Lot 54 D 423

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


Ambassador Dulles said that certain language changes in the addendum regarding the Korean operation (addendum to U.S.—Japan bilateral) were still being discussed in Washington and that he was accordingly unable to provide Mr. Yoshida with a revised draft. He said that the changes were not of substantive importance, however, and promised that the new text would be forwarded through Ambassador Sebald at an early date.1

[Page 1007]


Ambassador Dulles inquired whether the Japanese Government had considered his suggestion for a possible program of reparations from current production. Mr. Yoshida replied that there had been many suggestions but that the Government had not yet arrived at a concrete plan. He said that it would continue its study of the matter and get in touch with Ambassador Dulles through Ambassador Sebald shortly. One proposal which the Government did wish to advance, however, was for Japan to salvage and turn over to the Philippine Government a considerable number of Japanese ships sunk in Philippine waters. Ambassador Dulles said that this would constitute a gesture of sorts but that he hoped that the Government would consider a trade arrangement along the lines he had discussed at the previous meeting. He said that he did not expect anything that would throw a heavy economic burden on Japan, nor did he believe that the Philippines expected large reparations. All that was required was something to allay ill-will and get trade going again. He added that the Mission would look into the idea in Washington also.

Korean Participation

Ambassador Dulles said that he understood that the Japanese Government objected to Korea’s being a signatory of the treaty, Mr. Yoshida replied that this was so and presented a paper2 containing his Government’s views. Ambassador Dulles said that he could see the force of the Japanese argument that Korean nationals in Japan, mostly Communists, should not obtain the property benefits of the treaty. He suggested that this might be taken care of by limiting these benefits to Allies which were belligerents at the time of surrender. His initial reaction, however, in light of the world picture and the desire of the U.S. to build up the prestige of the Korean Government, was that we would want to continue to deal with Korea on the treaty. If the only practical objection the Japanese Government had to Korea’s participation was the one just discussed this could and should be taken care of. If the Japanese Government had any other practical objections the U.S. would be glad to study them.

Prime Minister Yoshida said that the Government would like to send almost all Koreans in Japan “to their home.” The Government had long been concerned over their illegal activities. He had raised the matter with General MacArthur who had opposed their forced repatriation, [Page 1008] partly on the grounds that they were mostly North Koreans and “would have their heads cut off” by the ROK. Mr. Yoshida said that the Government had determined that the assassination of the President of the National Railways in the summer of 1949 had been by a Korean but that it had been unable to catch the guilty party, who was believed to have fled to Korea.

Civil Aviation

Ambassador Dulles said in connection with the paper on civil aviation handed him by Mr. Yoshida3 that he understood that there was a project afoot for the creation of a Japanese company in which certain foreign airline companies would have stock and which would provide for a cooperative effort of Japanese and foreign airline interests to get an internal Japanese airline going. If this proposal succeeded it would seem that the problem of Japanese internal commercial flying would have been satisfactorily dealt with. Ambassador Dulles suggested that the U.S. and Japanese Governments both further consider the issues raised by the Japanese paper.

Japanese Nationals in Soviet Territories

Ambassador Dulles said in connection with the paper on this subject handed him by Mr. Yoshida that the U.S. had thought of putting such a provision into its draft but had decided that it would be impractical. Inclusion of unrealistic provisions opened the door to the submission of similar provisions by other nations. Everyone would know that the provision would have no operative effect.

Reparations Claims

Mr. Iguchi said that one type of claim the Japanese Government had in mind in submitting its paper on “reparations claims” was possible claims by certain Allied countries for Japanese currencies issued in their territories. The matter had been raised by the Ministry of Finance. Ambassador Dulles said that the paper was not entirely clear to him and suggested that the Japanese Government submit it again in revised and elaborated form. Ambassador Dulles further said that it would probably be necessary to insert a provision in the treaty clarifying the status of Japanese foreign currency bonds.

Future Schedule

Mr. Yoshida inquired what Ambassador Dulles conceived to be the next steps in connection with the treaty. Mr. Dulles replied that there were three matters which would have to be dealt with on the Mission’s return, namely: (1) the administrative agreement, involving a large amount of detailed work; (2) discussion of the U.S. and U.K. drafts with British representatives arriving in Washington on April 24; [Page 1009] and (3) formulation of the final text of the security arrangement with Australia and New Zealand. If the discussions with the British indicated the need he might go to London to seek to iron out remaining differences at a high level. By the end of April the comments of the 14 other nations to which the U.S. had presented its treaty draft should be coming in. Probably by mid-May the degree of agreement and disagreement on the treaty would have become apparent and it would be possible to decide the next step. Ambassador Dulles said that we were pushing forward as hard as we could and that we would continue to do so.

Prime Minister Yoshida said that he was being charged with “secret diplomacy” in the Diet and hoped that Ambassador Dulles would advise him in advance of how much of the treaty the U.S. planned to publish. Ambassador Dulles replied that the U.S. had no plans for publication. The Japanese Government’s position regarding the treaty was somewhat different from his own. The U.S. has a certain initiative and responsibility in the matter. The Japanese Government is being consulted, but this is being done as a matter of good-will and courtesy and not as a right. If Mr. Yoshida should be able to talk in confidence with a few Diet members as Ambassador Dulles had with the Far Eastern Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that would be all right. Mr. Yoshida said that this was not entirely feasible since the opposition did not always act in a responsible manner.4

  1. The following is the operative clause of an unsigned draft of the addendum prepared sometime between April 18 and April 23:

    “It is agreed between the United States and Japan that, should forces of the United States or other Members of the United Nations be engaged in operations in continuation or extension of the present United Nations action in the Far East at the time this treaty goes into effect, Japan will continue to permit the Member or Members to support such forces through Japan in the same general manner, and under the same general financial arrangements, after the treaty goes into effect as before. Such use of Japanese facilities and services will be at the expense of the Members of the United Nations, except for those facilities and areas provided to the United States pursuant to the administrative agreement implementing the bilateral treaty between the United States and Japan for collective self-defense.” (Lot 54 D 423)

    The following unsigned handwritten sentence appears in the margin of this draft: “Prepared in accordance telegraphed State and JCS views but decided not to give to Japanese until surer of US clearance.”

  2. A document titled “Korea and the Peace Treaty”, dated April 23. In it the Japanese Government stated that Korea should not be a signatory to the Treaty because as a liberated nation it was not in a state of war or belligerency. The Government then pointed out that if Korea was a signatory, the one million Koreans residing in Japan, most of them Communist, would have the property and compensation rights (derived from the Treaty) of Allied nationals. (Lot 54 D 423)
  3. Infra.
  4. The Dulles Mission left Tokyo later on April 23 and arrived back in Washington the following day. For Mr. Dulles’ statement released to the press April 24, see Department of State Bulletin, May 7, 1951, p. 747.