431 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 224 WASHINGTON, 17 February 1947, 8.57 p.m.


F.E.C. 47.

George Atcheson addressed F.E.C. off the record today. He said that contrary to the view of some members, the Allied Council was not intended to be an inquisition. If a member of Council wished to criticize S.C.A.P. or felt that things in Japan were not going as they should, these matters should be raised inter- governmentally or in F.E.C. and not in Council, because Council meetings were open to Press and Public. The Japanese were thereby given the impression of Allied disunity. However, he was opposed to the Council meeting in secret, because leakage had occurred on the only occasion that a secret meeting occurred. Some members of the Council used subjects as springboard for criticism of S.C.A.P.

Though S.C.A.P. had submitted for consideration 28 subjects on 29th May and 13 subjects on 19th November, no interest had been exhibited in these subjects by other members of the Council. The Yoshida Government was showing great initiative, and did not wait for orders from S.C.A.P. as Shidehara [1] had done, and this was one reason why so few directives were issued now.

2. He said that MacArthur thought that F.E.C. decision on review of Japanese Constitution should never be published. If, in the course of time experience indicated that the constitution should be revised, F.E.C. could so indicate then. Announcement now would cause the Japanese to lose confidence and interest in the Constitution. (We are nevertheless continuing to press for publication.) 3. Atcheson strongly criticized the F.E.C. decision on Trade Unions, particularly reference to political activity. He said it was largely responsible for the recent strike. [2]

4. Atcheson created a poor impression. The Commission was anxious to find causes of its misunderstandings with MacArthur and to explore remedies, but Atcheson made no attempt to put S.C.A.P.'s point of view or to make suggestions. He was not offensive, merely, colourless, unresponsive, and uninformative.

1 Kijuro Shidehara, Prime Minister of Japan, 9 October 1945 to 22 May 1946.

2 FEC-045/5, 'Principles for Japanese Trade Unions', approved 6 December 1946, maintained that trade unions should have the right of free assembly, speech and the press and access to broadcasting facilities provided that such activities did not directly interfere with the interests of the occupation. MacArthur prohibited a general strike planned for 1 February. See Document 498, note 2.

[AA : A1838, 3103/1/2/1, ii]