293 Legation in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 724 WASHINGTON, 5 June 1946, 9.09 p.m.


FEC 115.

1. F.E.C. Meeting on 5th June. Dr Evatt represented Australia.

2. Paper on Aliens in Japan was adopted (text in separate cable).

3. The Soviet member said that tours of Japan by Emperor should be forbidden, because they were propaganda for the Imperial Institution. In view of the fact that majority of Commission was not prepared to direct this at the present, he would agree to sending questions to SCAP on the effect of these tours. Dr Evatt said that tours were part of the whole question of the future of the Imperial Institution, and asked that a Commission policy on this be formulated as soon as possible and transmitted to SCAP.

Australia believed that the Japanese should be encouraged to abolish the Imperial institution, or reform it along Democratic lines, he supported the Statement to this effect by United States Government in FEC paper 019. He said that the actual effect of the tours was a matter for primary consideration by the Supreme Commander, and those acquainted with local conditions. Dr Evatt moved that the constitutional Committee be directed to consider at the earliest possible date the whole question of the Imperial institution, including the Emperor's tours. He was supported by Canada, France, The Netherlands, and New Zealand, the motion was carried unanimously.

4. A statement by MacArthur dated 13th April on the Japanese constitution was presented today. [1] On Dr. Evatt's motion, this and other constitutional papers were referred to the constitutional Committee for early report. Dr Evatt stressed that the Commission's power to lay down policy was unquestioned, but said that the views of MacArthur should have serious consideration in view of his special position and knowledge. McCoy [2] said, that SCAP's views were his personal opinion, and not necessarily those of the United States Government. However, MacArthur's claims go a good deal beyond his existing authority in relation to F.E.C.

and the question of proper declaration of functions will soon become of crucial importance.

5. The Commission heard a Statement from the United States member on the way in which the Commission's decision on 25th April on food had been carried out. [3] The United States member said that the decision had been communicated to General MacArthur, but had not been sent as a directive, because the United States Government did not regard it as a Policy decision. The Supreme Commander, so far as we know, had not consulted the Allied Council on Food, because he apparently believed that consultation at this time was neither necessary, or appropriate, the United States Policy, under which Food Imports had already been asked, was in line with that laid down by the Commission. Dr Evatt commented that two things were clear, the United States Government did not issue a directive, and the Supreme Commander could consequently say with perfect logic, that the Commission's decision was not binding on him, because it had not been issued to him in the form of a directive. As a consequence too, the Allied Council could not deal with the matter. Sir Carl Berendsen (New Zealand) and Vesugar [4] (India) expressed similar views regarding the power of the Commission and attempts to prevent its smooth functioning. These questions will be again reviewed shortly after Forsyth's arrival.


1 On 10 April the F.E.C. had expressed the Commission's particular concern with procedures by which the Japanese constitution was to be adopted and had unanimously resolved to request that MacArthur send a member of his staff to Washington to discuss with the Commission MacArthur's plans and views on Japanese constitutional reform. The Commission was not informed until 31 May of MacArthur's reply stating that he could not spare an officer to confer with the Commission, that the situation could be judged only in Tokyo, and that no other officer could represent adequately his views. The long document presented to the Commission on 5 June reviewed in detail the process of preparation of the draft constitution, consultation between SCAP and the Japanese Govt, and U.S. Govt instructions on policy. It argued that the F.E.C. had no power to require prior approval of any action taken by SCAP or by the Japanese Govt to implement the surrender terms, that its function was limited to formulation of guiding policy in the absence of which MacArthur's authority to proceed with implementation of the Potsdam Declaration and the surrender terms was unrestricted. The full text of the document is given in Robin Kay, ed., Documents on New Zealand External Relations, Volume II, The Surrender and Occupation of Japan, Wellington, 1982, pp. 418-21.

2 Major General Frank R. McCoy, Chairman of the Commission.

3 See Document 236 and note 3 thereto.

4 J. Vesugar, Indian member of the Steering Committee.

5 Forsyth was en route to the United States to assist Evatt.

[AA:A1067, ER46/13/19/1]