Chapter

“A Very Serious Matter”: The Cabinet's Initial Reactions

Ray A. Moore and Donald L. Robinson

in Partners for Democracy

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195151169
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833917 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019515116X.003.0008
 “A Very Serious Matter”: The Cabinet's Initial Reactions

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Describes how Whitney pressured the Japanese government to accept the SCAP draft as the basis of a new constitution. Following talks with MacArthur and Whitney, the Shidehara cabinet accepted SCAP's demands and charged Matsumoto with preparing a draft for presentation to Government Section. Whitney and his staff expected the Japanese to submit essentially a translation of the SCAP draft, while Matsumoto believed he could determine the contents of the draft so long as he included the “fundamental principles” (the emperor as “symbol” and renunciation of war) mentioned by MacArthur to Shidehara. This misunderstanding caused a serious conflict when the two sides met to consider Matsumoto's March 2 draft.

Keywords: fundamental principles; Government Section; Matsumoto Jōji; Matsumoto's March 2 draft; SCAP's draft as a model; Shidehara‐MacArthur talk; Yoshida Shigeru; Whitney

Chapter.  6171 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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