General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers
20 September, 1947
Memorandum For: General MacArthur
Mr. Hidenari Terasaki, an adviser to the Emperor, called by appointment for the purpose of conveying to me the Emperor's ideas concerning the future of Okinawa.
Mr. Terasaki stated that the Emperor hopes that the United States will continue the military occupation of Okinawa and other islands of the Ryukyus. In the Emperor's opinion, such occupation would benefit the United States and a1so provide protection for Japan. The Emperor feels that such a move would meet with widespread approval among the Japanese people who fear not only the menace of Russia, but after the Occupation has ended, the growth of rightist and leftist groups which might give rise to an "incident" which Russia could use as a basis for interfering internally in Japan.
The Emperor further feels that United States military occupation of Okinawa (and such other islands as may be required) should be based upon the fiction of a long-term lease -- 25 to 50 years or more -- with sovereignty retained in Japan. According to the Emperor, this method of occupation would convince the Japanese people that the United States has no permanent designs on the Ryukyu Islands, and other nations, particularly Soviet Russia and China, would thereby be stopped from demanding similar rights.
As to procedure, Mr. Terasaki felt that the acquisition of "military base rights" (of Okinawa and other islands in the Ryukyus) should be by bilateral treaty between the United States and Japan rather than form part of the Allied peace treaty with Japan. The latter method, according to Mr. Terasaki, would savor too much of a dictated peace and might in the future endanger the sympathetic understanding of the Japanese people.
W. J. Sebald