October 8, 2013

1946. Occupied Japan and the Dawn of the Cold War

Fear of USSR Seen Factor In MacArthur's Objections
"America's 'Western Frontier'"
General MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito

From the New York Daily News, January 1, 1946:
According to CBS's Bill Downs, just back from Tokyo, MacArthur's statement of protest at the Big Three decisions on Japan was colored partly by the fear of the men on his staff—a view toward which MacArthur is not "entirely unsympathetic." Broadcasting from New York the same night that MacArthur's statement was issued, Downs declared: 
"The statement does not reflect the good judgment and good will with which MacArthur has been governing Japan.
"But MacArthur made his statement before Secretary of State Byrnes had assured the world that the Far Eastern Commission would not obstruct MacArthur in the outstanding and efficient administration of Japan," the reporter continued. 
"Thus it was unfortunate. But perhaps it was not entirely his own fault. 
"I left Japan a few weeks ago. The men on MacArthur's staff are anything but liberal. They fear Russia; as a matter of fact, they regard Japan as America's Western frontier. MacArthur is not entirely unsympathetic to their views. 
"Consequently, based on military reasoning—and these are military men—they see any arrangement which might obstruct their government of Japan as a weakening of the position of the USA in the Far East. 
"From my knowledge of the men who are now running conquered Japan, the only thing they really fear is Russia. Our economic directives to Japan make no provision for the possibility that perhaps the Japanese people may want a Socialist government. There would be widespread fainting in MacArthur's Tokyo headquarters if the coming Japanese elections turned out that way. 
"And this distrust of Russia in the Far East has been fostered by the Soviet Union itself. In Korea, the Russians have absolutely failed to meet any of our requests for cooperation. They shot down a B-29 in Korea shortly after the surrender of the Japanese in that country, and no one can mistake a B-29. Also the Russians have refused to cooperated in the exchange of vital fuel and food...we had the food, the Russians had the coal. But the 38th parallel (dividing Soviet and US zones) was a hermetically sealed, artificial border made airtight by the Russians. 
"The atmosphere of suspicion created by anti-Soviet members of MacArthur's staff and the more intensified suspicion created by Soviet commanders in the Far East is perhaps the major obstacle to the purposes of the United Nations in that part of the world. 
"The American people know that we have no imperialist designs on the Japanese islands, but apparently the men who are governing Japan are not so sure what our designs may be."