740.00119 PW/7–1845

No. 1239
The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the President
top secret

Memorandum for the President

The Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the proposed proclamation by the Heads of State dealing with the unconditional surrender formula [Page 1269]for Japan as prepared by the State, War and Navy Departments and forwarded to you.1

From the military point of view the Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the proclamation is generally satisfactory. They believe, however, that the wording of the last sentence in the next to the last paragraph might well be clarified. To some of the extreme devotees of the Emperor, the phrase, “This may include a constitutional monarchy under the present dynasty,” may be misconstrued as a commitment by the United Nations to depose or execute the present Emperor and install some other member of the Imperial family. To the radical elements in Japan, this phrase may be construed as a commitment to continue the institution of the Emperor and Emperor worship.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff therefore recommend that the next to the last paragraph of the proclamation be changed to read as follows:

*“The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as our objectives are accomplished and there has been established beyond doubt a peacefully inclined, responsible government of a character representative of the Japanese people. This may include a constitutional monarchy under the present dynasty if it be shown to the complete satisfaction of the world that such a government will never again aspire to aggression. Subject to suitable guarantees against further acts of aggression, the Japanese people will be free to choose their own form of government.”

Such a statement would involve no commitment by the United Nations to support of any particular form of Japanese government, would enable the United Nations to prevent the establishment of any unacceptable government and would be more likely to appeal to all elements of the Japanese populace.

From a strictly military point of view the Joint Chiefs of Staff consider it inadvisable to make any statement or take any action at the present time that would make it difficult or impossible to utilize the authority of the Emperor to direct a surrender of the Japanese forces in the outlying areas as well as in Japan proper.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
William D. Leahy

Fleet Admiral, U. S. Navy,
Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy
.
  1. See vol. i, document No. 592, enclosure 2.
  2. Deletions are lined out and additions underlined. [Footnote in the original. Words underlined in the original are here printed in italics.]