Peace feelers through the Soviet Union

Editor’s Note.—It has not been possible to establish the precise extent to which the United States Delegation at the Berlin Conference was aware of the contents of the papers of Japanese origin printed in this section and in volume II, pages 12481264 and 12911298. The contents of certain of these papers were known to United States officials in Washington, however, as early as July 13 (see Walter Millis, ed., The Forrestal Diaries (New York, 1951), page 74; cf. pages 75–76) and information on Japanese peace maneuvers was received by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson at Babelsberg on July 16 (see volume II, document No. 1236, footnote 4). It has also been determined that a series of messages of Japanese origin on this subject was received by the United States Delegation during the course of the Berlin Conference and that these messages were circulated at Babelsberg to some members of the President’s party. Furthermore, in a conference on January 24, 1956, between Truman and members of his staff and Department of State historians, Truman supplied the information that he was familiar with the contents of the first Japanese peace feeler (i. e., the proposal contained in document No. 582) before Stalin mentioned it to him at Babelsberg (see volume II, page 87) and that he was familiar with the contents of the second Japanese peace feeler (i. e., the approach reported in document No. 1234) before Stalin brought it to the attention of Truman and Attlee at the Tenth Plenary Meeting of the Berlin Conference on July 28 (see volume II, page 460).

The texts of the documents in this section are translations prepared for these volumes by the Division of Language Services, Department of State, from microfilm copies, now deposited in the Library of Congress, of portions of the archives of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They are all drawn from the reel of microfilm catalogued as follows by the Library of Congress: “S–55 Documents relating to negotiations between Japan, and the U. S. S. R. concerning the termination of the War including the Soviet declaration of war against Japan . . . . Reel S586.” For a published collection of Japanese documents on this subject in the original language, see Shusen shiroku (Tokyo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1952).

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