Lot 122, Box 53

Memorandum Prepared by the Inter-Divisional Area Committee on the Far East32


Japan: Occupation Problems: Duration of Military Government

I. The Problem

What should be the duration of the civil affairs administration and will it be followed by a control commission? (Question 3k,33 CAC–100 Preliminary, Annex A).

II. Basic Factors

The duration of civil affairs administration and the extent and nature of the control thereafter will obviously depend in some measure upon the circumstances prevailing at the time. At the present, however, the following stages may be foreseen: 1) an initial period of military government during which all parts of Japan proper would be occupied. This period would probably not be longer than a few months; 2) a second period, also characterized by strict United Nations control, during which military government might be continued for part of the period or the control during the entire period might be through a civilian agency representative of the United Nations. In either case, United Nations forces would be garrisoned in certain population centers and strategic areas; 3) a period during which restrictions will be progressively relaxed as Japan demonstrates its willingness and ability to live at peace with other nations. United Nations forces would be withdrawn to one or more areas where they would be kept from close contact with the Japanese population. It is advisable that the military authorities in their planning should envisage the possibility that the second and third periods may extend over a substantial period of time, possibly even over a number of years.

It is not possible to predict accurately the duration of civil affairs administration in Japan, or to determine whether it will be followed by a period of administration under direction of a control commission.
Among the factors which will influence the duration of military government will be the circumstances under which unconditional surrender occurs, particularly whether Japan surrenders unconditionally [Page 1238] without fighting in the islands of Japan proper, whether surrender occurs after an assault upon the main islands of Japan, or whether combat operations continue in any part of Japan proper or in Japanese occupied areas after unconditional surrender.
An additional factor will be the nature of the terms of surrender, particularly whether they will include any provision for a control commission or other agency representative of the United Nations for the enforcement of the surrender terms. However, even if the surrender contains no specific provision for a control commission, it will no doubt grant such sweeping powers that the occupation authorities can institute such agencies of control as they deem necessary.
A further factor will be the attitude of the Japanese Government and people toward the fulfillment of the surrender terms. Adoption of an attitude of cooperation would undoubtedly shorten the period of military government, whereas an obstructionist attitude, particularly toward the disarmament provisions, would lengthen it.
There are international political factors which have to be taken into account by the governments accepting Japanese surrender which may likewise affect the duration of the period of military government.

III. Recommendations

Military government should continue until order has been reestablished, until those terms of surrender requiring immediate execution have been carried out, and until there has been established a Japanese Government capable of discharging civil governmental functions and which will be politically acceptable to the United Nations.
It is to be anticipated that such supervision of Japanese internal affairs as the United Nations may deem essential will require the continued presence of United Nations forces for a period longer than the maintenance of military government. It is not possible at this time to forecast just what agency will be adopted to ensure this supervision. It may be provided for in the terms of surrender. In any event, it seems likely that some supervisory agency, supported by military forces, will succeed to military government.
The length of time during which United Nations forces may be required in Japan is scarcely subject to determination in advance. It is believed, however, that a prolonged occupation of Japan should be avoided. It would appear desirable, therefore, that no commitments on the matter be made.
It is believed that administration of civil affairs in any part of Japan proper should not be turned over to a Japanese Government before combat operations have ceased in all parts of Japan proper.
[Page 1239]

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

TS: GHBlakeslee ISO: DCBlaisdell (Drafting Officer)
HBorton QWright
RAFearey CA: JCVincent
FE: JWBallantine (drafting officer) OEClubb
AHiss LA: ALMoffat
JA: ERDickover TA: WWilloughby
BRJohansen ME: MBHall
FSWilliams FMA: CFRemer
LRD: JRFriedman
  1. Marginal notation in the original: “Changes in the original document are underscored.” (Document under reference, PWC–117a, April 17, not printed.)
  2. Ante, p. 1102.