355 Evatt to Embassy in Washington

Cablegram 663 CANBERRA, 28 November 1949, 6.20 p.m.


Your 1159 (FEC.142). Japanese Government trade agents.

We have carefully considered arguments set forth in United States aide-memoire of 9th November [1] but do not see how we can support C4-339/15.

We would not deny that now that two-way trade between Japan and other countries is gaining momentum S.C.A.P. can scarcely be expected to continue to control it indefinitely without increasing his staff and that if there were no prospect of a peace settlement with Japan some additional machinery or other facilities would in due course have to be established. We are not however impressed by United States arguments firstly that the only way to develop trade between Japan and other countries is to allow the Japanese Government to establish trade promotion offices abroad, and secondly that the establishment of such offices is a matter of great urgency. Because of exchange difficulties trade between Japan and its largest customers is likely for some time to remain subject to some form of government control at each end, and we fail to see how a trade promotion campaign by means of Japanese Government trade agents abroad can give much immediate stimulus or why it should be considered urgently necessary.

This reasoning applies a fortiori to the alleged need for Japanese agents to handle questions of civil status and property rights of Japanese abroad. Such matters have presumably been dealt with under established procedures since war began with Japan, and we are not convinced that they have increased in volume or complexity so suddenly as to call for the urgent establishment of new machinery.

The arguments used by the United States Government are really arguments in favour of an early peace settlement with Japan. To allow the Japanese to resume normal international functions and responsibilities in advance of a general settlement could in our view be justified only if there were no prospect of concluding such a settlement We consider that an early settlement is desirable and feasible, and that every effort should be made to conclude it with the least possible delay. Unless and until a settlement, complete with appropriate safeguards for the Japanese as well as for the Allies, is shown to be impracticable, we see no need to raise unnecessary legal difficulties or run future security risks by indulging in piecemeal measures of this sort.


1 See Document 354.

2 Makin sent an aide-memoire in these terms to the Department of State on 30 November 1949.

[AA:A1838/278, 535/2, ii]