241 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1608 WASHINGTON, 21 November 1946, 10.19 p.m.

SECRET

FEC.295.

1. F.E.C. on 21st November discussed issuance of F.E.C. Policy decision on review of Constitution, including views of the United States Government and MacArthur (see our FEC.294). [1]

2. Australian Representative said that S.C.A.P. overlooked some points made in previous Commission discussions, for example, in Paragraph 1(B) he confused right of review with obligation to exercise that right. S.C.A.P. also had not commented on danger of leakage because at least 4,000 people must know of it by now. The Australian Representative continued that MacArthur had discussed matter in relation to occupation, but there were further problems related to the obligation of F.E.C. Nations to Japanese and to their own people. The Japanese should be informed that F.E.C. had not allowed the new constitution to come into force unconditionally. In addition the Allied peoples had the right to know the attitude adopted by their Governments to the Japanese Constitution. He called attention to possibility of matter arising in an Allied Parliament and said that in such circumstances, each Government had the right to make known policy decision if it considered this necessary in the interests of its own National Policy whatever decision F.E.C. made now on publication.

3. The Australian Member continued that he could not accept 2(B).

F.E.C. and its Member Governments must retain right to publish its own decisions. He said he could accept 2(A) if it were amended to read . . . 'S.C.A.P. should formally advise the Government of Japan of the terms of the Policy decision contained in FEC- 031/41', and if it were not taken to prejudge the question of publication. He said it was not sufficient to inform the Prime Minister as a private individual and that moreover this would give undemocratic role to the Japanese Chief Executive.

4. Australia was supported by New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom, India, France and with minor qualification by China. Philippines and Netherlands supported United States. U.S.S.R. said it would agree to nothing short of complete publication.

5. The United States Member then proposed as an alternative that 2(A) be amended to remove the words 'as soon as possible' and to add after 'Prime Minister of Japan' the words 'or his successors' and to amend 2(B) by deleting words 'for the discretion of the Supreme Commander' and substituting 'which will be considered subsequently and in the light of future consultation with the S.C.A.P.'. The Australian Member said he was not satisfied with this. It appeared to mean that for possibly the next two years the only person in Japan who knew about the Policy Decision would be the Prime Minister or his successor.

6. Under steady pressure, the United States has weakened greatly from its original stand, but you may consider the strong wording of MacArthur's reply makes it politically difficult to insist on putting to a vote a motion requiring immediate publication. United States would veto such a proposal, but if we secure formal communication to Japanese Cabinet, complete publication can not be much longer avoided by United States.

1 Dispatched 21 November, this cablegram conveyed, first, a statement given to the F.E.C. by the U.S. Govt reporting MacArthur's view that public announcement of the review would result in 'disastrous consequences'; second, U.S. Govt proposals to request MacArthur formally to advise the Prime Minister of Japan as soon as practicable of the terms of the policy decision contained in FEC-031/41, and to inform MacArthur that the time and manner of public announcement of this policy decision were matters for his discretion.

[AA:A1067, ER46/13/22]