894.00/772: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

105. 1. Sensational rumors are current that the parties are so strongly opposed to a bill to “mobilize national resources” which is shortly to be presented to the Diet by the Government that a political crisis of the first order might be precipitated. It is my purpose in presenting the following estimate to be helpful to the Department in weighing despatches on this subject from American correspondents.

2. The bill is now being drafted by the National Planning Board and the Bureau of Legislation and its precise terms are, therefore, not known. The Government has, however, been informally explaining the principal features of the measure to members of the Diet and has made it clear that the purpose of the bill is primarily to place under the control of Imperial Headquarters in time of war or of “incidents” virtually all forms of productive industry. Opposition is being expressed by various parliamentary elements to the proposed delegation to the executive of authority to apply such control along with the authority to impose by executive ordinances restrictions in various other ways on the right of private initiative. It is being affirmed that the measure is intended to be a prelude to the introduction of an authoritarian form of government.

3. The suggestion has been thrown out that the political parties will make the presentation of the bill an occasion for a definite stand against the increasing control over Government by the army which is reportedly insisting upon the enactment of the bill. There seems to be no doubt but that the scattered remnants of the so-called liberal element are gathering together to defend as far as possible the right [Page 591] of private initiative. We understand, however, that their opposition is concentrated on the fact that the bill is being drafted with too broad a pen and will provide for the details being filled in by executive ordinances. It is still too early to say whether or not the army will agree to the bill being made more explicit. However, a prominent member of the Diet informed us today that he expected that the bill would eventually be approved after extensive alteration.