Tokyo Post Files: 320.1 Peace Treaty

Memorandum by Mr. Robert A. Fearey of the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs to the Consultant to the Secretary (Dulles)1


Jiro Shirasu, aide to Mr. Yoshida, came in on Tuesday and made a number of points which he asked me to pass on to you. There is reason to believe that he came at Mr. Yoshida’s request. While many Americans have reservations about Shirasu personally, he has long been a close friend and adviser to Mr. Yoshida. He came to the United States as the personal representative of the Prime Minister about a year ago and had a number of conversations with Mr. Butterworth.2

Shirasu said that Yoshida has had to adopt the public position on rearmament which he has because (1) it would have been inappropriate for him as Prime Minister to take any other position in view of the Allied occupation decisions against Japan’s maintaining armed forces; (2) criticism would have been occasioned in Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines which might have impeded a treaty; (3) the Japanese Government has not yet been directly apprised of U.S. plans and intentions with respect to Japan’s future security. While Shirasu also mentioned Yoshida’s concern over a revival of military influence in Japan, I obtained the impression, as has long been suspected, that Yoshida’s equivocal position on rearmament has been a matter of public policy rather than of personal opinion.
The “no-war” provisions of the Constitution should and can without great difficulty be amended at an early date to permit rearmament.
The U.S. should utilize Japanese industrial capacity to the full in the coming period of shortages to help supply the needs of the free world. There can be no more effective way of firmly binding Japan to the free world.
Ambassador Dulles should leave to Mr. Yoshida the task of securing the support of other major parties for the treaty understandings which may be worked out. He should not seek to obtain that support himself through direct conversations with opposition leaders. (Ambassador Sebald has pointed to the obvious element of self-interest in this proposal, and believes that conversations with representatives of other parties should be held at some stage.)
Japanese Government economists are generally incompetent. Mr. Dulles should see leading private businessmen to obtain an accurate understanding of economic issues. Shirasu would be glad to arrange a meeting with such businessmen.
It would be a serious mistake, greatly reducing the benefits which may otherwise be derived from a treaty, to transfer title to the Ryukyus and Bonins from Japan. Japan is prepared to give the U.S. all required military rights there for as long as necessary, but the Japanese people will not understand why these peacefully acquired islands, populated, as they consider, by people as Japanese as any other, should be taken from them. Such action would be a continual source of bitterness, a bitterness shared by himself and other educated Japanese no less than by the masses.

In the course of a courtesy call which I paid with Mr. Boehringer3 on General Marquat, Chief of the Economic and Scientific Section,4 the General said that he would like very much to talk with Ambassador Dulles some time during his visit regarding basic Japanese economic problems. He mentioned some studies which his staff is preparing on the role which Japan might play in the production and trade of the free world.

  1. This memorandum was also addressed to Mr. Allison.
  2. W. Walton Butterworth at the time of his talks with Mr. Shirasu was Ambassador-designate to Sweden, but was temporarily assigned duties connected with a Japanese peace treaty. Mr. Butterworth’s memorandum of his conversation held May 1, 1950, with Mr. Shirasu, together with his memorandum of May 3 to the Secretary commenting on Mr. Shirasu’s visit, neither printed, are filed under 694.001/5–150.
  3. Carl H. Boehringer, Counselor for Economic Affairs in the Office of the U.S. Political Adviser to SCAP.
  4. Of SCAP.