740.00119 Potsdam/7–2645

No. 1382

Proclamation by the Heads of Governments, United States, China and the United Kingdom2

We, the President of the United States, the President of the National Government of the Republic of China and the Prime Minister [Page 1475] of Great Britain, 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, will3 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 milita[r]istic 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 Declaration4 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 strength[en]ing 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 those industries 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.
Harry S Truman
Winston Churchill

by H. S. T.
President of China
by wire5
  1. Harriman sent to Byrnes, in telegram No. 2841 of August 10, 1945 (Moscow Embassy Files—711.9 Japanese Surrender), the following English translation of “Molotov’s statement handed to Japanese Ambassador and published in Soviet press August 8th declaring war on Japan”:

    “After the defeat and surrender of Hitlerite Germany Japan remained the only great power which still held out for continuing the war.

    “The demand of the three powers—the United States of America, Great Britain, and China [—] of July 26, 1945 concerning the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces was refused by Japan. The proposal of the Japanese Government to the Soviet Union concerning mediation in the war in the Far East [cf. ante, pp. 12621264] thereby loses all basis.

    “Taking into consideration the refusal of Japan to surrender, the allies approached the Soviet Government with a proposal [cf. document No. 1282] to join the war against Japanese aggression and thereby shorten the length of the war, reduce the number of victims, and assist in the prompt reestablishment of general peace.

    “Faithful to its obligations to its Allies, the Soviet Government accepted the proposal of the Allies and adhere to the statement of the Allied powers of July 26, 1945.

    “The Soviet Government considers that its policy is the only means of hastening the coming peace, to deliver the people from further sacrifice and suffering, and enable the Japanese people to avoid those dangers and destructions which Germany suffered after its refusal to surrender unconditionally.

    “In view of the foregoing, the Soviet Government declares that as of tomorrow, that is, as of 9 August, the Soviet Union will consider it is in a state of war with Japan.”

    Concerning the French “consent” to the tripartite proclamation of July 26, see document No. 1412.

  2. A copy in the Truman Papers, apparently earlier, has “United States, United Kingdom, and China” in the heading. It also begins: “(1) We, — the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek”. The last name has been deleted and the following substitution made as a manuscript interpolation by Truman: “and the President of the National Government of the Republic of China”. At the end of this copy there is the further manuscript notation by Truman: “Change order in paragraph 1 so as to read Pres. of U. S., Pres. of China and Prime Minister of Great Britain”. See documents Nos. 1251 and 1252.
  3. The words printed in italics throughout this document were originally underscored in document No. 594 (printed in vol. i), apparently to call attention to changes from an earlier draft (see vol. i, document No. 592. enclosure 2). This emphasis was inadvertently carried over into later drafts (see documents Nos. 1244 and 1249) and into the final text of the proclamation.
  4. Text in Department of State Bulletin, vol. ix, p. 393.
  5. The last two “signatures” are in Truman’s handwriting. In the copy referred to in footnote 2, ante, which also bears three “signatures” in Truman’s handwriting, the second appears as “Winston Churchill by authorization H. S. T.” This copy has no place or date. For Churchill’s authorization, see document No. 1249. For Chiang’s concurrence, see document No. 1251.