Article Title

Diplomacy interrupted?: Macmahon Ball, Evatt and Labor's policies in occupied Japan


Historiography on the Australian political and diplomatic role in the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952) gives disproportionate attention to the meetings between the Australian Minister for External Affairs, H.V. Evatt, and the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan (SCAP), General Douglas MacArthur, in Tokyo during 1947. These meetings are then linked to the subsequent resignation from the Allied Council for Japan (ACJ) of William Macmahon Ball, an Australian academic representing the British Commonwealth, and used to justify the claim that Australian policy towards Occupied Japan was unpredictable and ad hoc. This attention to Ball's resignation has distorted analysis of Australia's role in, and policies towards, Japan during the Occupation. This article argues that there is a need to develop a new historical discourse for the Australian role in the Occupation, one that moves beyond the intrigues of personalities and investigates diplomatic policy practice and its underlying ideals. This, in turn, may encourage other scholars to rethink the wider conduct and practice of foreign policy under the Labor governments of the 1940s.



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