325 Evatt to Addison

Cablegram.103 WASHINGTON, 23 June 1946, 8.39 p.m.


The Far Eastern Commission is considering the question of the new Japanese Constitution. Two matters involved are (a) statement of principles which should govern the new Constitution (this is set out in an American paper as amended by the F.E.C. Committee) [1] and (b) my own proposal that while it is a matter of some urgency to replace the old Constitution, a new one adopted now should be subject to review in say one or two years when the Japanese will have, had some experience of its working and we are in a better position to judge it. [2]

Almost all members of the Far Eastern Commission are in agreement with both proposals. Decision on the second is especially urgent and delay beyond the Far Eastern Commission meeting on Thursday next 27th June will be unfortunate because our reports from Japan suggest an attempt to rush the Constitution through in definitive form without provision for review. It would also be advantageous if the first proposal (a) above could be adopted at same meeting.

Would [greatly appreciate it if you would draw Mr. Attlee's attention to question with a view to] [3] United Kingdom decision by date mentioned if at all possible.

1 The U.S. State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee's Paper SWNCC-228 of 7 January, sent to MacArthur for information, stipulated responsible and widely representative government, to be established by the freely expressed will of the Japanese people, with 'the Emperor institution' abolished, or reformed along democratic lines. A revised version of SWNCC-288 was approved by the F.E.C. on 2 July as policy decision FEC031/19, entitled 'Basic Principles for a New Japanese Constitution'.

2 See Document 323.

3 Words in square brackets have been corrected/inserted from the London copy on file A3317, 1/46, iii.

[AA:A1067, ER46/13/22]