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173 Ball to Evatt

Cablegram [Following]for the Minister from Macmahon Ball 24 TOKYO,


Your 134. [1]

I have been consistently cautious about supporting Derevyanko on the Council. On questions of substance he and I have always taken separate and independent lines, though at some points these lines have converged. For example my attitudes towards land reform and towards coal mining have agreed with his on some points but on others we were in sharp opposition. I do not think that on a single question of substance it can be accurately stated that I 'supported' Derevyanko.

On some questions we have been in agreement, but even here I think in every case we had the concurrence of the Chinese member. On several questions of procedure which Derevyanko considered vital I have declined to support him. Where I have supported him has been on his right to seek information from SCAP. In supporting Derevyanko on such procedural questions I was not attempting to defend Derevyanko, but to defend the rights of the Council to play at least a minor advisory role in Japan.

I believe it true that a number of SCAP senior officers and some sections of the press tend to link Derevyanko and me. There are several reasons for this.

(a) The settled policy of SCAP is not to treat questions raised by Derevyanko on their merits but to 'take a firm line with him'.

It has been put to me by senior SCAP officers that I make a mistake in this attempt to discuss questions on the Council on their merits since the only important feature of International life today is that the Americans and British stand together and that the Russians are their common enemy. In these circumstances, it is argued, it is most undesirable for there to be any deviation in the attitude of American and British members of the Council.

Consequently if I express a view point even mildly divergent from Atcheson there is a tendency in SCAP quarters to play it up as un- American and undemocratic.

(b) Derevyanko is hard pressed and he and the Moscow press do everything possible to play up any CRUMBS of support which I give him in an effort to show that Russia is not completely isolated.

(c) Likewise left wing pressmen here who are fiercely critical of MacArthur are anxious to play up any statement of mine which might be construed as evidence that criticism of MacArthur does not come only from the Russians.

3. [2] The foreign correspondents here are sharply divided between left wingers and right wingers. Noble belongs to the right wing.

The right wingers would tend to group me with Derevyanko. The left wingers all deplore that I give him such little support and just because of that, would play up any occasion in which he and I are in agreement.

4. I suggest, however, that there is a deliberate effort here to drive a wedge between Australia and the United Kingdom. In part this takes the form of discreet private enquiries whether Macmahon Ball does represent the United Kingdom or only Australia. The strong assumption underlying this movement is that SCAP could count on complete support from the United Kingdom, but that Australia is liable to take a different and sometimes troublesome line. I am sure that the proposal to extend the membership of the Council was directed partly towards submerging the Australian point of view with the United Kingdom point of view on Council questions. I believe that it is also felt that the United Kingdom has been more tractable than Australia on the questions of the constitution and Whaling. I think that SCAP feels that he can rely on the United Kingdom giving him a blank cheque on political policy on Japan so long as certain British commercial interests are safeguarded, whereas he feels that Australia desires to retain the right to an independent line. I believe that this is the real problem of British Commonwealth representative in Japan at the moment.

5. Thank you for the unequivocal government statement issued from Canberra on 21st. [3]

1 Dispatched 21 October. It requested comment on the view of W. S.

Noble, of the Melbourne Herald, that Ball usually supported the USSR representative on the ACJ.

2 Presumably the numbering of paragraphs 1 and 2 was inadvertently omitted.

3 In this statement Evatt indicated that he had the fullest confidence in Ball.

[AA:A1838/238, 482/1/7]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History