192 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1499 WASHINGTON, 31 October 1946, 11.54 p.m.

SECRET

FEC.279.

1. FEC met 31st October.

2. The Australian representative raised the question of publication of FEC policy on review of Japanese Constitution, pointing out that promulgation was scheduled for 3rd November and no reply had yet been received from MacArthur giving his views on the time and manner of publication (see paragraph 3 of our FEC.257). [1] He said that publication was not solely an occupation problem which could be left to the S.C.A.P. It was a matter affecting the relations to the Japanese of every power represented on the FEC. If the constitution were promulgated without FEC decision being announced, Japanese might assume that the Allied powers had no reservations. The alternatives to immediate publication were (a) An informal intimation by MacArthur to Yoshida which would not be binding on his successor, or (b) To inform Japanese when the time for review came in one or two years time, in which case the Japanese might accuse the Allies of breach of faith in not informing them at time of promulgation and might say they were not morally bound by a decision they were not informed of at time of its adoption. No one could foresee now what conditions would exist in Japan in two years time. Delay in publication might give a temporary advantage in present occupation procedures at the expense of later difficulties. He said he had enough confidence in MacArthur's ability to feel sure that announcement of review could be made now without damaging occupation. So far the United States had not given any satisfactory reasons against immediate publication.

3. Australia was supported in order of speaking by New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom, France, India and Soviet. China, Netherlands, and Philippines did not speak.

4. The United States member said he would not vote for publication until after receiving the views of S.C.A.P. However, the views of the members who spoke would be communicated immediately to S.C.A.P. and an immediate reply sought. If a reply was received a special meeting would be held tomorrow.

1 Document 170.

[AA:A1067, ER46/13/22]