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Chapter 6 War Crimes and Punishment by Purge
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Chapter 6
War Crimes and Punishment by Purge

The execution of war criminals and the removal from high positions of those who had been influential in the prewar period were the most punitive actions taken in Japan. They were regarded by the Japanese as a form of "victors' justice." It is questionable how much these actions contributed to creating the kind of postwar peace the United States desired.

World War II was the first major conflict in history in which the victors carried out trials and punishment of thousands of persons in the defeated nations for "crimes against peace" and "crimes against humanity," two new and broadly defined categories of international crime. Early in the war Allied leaders had stated that war criminals would be punished, and in October 1943, well before the surrender of Germany, the U.N. War Crimes Commission was set up to collect evidence of war crimes by the Axis powers in both Europe and Asia.[1] Winston Churchill and the British favored making a list of the top Nazis and shooting them as soon as they were captured. The Americans strongly argued that due legal process must apply to the punishment of war criminals, and this view prevailed.[2]

The aftermath of World War II also witnessed the forced removal from important public and private positions of those Germans and Japanese who had taken a leading part in the aggressive actions of their governments. This, too, was the first time that victors had carried out a systematic and widespread removal from office of the leaders and important officials of defeated nations.[3]


The Potsdam Declaration of July 1945 provided for trials of Japanese war criminals and elimination of the influence of those who had "deceived and misled" the Japanese people. MacArthur said in his memoirs that to charge political leaders with war crimes was "repugnant to me." He also "very much doubted the wisdom" of purging extremists because purges would eliminate able officials, were punitive, and lacked popular support in Japan.[4] Despite these dark forebodings, he energetically presided over the execution of these two complex policies. Neither was well understood by the Japanese, but both satisfied a deep-seated feeling in the Allied world that those Germans and Japanese guilty of starting the war and committing atrocities should be punished for their malefactions. Both policies were administrative quagmires.

The Nuremberg trial of major German offenders started in November 1946 and finished eleven months later. One lesson the United States learned from it was that an operation in which the ,major Allies were expected to work jointly in collecting evidence, setting up a tribunal, designating prosecutors, and conducting a trial was cumbersome and contentious. Under Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, a skillful duo in organizing many of the early projects in Japan, decided that MacArthur should be given the authority to conduct the trial of major offenders in Japan, with judges and prosecutors recommended by the other Allied nations. Each Allied nation would also be empowered to conduct trials of lesser offenders of interest to it.[5]

MacArthur ordered the arrest of thirty-nine suspects on September 11, one day before receiving instructions to proceed "without unavoidable delay." He wanted to start with the trial of members of the Tojo cabinet that declared war in December 1941 and was unhappy to be told soon afterward that they should be tried by an international tribunal. He commented, "It is self-evident that no international action can be obtained here in the near future."[6] U.S. military police (MPs) were at the point of arresting the number one catch, General Tojo on September 11, when he shot himself. He bungled the attempt and survived with the help of expert treatment by U.S. Army doctors. General Eichelberger ruminated later that it might have been better if Tojo had succeeded. Yet to have conducted the trial without Tojo would have emptied the proceedings of much of their meaning and excitement. Hermann Goering, the principal Nuremberg defendant, was cleverer than Tojo; he


went through the trial and then robbed the Allies of the desired consummation by taking poison before he was to be hanged.

On October 6, 1945, the supreme commander received a directive, which was soon approved by the other Allied powers, granting him authority to proceed with the major trials.[7] As in Germany, war crimes were divided into three categories:

Class A—crimes against peace : the planning or waging of a war of aggression or war in violation of international law or treaties, or conspiring to do so. These trials would be conducted jointly by the eleven major Allied powers and would include Class B and Class C charges against the same defendants.

Class B—conventional war crimes : violations of the laws or customs of war, such as cruel treatment of prisoners of war or civilians. Each Allied nation would try cases of concern to it.

Class C—crimes against humanity : criminal or inhumane acts against civilians, such as enslavement or deportation, also to be tried separately by each Allied power.

The basic directive of November 3 also dealt with war crimes. It listed in sweeping terms the categories of suspects to be arrested: top military officers, including the imperial general headquarters and the army and navy general staffs; all commissioned military police officers; all military officers who had been "important exponents of militant nationalism and aggression"; and all key members of ultranationalistic, terrorist, and secret patriotic societies. Very few of the many hundreds of persons in these categories were tried, but most of them were purged.[8]

The supreme commander was also directed to intern others, such as all persons who had played an active and dominant governmental or economic part in Japan's program of aggression; all high officials of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association (IRAA), sometimes considered the Japanese counterpart of the Nazi Party in Germany; and other civilians as necessary for the achievement of occupation goals.[9] SCAP did not actually imprison many persons in this category but did remove them from important positions.

Ever the efficient administrator, MacArthur moved vigorously to organize the trials of Class A suspects. An international prosecution section was added to his staff on December 8, headed by Joseph B.


Keenan, a former U.S. assistant attorney general who had been named chief of counsel by President Truman on November 30. The eleven powers on the FEC were invited to designate justices of the tribunal, who were then formally appointed by the supreme commander.

SCAP generally followed the legal definitions and framework adopted for the trials in Germany. But it found that the definitions of war crimes were vague and that the available evidence was often too skimpy and insubstantial to stand up in court.

George Atcheson suggested to the general on November 6 that the trials be expedited, and MacArthur replied that the directives he had received were so broad and general "that he is unable to determine those individuals that the American Government or the Allied governments wish to prosecute." Atcheson proposed to Washington on December 17 that the United States go ahead with a U.S. tribunal because the Allies had not yet agreed on trial procedures.[10] Washington ignored this unwelcome suggestion.

MacArthur asked the political adviser on November 7 to list persons he thought should be arrested and to provide evidence. Largely on the basis of information from Washington, Atcheson submitted four lists in November and December, compiled by Robert A. Fearey and John Emmerson of his staff with the help of Canadian diplomat Herbert Norman. Nearly all of those listed were arrested and tried. By the end of 1945, 103 major suspects had been arrested, including most of the Tojo 1941 cabinet, former prime minister Hirota Koki and former privy seal Kido Koichi.[11]

Norman had prepared lengthy memoranda on Konoe and Kido, both listed by Atcheson as war crimes suspects. The memos described the influential role they had played in Japan's aggressive actions. Some of the information in these memos was probably used in deciding to charge the two men with war crimes. Konoe took poison on December 15, the day before he was to enter prison as a Class A suspect, plaintively asserting, "The victor is too boastful and the loser too servile."[12]

On January 19, 1946, the supreme commander promulgated the charter of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), drafted by Keenan and his staff and based in part on the U.S. directive of October 6.[13] This followed the pattern of the Nuremberg charter, providing for just and prompt trial and punishment; "fair" trial procedures, including the right to counsel and aid in producing needed evidence; and review of sentences by the supreme commander. The tribunal would examine alleged offenses committed by defendants in


the period from 1928 to 1945. The supreme commander formally appointed the justices of the IMTFE on February 15 and designated Sir William F. Webb, the chief judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland, Australia, as the president of the tribunal.

On April 29 the IMTFE returned indictments against twenty-eight Class A suspects, who were arraigned on May 3. The indictments, which were the handiwork of the British prosecutor, Arthur Comyns-Carr,[14] contained a total of fifty-five counts: thirty-six for crimes against peace, sixteen for murder of prisoners of war and civilians, and three for conventional war crimes and crimes against humanity. Several of the counts described a conspiracy by Japanese leaders to dominate East Asia and, along with Germany and Italy, the world. Chief Prosecutor Keenan stated later that he had selected the defendants with the help of a committee of prosecutors.[15] Thirty-one additional Class A suspects were not indicted but continued to be held in custody, and many of them were held until the trial ended in 1948; the other arrested Class A suspects were released earlier.

The tribunal did not indict the emperor. This decision, made by vote of the prosecutors "acting on instructions from their governments," was not unanimous, despite the assertion by the State Department in. 1949 that all nations represented on the FEC had agreed to exempt the emperor from trial.[16] MacArthur, who had no doubt been consulted by Keenan before the prosecutors voted, wrote later in his memoirs that some of the Allies, notably the Soviets and the British, had pushed to include the emperor as a war criminal suspect.[17] But this was not so. The United Kingdom had consistently taken the position that the emperor should not be involved in war crimes, and the Soviet Union did not propose that the emperor be tried. Australia and New Zealand, which had initially advocated trying the emperor, gradually muted their position.

The twenty-eight suspects indicted on April 29 included fifteen senior army officers, three admirals, five diplomats, and five senior government figures or influential civilians. Most of the military officers had had important roles in the war against China or in planning the attack on Pearl Harbor. Three of the suspects were in the cabinet when Japan attacked the United States. Shigemitsu Mamoru and Umezu Yoshijiro, who had signed the surrender instrument on the Missouri , were included as suspects at the request of the Soviet prosecutor, who had arrived in Tokyo only a few days before the indictments were filed.[18] Not a single industrialist was indicted; one zaibatsu figure, Ikeda Seihin,


former managing director of the top Mitsui holding company, was arrested but soon released.[19]

The IMTFE convened on June 3. The next day it heard Chief Prosecutor Keenan present a lengthy opening statement of the case against the twenty-eight defendants. The document most relied on by the prosecution throughout the trial was the diary of Kido Koichi, who had been privy seal from 1940 to November 14, 1945, when the position was abolished by the cabinet. Kido kept careful, although brief and sometimes cryptic, records of all meetings held by the emperor, of the subjects discussed, and of his own talks with the Tenno.[20]

Given the atmosphere after the emperor's meeting with General MacArthur, Kido decided the diary would not raise new concerns. He and his nephew-in-law, Tsuru Shigeto, an economist who had studied in the United States, had a long meeting with Keenan, after which Kido agreed to turn the document over. A member of the prosecution staff called the diary "the working Bible of the prosecution and the main key to all further investigation."[21] As it turned out, Kido, and some of the other defendants, would almost surely have been better off if he had not turned over the incriminating evidence. The information in his diary contributed to the finding that Kido was guilty of crimes against peace. The emperor, however, would not have been tried in any case because the United States, with Allied support, had decided, largely on political grounds, that he should not be tried.

Even before the international trial began, the United States had unilaterally tried two senior Japanese generals in late 1945 for war crimes under U.S. military law. The trial of Yamashita Tomoyuki was the most publicized and most controversial of all the trials of Japanese leaders. By capturing Singapore on February 12, 1942, with a force one-third the size of the British and Australian defenders, Yamashita won the sobriquet "Tiger of Malaya" after the most brilliant victory of any Japanese general in the war. Yamashita would no doubt have had to face a British court for that operation had U.S. authorities not seized him in September 1945 in the Philippines, where he had conducted the Japanese defense against the invading Americans led by Douglas MacArthur. Yamashita had been banished to Manchuria for much of the war by a jealous General Tojo but had been recalled to take charge. of Imperial Army forces in the Philippines ten days before the U.S. invasion of October 18, 1944. The pillage, burning, murder, and rape that took place in the defense of Manila were among the most wanton and brutal of the many vicious acts the Japanese perpetrated.


His trial began in Manila at the end of October 1945 before a five-member U.S. military commission. Very liberal rules for the introduction of evidence were followed. The zealous defense staff of six American lawyers argued that Yamashita faced "insurmountable difficulties" in establishing command over his scattered forces in a rapidly deteriorating situation and that the evidence did not show that he had ordered, condoned, or even known of the atrocities. Yamashita claimed that he had no control over the naval forces that had virtually destroyed the historic Old City of Manila, that he was in Manila only part of the time, and that for the rest of it he was 150 miles away.

On December 7 he was adjudged guilty and sentenced to death. The tribunal found that Japanese officers had been present when the offenses charged had been committed and that the incidents were so widespread that Yamashita knew or should have known of their occurrence. The sentence was confirmed by the commanding U.S. general in the Philippines. The defense filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Philippines then being a U.S. possession. The Supreme Court denied the appeal on February 4, 1946, by a six-to-two vote on the ground that the Court did not have the power to review the judgments of military courts trying offenses against the laws of war by enemy combatants. Two justices (Frank Murphy and Wiley Rutledge) dissented, calling the verdict "legalized lynching."[22]

After reviewing the record, MacArthur confirmed the sentence on February 11, 1946, concluding that there were no mitigating circumstances and that Yamashita had "failed his duty" and "violated his sacred trust" as a soldier.[23] On February 23 Yamashita was hanged and stripped of his uniform and decorations, the most demeaning form of execution for a military man.

The United States also tried Lieutenant General Homma Masaharu, whose forces had seized the Philippines in early 1942. MacArthur had been commander of the defending U.S. and Filipino forces until President Roosevelt had ordered him to proceed to Australia on March 11, 1942. Homma had had the benefit of overwhelming numbers on his side in the Philippine campaign.

At his trial in Manila, which began in late December 1945, Homma was charged with responsibility for the bombing of Manila when it was an open city in 1941-1942 and for failure to exercise proper command responsibility to prevent the deaths of more than 8,000 U.S. and Philippine troops in the Bataan "Death March" after the surrender of the defending forces in late March 1942. Homma claimed that he had not


known about the forced march of the prisoners of war; his claim contested evidence that his headquarters was near the route of the march and that he traveled along there while the prisoners were marching along it. The court found him guilty on February 11, 1946. His appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court also failed. Mrs. Homma made a personal appeal for clemency to MacArthur, who later called their meeting "one of the most trying hours of my life." On April 3, after MacArthur affirmed the judgment of the military court, Homma was executed by a firing squad.[24]

MacArthur told Averell Harriman, the retiring American ambassador to the Soviet Union, who visited Japan in early 1946, that the Yamashita decision had been a difficult one but that Homma had violated the rules of war by refusing to accept the surrender of General Jonathan Wainwright on Corregidor in 1942 unless he surrendered all U.S. forces in the Philippines, even though those forces were no longer under his commmand. Harriman claimed "tears were running down the face" of the general. MacArthur reportedly told the foreign editor of Newsweek in 1947 that Wainwright "should never have surrendered" and "his men should have died fighting."[25]

On December 5 MacArthur ordered all trials of war crimes suspects by U.S. military courts to be placed under his jurisdiction as supreme commander rather than as a U.S. commander. This action was intended to set his authority outside the jurisdiction of all U.S. courts. It illustrated what George Kennan called the "flealike agility" of U.S. international commanders in switching from a U.S. to an international role. MacArthur and the U.S. military tribunals have been widely criticized for their actions in the Yamashita and Homma cases, yet their jurisdiction to try the cases and impose the sentences adjudged was dear, and the evidence that atrocities had been committed was overwhelming.[26]

Far less dramatic was what the Japanese called paaji , their version of what the Americans called "the purge." Its formal title, as designated by SCAPIN 550, was "The Removal and Exclusion of Undesirable Personnel from Public Office." This instruction, which General MacArthur issued on January 4, 1946, struck a mighty blow against the military and political leaders of prewar Japan.[27]

To purify Japan's political, economic, and social systems of persons tainted by nationalism was a primary U.S. goal. The Potsdam Declaration said "the authority and influence of those who have deceived and


misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest" had to be eliminated because "a new order of peace and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world."[28] The implementing basic directive was much wider ranging, aiming at those who "have been active exponents of militant nationalism and aggression, who have been influential members of any Japanese ultranationalistic, terroristic or secret patriotic society, its agencies or affiliates, ... or who manifest hostility to the objectives of the military occupation."[29]

Agreement within SCAP on the purge was not easily reached. The supreme commander had not wanted to move too soon, fearing that a purge would damage the efficiency of the government and hurt the economy, as he thought had happened in Germany.[30] Serious questions were then raised about the draft that GS had laboriously prepared. Should all former military officers be purged or only those of high rank, such as generals and admirals, or those of the rank of colonel and above? When did Japanese aggression begin—in 1931, when Japan invaded Manchuria, or in 1937, when Japan attacked China? Some questioned whether SCAP should base the purge, as GS proposed, only on broadly defined categories of activity and not examine individual cases. General Willoughby, the intelligence chief, offered the portentous comment that the directives ran counter to the "corollary" of the Potsdam Declaration that Japan should be developed into "ultimately an adherent of the United States."[31]

Colonel Charles L. Kades, the deputy chief of GS, supervised the drafting of the purge orders. They were approved by the chief of staff, and no doubt by MacArthur, much as GS had drafted them. MacArthur personally decided that they should be issued on January 4, 1946. Purging would be done by broad categories. The period of time to be covered would be between 1931 and 1945. The chief of staff made one change in the drafts: all military officers wound be liable to the purge, not just high-ranking or career officers. This decision vastly increased the number of Japanese to be purged and meant that 80 percent were military personnel. The reasons given for this change were that Japanese company-grade officers were the cruelest in combat and that young officers had often been the ringleaders in right-wing activities in Japan.[32] The number of persons ultimately purged in Japan was about one-half of the 418, 307 purged in the U.S. zone in Germany.

SCAPIN 550 set forth the categories of persons to be purged:


—Arrested war criminal suspects

—Senior military personnel and key officials of the Army and Navy ministries, military police, or special intelligence personnel

—Influential members of extreme nationalist societies

—Influential members of the IRAA and its affiliates

—Officers of overseas financial and development organizations

—Other active exponents of militant nationalism and aggression

Persons whose rank or position put them in these categories were automatically purged, except for the last, which was subject to interpretation and was used for a number of individual purge actions by SCAP. Many purgees received their normal pensions, with SCAP approval.

The companion directive, SCAPIN 548, ordered the Japanese government to ban organizations or actions in support of militant nationalism as well as "resistance or opposition to the occupation forces." The directive listed 27 ultranationalistic societies whose activities were prohibited and whose property was to be seized. By February 24, when the Japanese government issued an imperial ordinance to carry out the SCAP order, the list of proscribed organizations had grown to 147, and many more were added later. The category of "resistance or opposition to the occupation forces" later became an important criterion when SCAP applied the purge to left-wing persons and organizations.

The two directives were heralded by a somewhat flatulent press release: "These directives blast from their entrenched position in the command posts of government all those who planned, started and directed the war, and those who enslaved and beat the Japanese people into abject submission and who hoped to do the same with all the world."[33] The purge in Japan was nothing like the lethal actions that Stalin and Hitler had taken against their political enemies. It was carried out by an administrative process: any person whose prewar position fell within a defined category was purged. A few women, such as Ichikawa Fusae, a well-known advocate of women's rights, were included in the purge. One high SCAP official blithely called the purge "early retirement." There was no legal proceeding, no trial, and no attempt at due process, as there was in Germany and as many Japanese thought would be more fair.

The procedures that the Japanese government instituted were relatively simple. A three-page questionnaire was given to those persons in public life and other important positions who might be affected, even-


tually totaling 2,308,863, and a series of boards at the local, prefectural, and national levels screened the completed papers. There were no hearings, and appeals were allowed on a limited scale only after the person concerned had been barred from office. SCAP monitored the whole process. In 1947 the Japanese set up a procedure for the "provisional designation" of all persons, especially in the military, whose positions fell under the purge criteria, eliminating most of the screening procedure.[34]

The purge directive provided not only that persons designated as purgees be removed from office but also that they be excluded from positions of authority and influence in the future. The number excluded greatly exceeded the number actually removed. The purge directive also authorized temporary exemptions for persons whose services were needed to carry out the directive or to complete the demobilization program; this provision was used to postpone the purge of several cabinet members and allowed Willoughby to hire some Imperial Army and Navy experts as historians and advisers for most of the occupation.

The way SCAP applied its instructions meant that the number of Japanese tried as war criminals was far fewer than Washington had planned but that the number purged was much greater. Many persons were simply removed from office but were not interned and tried as war criminal suspects, as they might have been under the basic directive from Washington. According to the official GS history, the essential purpose of the purge was not to punish those who had led Japan to war but rather to remove persons who could not be trusted to guide the nation in peaceful directions. Nevertheless, many in Washington had not expected that the SCAP purge program would involve such a large number of people, and they felt the purge went too far.[35] This kind of confusion is the common result when one set of people makes policies and an entirely different set carries them out.

One young officer purged in 1946 was Morita Akio, a reserve lieutenant in the navy, who was forced thereby to give up a teaching appointment in the Tokyo Institute of Technology, a government university.[36] He soon joined a small electronics company that was then struggling to get started but later became the Sony Corporation, of which he became co-chairman. Not only was Morita not an extremist; he was an electronics and marketing genius, and the purge was a good thing for him. It created severe hardship for most purgees, however, making it difficult to find jobs and often imposing a kind of social stigma.

The purge order was not just a shock for the Japanese; it was a thun-


derbolt. More than 80 percent of the members of the Diet and 50 percent of Shidehara's cabinet would be expelled. The cabinet at first thought of resigning en masse, and Yoshida so informed MacArthur soon after the orders were issued. The general was displeased, saying SCAP might have to take over the administration of the government. He also said that if the Shidehara cabinet resigned, he would not allow Shidehara to form a new government even with the consent of the emperor. The cabinet then decided to hang on; four of its five purged members were allowed to keep office temporarily.[37]

Shidehara proposed to Brigadier General Courtney Whitney, the new chief of GS, that a commission of inquiry be set up to examine and decide each case on the ground that "it seems doubtful whether the directive purports to exclude and remove" from office all persons "no matter how innocent they may be of the sinister actions defined."[38] The Japanese were trying to get some kind of due process introduced into the purge procedures.

At a meeting with the prime minister on January 25, Whitney firmly explained that full compliance with the directives was expected and that any inequities could be remedied later. Whitney did agree that the Japanese government could set up a commission of inquiry after the necessary removals of officials had taken place.[39] The Japanese then proceeded to carry out SCAP's orders. Whitney's meeting was the first important test of his leadership as the chief of GS, and he obviously felt it went well. As he reported to MacArthur, "Once your desires were. fully understood the government went all out in its compliance, accepting not only the letter of the requirements but the spirit as well."[40]

Whitney had one scare. A SCAP spokesman told the press on February 11 that the government was going far beyond the requirements of the purge orders. This statement was particularly embarrassing because MacArthur had earlier told Yoshida that "the prime minister could disclaim all responsibility for the action required" on the ground that it was required by SCAP orders. Suddenly SCAP was pointing the finger of responsibility for a sweeping purge at the Japanese. Whitney insisted that all future statements of this kind be cleared with him.[41]

The initial purge was carried out in preparation for the forthcoming elections. Three hundred eighty-one members of the Tojo Diet of 1942 were found ineligible. Of the 3,384 standing for election, 252 more were disqualified as a result of the Japanese government screening. Many political figures did not file for the election and withdrew from public life rather than risk being declared ineligible.


Carrying out the purge marked the rise to power of General Whitney and GS. A veteran of World War I turned lawyer in Manila, Whitney had handled guerrilla operations in the Philippines on MacArthur's staff in the latter days of World War II. Because he had not fought and escaped with MacArthur in 1941-1942, however, he was not a member of the elite "Bataan crowd," like Willoughby and Marquat. He left Japan soon after the surrender ceremony but came back in mid-December to replace a lackluster career officer as GS chief.

Whitney was an able and determined man totally devoted to MacArthur and happy to see the CINC (MacArthur was known inside SCAP as "the See-in-See" or "the old man") get all the credit. Whitney was liked and admired by his own staff but disliked by many Americans in SCAP and in the foreign press corps. Most of the Japanese who dealt with him seemed to fear him. He saw MacArthur several times every day, entered the boss's office without going through the protective staff guarding the entrance, and often finished the day with a long talk with MacArthur.[42]

Whitney also imparted a sense of esprit to GS. His staff members did not hesitate to tackle any issue they thought important. A perceptive Japanese diplomat described them as "good Americans of outstanding intelligence even if they were liberal New Dealers who went too fast sometimes."[43] Whitney's deputy, Colonel Kades, a Wall Street lawyer in later life, was in the view of both Americans and Japanese the epitome of the brainy, liberal American who wanted to reform Japan. MacArthur and Whitney were far from having a New Deal outlook, but they allowed the GS staff to spearhead the reform program.

As soon as Whitney took over, he set about to establish the primacy of GS and succeeded brilliantly. Early in 1946 he requested that GS be given responsibility for coordinating the work of military government teams; this proposal would have made much better use of the teams in the field than SCAP was ever able to do. G-3, a military staff section, proposed in response that it be given authority in the field of civil affairs. Whitney then counterproposed that a separate deputy chief of staff for civil affairs be named, a position that he no doubt aspired to. None of these proposals was approved. MacArthur may well have seen them as a challenge to his own complete authority. Nevertheless, Whitney had succeeded in defending the principle of civilian supremacy on behalf of a section made up mostly of career civilians against a military staff section.[44]

In early 1947 he had a real bureaucratic triumph. A staff memo


approved by the chief of staff and no doubt by MacArthur empowered GS to make recommendations to the supreme commander on policy aspects of economic matters as well as political issues, thus giving GS a hunting license to roam through much of the business of the occupation, notably in regard to the broad jurisdiction of ESS. This action did not make GS popular but did give it power. In effect, Whitney became MacArthur's right-hand man for much of the work of the occupation.[45]

Whitney devised the SCAP policy of governing the Japanese by advice and pressure tactics rather than by directive. As a result, GS issued only one more formal directive after the purge orders. This clever technique not only created the illusion that SCAP was not telling the Japanese what to do but also cut away the legal basis for any objection to SCAP actions by the FEC and the ACJ, since there were almost never any written orders for these bodies to challenge.

An important lesson was learned from the purge, Whitney wrote the supreme commander. Japanese delays should not be attributed to "unwillingness or indifference" before patient efforts were made to ensure that SCAP instructions were fully understood.[46] Whitney's own section did not learn this lesson easily because its members were to complain often and bitterly of Japanese "resistance" to their instructions.


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