Chifley to MacArthur

Message CAB321 CANBERRA, 21 September 1945, 5.58 p.m.


You will recall that, in my message to you of 24th August [1], I advised you of the Australian Government’s desire to provide a composite Australian Force operating under an Australian Commander, subject only to yourself as Supreme Commander, to take part in the occupation of Japan. You advised me, on 25th August, that instructions, based on international agreements with regard to the occupation of Japan, were being forwarded to you, and that you would not be able to reply until after the receipt and study of these instructions.

2. Since this matter was previously under consideration, further proposals have been received from the United Kingdom Government for the organisation of a British Commonwealth Force to take part in the occupation of Japan. The Government has agreed to participate with an Australian component in the British Commonwealth Force, subject to certain conditions which are indicated in the appended paraphrase of a cablegram which has been forwarded to the United Kingdom Government today. [2] You will note that:-

(a) An Australian officer is to be appointed Commander-in-Chief of the unified British Commonwealth Force of occupation, and the bulk of the Headquarters is to be provided by Australia.

(b) For operational matters, the Commander-in-Chief of the Force will be under your control, and it is desired that he should have direct access to you for this purpose.

(c) The arrangements proposed in respect of the Commander-in- Chief’s responsibility to the United Kingdom and Australian Governments, communications between Governments, and with yourself, and other matters of procedure, are outlined in paragraph one of the paraphrase. It will be noted that Governments concerned are to retain their right to communicate direct with you on matters relating to the British Commonwealth Force of occupation.

3. The Government is anxious that the Australian component of the Force should proceed to Japan as soon as possible, and it proposes to despatch a mission consisting of representatives of the three Australian Services to Tokyo at once, to make preliminary arrangements on a Service level for the despatch of the Australian Force to Japan. The Mission will co-operate with United Kingdom and Dominion representatives in regard to any preliminary action that may be taken in relation to other components of the British Commonwealth Force. The Government would be grateful for your co- operation in these arrangements.

_1 Message CAB295, in AA : A5954, box 1891.

2 Document 256.


[AA : A816, 52/301/222]