740.00119 PW/6–1545: Telegram

No. 153
The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State

top secret

7. For Acting Secretary Grew (eyes only) from Edward R. Stettinius, UNCIO, San Francisco, Calif[.]

I have seen a summary of a memorandum to be sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to be printed as document SWNCC–149,1 reporting that the Joint Chiefs of Staff believe that Japan may seek a termination of hostilities on certain specified terms. It may be worth considering whether the suggestion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding a demand for unconditional surrender should be made into a three or four power demand to be issued at or after the Big Three meeting. You might also consider whether it would be useful to couple such a demand with some assurances to the Japanese regarding their future. I think we should give careful thought to placing this matter on the agenda of the Big Three meeting. The four power ultimatum suggested by the Prime Minister at Yalta2 seems well worth our careful consideration at this time. Certainly, if there is any chance of success, we should explore every possibility at the Big Three meeting, and make a real effort to get the Russians to agree to join us. This approach might well fit in with the discussions you have been having with Soong and which he will shortly have with Stalin.3

If the Joint Chiefs feel that a demand for unconditional surrender is in any case advisable on the occasion of the termination of the Okinawa operation, I suggest that it be made unilaterally by the President in such a way so as not to prejudice any action which the Big Three may desire to take.

I have discussed this matter with Hickerson who agrees with me that it deserves your careful consideration. I would be glad to hear your reaction, after you have considered the matter.