740.00119 P. W./7–1345

No. 597
The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State
top secret

Dear Mr. Secretary: I am enclosing the text of the statement1 which I made to the press on July 10 regarding Japanese peace feelers so that you may know just how the land lies. My purpose in doing this was twofold. First, to put a stop to the growing speculation in this country, as indicated in speeches, editorials, et cetera, as to whether the Japanese Government had or had not made a bona fide peace offer. This trend of public thinking seemed to me to be dangerous, as tending to weaken the war morale of the country and also to create in Japan the belief that the American people are getting ready for a compromise peace and all the Japanese have to do is to continue to fight. Secondly, I believe that my statement will have created in Japan a situation where anything that the President may say as to what unconditional surrender will mean and what it will not mean will have maximum effect. In other words, my statement will not have contributed to creating in the Japanese mind any belief as to what, if anything, they can hope for, and if the President, either individually or jointly with others, now conveys the impression that unconditional surrender may not be as bad a matter as they had first believed, the door may well be opened to an early surrender. This of course is guesswork but it seems to us to be sound guesswork. I may say that my statement was unanimously approved by the [Page 903] Secretary’s Staff Committee, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Office of War Information.

I hope that early action may be taken on the proposed statement by the President which I gave you before your departure2 spelling out a little more definitely what unconditional surrender will mean.

With the very best of wishes to the President and yourself in the great job which you are about to undertake at Terminal , I am [etc.]

Joseph C. Grew
  1. Text in Department of State Bulletin, vol. xiii, p. 84.
  2. See document No. 594.