740.00119 Control (Japan)/l–746

Memorandum by the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee to the Secretary of State

top secret
SWN–3708

Subject: Reform of the Japanese Governmental System.

References: a. SWNCC 228.28
b. SWNCC 228/1.29

At its 32nd meeting the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee, after amending, approved SWNCC 228 in light of the comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff contained in reference b.

Copies number 60 and 65 of the revised approved paper (SWNCC 228) and SWNCC 228/1 are forwarded for information.

Copies of these papers have been forwarded to the Secretary of War, Secretary of the Navy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff for their information.

It is requested that the Department of State transmit the enclosed copies number 60 of SWNCC 228 and SWNCC 228/1 to the American Representative on the Far Eastern Commission30 for his guidance in negotiations with the other members of the Commission on the formulation of an Allied policy on the reform of the Japanese Government.

It is further requested that the Department of State advise the American Representative that no parts of these papers are to be released to the press at present.31

For the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee:
H. Freeman Matthews

Acting Chairman
[Page 99]
[Annex 1]

Report by the State–War–Navy Coordinating Subcommittee for the Far East

top secret
SWNCC 228

Reform of the Japanese Governmental System32

the problem

1. To determine the constitutional reforms which the occupation authorities should insist be carried out in Japan.

facts bearing on the problem

2. See Appendix “A”.

discussion

3. See Appendix “B”.33

conclusions

4. It is concluded that:

a.
The Supreme Commander should indicate to the Japanese authorities that the Japanese governmental system should be reformed to accomplish the following general objectives:
(1)
A government responsible to an electorate based upon wide representative suffrage;
(2)
An executive branch of government deriving its authority from and responsible to the electorate or to a fully representative legislative body;
(3)
A legislative body, fully representative of the electorate, with full power to reduce, increase or reject any items in the budget or to suggest new items;
(4)
No budget shall become effective without the express approval of the legislative body;
(5)
Guarantee of fundamental civil rights to Japanese subjects and to all persons within Japanese jurisdiction:
(6)
The popular election or local appointment of as many of the prefectural officials as practicable;
(7)
The drafting and adoption of constitutional amendments or of a constitution in a manner which will express the free will of the Japanese people.
b.
Though the ultimate form of government in Japan is to be established by the freely expressed will of the Japanese people, the retention of the Emperor institution in its present form is not considered consistent with the foregoing general objectives.
c.
If the Japanese people decide that the Emperor Institution is not to be retained, constitutional safeguards against the institution will obviously not be required but the Supreme Commander should indicate to the Japanese that the constitution should be amended to conform to the objectives listed in a above and to include specific provisions:
(1)
That any other bodies shall possess only a temporary veto power over legislative measures, including constitutional amendments approved by the representative legislative body, and that such body shall have sole authority over financial measures;
(2)
That the Ministers of State or the members of a Cabinet should in all cases be civilians;
(3)
That the legislative body may meet at will.
d.
The Japanese should be encouraged to abolish the Emperor Institution or to reform it along more democratic lines. If the Japanese decide to retain the Institution of the Emperor, however, the Supreme Commander should also indicate to the Japanese authorities that the following safeguards in addition to those enumerated in a and c above would be necessary:
(1)
That the Ministers of State, chosen with the advice and consent of the representative legislative body, shall form a Cabinet collectively responsible to the legislative body;
(2)
That when a Cabinet loses the confidence of the representative legislative body, it must either resign or appeal to the electorate;
(3)
The Emperor shall act in all important matters only on the advice of the Cabinet;
(4)
The Emperor shall be deprived of all military authority such as that provided in Articles XI, XII, XIII, and XIV of Chapter I of the Constitution;
(5)
The Cabinet shall advise and assist the Emperor;
(6)
The entire income of the Imperial Household shall be turned into the public treasury and the expenses of the Imperial Household shall be appropriated by the legislature in the annual budget.

5. Only as a last resort should the Supreme Commander order the Japanese Government to effect the above listed reforms, as the knowledge that they had been imposed by the Allies would materially reduce the possibility of their acceptance and support by the Japanese people for the future.

6. The effectiveness of governmental reforms in preventing the resurgence of military control in Japan will depend in a large measure upon the acceptance by the Japanese people of the entire program. In the implementation of allied policy on the reform of the Japanese Government, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers must take into account the problems of sequence and timing, as well as measures which might be adopted to prepare the Japanese people [Page 101]to accept the changes, in order to insure that the reforms are lasting in strengthening representative government in Japan.

7. This paper should not be released for publication. The eventual release of a statement of allied policy on the reform of the Japanese Government should be coordinated with the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in order not to impede the accomplishment of such reforms in Japan itself.

recommendations

8. It is recommended that:

a.
Upon approval by the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee of the Conclusions in paragraphs 4, 5, 6, and 7 above:
(1)
The report, as amended, be forwarded to the State, War and Navy Departments and the Joint Chiefs of Staff for information; and
(2)
The report, as amended, be forwarded to the American Representative on the Far Eastern Commission for his guidance in negotiations with other members of the Commission on the formulation of an Allied policy on the reform of the Japanese Government.
b.
No part of this report be released to the press at present

top secret

Appendix “A”

Facts Bearing on the Problem

1.
The Potsdam Declaration provides that:

“… The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives [as set forth in the Potsdam Declaration]34 have been accomplished and there has been established in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people a peacefully inclined and responsible government.”

2.
The Allied note of August 11 to the Japanese Government35 stated that:

“The ultimate form of government of Japan shall, in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration, be established by the freely expressed will of the Japanese people.”

3.
One of the ultimate objectives of the United States in regard to Japan is stated in SWNCC 150/4/A, “United States Initial Post-Defeat Policy Relating to Japan”,36 to be:

“To bring about the eventual establishment of a peaceful and responsible government which will respect the rights of other states and will support the objectives of the United States as reflected in the ideals and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The United States desires that this government should conform as closely as may be to principles of democratic self-government but it is not the responsibility of the Allied Powers to impose upon Japan any form of government not supported by the freely expressed will of the people.”

[Annex 2]

Memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff

SM–4499
SWNCC 228/1

Memorandum for the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee

Subject: Reform of the Japanese Governmental System.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered a report by the State–War–Navy Coordinating Subcommittee for the Far East (SWNCC 22837), on the subject of reform of the Japanese governmental system, in which it is recommended that certain policies for reform be indicated, or as a last resort, be imposed by the Allies upon the Japanese authorities.

They assume that in formulating these policies, due consideration was given to the statement in the Three Power Proclamation issued from Berlin to the Japanese people on 26 July 1945, to the effect that there is to be established in Japan “in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people, a peacefully inclined and responsible government.”

From the long-range military point of view, the major concern of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with regard to the government of Japan is that no nationalistic or military clique or combination should again be able to dominate that country and lead it into a war of aggression. The effectiveness of governmental reforms in preventing the resurgence of military control in Japan will depend in a large measure upon the acceptance by the Japanese people of the entire program. The principal short-term military interest is in the possibility that the implementation of the proposed reforms may foment unrest in Japan to such a degree as to require increases in occupational forces [Page 103]or lengthening of the tenure of occupation by such forces. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider it appropriate to point out that the effectiveness of the United States Army and Navy has already been reduced incident to demobilization, and that continuance of demobilization under current plans will, in the course of the next twelve months, further reduce the fighting strength of the United States armed forces to a point where it will be difficult to deal with any serious unrest in Japan.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff further consider that, as a matter of planning in connection with the successful attainment of these ends, additional studies should be made by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers on the details of the sequence and timing of the proposed reforms, together with measures which should be adopted to prepare the Japanese people to accept the changes in order to minimize unrest and disorder and to insure that the reforms are lasting in strengthening representative government in Japan.

Subject to the foregoing remarks, the Joint Chiefs of Staff perceive no objection from the military point of view to the objectives set forth in paragraphs 4 and 5 thereof.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
A. J. McFarland

Brigadier General, USA Secretary
  1. Annex 1, November 27, 1945, as revised January 7, infra.
  2. Annex 2, p. 102.
  3. Maj. Gen. Frank R. McCoy, U.S. Army (retired).
  4. Major General McCoy was duly informed on January 14.
  5. As revised January 7, 1946.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Brackets appear in the original appendix “A”.
  8. See note to the Swiss Chargé (Grässli), August 11, 1945, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. vi, p. 631.
  9. September 21, 1945; for text, see department of State Bulletin, September 23, 1945, p. 423.
  10. Annex, 1, p. 99.