Lot 56D527

Memorandum by the Special Assistant to the Consultant (Allison)


Subject: Meetings with House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees regarding Japanese Peace Treaty on January 11 and 12.

Mr. Dulles, accompanied by Mr. Allison and Colonel Babcock,1 met with the Subcommittees on the Far East of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss with them the problem of a Japanese peace settlement.

The meeting with the House Subcommittee took place on Thursday afternoon, January 11, and Mr. Dulles made a long exposition of the philosophy back of United States policy toward a Japanese peace settlement. He particularly emphasized the fact that if the industrial potential of Japan should fall into Communist hands it would greatly increase the worldwide Communist threat. He pointed out that with Communist domination of China and Manchuria, Sakhalin, the Kuriles, and possibly all of Korea, Japan would be placed in an invidious position and would be vulnerable to Communist domination unless the United States and the other friendly powers were able to assure Japan of a reasonable political, economic and military stability over the future. Mr. Dulles emphasized that the two chief questions concerning us at present were the future security and the economic stability of Japan.

With regard to the security situation, the problem was to devise some arrangement which would protect Japan from outside aggression and at the same time re-assure to the greatest extent possible Japan’s former enemies that Japan would never again be a threat to them. A supplementary problem was how Japan might begin to share some of the burden of its own defense in view of the Japanese constitutional limitation on maintaining armed forces and the known reluctance of the Japanese at this time to take any action which might result in the creation again of a military caste which might threaten civilian supremacy in the Japanese Government. In order to solve this general problem, Mr. Dulles explained that the State and Defense Departments had begun to think more seriously of the possibilities of some form of Pacific regional security arrangement which would be confined to the countries having major island possessions in the Pacific. It was explained that at present our thinking had not progressed [Page 791] very far, but was running along the lines of some sort of joint declaration by the respective members—Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and possibly Indonesia—that an armed attack on any of them would be a threat to the peace and security of each and that they would then take such action as might be deemed necessary in accordance with their constitutional processes. It was also contemplated that there might be set up a Pacific Ocean Defense Council which would provide a focal point for exchange of ideas and information on security problems. Mr. Dulles pointed out that it was not believed desirable at this time to create an organization of the scope of the North Atlantic Pact, but that some looser form of organization would probably be sufficient. He further pointed out that such an arrangement would have two main virtues: (1) it would probably make it easier for the Japanese to begin to assume part of the burden of their own defense without the necessity for a complete change in their Constitution, inasmuch as any forces they created would be for an international purpose generally under the terms of Article 51 of the UN Charter and not for purely Japanese purposes; and (2) the fact that such nations as the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand would participate in the arrangement would give them a voice in how Japan’s defense forces progressed, so that they could be assured that these forces would not constitute a threat in the future as they had in the past.

With regard to the economic problem, Mr. Dulles pointed out that with the loss of the normal trading areas of China and Manchuria and the threatened loss of Southeast Asia with its rice bowl and other raw materials needed by Japan, Japan’s economic future was indeed precarious. It might become necessary, if the Southeast Asia area fell to Communism, for Japan to fill most of its food and raw material needs from the United States at considerable expense, to say nothing of the problems of transportation over some 5,000 miles of ocean. In such case, Mr. Dulles explained that our economists figured that there might be an additional $250 million a year burden on the United States, and Mr. Dulles wanted the members of Congress to know what might be before them in the future.

Mr. Dulles then explained that the real purpose of his trip was to find out how dependable a commitment could be obtained from the Japanese Government to align itself with the nations of the free world against Communist imperialism, and what the cost to the United States would be. He emphasized that his trip was exploratory and that no commitments would be made; and that after his return he would expect to appear before the group again to tell them what had been discovered.

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All members of the House Committee present expressed general approval of Mr. Dulles’ Mission and wished him success in it. They appeared to realize the seriousness of the problems concerned, but expressed the opinion that the approach which was being made was the correct one.

On Friday morning, January 12, a similar meeting was held with the Senate Far East Subcommittee, together with the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee2 and the ranking minority member.3 Mr. Dulles went over the same ground and, while there were not as many questions directed to him, nor were the Senators as explicit in their approval as had been the House members, nevertheless there was definite approval of the approach being made.

  1. Colonel Babcock was Chief of the Government Branch under General Magruder. He had been detailed to Mr. Dulles’ staff in September 1950, for reasons described in the memorandum by Mr. Allison to the Secretary September 4; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. vi, p. 1290.
  2. Tom Connally, of Texas.
  3. Arthur H. Vandenberg, of Michigan.