Memorandum by the United Nations Adviser, Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs (Bacon), to the Deputy Director of the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs (McClurkin)

  • Subject:
  • Japanese Membership in the United Nations.

With the near approach of the entrance into force of the Japanese Peace Treaty,1 the question of Japan’s desire to become a member of the UN enters the stage of a practical problem. It is to be expected that Japan may approach us in the near future for advice on the best tactics to be followed. In any case, Japan’s probable candidacy will become a factor in our general planning on the membership question.

[Here follows a brief background resumé of the membership question.]

The Department is now restudying its membership position. There is a general feeling that a change is necessary and that the only apparent avenue for progress is in the direction of a package deal. The question remains: What states should be in the package?

II. Situation With Respect To Japan.

Japan’s candidacy will raise to 17 the number of states awaiting admission and will further increase the disbalance in our favor between Soviet and non-Soviet candidates.

Our main interest in connection with Japan should be to secure its admission at the earliest possible date. Will Japan be likely to fare better as part of a package or on an individual basis?

On an individual basis there is the matter of the Soviet veto. It might be argued that as the USSR is intent on cultivating Japan it would not risk alienating Japanese opinion by a veto of Japan’s application. Similar considerations, however, existed in connection with [Page 807] Italy and the Soviet Union vetoed the application. In the case of Japan, the Soviet Union might seek to justify its veto on the technical basis that a state of war still legally exists between the USSR and Japan or on the propaganda basis that Japan under the peace treaty is not in fact an independent state.

There would, of course, be no obstacle to Japan’s attempting a separate candidacy and, if that were vetoed, trying again as part of a package deal. So far as the US is concerned there might be some political gain from the USSR’s being forced to veto a Japanese application. There might at the same time be a slight disadvantage in that Japan would thereupon be publicly labelled as a non-Soviet candidate and hence the construction of the package deal might become more expensive.

Japan, of course, must be included in any package deal that we might favor. Its inclusion will, however, present problems. Barring a political settlement for Korea or Indochina, between now and the next GA, there is no possibility that the USSR would be prepared to accept any package deal whatever that included either candidate. Inclusion of Japan and the omission of Korea would add to our already existing difficulties with respect to public opinion in Korea; while omission of the two countries would also make their eventual admission problematical at best. It is certain that the USSR will wish to include Outer Mongolia.

III. Conclusions.

If the Japanese approach us for advice we should explain fully the procedural problems involved in Japanese membership. We should inform them that we would not be prepared to consent to any over-all membership arrangement that did not include Japan. We should also state that if Japan wishes to try a separate candidacy we would, of course, support Japan’s admission.
Comments on the situation of other Far Eastern candidates will be reserved until a specific proposal for a package deal, now in preparation in UNA as a basis for discussion, is received.
  1. For documentation on this subject, see volume xiii.