Addison to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram D1481 LONDON, 17 August 1945, 11.30 p.m.


We have been considering arrangements for the Control and Occupation of Japan.

The following summarises the position as we see it.

2. British Forces of Occupation are unlikely to be much larger than four or five Brigades. United States forces are likely to be of the Order of 22 Divisions. There would thus be a great disadvantage in basing the British share in political and economic control on the comparative size of Occupation Forces although it would be necessary to ensure that full weight is given to advice of the British senior representative on the spot.

3. It follows that control by means of National Zones under a Council of Commanders as in Germany and Austria would not suit British interests since the British Commander would carry little weight in comparison with the United States Commander. In any case, it would be difficult for us to discharge the responsibility of procuring transport, distributing civil supplies and finding requisite Military Government Staff for a British Zone. General Occupation duties for Japan should therefore be undertaken by the United States Forces.

4. For reasons of prestige however, the Prefecture of Tokyo as the Seat of the Japanese Government should be garrisoned jointly by the United States, the British, the Soviet and the Chinese contingents though not necessarily zoned like Berlin. United States forces should be responsible for making available necessary local supplies for the whole area of Tokyo including garrison forces. The Japanese should not be allowed to transfer the Seat of Government elsewhere.

5. No information is available about the Soviet or the Chinese views on Occupation and Control. Russia will probably wish to play a dominant part in the Occupation of Manchuria and Korea but is also likely to claim an equal voice in the control of Japan. China will no doubt wish to send at least a token force to Japan and likewise to have an equal voice. We consider it imperative that Russia and China should not be given a greater share in the occupation of Japan than our own.

6. If there is not to be a Supreme Control Council of Commanders as in Germany we consider that some other form of Allied Control Council should be established for the four Islands of Metropolitan Japan, comprising representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China as the great Powers principally concerned with Japan. In view of Australian interest in the Pacific, the Australian part in the war against Japan and the expressed wish of the Australian Government to participate in the control of Japan, we consider that Australia should also be invited to be represented on the Council. The Control Council should be responsible for the formulation of policy towards Japan, each of the members receiving instructions from and reporting direct to his own Government. It should be for each Government to decide whether its representative should be civilian or military.

Execution of policy would be the responsibility of the Supreme Allied Commander who should exercise control through the Japanese authorities. Since the Supreme Commander is to exercise his authority on behalf of the Allied Powers and not for the United States alone he should be the President of the Control Council.

Any decisions which could not be reached locally should be referred to the Governments for settlement through such channels as they may decide. Each member could be assisted by a personal staff of technical advisers. In the case of military and economic disarmament, reparations, and other matters requiring direct supervision of occupying powers, it would be advisable for representatives of each member to be included in or attached to executive departments under the Supreme Allied Commander which were responsible for executing policy of the Control Council.

7. In purely military matters so far as British Occupation Forces were concerned the British Commander should have direct access to the Supreme Commander and should not be responsible to the United Kingdom member of the Council.

8. A number of other countries including other British Commonwealth countries are interested in the control of Japan but if all these were added to the Control Council it would become an unwieldy and inefficient body. We consider that countries not on the proposed Control Council but who have engaged actively in war against Japan should be invited to constitute with the countries represented on the Control Council an Advisory Committee to the Supreme Allied Commander. These countries should be Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, India, France, Netherlands and the Philippines. The President of the Control Council should also be Chairman of the Advisory Committee. The functions of the Committee would be to consider control matters referred to them by the Control Council and to make recommendations to the Control Council. The Committee should be kept fully informed of policy matters under consideration by the Council.



[AA : A1066, P45/10/33/1]