434 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 391 WASHINGTON, 21March 1947, 12.22 a.m.

SECRET

FEC 78.

F.E.C. on 20th March decided 'that F.E.C. release to the Press outside Japan its policy decision on provision for the review of the new Japanese Constitution (FEC-031/41)'.

Australian representative said he was unhappy about motion but supported it because half a loaf was better than none. Under motion MacArthur would be free to decide to what extent he permitted publication inside Japan but it was inevitable that even if censorship was imposed, the Japanese would come to know of decision by means of foreign broadcasts, by newspapers sent to occupation forces, and in other ways. He accepted motion on the understanding that no Allied country would be under obligation to prevent the broadcasts, or newspapers being sent. He expressed hope that MacArthur would announce review decision to the Japanese after he received Commission's decision because it was undesirable that Japanese should be given impression that conflict existed between S.C.A.P. and F.E.C. Australia had always believed that Japanese people should be informed of review decision, and considered Japanese should be officially informed before forthcoming elections.

3. Berendsen expressed similar views to Australian representative and abstained from voting. Soviet member stated that he would vote for motion only because he thought it better than nothing.

4. Review decision will be released 48 hours after MacArthur has received notice.

We will inform you when he has received it. [1]

1 This policy decision was released to the press on 27 March.

[AA : A1838, 3103/1/2/1, ii]