740.00119 PW/7–2545

No. 1249
Prime Minister Churchill to President Truman
most secret

My Dear Mr. President, I thank you for your letter of July 25,1

I return the copy of the Proclamation to Japan by the Heads of Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of China, which I received from you yesterday. I am willing to sign it on behalf of His Majesty’s Government in its present form, and I hope you will issue it as you propose whenever you choose and as soon as possible.

On a minor point, I suggest that the word “industries” might be added where shown in paragraph 11, otherwise the word “those” would seem at first sight to apply to Separations.2

Yours very sincerely,

Winston S. Churchill
[Page 1280]
We,—The President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the President of the Republic of China,4 representing the hundreds of millions of our countrymen, have conferred and agree that Japan shall be given an opportunity to end this war.
The prodigious land, sea and air forces of the United States, the British Empire and of China, many times reinforced by their armies and air fleets from the west are poised to strike the final blows upon Japan. This military power is sustained and inspired by the determination of all the Allied nations to prosecute the war against Japan until she ceases to resist.
The result of the futile and senseless German resistance to the might of the aroused free peoples of the world stands forth in awful clarity as an example to the people of Japan. The might that now converges on Japan is immeasurably greater than that which, when applied to the resisting Nazis, necessarily laid waste to the lands, the industry and the method of life of the whole German people. The full application of our military power, backed by our resolve, will5 mean the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland.
The time has come for Japan to decide whether she will continue to be controlled by those self-willed militaristic advisers whose unintelligent calculations have brought the Empire of Japan to the threshold of annihilation, or whether she will follow the path of reason.
Following are our terms. We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay.
There must be eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest, for we insist that a new order of peace, security and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world.
Until such a new order is established and until there is convincing proof that Japan’s war-making power is destroyed, points in Japanese territory to be designated by the Allies shall be occupied to secure the achievement of the basic objectives we are here setting forth.
The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.
The Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives.
We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners. The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established.
Japan shall be permitted to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind, but not those6 which would enable her to re-arm for war. To this end, access to, as distinguished from control of, raw materials shall be permitted. Eventual Japanese participation in world trade relations shall be permitted.
The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people a peacefully inclined and responsible government.
We call upon the Government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all the Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.
  1. Document No. 1248. For the passage omitted here, see document No. 1184.
  2. This letter bears the following manuscript notation in the top margin: “Accept”.
  3. In a variant draft in the Truman Papers, otherwise identical with this draft, paragraph 1 begins: “We—The President of the United States, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, representing”. This variant draft bears the following manuscript query by Truman: “Should China be asked?” Truman has also added “& China” to the heading, which had previously been changed to read: “Draft Proclamation by the Heads of Governments[,] United States … United Kingdom”. The text sent to Chiang for concurrence named the three countries in the heading but omitted the Head of Government of China in paragraph 1. See documents Nos. 1246 and 1251.
  4. See document No. 1382, footnote 3.
  5. At this point Churchill has interpolated the word “industries”.