740.0011 PW (Peace)/3–2147: Telegram

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

secret

65. Press despatches from Washington cite officials of the State Department as saying that during my recent visit to Washington I was informed of preparatory steps being taken for a Japanese Treaty; that upon my return to Tokyo I had “undoubtedly” informed General MacArthur thereof; and that as a result General MacArthur issued his “statement” of March 17.77

[Page 453]

The last assertion is without any basis in fact. The General’s interview with correspondents at a luncheon at the Press Club on March 17 occurred the day before he saw the “committee draft” of Chapter 5 and alternate drafts which we are proposing. In fact he issued no “statement” and his answers to inquiries by correspondents were unpremeditated. He attended the luncheon on the prior understanding that no questions would be asked but on arrival was persuaded to be interviewed.

We were all surprised at the emphasis given by the press to his replies because they were either repetitions or paraphrases of remarks made and published previously. His opinion concerning the post-war United Nations relationship with Japan was published in Washington during my visit there in a press article by the Christian Science Monitor editor. The opinion that we should have an early treaty with Japan was expressed in his published message to the Congress regarding appropriations for occupation purposes and was regarded as in line with the prior statement by the President that early treaties with Germany and Japan were desirable. Other remarks in reply to the correspondents inquiries had been included in various press releases published here and in the United States.

This seems to be one of those instances in which the handling of the matter by the sensational press has created public issues which otherwise were nonexistent.

While General MacArthur’s remarks were not intended to pose any immediate problems to the Government, I believe with him that a basic decision on the entire matter should if possible be reached at an early date. It is hoped that General MacArthur’s detailed views as to the most practicable post-occupation arrangement for Japan will be available soon.

I understand that the Australian Government sometime ago formed a “committee” composed of Evatt, the Foreign Under Secretary, Eggleston, Makin and Ball78 to prepare a draft peace treaty, and that both the British and Chinese Governments are thinking concretely about the matter.

Atcheson
  1. See footnote 71, p. 449.
  2. Sir Frederic W. Eggleston had been Ambassador to the United States and was succeeded by Norman J. O. Makin in 1946; W. MacMahon Ball was head of the Australian Mission in Japan and joint representative of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and India on the Allied Council for Japan.