194 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1507 WASHINGTON, 1 November 1946, 10.37 p.m.


F.E.C. 281.

1. F.E.C. met on 1st November to consider MacArthur's reply on publication of the constitutional review policy (see F.E.C.28o).


2. McCoy opened the meeting by saying that the United States Government supported MacArthur's views.

3. The Australian representative reaffirmed the position taken by him yesterday (see F.E.C.279 [2]), and in addition commented in detail on MacArthur's statement. He said that the last paragraph of S.C.A.P.'s reply seemed to indicate that S.C.A.P. was opposed to publication at any time and was even opposed to the policy itself. It would be quite impossible for the Commission to agree that the policy should never be published. The Australian representative then outlined the dangers of delay and referred to the inevitability of leakage, the difficulty of referring to the matter on the Allied Council and said it must be obvious to the Japanese that the F.E.C. had at some time given careful consideration to such an important matter as the constitution and that publication of this policy statement was a very suitable way of making known the views of the Allied powers. Suppression or postponement of publication might indicate that the Commission was doubtful of the value or legality of its policy decision. On the contrary, Dr. Evatt's proposal was one of the most important the Commission had ever adopted and was designed to protect not only the interests of the Allied powers but the democratic future of the Japanese people themselves.

4. Sansom [3] followed and strongly supported Australia, criticising MacArthur's reply in some detail. He said that if there were a case for postponing publication, it had not been stated by S.C.A.P. New Zealand, India, Canada, and France followed in that order, all supporting Australia.

5. In the end, after an adjournment to allow McCoy to consult the United States Government, McCoy announced that he was greatly impressed by the arguments advanced but the United States Government considered it 'impractical' to make a statement in time for promulgation tomorrow. He said that it seemed, from information available to the State Department, that MacArthur would not participate in the ceremonies in Tokyo. The Commission therefore decided to ask the Constitutional Committee to prepare a further consultation message to S.C.A.P. outlining the views expressed in favour of early publication. This message will be considered at the next meeting of F.E.C.

6. We have, therefore, not succeeded in obtaining immediate publication, yet, by making a forceful stand and obtaining the support of a majority of the Commission, United States resistance has been greatly weakened and there is a very strong probability of early publication. A special session of the Diet may be called towards the end of November and it seems that our best strategy is to press for publication to coincide with the opening of this session which will consider new legislation to implement the constitution.

7. The New Zealand, United Kingdom and Indian members have been particularly helpful and forceful in support of Australian desires. We have been careful throughout to avoid any suggestion of criticism of MacArthur personally.

1 FEC280, dispatched 1 November, reported that MacArthur had expressed strong opposition to publication of the F.E.C. Policy Decision which he argued would be seen as 'a display of force' by the Allied powers.

2 Document 192.

3 Sir George Sansom, U.K. member.

[AA:A1067, ER46/13/22]