Department of the Army Files
The Secretary of War
) to the
Dear Mr. President: I am enclosing herewith a memorandum to you on the matter of the proposed warning to Japan, a subject which I have heretofore discussed with you. I have tried to state as succinctly as possible how the matter lies in my mind, and in the course of preparing the memorandum, I have consulted with the Secretary of the Navy and the Acting Secretary of State, each of whom has approved the tenor of the memorandum and has subscribed to the recommendations contained in it.
I have also had prepared a proposed form of proclamation which has been discussed with representatives of the State Department and the Navy Department, as well as with officers of the General Staff but which has not been placed in final form or in any sense approved as a [Page 889] final document by the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Navy or the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It has been drafted merely to put on paper something which would give us some idea of how a warning of the character we have in mind might appear. You will note that it is written without specific relation to the employment of any new weapon. Of course it would have to be revamped to conform to the efficacy of such a weapon if the warning were to be delivered, as would almost certainly be the case, in conjunction with its use.2
As these papers were primarily prepared as a possible background for some of your discussions at the forthcoming conference, this added element was not included, but a suitable provision could be readily added at the appropriate time.
I shall continue to discuss this matter with the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Navy, as well as with the representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and will of course keep you currently informed of any further suggestions we may have.
- This paper bears the following manuscript notation: “Handed to the President by Sec. War July 2/45”.↩
- According to John J. McCloy, at a meeting with Truman at the White House in June 1945 (which McCloy attended as Assistant Secretary of War) the suggestion had been made that the Japanese should be warned, before an atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, that the United States had such a weapon. Summarizing the discussion some years later, McCloy stated that neither Secretary of War Stimson nor the Joint Chiefs of Staff had thought well of such a specific warning, one reason against it being the possibility that the work on the bomb might be unsuccessful. See John J. McCloy, The Challenge to American Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 1953), pp. 42–43. Louis Morton, in “The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb”, Foreign Affairs, vol. 35, pp. 341, 348. definitely identifies the meeting referred to as the one which took place on June 18. While the discussion of this subject was not recorded in the minutes of that meeting prepared by the Secretary of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (see document No. 598), it may have constituted the “certain other matters” referred to in those minutes (see ibid., footnote 8). Cf. Millis, ed., The Forrestal Diaries , pp. 70–71. Concerning earlier recommendations on the use of the atomic bomb against Japan without prior warning of the nature of the weapon, see Henry L. Stimson, “The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb”, Harper’s Magazine, vol. 194, pp. 100–101; Truman, Year of Decisions, p. 419; Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, pp. 261–262; Byrnes, All in One Lifetime, p. 285; “A Report to the Secretary of War, June 1945”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 1, 1946, p. 2.↩
- See document No. 598.↩
- The text of this enclosure was sent to the Department of State by the War Department on July 2. On July 3 the Department of State transmitted to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of War by telephone the following suggestion for revising the second sentence of paragraph 12 (file No. 740.00119 PW/7–245): “This may include a constitutional monarchy under the present dynasty if completely satisfactory evidence convinces the peace-loving nations of the genuine determination of such a government to follow policies which will render impossible for all future time the development of aggressive militarism in Japan.” Cf. post, p. 899.↩
- Brackets throughout this document appear in the original.↩
- Released December 1, 1943. Text in Department of State Bulletin, vol. ix, p. 393.↩