761.94/7–2145: Telegram

No. 1259
The Japanese Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Sato) to the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs (Togo)

1476. Re your telegram No. 944.1

Your above telegram (repeat telegram2 received on the 28th and decoding completed) and my telegrams numbered 1449, 1450, and 14583 crossed each other on the way. In the meantime Attlee, the newly appointed Prime Minister, returned to Potsdam on the same day and is reported to have joined the conference immediately. Thus, item No. 1 of your telegram is now out of the question. Even if we did make a request, there is no possibility that the Soviet side would agree to my visit, which would only result in exposing our uneasy emotion and would be of no benefit to us.
Item No. 2 of your telegram stated that a request will first be made to the Soviet Union for its good offices, and, should the Soviet Government react coldly, that there is no other choice but to consider some other course or method. Praising or criticizing the Soviet Union will be regarded by them as being done to suit our convenience, and in view of the various circumstances the attitude mentioned above appears to lack applicability.
According to item No. 3 of your telegram, a United States spokesman has hinted that unconditional surrender still stands; however, should Japan accept surrender immediately, in reality the terms may be mollified. What the spokesman said is only natural and after considering these circumstances I presented my opinion in telegram No. 1427.4
I have no way of knowing the extent of the authority given to Captain Zacharias in his broadcast. His word, however, that Japan shall receive the benefit of the Atlantic Charter is in contradiction to the attitude taken by England and the United States when they rejected German participation under the said Charter prior to her surrender. Also, I find no reason why such attitude will be relaxed for present-day Japan when the same was not done at that time. Also, according to your opinion, you are not opposed to the restoration of peace based on the said Charter, Can this be interpreted [Page 1295] to mean that the Imperial Government has already accepted demilitarization? Then, if this is the case, the question is, why did Japan not notify the Soviet Government of acceptance of demilitarization when Japan first asked to send the special envoy? In the same way, the question will arise regarding prior recognition of independence for Korea.
Although the B. B. C. announced that the Prime Minister made a statement5 to the effect that the Japanese Government will “ignore” the July 26 tripartite declaration against Japan,6 we have not received any official telegram to this effect. Also, regardless of whether it is intended to ignore the above declaration, it was not reported through general information media. The tripartite declaration is an official expression of their will and not only does it supersede the above-mentioned statement of Captain Zacharias but in reality there is some difference on important points. (According to this declaration, it is interpreted that Japan’s territory shall be limited to Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Hokkaido, and the United States will reserve the right to occupy Okinawa even though the declaration did not substantiate this.)
Your telegram No. 8937 mentioned sending the special envoy only. Telegram No. 9318 clearly indicates seeking the good offices of the Soviet Government. Also, in your telegram No. 944, you have asked me to make it clear that the dispatch of the special envoy to the Soviet Union is to enable Stalin to acquire the position of advocate of world peace. This, to our sorrow, gives the impression that we are giving out our aims piecemeal. With regard to your comment that you have considered the possibility that the Soviet side might react coldly toward our request and that Japan may have to consider other ways and means, I feel embarrassed, since I am unable to understand what was meant by “other ways and means”.
All things considered, as mentioned in my telegram No. 1450, I am awaiting a reply from the Soviet side. If there is no reply all day on the 30th (Monday), I am inclined to press for a reply immediately.
Shortly after this telegram was drafted your telegram No. 9529 arrived. With reference to the third item, please understand that the meeting with Molotov will [not?] take place as mentioned in the first item of this telegram unless a special, concrete, and definite proposal for termination of the war is presented by the Imperial Government of Japan.
  1. Document No. 1233.
  2. i. e., a repetition of telegram No. 944 requested because of delay or garbles in the original transmission.
  3. Documents Nos. 1235, 1234, and 1256, respectively.
  4. Document No. 1228.
  5. See document No. 1258.
  6. Document No. 1382.
  7. Document No. 582, printed in vol. i.
  8. Document No. 1229.
  9. Document No. 1257.