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Historical documents

192 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

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



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]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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