Eggleston to Evatt

Cablegram 699 WASHINGTON, 13 August 1945, 8.03 p.m.


Your 1140 the immediately succeeding telegram referred to was, when it arrived, undecypherable. [1] Under the circumstances I obtained an inter-view with Mr. Byrnes at 3 o’clock this afternoon. At this interview I presented him with a memorandum which contained the substance of your views. [2] I explained to him that we had intended that these views should have been presented to him before the sending of the answer to Japan but that they had not come through in time, but that we thought that it was desirable to let him know the Australian Government’s views as they would, I thought, be useful in the interpretation of the execution of whatever arrangements were made with Japan. I emphasised the following points- That Australia had a very great interest in the Pacific settlement as Australia and New Zealand were the only two western Countries whose destinies would be [3] of any Asiatic power that it would take a long time [before] there was an equilibrium. This led Mr.

Byrnes into talking about hard and soft peace. He said he did not know how to define either and he was obviously very greatly influenced by what he saw in Germany and he was not willing to have in the case of Japan the same task of reconstruction that they had in Germany.

I then drew attention to the economic section of your views and I pointed out that we believed that the Japanese economic system was such that Japan had to seek for foreign markets and become an economic aggressor because of the low standard of living of the bulk of her population. His reply was that he did not know how one country could influence the standard of living of another country and I suggested that it could encourage movements of internal readjustment so as to bring this about and that our government was strong in the view that such a readjustment would have immense benefit to national and international stability. He said he agreed in the main with this. I said that our Government wished the same encouragement to be given to the democratic movements in Japan, to which he also agreed. In drawing attention to these matters I referred to the particular clauses in the memorandum which I presented to him.

I said there was another matter which seemed to me to require more attention than had been given and that is that the Japanese Government must take the responsibility of getting their troops from the occupied territories and the outlying islands. He appeared to think this was taken care of but I expressed my doubts on this.

I pointed to the clause in the memorandum about the Emperor in which it said that the Emperor should be used to implement the surrender but that his powers and prerogatives should lapse indefinitely and that no exceptions should be permitted to the general rule that every person to whom war crimes can justly be imputed is liable to punishment. I said in conclusion that Australia desired to be associated in the surrender arrangements and he said that he quite understood our position, that he had a long experience of politics and he said that he hinted that before the final terms of settlement we would be satisfied as to the position given to us.


1 Cablegram 1140 was dispatched 12 August, (on file AA :A3300, 45/290). It instructed the Legation in Washington to convey the Australian Govt’s views, as contained in Documents 171, 176 and 178, to the Secretary of State. It was in fact the preceding cablegram (Document 178, repeated to Washington as cablegram no.

1139) which arrived in Washington in an indecypherable state.

2 The text of the memorandum (undated) is attached to Eggleston’s dispatch 4/45, dated 17 August, in AA : A4231/2, Washington 1943, 1-19. It is also published in Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1945, vol. VI, pp. 650-4.

3 A sign here indicates ‘portion omitted repetition being obtained’. No correcting cablegram has been found.


[AA : A1838/2, 277/2, i]