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122 Ball to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram Department 82 TOKYO, 17 September 1946


Your 100. [1]

1. It is difficult to know how best to answer your enquiries since I tried to cover the main issues you raise in the political section of my monthly report for August despatched September 9th.

Since you should receive this report at any moment it is hardly desirable to attempt to cover the same ground in detail in this telegram.

2. My sources of enquiries here are- (a) published statements, (b) unofficial conversations, (c) second-hand reports which I try to [2]

Considered together they point in the following direction. 3. The actions of the Japanese Government are controlled by S.C.A.P.

American policy is not interested in Japan as Japan but as a strategic area. Every Japanese problem is analysed and decided in terms of relations between America and Russia.

4. Many S.C.A.P. senior officers believe that war with Russia inevitable and consequently wish to get it over as soon as possible while 'we have the bomb'. MacArthur himself believes that war with Russia may be averted. The reason for this is that he believes that he and his American troops have completely converted the Japanese from a militarist and feudal people to a peace-loving and democratic people within one year and that it is surely possible to convert the Russian people likewise. He sets great store on the increasing contacts of Russians and western democrats particularly American and British Governments [3], and believes that Russians who have the advantage of such contacts will return home eager to convert their extremist comrades to the democratic way of life understood in the American sense.

5. I believe that MacArthur has lost political judgement. Several influential Japanese have in the present [4] session scoffed at MacArthur's remarkable statement of 3rd September. [5] May I repeat what I have said in earlier telegrams. I do not believe there has been any real transfer of political alliance [6] in Japan despite the purge and I can find no evidence of change of outlook in those who hold political power. There is plenty of evidence of ill-will towards the Tojo Government for its gravitation in tactics and timing which lost Japan the war.

6. It is hard to convey an impression of mutual loyalty and goodwill which is steadily developing between senior Russians and influential Japanese personalities.

7. Gascoigne lately told me that he had asked Atcheson whether he reciprocated hospitality with the Japanese. Atcheson replied, according to Gascoigne, 'of course the time for punishing these people is past'.

8. Concerning first sentence of paragraph one of your 100, I have been told by a usually reliable American correspondent that the chief of the S.C.A.P. Public Relations Section informed correspondents of this demonstration 24 [7] in advance and that this was the first occasion on which S.C.A.P. had given advance notice of demonstrations to the Press.

9. To sum up I do not feel that there has been any major change in American policy recently but there has been a rapid response to inhibitions about indictments of the Soviet menace and commendation of the Japanese.

1 Cablegram 100, dispatched 14 September, asked Ball to comment on press reports that there had been a substantial shift of emphasis in U.S. policy in Japan, in particular, that the United States had failed to repudiate MacArthur's proclamation of an anti-Soviet campaign.

2 A sign here indicates 'word omitted'.

3 A sign here indicates 'mutilated'.

4 A sign here indicates 'word omitted'.

5 Presumably a reference to MacArthur's statement commemorating the signing of the Japanese surrender on 2 September 1945, in which he expressed his conviction that the shock of defeat had caused the Japanese to abandon the past and to embrace democracy, a change constituting 'an unparalleled convulsion in the social history of the world'.

6 The word 'alliance' presumably should have read allegiance.

7 A sign here indicates 'word omitted'.

[AA:A1067, ER46/13/21]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History