by 西 鋭夫 May 6th, 2018
SUPREME COMMANDER FOR THE ALLIED POWERS
2 February 1946
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SUPREME COMMANDER:
SUBJECT: Constitutional Reform (Matsumoto draft).
1. Yesterday (1 February) the Mainichi Shimbum published what is claimed to be a draft revised Constitution prepared by the Cabinet (Matsumoto) Commission. Inclosed is a tentative translation of the draft (Tab "A").
2. This draft is extremely conservative in character and leaves substantially unchanged the status of the Emperor with all rights of sovereignty vested in him. For this reason (along with others), the draft was poorly received by the press and the public.
3. The Government has now taken official cognizance of this unfavorable reaction and the Chief Secretary of the Cabinet (Wataru Narahashi) last night publicly denied that the published draft represents the work of the Cabinet (Matsumoto) Commission. Narahashi admitted, however, that the draft might represent a draft prepared by one of the members.
4. The published draft apparently was Matsumoto's own draft since he stated to the press yesterday that the status of the Emperor would remain substantially the same in a revised Constitution "except for some changes in terms used."
5. The upshot has been that a Foreign Office representative telephoned us this morning asking for postponement until next Thursday of the informal meeting which Yoshida had scheduled for Tuesday morning (5 February) for the purpose of discussing Matsumoto's draft. However, I postponed the conference for one week (i.e. until 12 February) since, now that Yoshida's trial balloon has been punctured, it is possible that the Cabinet Commission may want to undertake a more genuine constitutional revision which would comply in good faith with the Potsdam Declaration.
6. I thought it advisable to agree to this meeting (which Yoshida stated would be "off the record" and on a no commitment basis) as I could foresee that the reactionary group carrying the ball on constitutional reform were way off the beam that you could agree to. I thought it better strategy to orient them before the formal submission of a draft than to wait and force them to again start from scratch once an unacceptable draft had been submitted to which they were committed.
1 Incl-Tab "A"
Tentative Plan of
Constitutional problem Investigation Committee,
1 Feb 46.
Brigadier General, U.S. Army,
Chief, Government Section
This has been noted by SCAP
14 Feb 46