Lot 122, Box 53

Memorandum Prepared by the Inter-Divisional Area Committee on the Far East


Japan: Occupation Problems: Diplomatic and Consular Officers

I. The Problem

Should diplomatic or consular representatives from or to Japan be permitted during the period of occupation? (Question 3, l,86 CAC 100 Preliminary, Annex A).

[Page 1199]

II. Discussion

The “Provisions for Imposition upon Germany at the time of Surrender” (WS 10a) contains the following requirement:

“22. German Diplomatic Relations. Until otherwise determined the conduct of the diplomatic relations of Germany should be subject to the direction and control of the occupation authorities.”

The same provision is made with regard to Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria, and will presumably be made with regard to Japan. The following questions arise: Should diplomatic relations between Japan and foreign countries be permitted? Should the consular representatives of Japan in foreign countries be recalled? Should the consular representatives of foreign nations in Japan be permitted to function? And, as a consequent question, should the foreign office be suspended?

Answers to these questions depend to a very large degree upon the length and the purposes of the occupation. If the occupation is to be short—i.e., for the few months necessary to disarm Japan and impress upon Japanese the lesson of their defeat—the maintenance of diplomatic or even consular relations would not be of great importance. If, on the other hand, an extended period of occupation is contemplated, these questions might cause difficulty. There are few if any appropriate precedents for occupation of an entire nation after surrender (rather than during war) and for some length of time. For such a situation, answers would have to be improvised according to the circumstances, and should be supplied by the Department of State.

According to the Manual of Military Government and Civil Affairs, the first basic economic purpose of military government is “to revive economic life and stimulate production”, and to this end to reestablish trade. For this purpose, the performance of consular functions would be important, and the question whether they should be performed by Japanese consular officials or through the American consular offices is one which the Department wishes to leave open.

Others of the United Nations might wish to resume diplomatic and consular intercourse with Japan and, since the occupation is in the name of the United Nations, their wishes cannot be disregarded by the military commander.

III. Recommendations

The diplomatic and consular agents of other enemy states in Japan should be deprived of their functions, treated with courtesy, and returned to their own countries.

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It is believed that, as a matter of general principle, there will be no occasion for the maintenance of diplomatic relations between Japan and other states until the period of occupation is ended. If the period is to be a long one, it might become desirable to reestablish diplomatic intercourse.

It is recommended that the Japanese government be instructed to recall all its diplomatic and consular agents abroad. This action by the Military Government might be supplemented through notices from the Department of State notifying other states, in the name of United Nations, that such Japanese agents, until further notice, have no authority to act for Japan.

In case of extended occupation, when presumably a national government would have been recognized, that government could be authorized to send consuls or commercial agents abroad, their appointment and instructions to be subject to the approval of the occupying authority.

No objection is seen to permitting the consular representatives of other nations in Japan to perform their functions in Japan, but former exequaturs issued by Japan should be canceled and a formula should be found by which such consular representatives of other nations would recognize that the authority which they exercise in Japan is derived from the occupation authorities rather than from the Japanese government.

In view of the above, the subordinate administrative staff of the Japanese Foreign Office should be continued in operation, under close supervision by occupation officials, and with its superior policy-making officers removed from office.

Prepared and reviewed by the Inter-Divisional Area Committee on the Far East.87

ISO: CEagleton (drafting officer) JA: ERDickover
TS: GHBlakeslee LA: ALMoffat
HBorton TA: WWilloughby
RAFearey ME: MBHall
AVandenbosch FMA: CFRemer
FE: JWBallantine FSO: EHDooman
AHiss CD: WTPhillips
  1. See memorandum prepared in the War and Navy Departments, February 18, pp. 1190, 1192.
  2. Symbols used below are, in full, as follows: ISO, Division of International Security and Organization; TS, Division of Territorial Studies; FE, Office of Far Eastern Affairs; JA, Division of Japanese Affairs; LA, Liberated Areas Division; TA, Division of Commercial Policy and Agreements; ME, Division of Middle Eastern Affairs; FMA, Division of Financial and Monetary Affairs; FSO, Foreign Service Officer; CD, Commodities Division.