Addison to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram D1988 LONDON, 24 October 1945, 10.15 p.m.


My telegram 16th October D No.1934. [1] Control of Japan.

Following is a summary of instructions which have now been sent to the United Kingdom representative on the Far Eastern Commission (my telegram 15th October D No.1921 [2]) as regards the line which he is to follow. Begins.

(a) It is difficult to lay down precise instructions in the absence of information about United States ideas on the activities of the Commission now that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics appears unlikely to participate.

(b) His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, however, attach great importance to obtaining a real voice in formulating Allied policy affecting Japan and in controlling directives sent to General MacArthur and those presented by him to the Japanese Government. It was, of course, only on the understanding that the United States Government were ready to consider amendments to the terms of reference for this purpose that we agreed not to proceed with our earlier proposal for a Control Council in Tokyo and thus consented to make the Far Eastern Commission the principal channel for exerting our influence on the treatment of Japan.

(c) It is essential that this channel should be made an effective one. The principal means of ensuring this would seem to be to exercise maximum control over the issue of directives to Supreme Commander Allied Powers and over those which he, in turn, issues to the Japanese authorities since this is now, and appears likely to remain, the only means of giving effect to Allied policy towards Japan. Our interest in the nature and effect of these directives is very great for the following strategic, political and economic reasons.

(I) In the field of strategy, while we do not doubt that the present policy of the United States is to prevent Japanese military resurgence, His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom cannot ignore their particular responsibility for the defence of British territories and communications in the Far East and Pacific and their general interest which they share with other members of the British Commonwealth in preventing future Japanese aggression. It follows that we must take a full part in the framing of measures designed to fulfil this purpose.

(II) Politically we are concerned to take all possible steps to ensure that actions taken by Supreme Commander Allied Powers and orders given to the Japanese authorities should not defeat their own object e.g. by causing a collapse of the Japanese administrative system and consequent political chaos, and it is equally important that we should have an effective voice in formulating measures to be taken to encourage the development of a peaceful and responsible Government.

(III) In the economic field the future position of Japan will react directly upon the interests of many members of the British Commonwealth and a divergence between British and United States views is not unlikely on such subjects as the nature, extent and division of reparations and the nature and direction of Japanese foreign trade (both of which involve the question which Japanese industries should be diminished, which encouraged and which left unchanged) Japanese financial and industrial organisation, service of Japanese loans, supply from Japan of consumer goods to British territories in the Far East, and source of supplies to Japan of essential food and relief.

(d) It was with these considerations in mind that the United Kingdom Government prepared amended terms of reference for the Far Eastern Commission (My telegram 30th September D No.1840 [3] refers) and the United Kingdom representative is at the outset of the Commission’s work to propose on behalf of the United Kingdom Government that the original terms of reference be amended accordingly.

(e) It is assumed in the amended terms of reference that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is to be represented on the Commission. If she declines to be represented and if, after due consideration of the difficulties which Russian non-participation would involve, other powers concerned are prepared to carry on without the Russians, His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom would be prepared to agree. But we do foresee that serious difficulties might result from Russian non-participation. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics might in the first place strengthen her hold on Manchuria and Northern Korea which she might treat as an exclusively Russian zone. This would destroy what hope there is of obtaining food and other emergency supplies from Manchuria for Japan and would thus lay a greater burden on the other Allied powers. Russian non-participation would also greatly increase the difficulty of arriving at agreed decisions about the treatment of Japanese in fields such as reparations, in which a unified Allied policy is badly needed. It would, moreover, jeopardise any prospect of a coordinated long term Allied policy on such question as strategic and economic controls which may be necessary after occupation is over to prevent the re-emergence of Japan as a strong military power.

(f) For these reasons we consider Soviet participation most desirable and we should associate ourselves with steps taken to bring the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in.

(g) The United Kingdom representative is to maintain closest touch with the Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and Indian representatives on the Commission.


1 On file AA : A1066, P45/10/33/1.

2 In AA : A3195, 1945, I.32893. It reported the appointment of Lord Halifax as U.K. representative on the Far Eastern Commission.

3 Document 280.


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