public Service Bill. We gather that you feel that to raise the issue at this stage in the Allied Council might exacerbate present delicate situation vis-a- vis U.S.S.R.

2. While admitting that raising the matter in the Allied Council might irritate SCAP H.Q., we do not feel that wider consequences would be dangerous as you appear to imagine. In our view, this is a clear cut instance where Allied Council would be neglecting its duty if it failed to take prompt action at least to discuss legislation which is at variance with a policy decision of F.E.C.

The Bill in question is to be considered by the Japanese Government next week and we feel that early intervention by Allied Council might influence its final form. We understand confidentially that Ashida went a little too far and that the Japanese Government's proposed action goes beyond a reasonable interpretation of it. State Department is trying to persuade Army Department to have SCAP issue a statement that while strikes of Government workers may be intolerable in present phase of occupation there is not justification for Japanese interpreting letter to mean that the National Public Service Law should be amended to prohibit all government workers permanently from striking. Statement along these lines would of course meet our point in that it would remove basis which Japanese Government claims as authority for its action. It is, however, doubtful whether United States Army will agree, and timely action in the Allied Council seems desirable before matters go too far. It may be that SCAP will furnish the Allied Council with explanation which can be accepted as satisfactory. We consider however, that Council is at least entitled to such explanation, and we have accordingly instructed British Commonwealth Member at next meeting of Allied Council to ask at least on behalf of Australia information without offering criticism or suggesting any particular amendments to legislation, and at the same time, to reserve his right, if necessary, to raise question again at later date. We hope you will feel able to be associated with Shaw's action, which would be aimed solely at eliciting more complete information on proposed legislation. As time is short, you will no doubt send advice through United Kingdom Liaison Mission, Tokyo.

1 Document 332.

[AA:A1838/278, 478/2/5, i]