AFTER more than five years since the termination of hostilities Japan is still technically at war with 49 countries of Asia, Europe and the Western Hemisphere. That she stands ready and qualified for a settlement is admitted on all hands. It was confirmed by President Truman after his historic mid-Pacific conference with General Douglas MacArthur.
Thanks to the guidance and statesmanship of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, and thanks to the bounteous aid from the American Government and people, Japan has come a long way on the road of recovery and reconstruction. Economically we have reached a point where further progress toward achieving self-support depends on our participation in world commerce as a free and independent nation. Politically, it seems high time that we were permitted to run the government on our own initiative and responsibility. A protracted occupation, no matter how efficient, wise and benevolent, tends to destroy the people's self-respect and their spirit of self-reliance; it militates against the growth of true democracy in the country. Japan awaits a peace treaty, which is long overdue.
On our Constitution Day, May 3, 1949, General MacArthur issued a message to the Japanese people, in which he took pains to explain the undue delay of a peace settlement. He stated:
The Allied purposes enunciated at Potsdam in many essential respects have been fulfilled, and you have worked diligently and faithfully to discharge your surrender commitments. . . . That the Allied forces still occupy your native soil is thus by no means due to fault of yours since the inception of the Occupation, but rather to events and circumstances elsewhere beyond your capacity to influence or control.
It is scarcely necessary for me to describe what were those events and circumstances. They may be summarized in a single phrase: the cold war.
It may be recalled that the problem of Japanese peace as an inter-Allied issue was first brought to the fore by General Mac-Arthur, who in 1947, shortly after the Allied Powers had signed their peace
Loading, please wait...