Undated Memorandum by the Prime Minister of Japan (Yoshida)1

Suggested Agenda

I. Territorial

1. It is proposed that the Ryukyu and Bonin Islands be placed under U.N. trusteeship with the United States as administrating authority. While Japan is ready to meet in any manner American military requirements, and even to agree to a lease under the Bermuda formula,2 we solicit reconsideration of this proposal in the interest of lasting friendly relations between Japan and the United States.

2. We ask that the following points be considered in the interest of the lasting American-Japanese friendship.

It is desired that these islands will be returned to Japan as soon as the need of trusteeship disappears.
They be allowed to retain Japanese nationality.
Japan will be made a joint authority together with the United States.
Those inhabitants of the Bonin Islands and Iwojima who were evacuated to Japan proper, either during the war by Japanese authorities, or after the war’s end by U.S. authorities, who number about 8,000, will be permitted to return to their respective home islands.

II. Security

The views of the Japanese government on security are as follows.

The security of a nation must be preserved by the nation itself. Unfortunately defeated Japan cannot rely upon herself alone for self-protection.
Japan will ensure internal security by herself. But as regards external security, the cooperation of the United Nations and, especially, of the United States is desired through appropriate means such as the stationing of troops.
Such an arrangement, as indicated above, should be made apart from the peace treaty, as providing for cooperation for mutual security between Japan and America as equal partners.

III. Rearmament

1. As a question for the immediate present, rearmament is impossible for Japan for the reasons as follows.

There are Japanese who advocate rearmament. But their arguments do not appear to be founded on a thorough study of the problem, nor do they necessarily represent the sentiment of the masses.
Japan lacks basic resources required for modern armament. The burden of rearmament would immediately crush our national economy and impoverish our people, breeding social unrest, which is exactly what the Communists want. Rearmament, intended to serve the purposes of security, would on the contrary endanger the nation’s security from within. Today Japan’s security depends far more on the stabilization of people’s livelihood than on armament.
It is a solemn fact that our neighbor nations fear the recurrence of Japanese aggression. Internally, we have reasons for exercising caution against the possibility of the reappearance of old militarism. For the immediate purpose we should seek other means than rearmament for maintaining the country’s security.

2. Nowadays international peace is directly tied up with internal peace and order. In this sense, we must preserve domestic peace, for which we are determined to assume full responsibility by ourselves alone. For this purpose, it will be necessary for us to increase forthwith the numbers of our police and maritime security personnel and reinforce their equipment.

3. We desire consultation on the question of Japan’s specific contribution to the common defense of the full3 world, in which we are eager to play a positive role.

IV. Human Rights, etc.

1. Japan supports without reservation the Declaration of Human Rights. The various principles set forth in that declaration are fully embodied in our new constitution. If you should deem it necessary for Japan to make a declaration on this matter, we have no objection.

2. It is desired that the peace treaty will avoid any stipulation calculated to perpetuate rigidly and unalterably the various reforms effected under the Occupation.

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It is hoped that prior to the termination of occupation the Allied Powers will consider the abolition or modification of such measures as have been taken solely for the purposes of occupation control or those that have proved unsuited to the actual conditions of Japan. This would facilitate smooth transition from occupation to normalcy and serve to promote the friendly relations between Japan and America.

V. Cultural Relations

It is our fervent wish to be allowed to take a positive part in the cultural interchange between nations. The strengthening of cultural ties between Japan and the United States is a fundamental question that concerns the Japanese-American friendship. We would like to take all possible measures to promote cultural cooperation between the two countries.

VI. International Welfare

Japan will observe faithfully all the prewar international agreements in this field, to which she is a party. We are also ready to adhere to other agreements made during and after the war, such as the Constitution of World Health Organization4 and the International Sanitary Convention.5

  1. This memorandum was handed to a member of the Dulles Mission by January 31. It bears a typed marginal note: “I am setting forth below my private views, on which the cabinet is yet to be consulted. They do not, therefore, represent necessarily the official and final opinion of the government.—S[higeru] Y[oshida]”.
  2. Presumably a reference to the arrangement between the United Kingdom and the United States relating to naval and air bases, embodied in notes exchanged at Washington, September 2, 1940. Text forms an annex to an agreement regarding the leased bases signed at London, March 27, 1941. See Department of State Executive Agreement Series (EAS) No. 235, or 55 Stat. (pt. 2) 1560.
  3. In the original, the word “full” is crossed out and the word “free” is penciled in above it.
  4. Of July 22, 1946. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, August 4, 1946, p. 211.
  5. For text of the Protocol to prolong the International Sanitary Convention, 1944, modifying the Convention of June 21, 1946, dated at Washington April 23, 1946, see Department of State Treaties and other International Acts Series (TIAS) No. 1551, or 61 Stat. (pt. 2) 1551.