740.0011 PW (Peace)/3–2147

Memorandum by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur

Memorandum Concerning Drafts of Chapter V (Interim Controls) and Chapter VI (Disarmament and Demilitarization) of a Treaty of Peace With Japan in Process of Preparation by the State Department, and Draft of Treaty on the Disarmament and Demilitarization of Japan79

These drafts embody the concepts that, following the signing of a Treaty of Peace, a military occupation of Japan should continue, as should existing control machinery in slightly modified form; that all directives theretofore issued in furtherance of occupational objectives, not inconsistent with the treaty terms, should remain in force until altered or revoked by the control council proposed to be established to replace the Far Eastern Commission; and that following the complete withdrawal of all Allied Forces from Japan a four power control be established.

Such proposals could not fail to be challenged as imperialistic in concept, in purpose, and in form. They are furthermore unrealistic in that, should a military occupation continue after a treaty is signed, it would merely substitute newly designed control machinery for that now existing—machinery which would relegate to virtual impotency the executive authority over Japan, through a complete subordination to a control body sitting in Washington and the rights of appeal therein established against all local executive action. The proposals would fail to take into account inherent weaknesses which experience has disclosed, and immeasurably add to the confusion which heretofore already has resulted from the operation of the present system established by the Moscow Conference of 1945. The proposal for a later four power control, to the exclusion of other nations actively engaged in the war against Japan, would be highly offensive to the latter nations and most unwarranted.

As I have previously stated, it is my considered view that the Japanese nation and people are now ready for the initiation of negotiations leading to a Treaty of Peace—ready in the sense that Japan’s warmaking power and potential is destroyed, the framework to democratic government has been erected, reforms essential to the reshaping of Japanese lives and institutions to conform to democratic ideals [Page 455] have been instituted, and the people have been accorded the fundamentals of human liberty. And ready in the sense that there is a “peacefully inclined and responsible government” which can pledge Japan to the undertakings incident to such a treaty.

Such a treaty, however, must be designed effectively to restore peace—not merely to extend in modified form the foreign military controls now existing. For it is a truism that democracy is a thing of the spirit which can neither be purchased nor imposed by the threat or application of force. For it is only under conditions of peace, with a maximum of freedom to seek its own economic salvation, that Japan may have any hope to revive its internal economy to the point that will reasonably permit of its self-sufficiency. Until this is done, the responsibility to cover the deficit to the economic level necessary to sustain Japanese life must continue to rest upon the American taxpayer. Until it is done, the absorption of the ideals of democracy, however firmly the seeds are sown, will proceed slowly, as the shadow of foreign bayonets is not conducive to rapid democratic growth.

As I have previously pointed out, Japanese economy has always been geared to the necessity for the importation of food resources to sustain life. Such necessity was never more real than now with the resources of Manchuria, Korea and Formosa withdrawn, fishing rights on the high seas curtailed, and with the home islands under the strangulation of an economic blockade which must continue to exist, in varying degrees of intensity, until Japan is rendered completely free to chart its own course toward economic revival.

In my opinion, this revival to a point of self-sufficiency, with a consequent release of our responsibility to cover any deficit in the bare essentials of life, is dependent upon the effectuation of such a treaty. A realistic approach to this problem requires that such a treaty should provide: for the complete withdrawal of all direct military controls; for an undertaking by the Japanese Government and people to respect and faithfully comply with all of the basic mandates incident to Japan’s surrender, and vigorously to advance the fundamental political, social and economic reforms already instituted, with the right reserved to every Japanese citizen to appeal to the United Nations, through its appropriate instrumentality, the deprivation of any fundamental right or the emasculation of any basic reform, granted or instituted during the period of occupation; and for such minimum future inspection and control, for at least a generation, by the United Nations as may prove necessary to insure that such treaty commitments are fully and faithfully complied with.

The means of inspection and control by the United Nations should, of course, be left to that body to determine initially, and to modify [Page 456] as experience dictates, rather than be limited to any prescription established by treaty with Japan, as only in that manner may the United Nations freely reorient its course as circumstances from time to time may require.

Sight should not be lost of the fact that the situation here presented involves more than an unilateral undertaking alone, as Japan, by the terms of its new Constitution, has taken an advanced position in the evolution of civilization through its renunciation of war, of the future maintenance of armed force, and of all sovereign rights of belligerency. It has thus rendered its future security subject to the justice and good faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world. There is here a challenge which all other nations must accept if they would foster and preserve the peace—a challenge to the moral strength of all men and nations of good-will, which must firmly be met if physical force is ever to yield to moral force in the settlement of disputes involving men and nations and continents. It is therefore incumbent that the Allied Nations for their part, in the spirit of this constitutional provision, undertake to guarantee the neutrality of Japan, with the view to the transfer of such undertaking to the stewardship of the United Nations, where the responsibility properly should rest.

The Treaty of Peace with Japan, within the broad limitations of the surrender terms, should be negotiated with representatives of the Japanese people—not imposed upon them. All eleven of the Allied Powers directly concerned should participate. Devoid of vengeful purposes, it should be so composed as realistically to provide for the emergence here of a social system dedicated to peace, with full economic, social and political opportunity for the advancement of the dignity and welfare of the individual. It should constitute within itself a charter of human liberty to which the Japanese citizen will cling for guidance and protection, rather than shun with the revulsion of shame. Without yielding firmness in its essential mandates, it should avoid punitive or arbitrary and complex provisions, and by its terms set the pattern for future peace among the peoples of the world. It should emphasize in natural sequence the full dignity of the organization of the United Nations as the final arbiter among the nations of the world to preserve the peace. It should in full reality mark the restoration of a peace based upon justice, good-will and human advancement, if the costly victory is to become the cornerstone to enduring peace.

Without going into detail, I recommend that these drafts be amended in accordance with the above concepts.

Douglas MacArthur
  1. In a memorandum of March 26, Mr. Borton and Miss Ruth E. Bacon, who were on a visit to Tokyo, commented on General MacArthur’s memorandum and pointed out that it applied “primarily to only one of the three alternative drafts which have been prepared.” (FE Files)