740.0011 PW (Peace)/3–2047

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Northeast Asian Affairs (Allison)


Mr. Stirling70 called this afternoon at his request. He said news stories had been carried in the Australian press to the effect that Acting Secretary Acheson had stated the Department had been working on a draft treaty of peace with Japan for some time and that the press stories implied that there was in existence an American draft treaty. As a result, the Australian Embassy here had been instructed to ascertain whether or not such a draft treaty did exist and if so whether it would be possible for a copy to be made available to the Australian Government. Mr. Stirling said he had been instructed to refer to previous communications from the American Embassy in Canberra to the Australian Government to the effect that the United States would support Australian participation in the consideration of a peace treaty with Japan. He also referred to Mr. Evatt’s letter of January 17 to the American Ambassador in Canberra, in which Mr. Evatt said that the Australian Government has been giving preliminary study to considerations involved in a settlement with Japan and is ready at any time to enter into exploratory discussions with the United States.

I told Mr. Stirling that Mr. Acheson’s statement had been in response to a question based on General MacArthur’s recent interview in Tokyo,71 and that while I did not have before me the exact text of what Mr. Acheson had said, I knew that it was to the effect that interested offices of the Department had been conducting preparatory and exploratory studies for some time on the question of a peace treaty with Japan. I pointed out that this was only natural and that I presumed the same sort of work was going on in other foreign offices. I stated definitely that there was no accepted U.S. draft treaty as yet which could be shown to anyone else. In reply to a specific question I stated that the State Department had had no conversations with the United Kingdom Government or anyone else regarding the treaty with Japan. I assured Mr. Stirling that we were well aware of the deep interest of Australia in this matter and I reaffirmed our previous statement that the United States hopes and desires Australia will participate on a full and equal basis in the formulation of a peace [Page 450] treaty with Japan. Mr. Stirling thanked me and said he had assumed the situation was as I described it and that he would so report to his Government.

  1. Alfred Stirling, Minister, Australian Embassy.
  2. The press interview in Tokyo on March 17 was reported by the Associated Press; for transcript, see SCAP, Report of Government Section: Political Reorientation of Japan, September 1945 to September 1948 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), p. 765.