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

No. 172

Sir: I have the honor to enclose five copies of General Order No. 4, March 13, 1948,1 issued by General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, on the subject of “Intelligence Targets in Japan”.

The Department’s attention is respectfully invited to subparagraphs d, and e, of paragraph 6 of the enclosure, from which it would appear that this Mission, in its capacity as Diplomatic Section of this Headquarters, is precluded from exclusive exploitation of any intelligence material and records in Japan unless a request is made through the Translator and Interpreter Service, Document Section, Tokyo, under control of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G–2; and further, from sending any reports, publications, etc., of possible intelligence value to the Department without prior clearance through the Assistant Chief of Staff, G–2.

A literal reading and construction of General Order No. 4 would prohibit all objective reporting on the part of this Mission, unless the Chief of Mission is prepared to submit reports having a “possible intelligence value” to G–2 Section for approval. On the other hand, to continue reporting to the Department on subjects pertaining to the Japanese situation might, it is believed, subject me, as Chief of the Diplomatic Section, to possible reprimand by the Supreme Commander.

It is not my intention to raise this question with the Supreme Commander in view of possible misunderstanding to which any conceivable approach on this subject might give rise. As the Department is aware, by the integration of this Mission into General Headquarters its freedom of operation in the normal sense was largely lost. It is my understanding, however, that the Department has not abandoned the principle that its officers in any foreign country, if they are properly [Page 685] to carry out their functions, must be free to report objectively concerning matters of interest to the Department.

It is my considered recommendation to the Department that no issue be made of this question at the present time, as to do so might perhaps destroy the pleasant and smooth working relationships which have been established between this Mission and the Supreme Commander and his Headquarters.

This despatch, therefore, is written primarily with a view to apprising the Department of the difficult circumstances which appertain to our efforts to accomplish our mission in Japan.

Respectfully yours,

W. J. Sebald
  1. Not printed.