740.0011 P.W. (Peace)/3–2047

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Douglas ) to the Secretary of State

No. 66

Subject: Foreign Office Comment on General Mac Arthur’s Advocacy of Treaty with Japan.

Sir: I have the honor to enclose a copy of a self-explanatory memorandum of a conversation held between a Foreign Office official and an officer of the Embassy on the above-cited subject on March 19, 1947.

I also enclose a copy of the text of an item which appeared in the March 19, 1947 issue of the Manchester Guardian (independent) on the subject of General Mac Arthur’s pronouncement.72 There is very good reason to believe that that item was written after its author had canvassed the situation at the Foreign Office, and that it correctly reflects Foreign Office thought on the subject of Japan.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Everett F. Drumright

First Secretary of Embassy

Memorandum of Conversation, by the First Secretary of Embassy in the United Kingdom (Drumright)


Subject: Foreign Office Comment on General MacArthur’s Advocacy of Treaty with Japan.

In the course of an informal conversation this afternoon at the Foreign Office, Mr. Drumright inquired what views were held in the Foreign Office on the statement made by General MacArthur to foreign correspondents at Tokyo on March 17, 1947.

Mr. MacDermot73 said that General MacArthur’s views on the future of Japan had not come as a surprise to the Foreign Office, since [Page 451] about a week prior to his interview with the press General MacArthur had imparted them in a general way to Mr. Gascoigne, the chief British diplomatic representative in Tokyo.

Mr. MacDermot said that the Foreign Office shared General MacArthur’s views that an early settlement of issues about Japan is desirable. He went on to say that the Foreign Office is in favor of the conclusion of a general treaty with Japan, but that before such a treaty is arranged the Foreign Office considers that a disarmament and demilitarization treaty along the lines suggested by Mr. Byrnes in 194674 should be concluded among the interested powers.

Though generally approving of General MacArthur’s statement, Mr. MacDermot said that the Foreign Office was “piqued” over his remark that “Japan was still blockaded by the allied powers.” Mr. MacDermot went on to say that Great Britain was not responsible for the economic blockade of Japan and had never wanted it. For several months, as a matter of fact, Britain had been calling for the opening of Japan to private trade, and he (Mr. MacDermot) was glad to see that more and more steps were being taken to open Japan to private trade.

Mr. Drumright inquired whether the Foreign Office had issued or contemplated issuing a statement in regard to General MacArthur’s pronouncement. Mr. MacDermot replied that the Foreign Office had not issued a formal statement but that after consultation the news department of the Foreign Office had “briefed” certain correspondents on its thoughts on the matter.

Before closing the conversation, Mr. Drumright referred to the currecent clamor in Britain for the demobilization of British troops and asked in this relation whether there might be further withdrawal of British troops from Japan. While Mr. MacDermot did return a categorical reply to this question, it appeared from the tenor of his remarks that the British Government may now have under consideration the withdrawal of further British contingents from Japan. In this connection, Mr. MacDermot referred to a recent pronouncement of the Indian Government on the return of all Indian troops to India and remarked that this undoubtedly presaged the recall of Indian troops from Japan.

Everett F. Drumright
  1. Not reprinted; it indicated approval of General MacArthur’s call for an early peace settlement and his proposal to end the economic blockade and to restore free trading with Japan (740.0011 PW (Peace)/3–2047).
  2. D. F. MacDermot, Head of the Japan and Pacific Department of the British Foreign Office.
  3. For draft released by the Department on June 21, 1946, see Department of State Bulletin, June 30, 1946, p. 1113.