7 Extract From Casey's Diary

11th August, 1951

Tokyo [1]

Jiro Shirasu (friend of John Keswick [2]) came to see me.

Intelligent Westernised Japanese, who has spent a good part of his time in UK and Europe. He agrees as to future economic problem of Japan. He will send me the 20 pre-war years emigration figures for Japan.

Says the Koreans have never really been independent. The big Japanese investment in Korea had never earned its keep. It was extravagantly expended, at the instance of the Japanese army, to serve military and national ends.

He says he is convinced that the principles of democracy have come to stay in Japan-although they will have to be worked out by the Japanese in their own way. It is not reasonable to expect that democracy on the American model could be exported intact to Japan- and accepted without modification.

He says that militarism will be impossible to revive in Japan for well beyond ten years-as the people had had such a sickener of it, and anyhow the demands on money and materials for the revival of the shattered civil economy of Japan will leave nothing to spare for armaments for a long time ahead.

He is rather fearful that an inspired Japanese Communist leader may arise which he believes would be a real danger, as the people might flock to someone who promised them a better life and who had leadership in him. In a few years time, if things do not go too well in Japan, this might be a definite danger. But he would have to be a Japanese and not a foreigner.

He says the Japanese people work very hard. Their labour is all they have, as Japan has practically no raw materials.

Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura (Japanese Ambassador in Washington in 194[l]) called(after having written me a very civil letter when I arrived). We talked about our meetings in Washington in the few weeks before Pearl Harbour. [3] He says that he consistently warned his people about the folly of their taking on the Anglo- Saxon powers. He was clearly sincere in telling me that he did not know in advance that Pearl Harbour was going to happen. He heard about it first on the radio.

He said that he was 'interned' very comfortably in a big hotel in Virginia for six months after Pearl Harbour and was then returned to Japan on exchange. He is now aged 73, same age as Yoshida-and looks much like Admiral Joy. [4]

Colonel M. M. Class came to lunch. He deals with raw materials, resources and development in SCAR Intelligent, well informed-after five years in Japan.

He agrees that Japan has to trade with China, but he fears that any considerable trade contacts may lead to the introduction of Communism in Japan, rather than the reverse. He says that even now, Japan is probably doing 500 million dollars worth of trade a year with China, mostly through Hong Kong (through British and American merchants), but also through Macao and through a good deal of smuggling through the Ry[uku]s, etc. All this with the knowledge and consent of the Americans.

I said that in the light of this, the public statements of Bill Bullitt and Dewey [5] were pretty bad medicine, which he agreed.

He says that what little remains of Japan's merchant marine is out of date-and very little use. He says their calculations are that it will take ten years for Japan to build a merchant fleet capable of moving half the raw materials that they need.

He is much obsessed with the economic difficulties facing Japan in the years ahead.

He surprised me by speaking of the armaments making and armaments supporting industries that had not been destroyed, but had merely been pr[o]scribed (and the keys locked in the doors) pending decision (he said at the Peace Treaty Conference) as to their disposal.

He says that ordinary unskilled labour in Japan now earn about the equivalent of an American dollar a day-and that skilled labour earns up to about three and four dollars. The Director of a Company earns up to about 800 a year.

I had a press conference of the Japanese press this afternoon- about 15 of them, which went quite well. I told them that I could not pretend that Australia had forgotten the war and the extent that we had suffered at Japanese hands. But we had been a party to agreeing to the most generous peace treaty of all time. We wanted Japan to recover her economy and a reasonable standard of living- because we wanted her to avoid a resurgence of militarism and to avoid falling prey to Communism. For these reasons, we had agreed not to press for reparations other than for our ex-prisoners of war, as we accepted the proposition that nothing would be taken out of current Japanese production, if her economy was to recover within a reasonable time.

They raised the White Australia Policy (which I explained-and said we never used this expression in any official way)-their loss of territory-and asked how relations with Australia could be improved.

Their territorial losses are the most severe aspect of the Peace Treaty.

They have lost Formosa (which they had had since 1895), Korea (since 1905), Manchuria (since 1905), the Ryukus, etc., (which they've always had).

They asked many other questions-the representative of Mainichi [6] being the main questioner, as he'd been three years in Australia pre-war.

We must do some serious thinking about our Migration Policy before long. It deserves a good deal more thought than we've given to it.

We tend to set it aside as something fixed and unalterable, which is short-sighted.

One thing (perhaps beyond others) that I've learned on this trip is the value of our Australian Missions in the East and South East Asia. I had not quite realized before that we have something positive and useful to contribute, as well as USA and UK. A great deal of thought and sympathetic attention has to be given to these parts if we're going to get anything like the right answer. And this means maintaining the sort of personal contact that this trip has started, for me at least.

It's 17 years since Latham made a Cook's tour through the East.

[7] My trip must be the first of regular visits of this sort.

I still can't see the economic picture of Japan-or any sort of future for Korea as such. We'll all have to keep our democratic fingers crossed-as we'll need luck as well as realism and cooperation to get through, in the face of the menace of communism and economics.

I have been glad to find that our Australian posts and our Australian representatives seem to be held in good repute in each of the countries in which I've been.

Also-in Japan and in Korea-our troops have a good name, both in the field and in amongst the civil population.

1 Casey toured South-East and East Asia from 20 July to 22 August 1951. He was in Japan from 5 to 14 August, apart from a three-day visit to Korea (8 to 10 August).

2 Head of Jardine Matheson & Co. Ltd and author of an article on Chinese Communism. Casey had dined with him in Hong Kong the previous week.

3 Casey was Australia's first Minister in Washington, from 6 March 1940 to 31 March 1942. Late in 1941 talks between US Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Japan's Special Envoy Saburo Kurusu stalled. Casey, with Hull's consent, saw both Kurusu and Nomura.

His efforts succeeded insofar as Hull and Kurusu met again, but without result. Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbour exactly one week later. See W.J. Hudson, Casey, Oxford, Melbourne, 1986, pp.


4 Vice Admiral C.T. Joy, Commander, US Naval Forces, Far East, and a US negotiator in Korea.

5 William C. Bullitt, a former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union and to France, and Thomas E. Dewey, Governor of New York State and Republican Presidential Nominee in 1944 and 1948. Dewey, visiting Tokyo early in July, asserted that the free world need not fear Communist aggression because of the overwhelming industrial strength of the United States.

6 The major daily newspaper Mainichi Shimbun.

7 In 1934 the Australian Eastern mission led by the Minister for External Affiairs, J.G. Latham, visited countries in South-East and East Asia, including Japan. Latham subsequently recommended official Australian representation in Batavia, Shanghai and Tokyo.

[NLA : CASEY PAPERS, MS6150/4/26, VOLUME 13]