155. Telegram From the Embassy in Japan to the Department of State0

3775. CINCPAC and HICOMRYIS for POLADs. Embtel 3756.1 Additional information on midnight passage of security treaty by lower house follows:

Diet proceedings throughout yesterday conducted in atmosphere of mounting tension, with several fist-fights between LDP and opposition, Socialist barricading of Speaker in his office for over six hours, eventual summoning of police to release Speaker and restore order2 and final treaty committee vote which sent treaty to floor of lower house.

Barricading of Speaker Kiyose followed his consultations with standing committee Chairmen re LDP proposal to extend Diet. Learning of these plans, JSP Diet members in early afternoon began to collect outside Speaker’s door to prevent his proceeding to Diet chamber to call plenary session. Using public address system, Kiyose three times pleaded with Socialists to desist from obstructionist methods in consideration dignity and order of Diet. On last occasion, at 10:00 pm, Kiyose gave Socialists 15 minutes to disperse, after which he stated he would call police and have them removed.

Soon after police came, Kiyose sounded warning bell for plenary session. Chairman Ozawa then called into session treaty committee, which had been in recess for several hours. As anticipated by LDP (Embtel 3749),3 few Socialists appeared. Shiikuma’s motion to close debate provoked physical attack on Ozawa by Socialist Yokomichi but he was beaten off by LDP members and motion in committee quickly carried.

In midst of commotion set off by appearance of police, DSP’s Ikko Kasuga and Teiji Ikeda approached LDP Diet Policy Committee requesting parley with Kawashima to compromise crisis. Overture was [Page 296] politely but firmly rejected, as was similar approach to Kiyose (Embtel 3776).4

In plenary session of lower house which began shortly afterward, Diet extension, approval of Ozawa’s report, and treaty ratification accomplished not only quickly but quietly, in total absence of both Socialist parties. (Standing vote was used rather than ballots; audience in well-filled galleries was well behaved.) 273 LDP members were present to vote extension (11 were ill or travelling). Of this total, 25 members boycotted vote on treaty, including Kono, Miki, and Utsunomiya. (Ishibashi and Matsumura were absent throughout.) Thus treaty passed with 248 LDP members out of 286 total present and voting affirmatively.

Kuno of LDP Diet Policy Committee informs us that after Diet extension voted, top party leaders, notably Kawashima and Ikeda, hesitated slightly as to whether to vote on treaty in face desire of Kono and Miki to delay. Kishi, Sato, Fujiyama and Diet strategists argued forcefully against delay, on basis that Socialist violence a certainty whenever treaty voted, with unavoidable prospect of having to call in police again. Momentary doubts swiftly replaced by vigorous approval of voting immediately.

LDP views. Mainstream forces appear deeply satisfied at having dealt with complex and delicate treaty problem with such decisiveness and success. Speed of handling even surprised many LDP Diet members who had expected lower house vote on treaty might not come until June 10–15.

Far too early to judge effect of treaty vote on intra-LDP situation. Precise motives behind boycott by Miki and Kono obscure but noteworthy that substantial number of their faction members stayed and voted approval. LDP rank and file in lower house doubtless attracted partly by prospect of having treaty passed prior to mammoth left-wing demonstrations originally scheduled for today. Party leaders especially relieved that final Diet action virtually assured before President Eisenhower arrives in Japan. (High party sources tell us upper house may choose to vote on treaty; if not, leaders see no possibility of complications which will prevent upper house approval by 0019 hours June 19 under 30-day rule.)

Socialist views. Consternation and anger in both Socialist parties today, with threats, especially from JSP, to carry out “mass resignations” by Diet members and indefinite boycott all Diet proceedings (Embtel 3776). Government plan is that should mass resignations unexpectedly come, it would resist all pressures to call general election and would instead [Page 297] fight opposition, divided into two competing parties, in series by-elections, with excellent chance of picking up several seats. Government feels that should Socialists absent themselves from Diet for more than 10–15 days they would begin to incur press and public criticism.

Press reactions. Details this aspect covered by Embtel 3777.5 In brief, entire press predictably very critical of government’s “blitzkrieg” tactics, although some papers have questioned Socialist sincerity in opposing Diet extension while demanding further deliberations.

Government’s decisive action in summoning police to preserve order in Diet for vote on treaty will remain a most controversial issue for some time to come. Criticism of action, already strong, may rise still further. It is still too soon to predict whether press and public outcry will reach such heights as to cause serious problems for Kishi government.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.947/5–2060. Secret; Priority. Repeated to COMUS/Japan, CINCPAC, and HICOMRYIS.
  2. Telegram 3756, May 19, contained a summary of events in the Diet the night of May 19–20. (Ibid., 611.947/5–1960)
  3. In telegram 3690 from Tokyo, May 16, MacArthur reported the detailed summary of LDP strategy for treaty ratification in the Diet given him by Shijiro Kawashima, Secretary General of the LDP. Although the LDP hoped “if at all possible, to avoid calling in police, Kawashima said that Speaker may have to use his prerogative and ask for police aid as was done twice in postwar Diets if Socialists use force in Diet to prevent vote.” (Ibid., 611.947/5–1660) See Supplement.
  4. Telegram 3749 from Tokyo, May 19, reported that LDP Diet members were engaged in a lengthy meeting to develop strategy for treaty passage and Diet extension. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.947/5–1960)
  5. Telegram 3776, May 20, reported additional details of the previous night’s Diet session. (Ibid., 611.947/5–2060) See Supplement.
  6. Not printed.