56D424: Files of the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs

Memorandum by the Acting Director of the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs (Johnson)1

top secret

Items for Discussion With the JCS 2


Apart from the question of a peace settlement with Japan, now under discussion between Defense and State, immediate consideration should be given to the steps to be taken between now and the conclusion of a peace settlement. It will be important that the psychological impact of the termination of the occupation be minimized by a phasing out of the occupation during the interim period. It is also important that all possible steps be taken to increase the security of Japan during that period. Therefore, a program along the following lines should be undertaken:

1. Increase the pace at which responsibility is being returned by SCAP to the Japanese Government, and in particular relaxation of economic controls.

Comment: Apart from formal SCAP intervention into Japanese affairs, it is important that informal intervention at all levels of SCAP be reduced in order to increase the Japanese sense of responsibility for their own affairs. Implementation of this policy should make possible considerable additional reductions in SCAP personnel, with corresponding decreases in the burden on the Japanese economy of support of the occupation.

2. Expand the National Police Reserve and Maritime Safety Board as rapidly as facilities and equipment permit.

Comment: The increase in these forces in themselves does not present any legal problem vis-à-vis FEC policy decision. However, the equipping of the Police Reserve and patrol vessels of the Maritime Safety Board with weapons heavier than the “small arms” permitted by FEC policy decisions3 presents problems as long as the FEC structure is preserved. It is important that Defense keep the Department of State fully informed of its plans and operations in this regard in [Page 785] order that the Department may be in a position to justify and defend in the FEC any action that is taken.

3. The Department of State suggests that the JCS give consideration to the effect the presence of American dependent women and children in Japan would have on the defense of Japan in case of outbreak of hostilities in that area and how such effects might be minimized without creating undue alarm in Japan.

Comment: There are now probably around 35,000 women and children dependents of military personnel in Japan. While, in general, additional dependents are not now being permitted to proceed to Japan, a reduction in the present number proceeds very slowly and only as personnel are transferred from the theater. While any precipitate evacuation of all dependents from Japan would produce very unfortunate effects, it is felt that we could immediately undertake a progressive program of removing dependents over a period of several months. If this were explained properly to the Japanese as a change away from occupation status and not as a step in war preparation it need not have adverse effects in Japan, and the Japanese would probably welcome a move which would relieve them of the cumbersome and burdensome structure of housekeeping responsibility as well as the burden upon the economy.

4. Expand and expedite the depurging program.

Comment: Under the present critical situation, it is more important than ever that the most competent leadership available in Japan be utilized. The democratic reforms which will survive the present situation are already so well established that a marked increase in the de-purging program will have little effect on their maintenance. A marked relaxation of the program at this time should also do much to assure the orientation toward the US of those now purged leaders who would in any event resume positions of power following the conclusion of a treaty.

5. Develop Japan’s industrial capacity so that it may make the maximum contribution to Japan’s security, the needs of our armed forces, and our military assistance programs elsewhere.

Comment: Except for the production of instruments of war for use other than by the occupation forces,4 this program would not present any legal difficulties vis-à-vis FEC policy decisions. Under the present situation it would appear important that the large, unused labor force and industrial capacity of Japan be utilized to the maximum and that Japan be considered in effect as a normal source of [Page 786] procurement for the concerned US agencies. It will be equally important that raw materials be allocated to Japan to permit such production and maintain a healthy economy.

  1. There is no record of the distribution of this memorandum. Four copies were made.
  2. Secretary Acheson and Secretary Marshall discussed a Japanese peace treaty at a meeting held in the Pentagon, 4 p. m., January 8. Other State Department officials and the JCS may also have been present. No minute of this meeting has been found in Department of State files.
  3. The quoted phrase appears in FEC–017/23, February 12, 1948, “Prohibition of Military Activity in Japan and Disposition of Japanese Military Equipment.” For text, see Department of State, The Far Eastern Commission: Second Report by the Secretary General, July 10, 1947–December 23, 1948 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), pp. 19–22.
  4. Wording of this sentence is in apparent reference to numbered section 10 of FEC–084/21, August 14, 1947, “Reduction of Japanese Industrial War Potential”. Text of this “Policy Decision” is printed in Department of State, The Far Eastern Commission: Second Report by the Secretary General, July 10, 1947–December 23, 1948 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), pp. 25–30.