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Charles L. Kades Papers

Identifier: MA.00214

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of materials related to the creation of the Japanese Constitution of 1946. The collection provides partial documentation of the drafting and promulgation of the constitution through memoranda and correspondence (original and photocopied) and through multiple annotated versions of the draft constitution. Kades's own copies of English translations of Japanese deliberations over constitutional revision (transcripts of the Japanese Diet hearings and sessions, minutes of Privy Council meetings) form an important part of the collection. Other materials from the immediate post-war period include a small number of photographs of the opening of the Japanese Diet in December 1945 and of SCAP personnel. The collection also includes copies of SCAP correspondence and memoranda obtained sometime after 1965 from the MacArthur Archives, located at the McArthur Memorial, Norfolk, Virginia.

In addition, the collection contains scholarly and non-scholarly material on post-war Japan and the Japanese Constitution gathered or produced after 1949: correspondence, manuscripts, notes, interview transcripts, recorded interviews, clippings, newspapers and periodicals, conference materials, annotated books and pamphlets, printed material, and photocopies of articles and original documents. Additional material documents Kades's role as a legal advisor to General Douglas MacArthur and his widow, Jean Faircloth MacArthur. Small amounts of material related to Kades's schooling, military service, government service, and legal career are also in the collection. Particularly noteworthy is his carefully assembled and captioned photograph album documenting D-Day in Southern France (1944).


  • Creation: 1913-1997
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1945-1996


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Charles L. Kades Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Charles L. Kades Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Charles L. Kades was born in 1906 in Newburgh, New York. He graduated from Cornell University in 1927 and Harvard Law School in 1930, joining the Manhattan law firm of Hawkins, Delafield, and Longfellow as a municipal bond lawyer. From 1933 to 1942, he brought his knowledge of public finance to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal administration, serving as Assistant General Counsel for the Public Works Administration and then for the Treasury Department. An Army reservist since 1924, Kades entered active military duty in 1942. After service in the Army Civil Affairs Division in Washington, he participated in the U.S. D-Day landing in Southern France in August, 1944. In 1945, he was re-assigned to the General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) in Tokyo, Japan. As Deputy Chief of the Government Section of SCAP, Kades became head of the steering committee charged by General Douglas MacArthur in February 1946 with producing a "democratic" draft constitution for Japan. He maintained life-long relationships with several SCAP colleagues and superiors, including General Courtney Whitney, then Chief of the Government Section. Kades returned to private law practice at Hawkins, Delafield, and Wood in 1949 and became known for his role in developing new methods of tackling public fiscal crises (the municipal assistance corporation) and financing public works ("pothole bonds"). From the 1950s to the 1970s, Kades participated intermittently in discussions with scholars, journalists, and Japanese politicians about the origins of Japan's post-war constitution. After his retirement to Heath, Massachusetts, in 1976, he became more actively involved in these discussions, travelling to Japan, participating in conferences, and producing an article for Political Science Quarterly (1989). He also provided numerous interviews for scholars and journalists. Charles Kades died in 1996.

Missing Title

1906 March 12
Born in Newburgh, New York
Graduated from Newburgh Free Academy
Joined the U.S. Army Reserve
Graduated from Cornell University
Graduated from Harvard Law School
Worked for law firm of Hawkins, Delafield, and Longfellow, specializing in public finance and municipal bonds
Assistant General Counsel at the Public Works Administration
General Assistant to the Chief Counsel for the Bureau of Internal Revenue
Assistant General Counsel to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Henry Morgenthau)
Attended Fort Benning Infantry School and underwent command and general staff training at Fort Leavenworth
Assistant Executive Officer to General John Hilldring, Civil Affairs Division, War Department General Staff
1944 August
As Regional Liaison Officer with the First Airborne Task Force of the 7th Army, participated in the U.S. invasion of southern France on 15 August 1944
1945 January-August
Returned to former position at the Civil Affairs Division, War Department General Staff, in Washington, D.C.
1945 August
Awarded the Legion of Merit for work with the Civil Affairs Division of the U.S. Army
1945 August 15
Promoted to the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army
1945 August 25
Arrived in Japan
Served in Japan as Deputy Chief of the Government Section, General Headquarters of SCAP (Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers).
1946 February
Head of the Government Section Steering Committee organized to draft a revised constitution for Japan.
1946 June
Awarded the Oak Leaf Cluster of the Legion of Merit by General MacArthur for "Exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services in Japan."
1949 May 3
Resigned from active military service on the second anniversary of the effective date of the new Japanese Constitution. Returned to work as an attorney at Hawkins, Delafield, and Wood.
Address to the American Civil Liberties Union; published article in the American Bar Association Journal
Acted as guide for a visiting delegation of the Japanese Constitutional Reform Commission.
Legal adviser to the New York State government on the creation of so-called "pothole bonds," used to finance highway maintenance and repair.
Legal adviser to New York Governor Hugh Carey on the creation of the Municipal Assistance Corporation for New York City.
Retired as senior partner from Hawkins, Delafield, and Wood. Lived in Heath, Massachusetts.
Published an article on the Japanese constitution in Political Science Quarterly
1996 June 18th
Died at the age of 90 in Greenfield, Massachusetts.


17.5 Linear feet (13 records storage boxes, 1 half archives box, 7 oversize boxes, 3 map case folders and one framed item in map case)

Language of Materials



Charles L. Kades (1906-1996) was a lawyer and U.S. army officer who served in the Government Section of the General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) in post-war Japan. He is best known for his role in drafting Japan's post-war constitution. The collection includes original and photocopied memoranda, drafts, and correspondence documenting the constitutional drafting process. It also includes contemporaneous translations of the Japanese parliamentary debates on the constitution. Additional material includes interview transcripts, correspondence with researchers, and other retrospective material on the constitution and on post-war Japan. A small amount of material documents Kades's work as a lawyer for the U.S. Public Works Administration, U.S. Treasury Department, and the New York law firm of Hawkins, Delafield, and Wood.


This collection is organized into nine series:

  1. Series 1: Biographical Materials and Awards, 1913-1996
  2. Series 2: Hawkins, Delafield, and Wood (Legal Career), 1926-1995
  3. Series 3: Government Service (Public Works Administration; Treasury Department) 1934-[1996]
  4. Series 4: Military Training and Service, 1922-1947
  5. Series 5: The Japanese Constitution of 1946, 1945-1953
  6. Series 6: Retrospective Views of the Japanese Constitution and Post-War Japan, 1941-1999
  7. Series 7: General Douglas MacArthur and Major General Courtney Whitney, 1951-1996
  8. Series 8: General Correspondence, Invitations, Correspondence from Others to Phyllis Kades, 1941-1999
  9. Series 9: Photographs, Prints, and Textiles, circa 1940-1987

Custodial History

For some time prior to 1998, most of the materials in the collection had been in the possession of Professors Ray Moore (Amherst College) and Donald Robinson (Smith College). Additional materials were received from Professor Moore in 2000. See Related Material for information about the work produced by Professors Moore and Robinson using the Kades Papers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Phyllis Kades, 1998.

Related Materials

Amherst College also holds books in English and Japanese from Charles Kades's library, many of which relate to his continuing interest in the Japanese Constitution and post-war Japan. A search of the library catalog for Charles Kades will show location information for these books; these are also listed above. See the Appendix for descriptions of additional books from Kades's collection. A complete list of the books donated to Amherst College by Phyllis Kades is located in Box 9, folder 7B.

Other relevant holdings at Amherst College:

  • The constitution of Japan: a documentary history of its framing and adoption, 1945-1947. Ray A. Moore and Donald L. Robinson, editors. Princeton, NJ: distributed by Princeton University Press, c1998. Amherst College Archives and Special Collections CD-ROM : KNX2064.51947.A2 C65 1998
  • The Occupation of Japan [microform]: U.S. planning documents, 1942-1945. Amherst College, Frost Library, Microforms DS889.O25 Microfiche no.1-no.450
  • Records of the Far Eastern Commission, 1945-1952 [microform] [Wilmington, Delaware] : Scholarly Resources, [1992]. Amherst College, Frost Library, Reference D802.J3 R4 1992
  • Hussey, Alfred Rodman, 1902-1964. Alfred Hussey Papers, [microform]. Amherst College, Frost Library, Microforms/Microfilm 243, r.1-r.12.
  • Framing the Constitution of Japan: primary sources in English, 1944-1949. Bethesda, MD, U.S.A.: Congressional Information Service, 1989. Amherst College, Frost Library, Reference KNX2064.51947.A5 F7 1989
  • The Karl Loewenstein Papers, Subseries C, Japanese Constitutional Reform Commission, Amherst College Archives and Special Collections.

Relevant holdings at Five College Libraries:
  • Framing the Constitution of Japan [microform]. [California, Maryland: Congressional Information Service], 1989. Smith College.

Related holdings at other archival repositories:
  • The Charles L. Kades Papers, Gordon W. Prange Collection, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
  • General Douglas MacArthur Memorial, Library and Archives, Norfolk, Virginia.

Eileen M. Crosby
Language of description
Script of description
National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299