894.00/917: Telegram

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

548. 1. There follows the Embassy’s summary of press accounts of the views expressed by Prince Konoye in a press interview on July 7 in regard to the proposed new political structure. The vagueness of parts of Konoye’s remarks is necessarily reflected in the following summary.

The proposed new political structure has not made much headway since my last statement. Upon resigning from the Privy Council I am listening to various views and seeking to avoid the adoption for the sake of expediency of measures directed only at the settlement of the China incident and other immediate problems. The new structure must be of a permanent nature capable of functioning after settlement of the China incident and may therefore not be exactly what would be most useful for immediate purposes. I have communicated my views on the matter to the Government and military authorities but thus far have received no reply. Some people think that in the new structure the Diet will be relegated to the background. I have not yet considered this matter fully but certainly importance will be attached to the Diet; it will not be ignored. Nor is there any intention to ignore the existing political parties.

The main objective of the new political organization is the focussing of national policies so as to bring them to bear on the prevailing critical situation. In this connection the problem arises of the relationship between the military and the Government. We must aim at harmonious cooperation between these elements and among the various organs of the Government.

I refrain from using the expression “party” in connection with the new political structure. In this structure the Cabinet will be at the center behind which will be exerted the political power of the organized people. This power will not be expressed through the present political parties but will enter into all phases of political activity, the Government, the army, et cetera. On the basis of this power it is conceivable that an economic congress formed of occupational representatives outside of the Diet might be formed [and] the Cabinet would be changed considerably from its present organization.

A change in the Constitution is unthinkable; it will be preserved. But as the Constitution envisages a balance of political power whereas the new political structure contemplates the coordination of all lines of national policy certain problems may arise.

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2. These statements lend further weight to the view that Konoye has no intention of setting up a national party comparable to those in Germany and Italy. Under pressure from various sources he has undertaken as a patriotic duty the task of working out some means of coordinating political elements and factions some of them mutually hostile but on the basis of his several utterances it seems likely that the eventual result will be something innocuous and not responsive to the demands of the extremists.

Sent to the Department via Shanghai.