Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy to the Consultant (Allison)1


Subject: Japan

Participants: Charles E. Wilson, Office of Defense Mobilization2
Sidney Weinberg, Office of Defense Mobilization
General Lucius Clay, Office of Defense Mobilization3
John Foster Dulles, Department of State
John M. Allison, Department of State

Mr. Dulles called on Mr. Wilson to explain the purpose of his Mission to Japan insofar as it affected the operations of Mr. Wilson’s agency. Mr. Dulles pointed out that, in accordance with the letter to him from the President, his Mission was to discover whether or not it would be possible to get a reliable commitment of the Japanese nation to the cause of the free world. In order to accomplish this, the United States would have to make certain military and economic commitments to the Japanese of a general nature. As far as the military side of the problem is concerned, there was complete agreement between the State and Defense Department over the necessity of contributing substantial forces to the defense of the island chain of which Japan forms a part. In regard to economic problems, if Japan is to be on the side of the free world, it will be necessary to assure that its industry can keep running and that it will receive sufficient quantities of the necessary raw materials, particularly coking coal and iron ore. It was from this point of view that Mr. Dulles wished to talk to Mr. Wilson and his associates, for if the United States were to use all of these materials for its own industry and not be willing to make reasonable quantities available to the Japanese, it would be futile to expect the Japanese to keep away from Communism. Mr. Wilson expressed complete agreement with the objectives outlined by Mr. Dulles, but pointed out that false hopes should not be held out to the Japanese and that they should be induced to be realistic in their expectations of what might become available. As the discussion progressed and it became evident that, insofar as iron ore and coking coal were concerned, Japan’s needs were comparatively modest—5 million tons of the former and 2 million of the latter—both Mr. Wilson [Page 805] and General Clay expressed the opinion that it would probably be possible to assure a continuance of these quantities if necessary. Mr. Dulles pointed out that Japan formerly had obtained large quantities of iron ore from Malaya and the Philippines and that these sources could possibly be re-activated so that the burden on the United States would be lessened. General Clay expressed considerable concern over any assurances of continuing large exports of cotton to Japan, as this commodity was apparently going to be in short supply.

General Clay pointed out further that it was not possible at this time to make any commitments regarding specific quantities or types of material which might be available and that presumably at some time it would be necessary for some agency of the Government, possibly the State Department, to make a decision as to what the priorities would be among all the various applicants for raw materials. Mr. Dulles stated that he understood this thoroughly and is not expecting any such commitments at this time, but merely wanted to apprise Mr. Wilson and his colleagues of the problem and of the necessity of being able to give some general assurance to the Japanese. Mr. Dulles emphasized that, should the Soviets obtain the industrial power of Germany and Japan, it would place them in such a position of strength that it would be necessary for the United States to spend more and produce more to offset this difference, so that it really was to the interest of the United States to make it possible for Japan to stay on our side. The meeting closed with Mr. Wilson’s expressing complete understanding of the situation and agreement that it was important to keep the Japanese on our side.

  1. On January 16 Mr. Allison had been designated by President Truman as Deputy to Mr. Dulles, with a simultaneous appointment as Minister in the Office of the U.S. Political Adviser to SCAP.
  2. Mr. Wilson was Director of the ODM.
  3. Mr. Weinberg and General Clay were both Special Assistants to Mr. Wilson.