HC Deb 21 February 1949 vol 461 cc238-9W
109. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what are the procedural difficulties blocking progress towards a Peace Treaty with Japan; what steps are being taken to overcome them; and whether he will consider devising some other instrument which would enable Japanese reparations and debts to be decided finally and liquidated, and to enable the British Government to deal directly with the elected Japanese Government on trade and other matters vitally concerning our two countries.

Mr. McNeil

There are differences among the Powers concerned as to the composition and voting procedure of a Japanese Peace Conference. By far the most important of these arises from the insistence of the Soviet Union that the Far Eastern Settlement is primarily a matter for consideration by the Council of Foreign Ministers. His Majesty's Government, on the other hand, consider that the countries which actually carried the burden of the combat against the Japanese, and in particular the Commonwealth countries and Burma, should rank equally with the major powers in the drafting of this Treaty. In view of the divergence of these opinions, my right hon. Friend knows of no useful initiative that could be taken at present. With regard to reparations, this and the closely related question of Japan's future level of industry are subjects for consideration by the Far Eastern Commission, where our Rrepresentative is exerting every effort to expedite a decision. As regards the last part of the Question, my right hon. Friend does not at present contemplate any step towards the early resumption of direct relations between His Majesty's Government and the Government of Japan.