740.0011 PW Peace/6–947

The Assistant Secretary of State ( Hilldring ) to the Political Adviser in Japan ( Atcheson )86

personal and confidential

Dear George: …

. . . . . . .

After careful study of all the papers you have submitted, I am unable to find any fundamental difference of thinking between Tokyo and Washington. After listening to all concepts on this subject from a large variety of sources both in the U.S. and among our Allies, I find I can roughly divide all views into two general categories, punitive and constructive. Those who advocate the punitive approach are invariably violent in denouncing those who take the opposite view as anti-Russian, if not Fascist. This has caused and is causing some Americans to shy away from advocacy of a constructive treaty, but their numbers are diminishing and so far as I know there are now none of these any more in any responsible position in our Government. I feel, therefore, that in the matter of the treaty, Tokyo and Washington can henceforth devote themselves to discussion and decisions as to how the constructive philosophy shall be devised and described. We need not any longer, I am sure, concern ourselves with whether or not we shall advocate a punitive treaty. That is a closed issue.

I shall not in this letter treat with any of the details of the treaty except to say that our differences appear to me to be minor and susceptible of easy and early reconciliation.

[Here follows a paragraph mentioning General MacArthur’s two statements of February 20 and March 17, printed in Political Reorientation of Japan, pages 763–766.]

As to the substance of General MacArthur’s recommendation, we feel:

That he is a hundred percent right as to an early Japanese treaty and
That placing the external responsibility for Japanese economic recovery in the UN is theoretically sound, but we seriously question the ability of UN to get ready in time to do this job. We believe that some other arrangement is necessary on the simple grounds of competence, either today or in the foreseeable future.

[Page 462]

The Secretary and I have received General MacArthur’s most recent views on treaty making procedures, and I expect that your Geneeral will hear directly from my General before very long on the proposals that Borton brought back to Washington with him. You may assure the General that we will readjust our present plans to the greatest extent we can in order to incorporate his ideas. The major changes will involve the elimination of a procedural conference and the designation of Tokyo as the site of the peace conference.

. . . . . . .

With respect to Japan, we are actively supporting General MacArthur—every day. Last week we disregarded the unanimous opinion of the other FEC countries in approving the SCAP whaling expedition for 1947. … Hardly a day goes by that I do not straighten out the thinking of some domestic writer about matters in Japan. I spend many hours a week at this. It isn’t a difficult case to present. General MacArthur has done a magnificent job, and there is a plethora of evidence to prove it. But the point I wish to make is that, so far as the State Department is concerned, no effort is spared at this end to give the General and his operation a good press, and certainly this is the case. No activity of our Government is so well supported in the press and the radio as is SCAP’s administration of Japan. As I said earlier, if we fail to rise to the occasion it is inadvertent. Our heart is in the right place.

I enjoyed your letters very much. Please write again whenever you have the urge.


  1. A notation on the original by Mr. Atcheson reads: “Reed June 17 ‘47. Shown to MacA. GA”.