740.00119 (Potsdam)/5–2446

No. 589
Briefing Book Paper1
top secret

Unconditional Surrender of Japan and Policy Toward Liberated Areas in the Far East in Relation to Unconditional Surrender

i. proposed statement of united nations aims

It is proposed that the principal United Nations at war with Japan issue a joint statement or parallel statements presenting in general terms the salient features of our program for the treatment of defeated Japan, in expectation that the Japanese people will be more inclined to accept unconditional surrender if reassured in regard to their future, hard though that future may be, than they now are when facing the unknown. (A draft statement is now being prepared by the State and War Departments.3)

Without abandoning our formula of “unconditional surrender”, it is believed that the Japanese people could be informed in more precise terms than have been employed in the past of the treatment which they can expect to receive upon unconditional surrender and of our intention to permit them to retain their political institutions, in so far as they are not inimicable to peaceful international relations. Such a statement of aims would tend (1) to dissipate the present Japanese fear of the unknown, (2) to combat the Japanese domestic propaganda to the effect that unconditional surrender means the extinction of the Japanese state and the enslavement of the people, (3) to create a conflict in Japan between the die-hard militarists and those who wish to end the war before all of Japan is destroyed, (4) to eliminate the most serious single obstacle to Japanese unconditional surrender, namely, concern over the fate of the throne, and (5) to satisfy a growing body of opinion in United States which is demanding that we endeavor to hasten the end of the war in the Pacific by stating definitely our war aims.

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  1. Annex 3 to the attachment to document No. 177.
  2. For other extracts from this paper, see documents Nos. 574 and 607.
  3. See enclosure 2 to document No. 592.