173. Telegram From the Embassy in Japan to the Department of State 0

4127. From Ambassador MacArthur to General Goodpaster. For transmittal to the President and Secretary Herter at an appropriate time. When I met Hagerty and Stephens at Haneda airport this afternoon we were of the unanimous opinion that despite fact there were demonstrators along road to Tokyo we should proceed as planned in my car rather [Page 332] than sneak out of airport by helicopter. For if the leftists were going to resort to force and violence it was better for Japanese and US to know now rather than when President arrives. Furthermore I felt that if force and violence were used against us, there would be a deep feeling of revulsion on part of the great majority of Japanese which would seriously blunt the pro-Communist offensive here.

As we approached exit of airport grounds a mob spearheaded by Zengakuren students closed in on us stoning the car, shattering the windows, cutting the tires and trying to turn us over.1 Our situation was fairly uncomfortable for about fifteen minutes until police reached us. Since it was quite impossible to proceed further by car the police eventually cleared a path for helicopter to pick us up and we arrived at Embassy without further adventure and with none of the party suffering any real damage although unfortunately the helicopter was damaged.

Hagerty and Stephens were superb throughout this trying experience.

The Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Minister of Education and other Japanese leaders have sent messages expressing their profound regret and sympathy at the treatment which was accorded us by these organized leftist groups.

While it is of course too early to assess impact of this incident on Japanese political and public opinion I believe that it will have most salutory and helpful result here. I am informed that Prime Minister and Foreign Minister will have special radio-TV broadcast tonight and since there were number of photographers in the melee around car I am sure action shots will be quite graphic. I personally feel that Japanese press, intellectuals, business leaders and Conservative Party have long needed some real shock to shake them out of their passive acceptance of use of force, violence and illegal action by a militant pro-Communist minority which is trying to paralyze parliamentary Govt and democracy in Japan. I am hoping that Japanese reaction to this incident will be similar to Japanese reaction to the violence on May Day 1952 and that net result will be a major setback for Communist cause in Japan.

MacArthur
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 794.00/6–1060. Confidential; Niact. Also sent to the White House. No time of transmission is on the source text; it was received at the Department of State at 9:25 a.m.
  2. According to the Air Attaché’s message 100820Z, June 10, the stoning occurred at about 3:15 p.m. local time, and the American Embassy went into “a condition II, standby to destroy situation.” (Department of State, Central Files, 711.11–EI/6–1060) See Supplement.