Tokyo Post Files: 320.1 Peace Treaty

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


Subject: Japanese Peace Treaty

Participants: Prime Minister Yoshida
Mr. Iguchi, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Nishimura, Chief of Treaty Bureau
Ambassador Dulles
Ambassador Sebald
Assistant Secretary Johnson
Colonel Babcock
Mr. Fearey

[Here follows that portion of the memorandum devoted to Mr. Dulles’ résumé of the Mission’s trip to the Philippines and Australasia.]

Ambassador Dulles then reviewed developments in regard to the treaty in Washington in the interval between his visits to Japan, including developments in respect to Soviet participation in the [Page 986] treaty and the distribution by the U.S. during the last week of March of its tentative treaty draft. The United Kingdom, he noted, had also been working for some time on a draft, which it had presented to the U.S. Government about a week following presentation of the U.S. draft to it.1 It was not thought feasible to provide the Japanese Government with a copy of the British draft but Mr. Iguchi and Mr. Nishimura had been shown a copy by Mr. Fearey the previous day. Ambassador Dulles told Mr. Yoshida that it would be helpful to the Mission in its discussions of the draft with the British to know in some detail how the Government felt about the draft, and that he hoped that he could receive its comments before his departure. He pointed out that the draft omitted any provision for the restriction of Japanese shipbuilding or other industries and said that the British Ambassador at Washington had made it clear that this omission did not mean that the United Kingdom had necessarily altered its views on this issue but had merely reserved its position.

Ambassador Dulles went on to say that the UK Government had raised the question of Chinese Communist participation in the treaty and had proposed that the treaty provide for the transfer of Formosa to “China”. The U.S. realized that these problems would have to be dealt with eventually but hoped to avoid having the treaty held up by differences over extraneous issues. The U.S. did not yet know whether the British had raised these points simply for the record, to curry favor with the Chinese Communist regime, or to impede consummation of the treaty. It hoped to have more definite information on the British attitude shortly.

Ambassador Dulles said that he believed that his account showed that the U.S. had been working hard to advance the treaty. It intended to continue to do so. If it was the intention of the Japanese Government and people to hold steadfast to the line the U.S. had been discussing with it he believed that the matter could be brought to a successful conclusion. Difficulties remained but no great end is ever achieved without difficulty. The U.S. Government and people, without regard to party, are absolutely united in their intention to carry through to an early and just treaty. Progress achieved during the last sixty days, and the fact that this progress was continuing without regard to the change in the personality of SCAP, spoke for itself in this respect. Ambassador Dulles said that he did not know whether or to what extent Japan’s determination to press ahead on the agreed line had been affected by General MacArthur’s relief, nor did he know how the British position would develop, but the Japanese Government could be certain that U.S. views had not altered in the slightest.

[Page 987]

Ambassador Dulles then said that he had two or three specific matters he wished to raise with the Prime Minister.

Reparations from Current Production—Ambassador Dulles recalled that during his previous visit he had suggested that Mr. Yoshida might wish to consider the possibility of reparations from current production on the Italian Treaty model. Japan would fabricate reparations goods from raw materials furnished by the recipient countries subject to the conditions that the reparations should not interfere with Japan’s economic reconstruction or imposed additional burdens on other Allied countries. Ambassador Dulles said that he wished to suggest again that the Japanese Government consider whether it would be to its interest to make such an arrangement with countries which had been occupied by Japan and with which Japan normally traded. Probably only a small amount of reparation would ever be paid under the arrangement, as had been the case under the Italian Treaty, but two important advantages would be gained: the governments of the claimant countries would be relieved of having to take the decisive act of obliterating all their reparations claims, thereby probably committing political suicide, and the gesture of good will on Japan’s part would facilitate the reopening of former channels of trade. If the Philippines, for example, were required finally to renounce further reparations in the treaty the resulting bitterness might cause them to cut off iron ore exports and other trade with Japan. It might be good business, therefore, for Japan to offer reparations subject to the conditions in the Italian Treaty. It would be a gesture on Japan’s part more than anything else, permitting countries like the Philippines and Germany to save face and thereby facilitating the revival of trade with them.

Compensation—Ambassador Dulles recalled that the Provisional Memorandum discussed with the Japanese Government during his previous visit had contemplated that the treaty would provide compensation in blocked yen, not to exceed forty billion, for loss or damage to allied property in Japan. The Mission’s discussions with other countries, particularly those with substantial reparations claims, had led it to conclude, however, that it would be better if this matter were dealt with voluntarily by the Japanese through domestic legislation instead of pursuant to a treaty requirement. A treaty requirement might give rise to the impression that the U.S. and countries with substantial properties in Japan were seeking to protect their interests while telling the people of the Philippines and other major reparations claimant countries that they could not have anything. Of course internal and external payments are quite different in their effects on the paying country’s economy. But while economists understand the difference the public does not. The British particularly can be expected [Page 988] to be unhappy over this change in the U.S. draft. Ambassador Dulles noted that it had not been discussed with them or with other countries and it could not yet be stated whether the new formula would be generally acceptable.

Mr. Yoshida and Mr. Iguchi indicated that they agreed with the proposal and would undertake the drafting of the necessary legislation along the lines of the provisions in the Provisional Memorandum.

Addendum to Bilateral Treaty—Ambassador Dulles said that review of the addendum regarding post-treaty support through Japan for the Korea operation (addendum to the U.S.–Japan bilateral treaty) had indicated the need for certain changes. One of these was deletion of the phrase “in Korea”, so that if hostilities spread to a wider area Japan could not claim that it was no longer bound by the understandings stated in the addendum—not that it was likely in fact to take that position. Ambassador Dulles said that he hoped to have slight variations of language in the addendum to show Mr. Yoshida before the Mission departed.

Site of Signing Conference—Ambassador Dulles asked Mr. Yoshida whether there were any views he might wish to express regarding the site of the treaty signing ceremony, possibly preceded by a short conference. Mr. Yoshida replied that he had no definite ideas on the subject. When Ambassador Dulles asked if he had any strong feelings against Tokyo as the site, Mr. Yoshida replied that he did not think so. Ambassador Dulles said that considering the generous nature of the settlement he did not see why the Japanese should object to Tokyo. Were the treaty a humiliating one a different situation would obtain. He said that the U.S. Government also had no definite ideas on the question.

Mr. Yoshida said that one question which had arisen in his mind was who should head the Japanese peace delegation if the signing were in Washington or elsewhere abroad. He said that he was not sure that he would head it, the matter being dependent in large degree on domestic politics. If he did not head the delegation, Mr. Sato, President of the House of Councillors, might be the right person. If the conference should be held in Tokyo, Mr. Yoshida stated he would be the principal Japanese representative.

Ambassador Dulles said that it was in some ways premature to be discussing this question but it was the sort of question that other governments raise. Wherever the ceremony is held, it was essential that the Japanese Government send a strong and responsible delegation. The Versailles Treaty had been signed by two virtually unknown Germans selected for the task at the last moment. Ambassador Dulles said that he gathered that Mr. Yoshida was willing to leave the U.S. with a certain amount of discretion in the selection of the conference site.

[Page 989]

Administrative Agreement—Mr. Iguchi inquired whether the Mission had any comments on the Administrative Agreement. Mr. Johnson replied that clearance of the Agreement with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense had not been completed when the Mission left Washington. Ambassador Dulles noted that the Japanese Government had forwarded certain suggestions for revision of the Agreement and that the Defense Department was also going to have certain suggestions for change in light of discussions with the NATO countries. He said that he was sure, however, that no matters of basic principle were involved. He understood that the Japanese Government had had certain suggestions regarding the right of the U.S. to name the supreme commander if trouble developed here, a right to which the U.S. attached considerable importance, but that he had been informed that the suggested change was only a matter of phrasing. Mr. Iguchi confirmed that no change of substance had been intended.

Referring to the question of publicity on the Administrative Agreement, Ambassador Dulles noted that our arrangement with the UK had never been published and suggested that the Agreement with Japan remain private between the two countries. Mr. Johnson also took the position that it should not be made public and this point of view seemed to be concurred in by Mr. Yoshida and Mr. Iguchi.

Subsequent Meetings—It was agreed that Mr. Yoshida’s assistants would meet with members of the Mission as necessary during the remainder of the week, and that Ambassador Dulles and Mr. Yoshida would meet the morning of April 23 for final talks before the Mission’s departure.

  1. See footnote 2, p. 979.