I think (and I mentioned this before) that you are cherry picking the evidence to support your conclusions. For example, in the Shirata -Stevens book a photo of the Founder in hanmi is subtitled:
"The founder demonstrating the correct manner of holding a sword.[When a question arose one day about the proper posture, he posed on the spot in his regular clothes]".
I think you need to do better than say that: I am "getting too caught up in the exact outer expression", that Stevens made up things and Shirata and Saito sensei were on friendly terms, before discarding photographic evidence to the contrary.
The questions I would be asking and trying to figure out based on that photo are more along the lines of:
How is Ueshiba holding himself up? How he is holding the sword up? Where is the weight of the sword being loaded into? Where is his weight and what direction is it committed? Are they in the same or different places as the sword is weighted and committed? Being able to talk directly to him would be helpful to be sure.
Most martial artists would be looking at the angle of the feet, angle of the sword, distance between the feet etc, trying to copy their teacher. If you try and work on the questions I ask up top, the distance between feet, angles etc all sort themselves out on their own. Thus the first listed set of questions defines the position from the "inside out" whereas the second set of questions is from the "outside in". The references made in Christopher Li's article make it pretty clear that Ueshiba is referring to the inside out approach rather than the outside in.