Volume #13 - 161.|
JAPANESE PEACE SETTLEMENT
Extract from Report by Head of Delegation|
to Commonwealth Conference
September 2, 1947|
I have the honour to report on the conference of nations of the British Commonwealth held at Canberra, Australia between 26th August and 2nd September, 1947, to discuss the peace settlement with Japan...
9. ... the conference met in its first session in the Parliament House of the Commonwealth of Australia at 11:00 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, 26th August. The Prime Minister, the Right Honourable J.B. Chifley took the chair. Before the conference, the Australian representatives had strongly expressed the view that even the opening session would be private and that appears to have been the expectation of most of the delegates present. As we anticipated, however, the opening session was public and I attach as Annex "B" a copy of the speeches then made. From these it will be seen that Mr. Chifley warmly welcomed the delegates and that his speech was replied to in a short speech by Lord Addison who proposed Dr. Evatt as chairman. In view of this being the first visit of a Canadian Minister to Australia since the war, I had prepared some references to the relations between the two countries and also felt it desirable to set out in clear and express terms our understanding of the purpose of the conference and the procedure that would be followed. This speech, which appears to have been well received, took about fifteen minutes and is included with the other speeches. In the course of my remarks I seconded Lord Addison's motion that Dr. Evatt be chairman of the conference. This was in accordance with a suggestion 1 had made in the first instance to Dr. Evatt and later proposed to Lord Addison. These speeches were followed by even briefer speeches by the other delegates present. Everyone referred in warm terms to the presence of the Indian and Pakistan representatives. The representatives of Burma were delayed by transportation difficulties and only arrived at The conference on the 29th August. A copy of the conference booklet issued by the Australian Government containing a list of all delegations is attached as Annex "C".† It will be noted that the United Kingdom delegation totalled forty members, many of whom had come out from England expressly for the conference.
. . .
14. Following the opening session on the morning of the 26th the conference adjourned until 3:30 p.m. and sat on successive days generally from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
15. The agenda was completed on the morning of Monday, 1st September. That afternoon was spent in passing on a press communiqué which when finally approved was issued to the press that night. This is included in Annex "H".†
16. The final public session was held at 11:00 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, 2nd September. At this session speeches were made by representatives of every country. A copy of a note of these proceedings is attached as Annex "I".†
17. It may be said at once that the proceedings of the conference were very informal and carried on throughout in a spirit of tolerant goodwill. On only a few occasions was the effort made to press a point to secure agreement. The only event approaching anything in the nature of an "incident" was early in the second session of the opening day when the representative of Pakistan with some heat expressed surprise that the claims of Pakistan to participate in the preparation of the Japanese treaty had not been more clearly recognized by the representatives of India and the other countries present.
18. As Chairman, Dr. Evatt was urbane and conciliatory. He had before him a brief thoroughly prepared by a committee under Sir Frederick Eggleston as well as by his own Departmental officials. His own great knowledge of this subject had been recently augmented by his visit to General MacArthur. Undoubtedly, Dr. Evatt has recently made a total about-face in his general attitude to the Japanese settlement. Where before he had repeatedly declared himself in favour of a hard peace, he now appears to be willing to go far in the opposite direction. It has been suggested that Dr. Evatt's conciliatory attitude shown in the chair was adopted at the dictation of Mr. Chifley who must have received word of the unpopularity of Dr. Evatt and Australia in the world of conferences because of the uncompromising way in which he has stated his views...
25. Before taking up the actual subject matter of the conference, one further general comment should he made. It was quite obvious that at the conference the emphasis shifted quickly from questions of security to questions relative to the economy of Japan. This is where Dr. Evatt's change of heart was most evident. His conversion on economic policies from draconian to reasonable was indicated by his failure to hammer away at his former theory that the standard of living in Japan must not be higher than in any country she devastated. The reversal on this was complete. To the contrary, both Dr. Evatt and Mr. Fraser somewhat tediously tried to secure support for the insertion in the treaty of provisions requiring Japan to accept the obligations with regard to standards of working and living under the conventions of the International Labour Organization and guaranteeing freedom of association in trade unions, land reform and full employment. In part these suggestions sprang from the desire to protect Australia and New Zealand against competition with cheap Japanese labour. The importance of the economic provisions, and indeed of a viable future for Japan was keynoted in the opening paragraphs of the report of a sub-committee set up to assist discussions of the conference on economic and financial matters. This read "It will be necessary to impose restrictions on the Japanese economy to avoid the danger of future aggression. These should be consistent with a viable economy and should not go beyond what is demanded by considerations of military security." A copy of this report is attached as Annex "K".†
26. The main objectives of the conference may be summarized as security against aggression, democratization and restoration of viable economy for Japan. There can be no doubt that few, if any, of the delegates present believe seriously that there is much hope of the last of these objectives being realized even if there is hope of security and the eventual democratization of Japan.
27. One further reference should be made of the procedure followed. On the second day Lt. Gen. H.C.H. Robertson, Commander of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force and adviser to the Australian delegation, spoke to the conference at some length about conditions in Japan. He was followed by Mr. M.C. Dening, Far Eastern expert of the British Delegation, and later by Dr. Norman of our own delegation as well as by Major Plinsoll who has been Australian alternate member on the Far Eastern Commission and has twice visited Japan. These talks proved one of the most useful events at the conference. The speakers agreed on all main points. A summary of what was said is included in the notes attached as Annex "L"† Dr. Norman's thoughtful and penetrating analysis of probabilities and his readiness in answering questions met with the most general approbation and was indeed generally recognized as one of the most useful contributions to the conference.
31. The conference dealt with the matters in the order listed in the agenda. For the purposes of this report it will be most convenient to deal with these in the order followed in our discussions by briefly mentioning the points in respect of which there was a consensus of opinion and indicating the main points of difference in the few cases where these occurred.
I. Procedure for Drafting of this Treaty
32. (a) The United States initiative in calling a conference was welcomed.
(b) The conference should consist of the eleven members of the Far Eastern Commission and Pakistan as having been included with India. The British delegation promised to take note of the claims of Burma but anticipated difficulty. Views were expressed that Outer Mongolia had no claim.
(c) The conference should be held at governmental or policy-making level with countries free to send ministers or officials. The conference should decide on the machinery for drafting the treaty and agree on the main objectives and the procedure by wnich Japan and the Allied belligerents, in addition to those having the responsibility for drafting the treaty, would express their views. The Conference would, also, decide on the procedure to be followed subsequent to the preparation of the draft. This conference would be followed immediately by the establishment of the necessary working committees.
(d) The conference should be held as soon as possible, preferably towards the end of September or early October.
(e) In view of the fact that the conference should preferably be held during the Assembly of the United Nations, the most convenient place of meeting would be New York. Working committees should meet at Washington.
(f) Voting at the conference would be by two-thirds majority on all questions of substance and simple majority on questions of procedure and drafting. In the drafting committees, voting should be by simple majority.
(g) Strong views were expressed that the draft should be prepared and a peace settlement made as soon as possible, preferably in 1948. My opening statement that delay benefitted the forces which sought to profit from disorder and uncertainty was the view of everyone.
(h) Mr. McNeil and Dr. Evatt both expressed the view that the U.S.S.R. would probably participate in the proposed conference even if it was held on the conditions outlined here.
II. Basic Objectives of Settlement
33. This subject was inserted at the suggestion of Australia. Dr. Evatt suggested that we might more profitably deal with this under the headings which followed.
III. Territorial Provisions
34. The agreements already arrived at between the Great Powers narrowed the field open to discussion to four main areas:
(a) Quelparte, a small island off Korea, which the United Kingdom felt might come under the expression "such minor islands as we determine" in the Potsdam proclamation. If this were tenable this island should remain part of Japan subject to civil aviation rights being reserved on it.
(b) The Marshalls, Carolines and Marianas where the trusteeship of the United States should be recognized.
(c) The Loochoo Islands should come under the trusteeship of the United States.
(d) The Bonin and Volcano Groups and Marcus Island should also come under trusteeship of the United States.
I pointed to the desirability of the southern two islands in the Kuriles group being held in trusteeship or being subject to civil aviation rights but it was recognized that the Great Powers had permitted these to be transferred to the U.S.S.R. and the Soviet Union was, in fact, in possession of them so that any arrangement regarding civil aviation would depend on bilateral negotiations. In discussing this and similar points, I emphasized the importance of civil aviation in the Far East and the strong desirability of trying to ensure, even at this late date, that bases and emergency landing areas were available.
IV. Disarmament and Demilitarization
35. (a) Japan should remain completely disarmed.
(b) Internal order should be maintained by a non-military Japanese police force and the suggestion was made by the United Kingdom that this police force should be organized locally in each of the fifty-two prefectures.
(c) General research should be permitted but views were expressed for and against permitting research on nuclear physics which might relate to atomic energy. The consensus was that research on atomic energy would be prohibited. Research on chemical and bacteriological warfare would be prohibited.
(d) Manufacture of arms and airplanes should be prohibited and of merchant vessels limited, the United Kingdom suggesting a figure of 250,000 tons per year with no vessels of over 5,000 tons or 14 knots.
(e) The United Kingdom suggested that Japan be allowed small unarmed coastal vessels for fishery protection.
(f) Canada suggested that Japan be allowed to engage in civil aviation limited to the four main islands for the purpose of transport, medical assistance, fisheries inspection, agricultural control, etc., planes and parts to be imported under strict control as to range and number. This view was generally agreed to.
(g) The question was raised as to the possibility of exercising control of Japanese emigration but there was no agreement on this.
V. Political Provisions
36. (a) The treaty would provide for fundamental freedoms and human rights in terms generally similar to Article XV of the Treaty with Italy, possibly extended so as to make express reference to association for industrial purposes. The suggestion by Australia and New Zealand that the new Constitution of Japan should itself be incorporated into the treaty or guaranteed by its provisions was not supported by other delegations.
(b) The purge of Japanese war leaders and nationalist societies should be continued.
(c) Mr. McNeil's suggestion that aliens resident in Japan should receive treatment similar to that enjoyed by Japanese nationals in other countries received some support but, while I did not express myself on it, I felt that it was doubtful whether it was practical.
(d) Bilateral treaties made by Japan should he recognized, if requested by the Allied powers.
(e) Japan should recognize the acts during the occupation.
(f) An effort by Australia and New Zealand to have Japan accept all the obligations or multilateral agreements met opposition from the United Kingdom, Canada and India.
VI. Economic and Financial Provisions
37. (a) Production of strategic materials such as light metals, synthetic oil and synthetic rubber should be prohibited.
(b) Capacity for the production of iron, steel and industrial explosives as well as regards oil refining and storage and shipbuilding should be limited to defined levels.
(c) The Zaibatsu should be dissolved.
(d) Efforts by Australia and New Zealand to secure acceptance of insertion in the treaties of provisions regarding economic equality, maintenance of domestic employment and fiscal policy in Japan were opposed by the United Kingdom, India, and Canada as interferences with the internal economy of Japan and incapable of enforcement. Similarly, the suggestions made that Japan be required to carry into effect the obligations of I.L.O. conventions, etc., were opposed.
(e) Property rights of aliens resident in Japan should be restored, payment of debts to United Nations nationals by the Japanese should be enforced and rights to copyrights, patents, trade rnaterials, etc., preserved.
38. (a) The very general discussion of reparations noted the external assets problem in relation to allocation of 'shares (which was not considered by the conference), and general doubt was expressed as to the feasibility of obtaining reparations from current production. -
(b) Occupation costs should be paid by Japan. The problems of definition of such costs and their priority vis-a-vis reparations were noted.
VIII. Machinery for Enforcement
39. The discussion of this subject was continued at the final business session on 1st September in view of the general recognition that what was proposed would have to be carried out so largely by the United States the discussion was in general terms. Points made in the general speeches and which appeared to receive general acceptance were:
(a) With the termination of occupation by military forces in Japan probably some time in the summer of 1948, there should not be any necessity of maintaining any considerable occupation forces in Japan. What would remain there would be the Supervisory Commission representative of all governments which had taken an active part in the war against Japan and inspecting personnel, etc.
(b) The function of the Supervisory Commission would be advisory rather than executive.
(c) Of necessity, the United States would continue to provide the forces presently responsible for ensuring that the treaty was carried out. Its actual troops would presumably be located on islands outside the four principal islands of Japan. The relationship between the Supervisory Commission and the United States Forces would be a major element in the whole peace settlement. A great deal would inevitably depend on the relations between the Supervisory Commission and the United States Forces. Australia and New Zealand expressed the view that token forces representing their countries should be associated with the American Forces.
(d) Care should be taken to ensure that the Supervisory Commission would not be placed by the treaty in a position where the Japanese people could hold it responsible for the failure of their own economy.
(e) To meet this, it was suggested that there might be set up an International Committee to advise with regard to economic questions. To the suggestion that there should be Japanese members on the committee, Dr. Evatt said that since it was advisory it would have to work with Japan.
IX. Form of Peace Settlement
40. Here again, the feeling was generally expressed that this could be easily worked out at the conference at New York or Washington. The following points were mentioned:
(a) There was general acceptance of the view that the treaty should come into effect by its ratification by two-thirds of the drafting powers rather than either by a smaller majority of Big Powers as in the case of treaties with satellite powers or by a majority of all countries which had declared war against Japan.
(b) Obviously, the treaty would not be effective unless the United States participated but simultaneous ratification could be taken care of through ordinary diplomatic channels.
(c) Countries which had declared war against Japan but which did not take an active part in hostilities could ratify the treaty.
(d) Provision might have to be made for adherence of countries which had not declared war against Japan in order to provide for any special objectives that might come to light.
41. Discussion of the agenda was concluded before twelve noon on the morning of Monday, 1st September. The Chairman then mentioned some other questions such as pearling and whaling, which he felt should be best left to be dealt with on executive level at the conference. After Dr. Evatt had mentioned the whole situation in a general way, Mr. Fraser asked for further information as to the Australian position but this was left to be dealt with by a memorandum to be distributed by Australia. This has since been distributed and is attached as Annex "A2".† This interchange appeared to us to indicate a minor failure of understanding between Australia and New Zealand with regard to a matter in which they were both interested. Mention of whaling led on to my mentioning Canada's special interests in fishing which I said could best be dealt with by experts when it came to the treaty drafting.
42. The agenda was completed during the morning session on 1st September. It was then agreed that a release would be prepared for the press and agreed to by representatives of the members of the conference. The release was drafted by Mr. Nash of the United Kingdom and Mr. Malone48 of our delegation and was issued to the press on the evening of 1st September. At the meeting on 1st September I said that my understanding was that the summary of proceedings and the verbatim report of discussions would be available for the use of the delegations and governments represented but would be regarded as strictly secret and not used for any other purpose. This understanding was accepted. The conference then adjourned to meet today in a final open session at which speeches were given. Copies of these speeches are attached as Annex "I".†
46. Members of the delegation proved themselves to be very well prepared to enable us to take an active part in the conference. The High Commissioner and his officers and staff did everything possible to assist in the work of the conference as well as to make the stay of the Canadian delegation as enjoyable as possible. I regard it as a privilege to head such a delegation at this important meeting and trust that you will find that this mission has been satisfactorily completed.
I have etc.
7Ancien ministre d'Australie aux États-Unis (retraité en 1946). Former Minister of Australia in United States, (retired 1946).