HC Deb 03 March 1948 vol 448 cc384-5
45. Mr. W. Teeling

asked the Minister of Defence whether the United Kingdom contingents of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan which is about to be withdrawn was part of the minimum Force required for defence as well as military administration or whether S.C.A.P. considered it as surplus, and what nation will replace our Forces with their own.

The Minister of Defence (Mr. A. V. Alexander)

The British Commonwealth Occupation Force was constituted as a contribution of the countries of the British Commonwealth to the occupation forces of Japan, and was charged with the military duties of control of the area allotted to it by Supreme Commander, Allied Forces in the Pacific. These duties were primarily the demilitarisation of Japanese installations and the maintenance of law and order. Demilitarisation tasks have been virtually completed without opposition, and the success of the military administration of Japan has been such as to enable the United States Government and Supreme Commander, Allied Forces in the Pacific, who are responsible for military government, to agree to a considerable reduction in the strength of the United Kingdom contingent of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force without replacement.

Mr. Teeling

Does the right hon. Gentleman consider, as this decision was made as far back as the autumn of last year, and in view of the very serious statement made today by the Foreign Secretary on the position in Korea, that it may not be necessary to maintain these Forces?

Mr. Alexander

No, I think that with regard to the general position of the Occupation Forces in Japan our decision is quite justified.