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, and Staffs
Mr. Spender said that a Pacific Pact raised two basic questions:
- Would such a pact affect Australia’s and New Zealand’s commitments in the Middle East? Mr. Spender said that he did not think that whatever grew out of a Pacific pact would need to be inconsistent in any way with these commitments.
- Would such a pact be considered by the peoples of Southeast Asia as signifying their abandonment? Mr. Spender said that he thought this was a matter to be considered but believed that it did not in fact constitute a valid objection to the proposed arrangement. Australia is already committed to send troops to Malaya as well as to the Middle East so that at least Malaya would know beyond question that it was not to be abandoned.
A subsidiary question was that of Indonesia’s participation. Admission of Indonesia to the pact would make it more difficult to convince the peoples of the mainland that they were not being abandoned.
Ambassador Dulles said that he had had an intimation that Indonesia would like to be asked to participate so that it could refuse. Mr. Spender said that this sounded credible and was probably to be explained by Indonesia’s desire to build up its prestige. He said that he fully supported the long-term desirability of a general Pacific Pact including more nations than the United States, Australia and New Zealand, but that such a pact was not practicable now. It was necessary to get a start somewhere and the proposed tripartite treaty would be such a start. He went on to say that if there were any British objections to the pact which he had not discussed he would be glad to take them up, as he knew of no objections which could not be satisfactorily met. The people of Australia live in the Southwest Pacific area and therefore feel that they have the primary interest in it. The discussions with Mr. Dening had indicated that there would be no objection by the U.K. to a tripartite pact of the type Australia had proposed. There could not be.[Page 170]
Mr. Doidge said that his Government’s fear was that the people would recoil from the idea of having to go to the assistance of a country like Japan. Ambassador Dulles’ presentation had made the U.S. concept so reasonable, however, that he felt that he now had a much clearer idea of the situation. New Zealand also feared entering into any agreement which would necessitate a division of its efforts. Again, Ambassador Dulles had made a most convincing presentation. This is the time and the hour and we do not want to let it pass. Ambassador Dulles commented that it had been his experience that when reasonable men differ it usually results from a different understanding of the facts, proceeding from different assumptions, and that he hoped that what he had had to say had helped to clarify the underlying facts.
Mr. Spender said that Australia still feared Japan. He had been much impressed, however, by Ambassador Dulles’ sympathetic consideration of what Australia considered the first step, a Pacific Pact. Mr. Dulles’ attitude toward a pact had conditioned his, Mr. Spender’s, approach to the problem of Japanese treaty. The Australian people would expect him as Foreign Minister to get a rigid peace which would control this and regulate that. If the Government did not meet public opinion in some degree it will fall and there could never be any hope of obtaining Australia’s approval of the type of treaty the U.S. has in mind. Mr. Spender said that he therefore proposed to make the following recommendations to his Government:
- That, pending determination whether the proposed pact is satisfactory to the United States Government, Australia reserve the right to propose limitations on Japanese rearmament in the treaty.
- That if the pact is acceptable to the U.S., Australia not insist on provisions for the restriction or supervision of Japanese rearmament in the treaty.
- That if the pact is acceptable to the U.S., Australia propose that after the treaty is signed Japan of its own accord enter into a unilateral or multilateral agreement with Australia and possibly other countries under which it would agree not to revive militaristic policies and not to accumulate dangerous military might.
Mr. Spender said that it was true, as Ambassador Dulles had pointed out, that restrictions or supervision provided in a treaty tend to break down. Post-treaty covenants, however, would be more likely to be performed, particularly if Japan wishes to win its way into the Western world. Australia, therefore, desired both a pact or security treaty and voluntary Japanese assurances of the type just described. The present pacifistic tendency of the Japanese people might well incline them toward the desired assurances. It will probably not be in Japan’s power to develop atomic weapons, long-range missiles or an appreciable navy or air force in any event, and therefore its renunciation [Page 171] of the right to build up such weapons and forces would not involve particular sacrifice.
Mr. Doidge said that Japan had been a nightmare to New Zealand and that the possibility of its resurgence was regarded with horror. Ambassador Dulles’ explanation of the controls to which Japan will in any event be subject due to a world-wide system of raw materials allocations and the presence of U.S. forces in Japan is highly convincing for the short-run period. But New Zealand must live alongside Japan for a long time to come. Ambassador Dulles’ exposition does not seem to cover the long-term possibilities.
Ambassador Dulles said that what he had asked required putting wisdom above immediate political expediency. As to the long-term, nothing which could be written in the treaty could affect the situation 30, 40 or 50 years from now. All that will help at that time will be for us to have started now to bring Japan to a mood in which it will not want to adopt aggressive policies. The fact that the treaty will not contain limitations on the exercise of full sovereign rights by Japan will in itself contribute to this end. It would seem a little awkward, in reference to Mr. Spender’s proposal, to suggest to the Japanese Government, with its present Constitution, that it offer assurances after a treaty that the armed forces which it is not permitted by its Constitution to have will not be very big.
The thing I worry about in the short term, Ambassador Dulles continued, is that Japan will not recreate adequate armed forces. There is no worry in our minds about an unduly large force or naval or air forces. The U.S. is not willing to station forces in Japan for very long unless the Japanese do something on their own account. It would be unwise to take action of the type Mr. Spender proposes which could be used as an excuse by the Japanese for not doing all they can for their own defense. The U.S. troops will bring Japan dollars which it may well be reluctant to cut off by rearming. Instead of earning approximately 100 million dollars a year from our forces the Japanese would be incurring large expenditures each year for the creation and support of a Japanese army. Their tendency is all too likely to be to stay neutral, to seek the continued presence of U.S. forces, and to concentrate on raising their standard of living. It must be a strange thought to you to consider that the problem for the next five to ten years will be to get Japan to create land forces but that is the case. While in Japan I emphasized that the Japanese should look to the creation not of national forces but of collective security forces. Sooner or later, I said, Japan must pull its weight in the boat. What the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and other countries must try to do is to ensure that the development of armed forces in Japan will be for purposes of collective security. The environment we create in and about Japan will largely determine this.[Page 172]
Mr. Spender said that the problem he had put to Ambassador Dulles was primarily a political one. Ambassador Dulles replied that he realized this and perhaps something could be worked out combining both Mr. Spender’s and his thoughts, something that the public could see, as they would be able to see a Pacific Pact. Mr. Doidge cited as an example of the sort of thing that contributed to fear of Japan in his country a newspaper report that the Japanese had sought Ambassador Dulles’ support for Japanese emigration to New Guinea. Ambassador Dulles said that no Japanese had approached him with this idea and that it was a terrible thing that the press representatives of Australia and New Zealand appeared to send home stories deliberately designed to inflame the people.
[For the remainder of this conversation, see page 885.]