740.00119 Control (Japan)/1–2346

The Acting Political Adviser in Japan ( Atcheson ) to the Secretary of State

No. 223

The United States Political Adviser has the honor to forward for the information of the Department single copies of: (1) directive of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers to the Imperial Japanese Government, dated January 20, 1946, concerning the custody, control and protective maintenance of Japanese aircraft plants, arsenals and laboratories;75 and (2) press release of the United States Army Forces, Pacific, January 20, 1946, commenting on that directive.

It is stated in the press release that the purpose of taking these war plants, numbering nearly 400, into American custody is to ensure their availability and preservation in good condition for reparations.

[Page 475]

Press Release Issued by the General Headquarters, United States Armed Forces, Pacific, at Tokyo, January 20, 1946

400 Jap War Plants to SCAP Custody for Reparations

A sweeping directive of General MacArthur today took nearly 400 Japanese aircraft plants, army and navy arsenals, and war material laboratories into SCAP custody to insure their availability, intact and in good operating condition, for reparations.

SCAP officials said that much of their equipment had been deteriorating, due to lack of proper maintenance, and that there had been a number of cases in which machinery had been removed from some of the installations.

The Japanese government was ordered to halt such removals from the installations, which were listed by name, and to assure the necessary personnel and supplies for proper maintenance.

SCAP also decreed cancellation at once of any permits that have been previously granted to any of the installations for conversion to peacetime production, unless an installation is “immediately and absolutely essential to the civil economy”.

The commander of the Fifth United States Fleet is charged with custody of three installations at the Yokosuka Naval Base, and all others covered in today’s order are in custody of the commanding general of the Eighth Army.

SCAP ordered the two responsible American commanders to have the Japanese place each installation under guard to carry out SCAP orders for prevention of theft, sabotage and unauthorized removal of equipment and machinery.

The Japanese government was directed to have its representatives report, within 72 hours after receipt of today’s directive, to the two American commanders to receive their orders for carrying out the directive’s provisions.

The targets of today’s action were concerned primarily with Japan’s former war activities and are considered “first priority material” for reparations in the opinion of SCAP and the Pauley reparations mission.76

The list included 265 aircraft and parts plants in 34 of Japan’s 47 prefectures with 133, or half of them, concentrated in five prefectures—36 in Aichi (Nagoya), 35 in Tokyo, 25 in Osaka, 24 in Hyogo (Kobe), and 13 in Kanegawa (Yokohama).

Also listed were 33 naval arsenals with 10 branches, 36 military arsenals, and 30 laboratories associated with research for war production, [Page 476] for a total of 394 plants and installations scattered throughout Japan.

Maj. J. A. O’Hearn of Boston, chief of the industrial division of the Economic and Scientific Section, said the directive was intended not only to stop machinery removals but also to accomplish the return of whatever has already been removed.

“They’ve been taking machinery also to warehouses and just piling it up,” he said.

Deterioration of other machinery and equipment in the installations “is pretty widespread and we want to stop it,” Major O’Hearn added.

“It is naturally essential to the interests of both the Japanese and the Allied Powers that any equipment taken for reparations have the highest possible value,” he said. “It would be valueless unless it were in good condition.”

The Eighth Army and Fifth Fleet commanders also were ordered to review all cases in which conversion to peacetime production, of any of the plants or installations named in today’s list, had been previously licensed.

(An earlier SCAP directive had ordered that applications for conversion be submitted by the Japanese to the commanding generals of the Sixth and Eighth Armies for approval. Licenses previously issued to plants named today therefore will be reviewed.)

The commanders were told to consider “the probability that these plants will be taken as reparations, and consequently should not be allowed to acquire importance in the Japanese economy, with other industrial plants becoming dependent on their production.”

“If in your opinion,” they were told, “any converted plant is not immediately and absolutely essential to the civil economy, you will cancel authorization for its conversion.

“Otherwise, it may continue to operate, under custody and control as specified herein, and you will make clear to the Japanese that conversion in no way prejudices final disposition of any installation for reparations or other purposes.”

The commanders likewise were directed to report any other plants or installations in their areas that they considered within the intent of today’s directive, but which were not listed by SCAP.

Five company names accounted for 109, or about two-fifths, of all the aircraft plants. Nakajima had 47, Mitsubishi and Aichi 19 each, Kawasaki 15, and Hitachi 9.

[Here follow other details of installations affected.]

  1. Not printed.
  2. Edwin W. Pauley, Personal Representative of President Truman on Reparations, beaded a mission to Japan, November–December, 1945.