740.00119 Control (Japan)/5–2947

The Department of State to the Australian Embassy


The questions raised by the Australian Ambassador in his aide-mémoire left with the Under Secretary of State on May 29, 1947,98 have been considered, and in reply the Australian Government is informed as follows:

The Angaur Island phosphate industry has been operated by the United States Navy, employing American contractors to mine the phosphate rock. The output has been shipped to Japan to relieve the fertilizer shortage there, and a certain number of Japanese laborers have been employed in loading the rock for shipment. It is expected that control of the industry will shortly be transferred to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan. The Supreme Commander has indicated that when and if this transfer is effected, he intends to employ Japanese technicians, labor and equipment in place of the American personnel and facilities presently working the deposits, in order to reduce the dollar cost of the operations. He has not indicated that responsibility for the management of the enterprise will be transferred to the Japanese Government or to Japanese private interests, or that he has any other intention than to retain this responsibility in his own hands. However, in order that his precise intentions may be ascertained, and in order that he may be acquainted with the Australian [Page 237] Government’s views in the matter, the substance of those views is being transmitted to the Supreme Commander, and all pertinent information, with his comments, requested. The Australian Embassy will be advised of the United States position in the matter following receipt of the Supreme Commander’s reply.

Regarding the second point raised in the Embassy’s aide-mémoire, Japanese have been invited to several international conferences abroad, in every case at the instance of the sponsoring organizations, and a Japanese recently attended the Rice Study Conference held under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization in India. This Japanese was authorized to advise on technical problems of rice production but on no other problems, and was in no sense a representative of the Japanese Government. It is the Department of State’s understanding that authorization for Japanese to attend the World Federation of Trade Unions Conference in Prague and the Union Postale Universale Conference in Paris has not yet been granted by the Supreme Commander in Tokyo. A comprehensive program, subject to appropriate limitations, for the interchange of persons between Japan and other nations to assist Japan’s reorientation and democratization is now under consideration by the United States Government, and will shortly be submitted to the Far Eastern Commission.

The Australian Embassy was advised in a separate note dated June 9, 1947,99 of this Government’s decision in the matter of a second SCAP operated, Japanese-manned Antarctic whaling expedition.

Regarding the final point in the Embassy’s aide-mémoire, the Australian Government may be assured that the United States Government’s position in the matter of Japanese disarmament and demilitarization remains as stated in Article I(a) of the Draft Treaty on the Disarmament and Demilitarization of Japan1 submitted to the Governments of China, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom in April 1946. The Japanese Constitution, moreover, provides that “the maintenance of land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be authorized”. If, contrary to this provision of the Japanese Constitution, Japanese officials are indeed preparing proposals for a Japanese army, navy and air force for submission to the peace conference, the Embassy may be assured that such proposals will in no way influence the position of the United States in the matter.

  1. See memorandum of May 29 by the Chief of the Division of Northeast Asian Affairs, p. 220.
  2. See footnote 84, p. 222.
  3. See telegram 348, February 28, 1946, to Moscow, Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. viii, p. 152.