761.94/7–2145: Telegram

No. 1261
The Japanese Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Sato) to the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs (Togo)

1484. Re my telegram No. 1476,1 item 6.

Worried by the delay in the reply from the Soviet side, I met with Lozovsky on the 30th at 5 p.m. and again conveyed our wishes. The following conversation took place:

Sato: I have come to receive your reply concerning our request for assistance by the Government of the Soviet Union to end the war which was presented to your Government on the 25th.2 Although it was arranged that we should be notified as soon as the reply was ready, since it is now Monday I have come to inquire about your reply.

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Lozovsky: Since both Stalin, Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, and Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, are now in Berlin, the reply will necessarily take several days to arrive. I regret to say that the reply cannot be delivered yet.3

Sato: I fully understand the circumstances. However, the three countries—Great Britain, the United States, and China—issued a joint declaration against Japan on the 26th,4 pressing unconditional surrender on Japan. Unconditional surrender is, after all, out of the question for the Japanese Government. Our view remains the same as was stated on the 13th, at our meeting before the last.5 If it is possible to avoid such a formula, however, Japan desires to end the war, with an extremely conciliatory attitude, so long as Japan is guaranteed the nation’s honor and existence. For this purpose we asked the Soviet Government for assistance. I hope that Marshal Stalin, Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, will give special consideration to this point. Although it has not been possible to receive your reply, I shall be happy if you will notify Commissar Molotov that I have come to see the Acting People’s Commissar in order to receive the reply.

Lozovsky: I shall do my best to convey Your Excellency’s request to Molotov today by all means.

Sato: I shall be much obliged if you will kindly do so. The Japanese Government has decided to send the Emperor’s most trusted Prince Konoye as special envoy to Moscow. As I explained at previous meetings, the envoy will discuss a wide range of subjects as to how the Japanese Government should work to re-establish peace in the Far East and will seek your Government’s assistance. I shall also appreciate it if you will inform Mr. Molotov that my understanding is that Prince Konoye will be empowered to discuss a wide range of subjects with the Soviet Government. Also, the Japanese Government understands that various reservations and stipulations will be made by the Soviet Union in connection with the Japanese Government’s request for assistance.

Lozovsky: I shall arrange as you request immediately.

Sato: The point which I am concerned about is the possibility that the tripartite joint declaration may obstruct the assistance from the Soviet Government which is desired by the Japanese Government. However, since the top leaders of the Soviet Government are now in Berlin, I hope that they will give appropriate consideration to the removal of such obstruction.

Lozovsky: I promise again to convey your request.

  1. Document No. 1259.
  2. See documents Nos. 1234 and 1235.
  3. Sato, having received no reply during the course of the Berlin Conference, requested an interview with Molotov upon the latter’s return to Moscow. At this interview, which took place on August 8, Molotov notified him of the Soviet declaration of war on Japan. See document No. 1382, footnote 1.
  4. Document No. 1382.
  5. See vol. i, document No. 586.