740.00119 Control (Japan)/2–2246

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Eastern European Affairs (Durbrow)

On the basis of reports received from Tokyo it appears that the military authorities there have not as yet inaugurated any system of control covering the entry into Japan of Soviet and other officials, particularly those who may be coming in connection with the work of the Control Council.

I have talked to Mr. George Atcheson and Brigadier General William Ritchie who have just returned from Japan and they inform me that Soviet planes carrying a comparatively large number of Soviet officials land at Japanese airports without any prior notification. Furthermore, it is not known what functions the persons coming on these planes are to perform and, in fact, their ultimate destination in Japan is, as a rule, not known. Yesterday it was learned by telephone that the Navy Department had received a message from the U.S. Naval Observer at Vladivostok stating that two frigates (lend-lease vessels we had turned over to the Soviets) had left Vladivostok with a large number of persons on board, for an unknown destination in Japan. The Naval Observer stated that as far as he was aware, they had not notified General MacArthur that they were coming, nor had they obtained any prior clearance before departing.

This question was discussed with Mr. Harriman91 who informed me that it was his belief that since Stalin had stated that the Control Council in Japan should function in a similar manner to those in the Balkans, it would be advisable to suggest to General MacArthur that for his own protection it would be advisable for him to put in a control system for the entry of all foreign officials into Japan similar to the Soviet control system in the Balkans. Mr. Harriman feels that if this is not done and difficulties arise later, it may be difficult then to inaugurate a control system. He pointed out that this does not mean that we necessarily should apply the control system in Japan in such an arbitrary manner as the Soviets have applied their system in the Balkans but that if it should be deemed advisable at any stage to tighten the controls, it would be possible, once they had been put into effect.

The inauguration of such a control system, whether it is applied lightly or firmly, would in all probability assist in obtaining a relaxation of the difficulties encountered by American officials in the Balkans [Page 146] as outlined in General Crane’s92 recent telegram. The War Department has informally advised the Department that if word is received from the State Department that we think it advisable to put in a control system in Japan, the War Department will make such a suggestion to General MacArthur.93

  1. W. Averell Harriman’s resignation as Ambassador to the Soviet Union was accepted by President Truman on February 14.
  2. Maj. Gen. John A. Crane, U.S.A., U.S. member on Allied Control Commission for Bulgaria.
  3. Notation by the Secretary of State: “I approve suggestion as to Controls. J.F.B.”