740.0011 PW(Peace)/1–2847

The Ambassador in Australia (Butler) to the Secretary of State

No. 99

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s telegram no. 279 of December 13, 1946, 7 p.m.,61 wherein I was instructed to advise Dr. Evatt62 informally and confidentially that the United States hoped and desired that Australia would participate on a full and equal basis in the formulation of the peace treaty with Japan, and to my telegraphic reply, no. 36 of January 28, 1947, 9 a.m.,61 summarizing the content of a letter addressed to me on January 17, 1947 by Dr. Evatt, expressing appreciation of the message referred to above and outlining his Government’s thoughts with respect to Japanese peace treaty negotiations. I am forwarding herewith a copy of the text of Dr. Evatt’s letter.

Respectfully yours,

Robert L. Butler
[Page 447]

The Australian Minister for External Affairs (Evatt) to the American Ambassador in Australia (Butler)


My Dear Ambassador: Would you kindly convey to the Secretary of State my thanks for the message of 13th December in connection with the Japanese peace treaty negotiations which you communicated to me personally?

The expression of your Government’s desire for Australia’s full and equal participation in these negotiations is warmly welcomed and we would attach very great importance to an assurance of the United States Government’s full support for Australia’s claim to participate as a principal party in all discussions of the settlement with Japan including any preliminary or preparatory discussions.

It will be recalled that our Ambassador in the United States of America,63 in conversation with the Secretary of State on December 9th, stressed Australia’s vital interest in the future arrangements regarding the ex-Japanese Mandated Islands, and informed him that in any consultations regarding these or other Japanese island territories Australia would claim a right to participate as a party principal.64

We have recently been giving preliminary study to the vast and complex range of questions involved in the settlement with Japan and are ready at any time to enter into exploratory discussions with your Government. We would be glad to take up at once, for example, the question whether the Far Eastern Commission would be the appropriate body to undertake the drafting and negotiation of the treaty and if not what would be the most appropriate method for handling the work.

In our view, the work of drafting and negotiating the settlement with Japan should be done by those nations who were effective belligerents in the Japanese war and whose geographical position gives them paramount interests in the future of the Pacific Area.

Although it is appreciated that it will be some considerable time before the actual treaty can be concluded and the occupation forces withdrawn from Japan, I think the time is near when thought should be given to the formulation and interchange of views on the form the treaty should take. I would therefore welcome any suggestions your Government might wish to make in order to initiate an exchange of views between representatives of our two Governments. We would of [Page 448] course wish the New Zealand Government to be kept fully in touch with any such preliminary discussions.

In view of the fact that Australia is in a sense the representative of the British Commonwealth of Nations chiefly concerned in the Pacific we are advising the United Kingdom Government of the purport of the present communication.

Yours sincerely,

H. V. Evatt
  1. Not printed.
  2. Herbert V. Evatt, Australian Minister for External Affairs.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Norman J. O. Makin.
  5. For documentation on this subject, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. i, pp. 544 ff, and 1947, volume i .