740.00119 Control (Japan)/2–1047

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur to the Joint Chiefs of Staff 25


C 69876. Reurad W 91201 February 5th [3d].26 The provision contained in Article 69 of the Diet Law is in accord with long established custom and practice in Japanese legislative history. It is a provision which was inserted on the sole initiative of the House of Representatives and unanimously approved by that chamber—a legislative body which has shown the most zealous desire to secure and preserve in fullest detail its power in government accorded by the new constitution. The provision is merely one within the body of rules established by the Diet to govern its own procedures, and is susceptible to amendment should experience deem amendment necessary. As it is not violative of any democratic principle and cannot possibly compromise the principle of cabinet responsibility to the Diet, I consider it a most dangerous departure from established occupational policy to force a change upon the Diet in such detail.

[Page 177]

The interpretation given by the Far Eastern Commission is not in accord with past Japanese practice nor with the intent of the article, namely, that the cabinet members would delegate their representative authority in the Diet. On the contrary, it is intended to permit them to bolster themselves by the technical aid of civil service subordinates of the respective ministries in presenting in complete detail factual matters which might be demanded by the Diet. While it differs somewhat from the British parliamentary procedure, it can hardly be said that it is less democratic or less efficient. I do not believe, under the circumstances, that it would be possible to persuade a voluntary modification.

With respect to the allowances for Diet members prescribed under Article 35 of the Diet, our interpretation here and the interpretation and intent of the Diet itself is that the provision questioned is not that “a government official’s allowance shall be limited to that of a Diet member”, but that “a Diet member’s allowance shall equal common or ordinary national government officials’ highest allowance”—in other words, that pertaining to the highest official under the civil service, viz. vice minister. Thus, there is no limitation placed upon the remuneration of any government official however, but rather does it provide a minimum basis for the remuneration of Diet members. This too is a provision merely concerned with internal administration without involving any democratic principle and in which interference by the Allied Powers would be most difficult of justification.

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department of State by SWNCC in its SWN–5128, February 10; copy transmitted by the Department to General McCoy for the Far Eastern Commission on February 13.
  2. Ante, p. 174