Addison to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram D1415 LONDON, 11 August 1945, 2.47 a.m.


My telegram D. No. 1412. [1]

The following message from the United States Secretary of State was delivered tonight by the United States Ambassador.


1. This Government proposes that a reply as quoted in paragraph 3 be made to the Japanese Government’s acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation.

2. In order that hostilities may be terminated and further loss of life be prevented, this Government hopes that the British Government will associate itself with this Government in making an early reply as quoted in paragraph 3.

3. 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 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 and the Japanese High Command will be required to sign the surrender terms necessary to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam declaration to issue orders to all the armed forces of Japan to cease hostilities 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.’ End of the United States Note.

The following reply has been given to the United States Ambassador: Begins:-

We have examined your draft. While agreeing in principle, we desire to make certain amendments on the ground that we doubt if it is wise to ask the Emperor personally to sign the surrender terms and therefore, we would suggest the following:-

‘The Emperor shall authorise and ensure the signature by the Government of Japan and the Japanese 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, etc. (as in your draft).’ This is in keeping with clause 13 of the Potsdam declaration. [2] This, we believe, also will secure the immediate surrender of the Japanese in all outlying areas and thereby save American, British and Allied lives. We presume that if we are in accord on these terms we should get the agreement of General Stalin and General Chiang Kai Shek.

Reply ends.

We trust you will agree.


1 See Document 173, note 1.

2 Document 163.


[AA : A1066, P45/10/1/3, ii]