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When I was in Japan last February this topic was discussed with the Japanese for the first time. I then said publicly that Japan, if it wished, could share collective protection against direct aggression. In order, however, to make perfectly clear our Government's position in the matter I had this to say:
That, however, is not a choice which the United States is going to impose upon Japan. It is an invitation. The United States is not interested in slavish conduct. We are concerned only with the brave and the free. The choice must be Japan's own choice.1
No person in this room, and I mean that literally, honestly believes that Japan seeks collective security with the United States because it is coerced. That is palpably absurd.
As the President of the United States pointed out in his opening address to us,2 security in the Pacific area is being developed on a collective basis which, through combination, enables each nation to get security without making itself into what could be an offensive threat. That is one way to approach the problem. The other way is to prohibit collective security and to follow the policy of "let each country defend itself from aggressors as it likes or as best it can." That latter way, Generalissimo Stalin said, addressing his party on March 10, 1939, means "conniving at aggression.'
Any nation which seeks to deny to Japan the right to collective security and which insists that Japan must stand alone is, at heart, a conniver at aggression. Those who sign this treaty will not lend themselves to that design.
I have expounded the philosophy of the treaty with reference to security because it is a philosophy which has been challenged. I hope, however, that the time I have given to this subject will not lead any delegations to feel that military matters are our principal preoccupation.
Security from armed aggression is a negative asset. Our dedication is to the positive side of national life and of individual life. Throughout the Occupation the effort has been to create a climate conducive to human development. To that end, the United States has made a tremendous moral investment. President Truman, in his opening address to us, emphasized the social revolution which has been taking place in Japan, the sweeping away of militarism, the establishment of universal suffrage, the extensive land reforms, and the rapid growth of labor unions. Also, we are not ashamed of the fact that it was under the Occupation that the Japanese people adopted a Constitution forever barring war as an instrument of their national policy. If, today, we are compelled to think in terms of a Treaty which will enable Japan to protect its sovereignty and independence, it is not because we seek a remilitarized Japan-that we have done everything in our power to prevent-but because social and economic progress cannot be achieved in the cold climate of fear.
Address of Feb. 2, 1951; Department of State Bulletin, Feb. 12, 1951, pp.
2 Address of Sept. 4, 1951; supra.
3 Documents on International Affairs, 1939–46, vol. I (London, 1951), pp. 361–370.
An outstanding humanitarian feature of the Japanese surrender was the Allied promise to return Japanese prisoners to their homes. However, evidence produced before the United Nations General Assembly last September indicated that large numbers of Japanese soldiers, who had surrendered to the Soviet Union 5 years before, had not yet been repatriated. The United Nations expressed its concern and set up a commission to study this matter. In order to make clear that the Allied undertaking to Japan survives until it has been performed, article 9 of the Potsdam surrender terms has been incorporated into the treaty of peace (art. 6 (b)). We earnestly hope that it will be fulfilled and tragic anguish be allayed.
Chapter IV deals with trade and commerce. The text is somewhat technical but the words add up to this: Japan is not subjected to any permanent discriminations and disabilities; her economy is unrestricted and no limitations whatever are placed upon her right to trade with each and every country.
The permanent relations between Japan and the Allied Powers, as regards trading, maritime, and other commercial relations (art. 12); as regards high-seas fishing (art. 9); as regards international air transport (art. 13), are to be negotiated between Japan and Allied Powers so desiring. Pending the conclusion of such treaties, and for a 4-year interim period, each Allied Power will be entitled to mostfavored-nation treatment as regards customs duties, but only on a basis of reciprocity.
These are liberal treaty clauses. The fulfillment of the hopes placed in them will, however, depend on whether Japan lives up to its intention, proclaimed in the preamble, "to conform to internationally accepted fair practices," and on whether the Allied Powers, by their domestic legislation, extend to Japan trading possibilities which are reasonable, having regard to their own domestic requirements. On these matters a peace treaty can do no more than point the way to a healthy trade relationship and create the opportunity to go in that way. That this treaty does.
Reparations is usually the most controversial aspect of peacemaking. The present peace is no exception.
On the one hand, there are claims both vast and just. Japan's aggression caused tremendous cost, losses and suffering. Governments represented here have claims which total many billions of dollars and China could plausibly claim as much again. One hundred thousand million dollars would be a modest estimate of the whole.
On the other hand, to meet these claims, there stands a Japan presently reduced to four home islands which are unable to produce the food its people need to live, or the raw materials they need to work.
1 General Assembly Res. 427 (V) of Dec. 14, 1950; General Assembly, Official Records, Fifth Session, Supplement No. 20 (A/1775), p. 45.
Since the surrender, Japan has been 2 billion dollars short of the money required to pay for the food and raw materials she had to import for survival on a minimum basis. The United States had made good that 2-billion-dollar deficit. We accepted that as one of our occupation responsibilities. But the United States is entitled to look forward to Japan's becoming economically self-sustaining, so as to end dependence on us; and it is not disposed, directly or indirectly, to pay Japan's future reparations.
Under these circumstances, if the treaty validated, or kept contingently alive, monetary reparation claims against Japan, her ordinary commercial credit would vanish, the incentive of her people would be destroyed and they would sink into a misery of body and spirit which would make them an easy prey to exploitation. Totalitarian demagogues would surely rise up to promise relief through renewed aggression with the help of those nearby who, as we have seen in Korea, are already disposed to be aggressors. The old menace would appear in aggravated form.
Such a treaty, while promoting unity among aggressors, would promote disunity among many Allied Powers. There would be bitter competition for the largest possible percentage of an illusory pot of gold. Already, several countries have approached the United States with suggestions that their particular claims for reparation should be favored at the expense of others.
A treaty which on the one hand encouraged division among the nonaggression states and on the other hand brought recruits to the side of the aggressive states, would be a treaty which would recklessly squander the opportunity of victory. The parties to such a treaty would expose themselves to new perils greater than those which they have barely survived.
These conflicting considerations were fully discussed, until there emerged a solution which gives moral satisfaction to the claims of justice and which gives material satisfaction to the maximum extent compatible with political and economic health in the Pacific area.
The treaty recognizes, clearly and unambiguously, that Japan should pay reparation to the Allied Powers for the damage and suffering caused by it during the war.
It then goes on to dedicate to the implementation of that principle, certain assets which Japan does have in surplus and which could be put to work to help to compensate those nations which suffered the most from Japan's wartime acts.
Japan has a population not now fully employed, and it has industrial capacity not now fully employed. Both of these aspects of unemployment are caused by lack of raw materials. These, however, are possessed in goodly measure by the countries which were overrun by Japan's armed aggression. If these war-devastated countries send to Japan the raw materials which many of them have in abundance, the Japanese could process them for the creditor countries and by these services, freely given, provide appreciable reparations. The arrangements could cover not merely consumers goods but machinery and capital goods which would enable underdeveloped countries to speed
up developing their own industry, so as hereafter to lessen their dependence on outside industrial power.
This is, in essence, the formula expressed in article 14 (a) 1. It results from prolonged exchanges of views, particularly with such countries as the Philippines and Indonesia, which were occupied by Japanese forces and injured in a way which places on the Allied Powers as a whole, and on Japan, a very clear duty to seek all means of reparation which are realistic.
I am frank to say that the treaty is a better, fairer treaty than first drafted. That results from the proper insistence of some governments that all possibilities of reparation should be exhaustively explored. That has been done, and the result is a fresh demonstration of the worth of the free processes of free and equal people. Those processes have here produced a treaty formula which serves the ideal of justice within an economic framework which can benefit all concerned.
In addition to this source of future reparation, the treaty validates the taking, by Allied Powers, of Japanese property within their jurisdictions.
By article 16, Japanese property in neutral and ex-enemy countries is to be transferred to the International Red Cross for the benefit of former prisoners of war and their families, on the basis of equity, to make some compensation for undue hardship suffered, often in violation of the Geneva conventions. The United States, in response to some Allied inquiries, has indicated that, since its own prisoners of war have received some indemnification out of proceeds of Japanese property we seized, we would assume that equity would require first distribution to those who have had no comparable indemnification.
Allied property within Japan is to be returned. Where this cannot be done, because of war damage, there will be compensation in blocked yen in accordance with pending Japanese domestic legislation. Korea
Article 21 makes special provision for Korea. The Republic of Korea will not sign the treaty of peace only because Korea was never at war with Japan. It tragically lost its independence long before this war began, and did not regain independence of Japan until after Japan surrendered. Many individual Koreans steadfastly fought Japan. But they were individuals, not recognized governments.
Nevertheless, Korea has a special claim on Allied consideration, the more so as it has not yet proved possible for the Allies to achieve their goal of a Korea which is free and independent. Korea is, unhappily, only half free and only half independent; and even that fractional freedom and independence has been cruelly mangled and menaced by armed aggression from the North.
Most of the Allied Powers have been seeking to make good their promise of freedom and independence and, as members of the United Nations, to suppress the aggression of which Korea is the victim. By this treaty, the Allies will obtain for Korea Japan's formal recognition of Korea's independence, and Japan's consent to the vesting in the Republic of Korea, of the very considerable Japanese property in
Korea. Korea will also be placed on a parity with the Allied Powers as regards postwar trading, maritime, fishing, and other commercial arrangements. Thus the treaty, in many ways, treats Korea like an Allied Power.
The absence of China from this Conference is a matter of deep regret. Hostilities between Japan and China first began in 1931 and open warfare began in 1937. China suffered the longest and the deepest from Japanese aggression. It is greatly to be deplored that the Sino-Japanese war cannot be formally terminated at this occasion. Unhappily, civil war within China and the attitudes of the Allied Governments have created a situation such that there is not general international agreement upon a single Chinese voice with both the right and the power to bind the Chinese nation to terms of peace. Some think that one government meets these tests. Some think another meets them. Some doubt that either meets them. No majority can be found for any present action regarding China. Thus, the Allies were faced with hard choices.
They could defer any peace with Japan until they could agree that there was in China a government possessed of both legitimacy and authority. It would, however, be wrong, cruel, and stupid to penalize Japan because there is civil war in China and international disagreement regarding China.
As another approach, each Allied Power could refuse to sign a treaty of peace with Japan unless a Chinese government of its choice was cosigner with it. That, we ascertained, would leave Japan at war with so many Allied Powers that Japan would get only a small measure of the peace she has earned. Indeed, there is no reason to believe that Japan, an essential party, would willingly cooperate in a program leading to that end. To exert compulsion, in this matter, would create resentment in Japan, and it would activate and aggravate Allied division in the face of a grave world-wide menace which requires maximum unity.
The remaining choice was for the Allied Powers generally to proceed to conclude peace without any present Chinese cosignature, leaving China and Japan to make their own peace, on terms, however, which would guarantee full protection of the rights and interests of China.
That is the choice reflected by the present treaty. By article 26, China is given the right to a treaty of peace with Japan, on the same terms as the present treaty. The victorious Allies, which sign the treaty, take nothing for themselves that they do not assure equally to China. Also, by article 21, China, without need of signature, gets the sweeping renunciation by Japan (art. 10) of all Japan's special rights and interests in China, in accordance with a formula suggested by the Republic of China. Also, China receives automatically, and
1 Japan concluded a treaty of peace with the Republic of China on Apr. 28, 1952; The Japan Year Book, 1949-52, pp. 485-488.