740.00119 Control (Japan)/2–2246

The Secretary of State to the Secretary of War (Patterson)99

My Dear Mr. Secretary: The Soviet Embassy in Washington recently requested authorization to send twenty-nine persons to Tokyo in connection with the work of the Soviet delegation on the Control Council. This group consisted of nine economists and twenty members of their families.

When the request was made, it was explained to the representative of the Embassy that since we were not permitting the members of the families of American officials to proceed to Japan at the present time, it might be difficult to obtain permission for members of the Soviet families to proceed there. Subsequently, the Embassy reduced the number of persons for whom permission was requested to seven economists and thirteen members of their families. According to information received from the Navy Department, the United States Naval Observer at Vladivostok has reported that two vessels recently left that port for an unknown destination in Japan, each carrying a considerable group of Soviet officials who are presumably also to be members of the Soviet delegation on the Control Council.

In view of the housing and food shortage in Japan and in view of the fact it is felt to be in General MacArthur’s interest as Supreme Commander to guard against future difficulties, it would be advisable for him to have prior knowledge of the number of officials or other foreigners who may be coming to Japan. It is suggested, therefore, that the War Department may care to request that the Joint Chiefs of Staff inform General MacArthur that it would be advisable for him to institute a system of controls regarding entry, travel, and residence of foreigners in Japan.

In this connection, it will be recalled that Generalissimo Stalin in discussing the control machinery in Japan informed Ambassador Harriman that he envisaged the establishment in Japan of control [Page 149] machinery similar to that put into effect by the Soviet Government in the Balkans.1 It is felt, therefore, that General MacArthur should set up a system of controls along the general lines of those applied in the Balkans. This does not necessarily mean that we would have to apply the controls in the uncooperative manner used by the Soviet authorities, but if any abuses should develop the controls, of course, could be applied more rigidly.

If the War Department concurs in this suggestion, the detailed instructions to General MacArthur could be worked out between representatives of the State and War Departments.

Sincerely yours,

James F. Byrnes
  1. The Chief of Staff quoted this letter in his telegram War 99831, March 6, 1946, to General MacArthur and then added: “It is understood that Mr. Harriman discussed this problem with you when he was in Japan. Our representatives have experienced extreme difficulties in dealing with the Russians in the Balkans. Your comments and recommendations are wanted.” (740.00119 Control (Japan)/3–646.) On March 8, 1946, Secretary Patterson replied: “Because of the profound importance of the step contemplated, we are discussing the matter with General MacArthur and hope to inform you in the near future of any definitive action which may be taken.” (740.00119 Control (Japan)/3–846.) On March 15, 1946, Secretary Patterson wrote: “The War Department concurs in your suggestion. Since receipt of your letter, members of the Operations Division, War Department General Staff have been in contact with Mr. Durbrow of your Department, and details of the plan and instructions to General Mac-Arthur will be worked out with that officer and such other officers of your Department as required.” (740.00119 Control (Japan)/3–1546.)
  2. For conversations on October 24 and 25, 1945, at Gagri, see memoranda of those dates by the First Secretary of Embassy in the Soviet Union (Page), Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. vi, pp. 782 and 787, respectively.