ER to Harry Carman
Dear Dean Carman:
Many thanks for your letter which was most encouraging. I am delighted that you like getting these reports.
After our return from our trip, the Committee gave me an opportunity to meet both the right and left wing socialist leaders. They call themselves the socialist democratic parties of left and right. I saw really rather little difference between them except that the right, while opposed to disarmament, would not go to the lengths of not defending the country and they are a little more reasonable on questions in general. The left is more dominated by the Communist point of view.
After I saw these groups, Mrs. Glen Shaw came for me and took me to a luncheon given by the Ladies Benevolent Society which is made up of both Japanese and foreign women. They have as their special interest helping a children’s home for cripples. It appears that Dr. Takagi who is, I think, some relative of the head of the Committee, started this home on his own to try to waken the Japanese people to the realization that if you had a crippled child, you did not have to hide that child in shame, and that something should be done for it. It seems to me little can be done as they are now equipped. They have one bath, I think, and they do a little therapy and try to teach the parents to do some massage and while one should be grateful they can do anything, it seemed to me very inadequate for the children some of whom are polio patients, many of them spastics. I wish very much that some hospital in our country could be induced to give them a helping hand.
In the evening we all went over to dine at what Dr. Takagi said we must consider the “prunier” of Tokyo. At this dinner were three very high brow presidents of universities or professors. One of them was very talkative and very leftist and he and I argued most of the evening and his views were very distressful to Dr. Takagi and Mr. Bowles. I think they felt they must get me back to normal by allowing me to see some of the conservatives since these are not so anti-American and pro-Soviet.
Saturday morning I had a long interview with one of the best known women leaders for a women’s magazine, and then I lunched with the UN Association, rather formal, nearly all men but a few women. It is always amusing to me that only a few of the men bring their wives to these parties and when the wives do come, they are usually very silent and they gather together afterwards and stay quite apart from the men. But the women who are working in different fields have appeared at nearly all the entertainments for me and I think it gives them a little lift to feel that the gentlemen are being so attentive to a woman.
The United Nations Association is really strong and nearly all the specialized agencies have a special committee actually doing work for them which, considering Japan does not belong to the UN though she does belong to the specialized agencies, is really remarkable.
In the afternoon the YWCA gave a tea to raise funds, in the garden of the palace which the Crown Prince occupied for a while after we destroyed his own palace. It is called the Akasaka Palace and is a copy of Versailles, with a fountain and gardens which suggest the central portion of the Versailles gardens. Here they had entertainment of various kinds and the diplomatic set and the society of Tokyo were present.
In the evening I went to dine very informally with the American Friend’s Committee in their little house which was not destroyed by the bombing, though everything around was destroyed. They came back and did relief work while they were rebuilding, but now everything is back to normal and they are running their school and two day nurseries in poor parts of Tokyo where there are people living who were bombed or burned out.
After dinner I talked to a small committee on the Human Rights Declaration and Covenant.
Sunday was to have been a very quite day and I had planned to go to church in the morning in the St. Luke’s hospital chapel but the Prime Minister who had asked us to dine on Monday, discovered he would have to go to a Cabinet meeting so he telephoned to ask if we would lunch with him on Sunday. I felt this was a unique opportunity to talk more informally than we had been able to do at his previous dinner party. On the way we stopped to see Mr. Kabayama who is nearly 90 and is a very delightful old gentleman. We also saw Mr. Asano and his family who greeted us at their gate before we arrived at the Prime Minister’s.
There were only six of us at lunch and we did talk very freely. To my astonishment the Prime Minister said that of course Japan was going to rearm, though he would not say so openly for political reasons. There is a contradiction in this whole political situation here because the reactionaries are actually in power but they accepted and uphold the very liberal constitution which we forced upon them. They really do not believe in most of the measures which are actually accepted but the people do believe in them and they do not dare repudiate them, though I think they will try to whittle them away. In fact in this Diet there is a bill up to take away the right to strike on any of the government owned utility enterprises.
Mr. Yoshida was a charming host, easy and talkative, but I do not think he is a progressive in our sense of the word. Neither is his daughter who has a great influence over him and is a very modern young woman, highly intelligent, I would say, and very ambitious.
On Monday morning I was invited to meet with a group of about 20 members of the political leaders of the Diet. The Committee seemed rather pleased by this and said it was an unusual thing for them to do. I was not asked to make a speech but I was asked to answer some of their questions and listen to some of their statements, and I did. I was told again why Japan did not wish to rearm and why she did wish to rearm. The economic difficulties, over population, not being able to grow enough food, the bases and many other subjects were presented and discussed. Then I was taken on a tour to see the Emperor’s room and Imperial family’s room and the chamber. After this fourteen of the ladies of the Diet gave us luncheon in a Japanese restaurant nearby and they took the opportunity to express their desire for peace, their disturbance over the situation at the bases, their feeling about political prisoners still in prison, many under life sentences, etc.
Right after the luncheon we took a little time to drive to the Meiji shrine and see the beautiful iris garden, then we did a little shopping.
In the evening Mr. and Mrs. Matsumoto not only invited us to dine with them en famille but took us first to see one of the professor’s houses nearby. This area of Tokyo was not bombed because, they think, we did not want to bomb the university which is quite close. Most of the houses are professor’s homes, comfortable and not too large, behind high wooden fences and with little gardens.
The housekeeping arrangements would seem extremely primitive to an American housewife, and I can quite understand why the women keep telling me that housekeeping takes so much of their time. Taking off their shoes helps to keep the house clean but not being able to have any electric gadgets adds to the difficulties of cooking and washing.
We had a delightful time with Mr. and Mrs. Matsumoto and I think they are such a nice family.
On Tuesday the 16th I put in a day which will remain a red-letter day and I hope I will have no more of the same variety. For two hours in the morning I met with members of the Civil Liberties Union. Roger Baldwin helped them to form their organization and they are a fine group of people and their questions required all kinds of technical answers. Poor Miss Matsuoka had a bad time translating into Japanese the meaning of the States Rights clause in our treaties and various and sundry constitutional points.
One gentleman demanded to know whether I did not think the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was against international law and he handed me a treatise in which he proved that it was. Fortunately for me, I could not read it there and then, so I did the best I could in explaining why I did not think it was against international law.
In the afternoon we spent two hours at Keio University. For an hour and a half I talked to the students and answered questions and then we had a half hour reception.
From six to eight that night I went to the YWCA and was on a panel with five Japanese women discussing the rights and status of women. When I got back to the hotel at 8:15, I really felt as though I did not have a single idea left in my head.
To make up for this, I had a rather easy day on Wednesday. The first part of the morning was spent in an interview with Miss Ichikawa who came to the US as you will remember. The interview was sponsored by a magazine.
Then I talked with one of the members of the progressive party, which is really one of the conservative groups. This leader has come out openly for rearmament and blames Yoshida and the liberal party for not doing so. He believes the majority hold the conservative point of view and, of course, their strength is in the rural areas where people are less progressive and are still under feudalistic leadership.
In the afternoon I attended a tea party given by UNICEF at the chief justice’s house. They had all kinds of entertainment and it was a very pleasant party.
We attended a very nice dinner in the evening given by the head of Pan-American, which he had asked the Committee to allow him to give.
Thursday I spoke at a luncheon for the American Chamber of Commerce and had a two hour conference with students from a variety of universities in the afternoon. These students were rounding out questions which had been asked me at various places and which they wanted me to discuss more fully.
At six o’clock we had a second forum at the YWCA on the rights and status of women, primarily concerning how the feudalistic attitude had affected their development at present.
The YW kindly provided us with tea and sandwiches so we could go to see the Coronation film, which Princess Chichibu remembered I had wished to see and asked her brother to arrange for us to see it.
The Princess has been very sweet and I think she will do a good deal in the way of giving leadership to the women of Japan if Mme. Matsudaira will let her. Mme. Matsudaira is quite a martinet and they tell me she frequently keeps the Princess from going to activities which she would, if left to herself, undertake.
Friday morning we left for Nikko and sad to say it was raining but in spite of that we enjoyed our sightseeing afternoon.
The first thing that strikes you on arrival in Nikko is the beautiful red “Sacred Bridge” over which no one is allowed to pass but the Emperor.
It is a beautiful spot and I think the shrines and the wonderful trees around them are very impressive.
Tomorrow morning we will go to Sendai and I am told there is a rather strong Communist trend among the students so I will not be meeting with them.
Dr. Takagi seems happy about all the meetings he has attended with me and before leaving Tokyo I left an article with Mr. Matsumoto on the student’s attitude on rearmament, which I intend to send to Miss Nannine Joseph, my literary agent in New York. I will make any changes Mr. Matsumoto thinks necessary and if you would like to read it also, I will tell Miss Joseph you would like to see it before she tries to sell it.
I am not going to write anything about the very serious problem of the bases but I will try to talk to one or two people in Washington about it on my return if you think that advisable. I would feel it was not advisable to have any publicity and I think something is going to be done about it here because in the paper today there is mention of the fact that a committee has been organized of Japanese government people and our own military people to consider what can be done. I think this is the first absolutely essential step.
Very sincerely yours,
TLc AERP, FDRL