740.00119 Control (Japan)/4–546

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Max W. Bishop, of the Office of the Political Adviser in Japan54

for american eyes only

Subject: Reorganization of the Office of the United States Political Adviser

General MacArthur, after a few remarks of greeting, stated that the reorganization of the Office of the United States Political Adviser would be postponed until the return of Mr. Atcheson. He said that all of the suggestions contained in recent telegrams from the Department were entirely agreeable to him; and added that as a matter of fact there would be no far-reaching “reorganization”, but that the work of the Office would go on much as it had before. He added that the [Page 189] Office would then be able to call upon SCAP for all of the information available to Headquarters; that in the past the Office of the Political Adviser had relied for the most part on information obtained from the press and that much of the material this Office had sent to the Department and which he had seen lacked merit; that the name of the staff section would be “The Diplomatic Section”; that the Officer in Charge, Mr. Atcheson, would retain the title “United States Political Adviser” as it seemed apparent that the Department of State wished to keep that title; that the new section would handle all such matters as are “normally handled by the Department of State, i.e., matters of international relations, foreign policy, ‘diplomacy’, and the like”; and that as soon as the reorganization took place we could discontinue the political report (Weekly Report on Political Parties) which we are now sending him as the subject matter actually is in the province of the Government Section. He added that if it were desired, we could, of course, continue to send the report to the Department of State. In this connection, General MacArthur went on to point out that it had been his understanding before Mr. Atcheson’s arrival that there would be established within SCAP a political section and that Mr. Atcheson, as the United States Political Adviser, would head this political section. However, he went on to say, when Mr. Atcheson arrived and explained to General MacArthur his instructions from the Department of State, it was apparent that the intention in Washington was for Mr. Atcheson to serve the Department of State and not SCAP. Therefore, General MacArthur added, it had been necessary for him to change his plans entirely and to establish a “Government Section”, in place of the political section he had originally expected to establish. He said that the Government Section is now established and functioning well and that he intended to have it continue as at present.

Continuing with the question of “reorganization”, General Mac-Arthur said that the plan which had now been agreed to by the Department of State was exactly what he had had in mind in the very beginning and that after the reorganization we would be a member of the team and he hoped that we would function as a member of the team. Mr. Bishop stated that he had during the brief time he had been in charge made every effort to cooperate in every possible way with the Supreme Allied Commander and with the various sections of SCAP. General MacArthur replied that the work of the Office had been excellent and that he was not in any way questioning our cooperation and sincerity and that he felt that we had done a good job, but that in the future we would be members of the team and we should be able to function more efficiently.

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As he envisioned it, the new Diplomatic Section would have two primary functions: first, the diplomatic or State Department functions which he expected would expand greatly and rapidly; and second, function of advice in connection with the activities of the Allied Council for Japan.

In regard to the latter, General MacArthur said that there might well be certain Powers represented on the Allied Council for Japan which would have as their primary objective one of sabotage and obstruction to the occupation, and that he would rely on the Political Adviser to meet this challenge to the foreign policy of the United States. He pointed out that one of the best methods of defense is offense, and that should a country such as Soviet Russia attack the foreign policy of the United States, especially as reflected in occupation policies and developments, we should be prepared immediately to counter with equally embarrassing and revealing questions and statements. As an example, he suggested that it might be worthwhile to inquire why Soviet Russia does not shoulder a share of the burden of the occupation and send troops to participate in the occupation of Japan. He said that he would not expect or want the American side of the Allied Council to protect SCAP, that he, as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, would give due weight to the remarks made by any of the members of the Allied Council, and implied that he would himself protect the position and reputation of the Supreme Allied Commander. It was his desire, however, that the United States Political Adviser protect the foreign policy of the United States in Council meetings.

Pointing out that the Soviet political adviser, Mr. Malik, was an astute and cultured man with a long background in Japan, General MacArthur made further remarks that he expected the United States Political Adviser to be prepared to meet and to cope with the strategy and tactics which might be adopted by Mr. Malik, or for that matter, by any other person present at the Council meeting. He said that he expected to talk with Mr. Atcheson along these lines as soon as the latter returned and that he regretted that the first meeting of the Council must necessarily take place before Mr. Atcheson’s return, but that owing to the pressure from other countries, especially Australia, it had been impossible for him to postpone the first meeting any longer. He said that Mr. Bishop might have opportunity to pass on these remarks to Mr. Atcheson when he returned to Japan and before he saw General MacArthur.55

M[ax] W. B[ishop]
  1. Copy of memorandum transmitted to the Department by Mr. Bishop in his despatch 353, April 5, 1946; received April 12.
  2. As reported in telegram 182, April 19, 1946, from Tokyo, General MacArthur on April 18 issued his general order no. 18 as follows: “1. The Diplomatic Section is established as a special staff section of this Headquarters. 2. Minister George Atcheson, Jr., the Political Adviser, is assigned as Chief of the Diplomatic Section.” (740.00119 Control (Japan)/4–1946)