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115 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1270 WASHINGTON, 12 September 1946, 8.34 p.m.


F.E.C. 219.

1. F.E.C. 12th September discussed the new Japanese constitution.

Further discussion postponed till next week. The following is a
summary of the discussion.

2. U.S.A. and Netherlands. Accept the constitution without

3. Canada. Considered the constitution satisfies controlling

4. Australia. Draft was 'not unacceptable' but was nevertheless
far from satisfactory, and therefore provision must be made for
subsequent review. Examples of inadequacy in present draft were:

(a) General vagueness in drafting
(b) Uncertainty as to role of Emperor, particularly in regard to
Lese Majeste and subordination of Emperor to legal processes
(c) Too much power for House of Councillors
(d) Universal adult suffrage not specifically provided for
(e) Selection of Prime Minister should not require participation
by House of Councillors
(f) Conditions of recall and impeachment of judiciary not laid
down. In addition it is doubtful whether method of adoption
expressed free will of Japanese people. [1]

5. France. Draft 'acceptable' but this was 'not an enthusiastic
endorsement for draft as it stood'. France attached great
importance to F.E.C. provision for review.

6. India. Would accept constitution but considered it far from

7. Soviet. No instructions so far but following seemed

(a) Bicameral system
(b) Method of election of Judges
(c) Nomination of Ministers by Prime Minister instead of Diet
(d) Regency
(e) Age of electors
(f) Poat [2] of exclusion of members of Diet. Soviet Member did
not elaborate.

8. United Kingdom. 'No positive approval' but probably did not
vote against constitution. United Kingdom Member associated
himself with Australian views on adult suffrage, judiciary, power
of two Houses, and said United Kingdom felt also that rights of
aliens in Japan were inadequately protected.

9. China. No instructions, but Wellington Koo stated personal view
that methods of election and qualifications of members should be
laid down.

10. New Zealand. Strongly supported views of Australia. Laid
particular emphasis on bad drafting, provisions for House of
Councillors, and position of Emperor. Supported principle of later
review. Could not approve constitution, but would not vote against

11. Philippines. No comments.

12. General atmosphere was that no changes could be secured by
other F.E.C. members in view of United States endorsement.

However, United States Delegation was impressed by fact that
several countries, particularly Australia, New Zealand, and United
Kingdom were so critical of the draft.

1 In cablegram 1278 of 5 September from Tokyo, Ball had stated
that amendments made in the Lower House had been limited almost
entirely to those required to bring the draft constitution 'into
conformity with the wishes' of the F.E.C., and that the Diet's
attitude so far had been 'entirely acquiescent'.

2 A sign here indicates 'mutilated'.

[AA:A1067, ER46/13/22]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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