Department of External Affairs to Legation in Washington

Cablegram 1815 CANBERRA, 27 November 1945


Your 1055. [1]

1. Our telegram 1509 [2] emphasises our need for cyclotrons by way of reparations from Japan.

2. In addition on November 8th, Army authorities were instructed to inform Australian Scientific Mission to Japan that we required cyclotrons with a view to reparations. [3] On receipt your telegram, we requested Army to signal Supreme Commander with a view to preserving any remaining cyclotrons and other equipment which Scientific Mission desires to investigate for reparations purposes. [4]

3. We think you should immediately inquire from State Department whether press reports of destruction of cyclotrons are true. If practicable, suggest Supreme Commander should be instructed to preserve all scientific and industrial equipment in which Australia and other Pacific allies may be interested for reparations. We have asked Ballard to enquire into circumstances of reported destruction and to take all possible steps to retrieve situation.

4. You might also represent appropriately to the State Department:

(a) our deep interest as a major belligerent in the Pacific war in preserving our right to reparations from Japan;

(b) our concern with the action of United States military authorities in destroying cyclotrons (if reports are true) should have been taken before any opportunity had been given to the Australian Government to express its reparations interest in such material. You could mention that by arrangement with the Supreme Commander, the advance party of Australian Scientific Mission arrived in Tokyo in mid-November and was instructed to investigate possibilities of securing cyclotron and scientific equipment as part of Australian reparations claims;

(c) our desire for fullest possible consultation through our Political Observer to Military Mission and the Scientific Mission in Tokyo regarding disposition of all scientific and industrial equipment, bullion and other goods which might have reparations value. We should like to know to what extent any such material has already been removed from Japan by the United States authorities.



1 Dispatched 24 November. On file AA : A1067, ER46/13/4. It noted a press report of the destruction of five cyclotrons in Tokyo.

2 Document 325.

3 Burton’s memorandum to Sinclair is on the file cited in note 1.

4 Teleprinter message dispatched 27 November. On the file cited in note 1.

5 The decision to destroy the cyclotrons apparently was made in error in Washington, not Tokyo. See Ballard’s unnumbered cablegram to the External Affairs Dept, dispatched 30 November, on file AA :

A1067, ER46/13/4. See also U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States 1945, vol. VI, 1969, pp. 1011, 1014-15, for the U.S. Govt’s expression of regret in response to Eggleston’s inquiry.


[AA : A1067, EP46/13/4]