740.00119 Control(Japan)/11–645: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State

3783. ReEmbs 3775, Nov. 5, midnight and 3776, Nov. 6, 1 a.m. In proposing his amendments to Allied Military Council and Far Eastern Commission Molotov has followed his customary tactics of increasing Soviet demands. He has placed an interpretation on Stalin’s verbal agreement that the American Supreme Commander should have the last voice as qualified by Stalin’s reference to the Hungarian and Rumanian precedents. He now contends that Stalin had in mind that the American Commander should have the last voice only to degree that was provided for in Soviet revision of Hungarian Control Commission formula offered at Potsdam. Stalin in his conversation with me made no such qualification although it is true that he did propose an Allied Control Commission along the lines of the Hungarian and Rumanian Commissions, pointing out that otherwise the Soviets in Japan would be in an inferior position to the British and Americans in the Balkans. In my conversations with Molotov and from his comments in connection with the amendments it would appear that the greatest concern of the Soviets is retention by them of a voice in eventual Govt of Japan and steps by which it evolves.

By the amendments of the two documents Molotov, however, seeks to obtain complete veto of all policies and interpretation of these policies and to tie our hands in such a way that the functioning of control of Japan would be impossible without Soviet approval.

I feel that the time has now come to present our final position to Stalin as coming from the President, thus giving me the opportunity to discuss the matter with him.

I recognize the seriousness of the situation since the Russians may well be in a mood to remain out of Japan unless they obtain a solution satisfactory to them. The terms we offer should therefore be terms that we are prepared to stand on before world opinion as well as the Russians. An impasse would have serious repercussions not only in the Far East but in Europe and on world collaboration generally.

With this in mind I believe that our proposal for both bodies should be reviewed in order to make our fundamental position absolutely clear in their provisions. This I understand to be that we are prepared to go to all reasonable lengths to consult with and to obtain the agreement of our Allies but that in the event of disagreement the United States must be free to make decisions. I suggest, therefore, that in the proposals for the Allied Military Council it be provided that in [Page 832] event of disagreement on questions of principle such as questions relative to character of Japanese Govt, etc., opportunity should be given for full consultation between governments or in FEC, making it clear, however, that US Supreme Commander is free to act pending results of such consultation and if it is found that no agreement can eventually be reached.

I believe it would be easier to obtain Stalin’s agreement to control machinery for Japan if the name “Allied Military Council” were changed preferably by accepting Stalin’s original proposal of “Allied Control Commission” or at least some other title which eliminated word “military”. It should, of course, be made clear that functions of the body are limited to consulting with and advising Supreme Commander.

I assume that there would be no objection to proposed Soviet addition of a sentence to effect that each member of the body may be accompanied by an appropriate military and civilian staff.

Turning to Far Eastern Commission, it may be easier to obtain agreement on Allied Military Council if we are prepared to accept the principle of agreement between four principal powers in voting procedure of FEC. In considering this question we should also bear in mind Soviet aversion to being voted down in anything. In any circumstances it must of course be provided that pending decisions US is free to issue directives to Supreme Commander.

Question of India may be troublesome. Stalin in his statement to me was referring to India’s participation in a peace conference for Europe. Although he was very firm in his attitude towards India, I can hardly believe that he would make this a breaking point. When I told Molotov last night that India was already participating in the discussions in Washington he stated they had been invited to attend the meetings of the Advisory Commission whereas the powers of the Commission had now been enlarged and it was inappropriate for India as a colony to participate in such a body.