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Memorandum on Concept Governing Security in Postwar Japan

23 June 1950


1) The concept that the defence of a land area necessitates only reservation of predetermined points for air, ground and naval concentrations has been outmoded by the accelerated speed and power of modern war. In place thereof, the entire land mass must be regarded as a potential area for maneuver with adequate provision made to insure complete freedom of strategic planning and tactical disposition to meet any change in the requirements for successful defence.

2) Translated into specific reference to the Japanese problem, the following general formula should prevail: The entire area of Japan must be regarded as a potential base for defensive maneuver with unrestricted freedom reserved to the United States as the protecting power through her local commander, acting in the normal chain of command to the Department of Defence, to take such strategic dispositions as may be necessary to adjust defence planning adequately to cope with any change in the potentiality of external threat and in the event of hostilities to take such tactical disposition as the military situation may from time to time require. Thus, by avoiding emphasis upon any specific points to be reserved as "bases" for use of the security forces, not only will the reservation be realistically drawn to meet the requirements of modern defence but the distasteful connotation given the term "bases", as legitimate spoils of war, may be avoided. To further correct any adverse psychological effect upon the national sentiment of the Japanese people, provision should be made that except in time of hostilities or imminently threatened hostilities no major change in the disposition of the security forces shall be made without first consultation between the United States Military Commander and the Prime Minister of Japan; apart from this, the protecting power should maintain security forces on Japanese soil on a fully "pay as you go" basis, with the identical responsibilities, visa-vis the local populace which exist in the United States, i.e., the security forces should have neither responsibility nor authority to intervene in the internal affairs of Japan and should under conditions of peace bear full responsibility for damage to property and injury to persons resulting from military operations or the tortuous acts of military personnel. The Japanese police forces would of course be increased to a size and character adequate for internal security.

3) Such a reservation would be fully understood and I believe accepted by the Japanese people who from experience have come to hold as beneficent the presence of American troops in their midst, and would welcome the contribution to their national economy reflected from a "pay as you go" basis which under present conditions would mean approximately $300,000,000 annually or about the difference between the existing deficit economy and a completely self-sustaining economy. There appears to be no insuperable problem in the working out of a security reservation along these lines.

4) In any study of the Japanese problem it must be understood that despite Japan's constitutional renunciation of war its right to self defence in case of predatory attack is implicit and inalienable. In such a situation Japan would muster all of its available human and material resources in support of the security forces committed to its defence.

DOUGLAS MacARTHUR



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