740.00119 Control (Japan)/9–2245: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

9838. After emphasizing that he was speaking entirely personally and not under instructions, Sterndale Bennett4 told us this morning [Page 721] that he was becoming seriously concerned at the delay in setting up some sort of Allied control or advisory commission in Japan and the consequent unilateral issuance of directives to MacArthur and statements by him in name of Allied Powers but on which those powers had not been consulted. He gave as example a directive issued to MacArthur to make announcement on Sept 20 in Japan to effect that Emperor and Jap Govt were acting in subordinate capacity to Supreme Commander. According to Sterndale Bennett, a copy of this directive was given to British Embassy in Washington on Sept 18 when copies were also given to Soviets and Chinese but none of the Govts concerned were given opportunity to comment or suggest changes. No exception was taken by Sterndale Bennett to contents of directive to MacArthur but he felt that we were “all in the same boat and have same objectives”. He stated he had understood US policy would be that the conquering and occupation of Japan was at least in theory a joint affair and if so he hoped some machinery would be soon set up by which other Govts concerned could express their views on matters of vital mutual concern.

Sterndale Bennett referred to British proposal to set up five power control commission in Tokyo to advise MacArthur on other than military matters and said that FonOff feels very strongly that such a body is necessary. It was pointed out that British proposal and the American proposal to set up a Far Eastern advisory commission in Washington were not mutually exclusive. British belief is that a large group in Washington as proposed by US would not be able to reach quick decisions on matters of urgency due to lack of sufficient knowledge of local conditions in Japan and that five power group sitting in Tokyo as suggested by British would be able to operate effectively on day to day and short term questions. Sterndale Bennett said it was because of strong British convictions on this point and the hope that an indication would soon be received from the Dept that some such machinery could be worked out that no official British: reply had yet been made on American proposal for Far Eastern advisory commission. Sterndale Bennett said that as far as he could tell from indications he had received on American policy towards Japan the British Govt would be in substantial agreement with it. The role Japan will play in the future according to Sterndale Bennett will in large part be determined by what happens during next few months and he reemphasized the strong desire of FonOff to cooperate with US in (1) making it impossible for Japan to take the road to aggression again and (2) building up conditions in which a new and peaceful Japan could grow.

  1. John Cecil Sterndale Bennett, Head of Far Eastern Department of British Foreign Office.