Memorandum by Mr. Robert A. Fearey of the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs

Notes on Conversation Among Ambassador Dulles, Ministers for External Affairs of Australia and New Zealand,1 and Staffs2

[Here follows the first part of the conversation, which is printed on page 169.]

Mr. Spender said that there was one other matter which had come up in the Cabinet meeting the previous evening which he wished to mention to Ambassador Dulles. During the war all Australian troops [Page 886] received a weekly field allowance of three and six a day. A considerable number of former Australian prisoners of war of the Japanese had claimed that they were entitled to this allowance during the period of their captivity in addition to their other pay. The Government did not accept this claim but felt that some compensation should be paid, many of the prisoners having suffered greatly. It therefore set up a commission which rejected the claim, holding that the former prisoners were not entitled to payment on a basis comparable to that of serving troops. The commission recommended, however, that Japan be compelled in the peace treaty to meet the claims on reparations account. Mr. Spender said that this recommendation had been made a few months previously and that the amount involved was some 4 to 6 million Australian pounds. Japanese assets in Australia totaled only about a half million pounds. He said that he simply wished to raise the matter with Ambassador Dulles, believing that something should be obtained if possible for these men. Perhaps there was some Japanese owned gold which could be used for the purpose.

Mr. Spender then said that he would like to make a few comments on the Provisional Memorandum3 given him by Ambassador Dulles the previous day and outlining proposed terms of a Japanese peace settlement. He inquired first why it had not been provided that Japan should turn over the Kuriles and Southern Sakhalin to the USSR. Ambassador Dulles replied that he had informed Mr. Malik that we would be prepared to support the Soviet claim to these territories if the USSR were a party to the treaty. The U.S. did not, however, see any point in helping the Soviets to clear their title if the USSR did not participate. Mr. Spender inquired whether this might not lead to irredentist sentiment in Japan. Ambassador Dulles said that he assumed that Mr. Spender had in mind the possible undesirability of increasing friction between the USSR and Japan, friction which might become a source of danger to us all. The U.S. position, however, was essentially a bargaining one. Ambassador Dulles also noted that there is a legitimate dispute as to what constitutes the Kuriles.

Mr. Spender’s second point was with regard to Formosa. He said that if the intention was to confirm the National Government’s title to the island Australia would have serious reservations. The Australian Government has no desire to recognize the Chinese Communist regime but is very unhappy over continued recognition of the National Government, and would be reluctant to strengthen that Government by giving it Formosa. Ambassador Dulles said that Formosa presented a difficult problem. It was not our intention to confirm the [Page 887] National Government’s title to Formosa. Mr. Spender suggested that the best solution might be to require Japan to renounce title without indicating to whom title had been transferred.4

  1. F. W. Doidge, Minister of External Affairs and Island Territories.
  2. The usual list of persons attending is not given with this memorandum.
  3. Of February 15, not printed. Aside from the omission of the section headed “General Observations”, this paper is identical to that described under Annex I to the letter of February 10 from Mr. Dunes to the Secretary, p. 875.
  4. For other documentation regarding Japanese matters discussed during the Dulles Mission’s stay in Australia (February 14–19), see pp. 155 ff.