The Chargé in Japan (Huston) to the Secretary of State

No. 385

Sir: With reference to this Mission’s airgram no. A–138 of June 4, 1949,1 concerning labor riots at the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on May 30 and 31, 1949, during which one labor demonstrator was killed, I have the honor to transmit a copy of a letter1 addressed to the Supreme [Page 772] Commander on June 11, 1949, by Lieutenant General Kuzma N. Derevyanko, Soviet Member, Allied Council for Japan, protesting strongly against alleged police brutality in dealing with labor demonstrations. General Derevyanko’s letter was released to the press at the time of its dispatch on June 11 by the Office of the Soviet Member, plainly indicating the propaganda motive behind this action.

The Supreme Commander has not made formal reply to the Soviet Member’s letter, but on June 13 released to the press an exceptionally blunt comment on the Soviet Member’s communication. A copy of General MacArthur’s statement is enclosed.

In view of the extraordinarily caustic character of the Supreme Commander’s comment, there is a possibility that the Soviet Government may make further issue of this matter, either in the Far Eastern Commission or in the Allied Council for Japan. This Mission has accordingly requested the G–2 Section of General Headquarters for full details of the May 30–31 riots.

Respectfully yours,

Cloyce K. Huston

Press Release Issued by the Public Information Office, Far East Command

immediate release

General MacArthur’s Comment on General Derevyanko’s Letter

“The Soviet letter, replete with inaccuracies and misrepresentations of fact, could be disregarded as routine Soviet propaganda did it not so completely unmask the Soviet role as an incitor of disorder and violence in an otherwise orderly Japanese society. The thorough duplicity of its apparent championship of fundamental human rights on the one hand and the Soviet callous indifference to the release for repatriation of Japanese prisoners of war on the other—its talk of greater liberality for Japanese workers and the Soviet practice of labor exploitation, is a shocking demonstration of inconsistent demagoguery. The purpose of the letter is obviously two-fold: to incite irresponsible and unruly minority elements in Japan to violence and disorderly resistance against the duly constituted government of Japan and the lawful orders and processes thereof with a view to creating confusion, unrest and bewilderment in the ranks of the law-abiding Japanese masses, and to screen the Soviet unconscionable failure to abide by the requirements of International Law and specific Potsdam commitments in the return of over four hundred thousand Japanese citizens, long held in bondage, to their homeland. This failure to meet international commitments and maintain normal standards of human decency in the disposition of captives finds little parallel [Page 773] in the history of modern civilization, and is calculated so to outrage moral sensibilities that even the Japanese Communists have been moved to register a bitter and indignant protest. The burdened effort at this late date to challenge the number long publicly recorded as held in Soviet hands by charging mathematical error is small solace indeed to hundreds of thousands of Japanese homes from whom no sophistry can conceal the fact that a family member in Soviet custody has failed to return; and as to whom, contrary to all international covenants respecting prisoners of war, no word whatsoever has been received during the long period of captivity.

“For the Soviet to speak in derogation of the status of labor in Japan is hypocrisy compounded. His premise is based upon such fantastic exaggerations as obviously to belie the truth. The Japanese labor laws match the most progressive in their liberality and advanced concepts, and the labor movement here, despite its immaturity, has advanced more rapidly and with less friction than has its counterpart in many of the democratic countries of the world. Incidents of violence have been rare indeed and no segment of Japanese society has made such democratic gains as labor which enjoys rights and liberties and safeguards largely unknown to the peoples of the Soviet Union, which, following the totalitarian concept, holds under ruthless suppression individual liberty and personal dignity.

“For the Soviet to speak of ‘Democratic rights’, ‘the suppression of legal activities’, ‘arbitrariness and chastisement’, is enough to challenge the late lamented Ripley at his imagination’s best and leads one to conclude that now there must really be nothing new under the sun.”

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.