Japan's Surrender Communiqués

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Japan's Surrender Communiqués
Max Grässli, James F. Byrnes, the Government of Japan, Harry S. Truman


Japan's First Surrender Offer[edit]

August 10, 1945
The Honorable James F. Byrnes, Secretary of State

Sir:

I have the honor to inform you that the Japanese Minister to Switzerland, upon instructions received from his Government, has requested the Swiss Political Department to advise the Government of the United States of America of the following: In obedience to the gracious command of his Majesty the Emperor who, ever anxious to enhance the cause of world peace, desires earnestly to bring about a speedy termination of hostilities with a view to saving mankind from the calamities to be imposed upon them by further continuation of the war, the Japanese Government several weeks ago asked the Soviet Government, with which neutral relations then prevailed, to render good offices in restoring peace vis a vis the enemy power. Unfortunately, these efforts in the interest of peace having failed, the Japanese Government in conformity with the august wish of His Majesty to restore the general peace and desiring to put an end to the untold sufferings entailed by war as quickly as possible, have decided upon the following.

The Japanese Government are ready to accept the terms enumerated in the joint declaration which was issued at Potsdam on July 26, 1945, by the heads of the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, and China, and later subscribed by the Soviet Government with the understanding that the said declaration does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a Sovereign Ruler.

The Japanese Government sincerely hope that this understanding is warranted and desire keenly that an explicit indication to that effect will be speedily forthcoming.

In transmitting the above messages the Japanese Minister added that his Government begs the Government of the United States to forward its answer through the intermediary of Switzerland. Similar request are being transmitted to the Governments of Great Britain and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics through the intermediary of Sweden, as well as to the Government of China through the intermediary fo Switzerland. The Chinese Minister at Berne has already been informed of the foregoing through the channel of the Swiss Political Department.

Please be assured that I am at your disposal at any time to accept for and forward to my Government the reply of the Government of the United States.

Accept [etc.]


Grässli
Chargé d' Affaires ad interim of Switzerland


Reply to Japan's First Surrender Offer[edit]

August 11, 1945
Mr. Max Grässli
Chargé d' Affaires ad interim of Switzerland

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your note of August 10, and in reply to inform you that the President of the United States has directed me to send you for transmission to the Japanese Government the following message on behalf of the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and China:

With regard to the Japanese Government's message accepting the terms of the Potsdam proclamation but containing the statement, 'with the understanding that the said declaration does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a sovereign ruler,' our position is as follows:

From the moment of surrender the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms.

The Emperor will be required to authorize and ensure the signature by the Government of Japan and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters of the surrender terms necessary to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration, and shall issue his commands to all the Japanese military, naval and air authorities and to all the forces under their control wherever located to cease active operations and to surrender their arms, and to issue such other orders as the Supreme Commander may require to give effect to the surrender terms.

Immediately upon the surrender the Japanese Government shall transport prisoners of war and civilian internees to places of safety, as directed, where they can quickly be placed aboard Allied transports.

The ultimate form of government of Japan shall, in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration, be established by the freely expressed will of the Japanese people.

The armed forces of the Allied Powers will remain in Japan until the purposes set forth in the Potsdam Declaration are achieved."

Accept (etc.)

James F. Byrnes
Secretary of State

Notification to the Japanese Government[edit]

August 11, 1945
Mr. Max Grässli, Esquire
Chargé d' Affaires ad interim of Switzerland

With reference to your communication of today's date, transmitting the reply of the Japanese Government to the communication which I sent through you to the Japanese Government on August 11, on behalf of the Governments of the United States, China, the United Kingdom, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which I regard as full acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration and of my statement of August 11, 1945, I have the honor to inform you that the President of the United States has directed that the following message be sent to you for transmission to the Japanese Government:

"You are to proceed as follows:
"(1) Direct prompt cessation of hostilities by Japanese forces, informing the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers of the effective date and hour of such cessation.
"(2) Send emissaries at once to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers with information of the disposition of the Japanese forces and commanders, and fully empowered to make any arrangements directed by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers to enable him and his accompanying forces to arrive at the place designated by him to receive the formal surrender.
"(3) For the purpose of receiving such surrender and carrying it into effect, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur has been designated as the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, and he will notify the Japanese Government of the time, place and other details of the formal surrender."

Accept [etc.]

James F. Byrnes
Secretary of State

Japan's Final Note[edit]

Note of August 14, 1945 sent to the governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union


The Japanese Government would like to be permitted to state to the Governments of America, Britain, China and the Soviet Union what they most earnestly desire with reference to the execution of certain Provisions of the Potsdam Proclamation. This may be done possibly at the time of the Signature. But fearing that they may not be able to find an appropriate opportunity, they take the liberty of addressing the Governments of the four Powers through the good offices of the Government of Switzerland.

1. In view of the fact that the purpose of occupation as mentioned in the Potsdam Proclamation is solely to secure the achievement of the basic objectives set forth in the said Proclamation, the Japanese Government sincerely desire that the four Powers, relying upon the good faith of the Japanese Government, will facilitate discharge by the Japanese Government of their obligations as to forestall any unnecessary complications.
It is earnestly solicited that :
(a) In case of the entry of Allied fleets or troops in Japan Proper, the Japanese Government be notified in advance, so that arrangements can be made for reception.
(b) The number of the points in Japanese territory to be designated by the Allies for occupation be limited to minimum number, selection of the points be made in such a manner as to leave such a city as Tokyo unoccupied and the forces to be stationed at each point be made as small as possible.
2. Disarming of the Japanese forces, being a most delicate task as it involves over three millions of officers and men overseas and having direct bearing on their honour, the Japanese Government will, of course, take utmost pains. But it is suggested that the best and the most effective method would be that under the command of His Majesty the Emperor, the Japanese forces are allowed to disarm themselves and surrender arms of their own accord.
Disarming of the Japanese forces on the Continent be carried out beginning on the front line and in successive stages.
In connection with the disarming it is hoped that Article 35 of the Hague Convention will be applied, and the honour of the soldier will be respected, permitting them, for instance, to wear swords. Further, the Japanese Government be given to understand the Allies have no intention to employ disarmed Japanese soldiers for compulsory labour. It is sincerely hoped that shipment and transportation facilities necessary for the evacuation of the soldiers to their homeland will be speedily provided.
3. Since some forces are located in remote places, difficult to communicate the Imperial order, it is desired that reasonable time be allowed before the cessation of hostilities.
4. It is hoped that the Allies will be good enough quickly to take necessary steps or extend us facilities for the shipment of indispensable foodstuffs and medical supplies to Japanese forces in distant islands, and for the transport of wounded soldiers from those islands.


Announcement of Japan's Acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation[edit]

Statement by Harry S. Truman, August 14, 1945.


I have received this afternoon a message from the Japanese Government in reply to the message forwarded to that Government by the Secretary of State on August 11. I deem this reply a full acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration which specifies the unconditional surrender of Japan. In the reply there is no qualification.

Arrangements are now being made for the signing of the surrender terms at the earliest possible moment.

General Douglas MacArthur has been appointed the Supreme Allied Commander to receive the Japanese surrender. Great Britain, Russia, and China will be represented by high-ranking officers.

Meantime, the Allied armed forces have been ordered to suspend offensive action.

Proclamation of V-J Day must wait upon the formal signing of the surrender terms by Japan.

The following is the Japanese Government's message accepting our terms:

Communication of the Japanese Government of August 14, 1945, addressed to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China:

With reference to the Japanese Government's note of August 10 regarding their acceptance of the provisions of the Potsdam declaration and the reply of the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China sent by American Secretary of State Byrnes under the date of August 11, the Japanese Government have the honor to communicate to the Governments of the four powers as follows:

1. His Majesty the Emperor has issued an Imperial rescript regarding Japan's acceptance of the provisions of the Potsdam declaration.
2. His Majesty the Emperor is prepared to authorize and ensure the signature of his Government and the Imperial General Headquarters of the necessary terms for carrying out the provisions of the Potsdam declaration. His Majesty is also prepared to issue his commands to all the military, naval, and air authorities of Japan and all the forces under their control wherever located to cease active operations, to surrender arms and to issue such other orders as may be required by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces for the execution of the abovementioned terms.