127 Plimsoll to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1302 WASHINGTON, 19 September 1946, 7.36 p.m.

F.E.C. 224.

1. At F.E.C. meeting today Soviet member said he was now in position to accept provision for review of Constitution.

2. McCoy stated that in view of the United States Government it would be desirable if F.E.C. did not act on paper until after Constitution had been promulgated. Deferment would be without prejudice to F.E.C. right to review later and to require that situation be reviewed by Diet.

3. I asked reason for United States view and McCoy replied that reason was that it would be harmful to the situation in Japan.

When Berendsen asked McCoy to elaborate this, McCoy fell into violent temper, saying inter alia that it was easy for Berendsen to be obstructive since New Zealand did not have any responsibilities in Japan, that Berendsen had 'consistently thrown Monkey wrenches into the occupation' that he had maintained 'consistent opposition to MacArthur' and that he never offered constructive alternatives.

4. I immediately said I associated myself completely with Berendsen, that Australia and New Zealand had a warm admiration for MacArthur and had gone out of their way to co-operate with him and the United States Government, and would continue to do so. I pointed out that Australia and New Zealand were contributing troops to the occupation, and therefore it was false to accuse New Zealand of criticizing without sharing responsibility.

5. Later, after McCoy continued his charges, Bajpai [1] said he wished to 'protest most strongly against language used by Chairman'. Soviet member said that, though it was recognised that the United States had greatest responsibility in Japan, all members of F.E.C. by virtue of their membership, have some responsibility, no other member spoke, though sympathy of entire meeting was with Berendsen.

6. Later, with concurrence of Berendsen, it was decided to expunge the record from the minutes. Because of tense atmosphere of the meeting adjourned until special meeting 21st September without further discussion [of] the review proposal.

I called informally on State Department this afternoon and expressed concern at suggestion to defer adoption of the review paper now that Soviet concurred, and pointed out that our attitude to the Constitution was vitally linked to his. As result, State Department said it hoped to approve on Saturday.

1 Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai, Agent-General for India in the United States and Indian representative on the FEC.

[AA:A1067, ER46/13/22]