S—I must tell you they the news—hands Pres note from Sato & message from the Emperor6
S—worthwhile answer to answer—
Pres no respect.
S—not a war—will want lull—might answer as follows no specific—don’t know character—of K9 Mission—can’t—answer=a refusal
B—what [one word illegible] ins inspired it—fear of what you will do—
M—I think they guess
S—Can see our forces tanks etc
M—not only to USSR
S—to US. Eng & [one word illegible]
Pres—we had indicati[on] from Sweden10
Transcribed for this volume from longhand notes in pencil. In interviews with a Department of State historian on January 25 and February 8, 1960, Bohlen expressed certainty (since at earlier conferences of Heads of Government it had been his practice, without exception, to transcribe his notes into minutes or memoranda of conversations) that he transcribed these notes into a memorandum of conversation shortly after the meeting took place. Because of Stalin’s reference to the peace feeler from Japan, it is possible that such a memorandum would have been given special security handling, but a search of the Department’s various file collections and of the Truman and Byrnes Papers has failed to bring such a memorandum to light. A literal transcription of the original notes is therefore printed here. For a fuller reconstruction of this Truman–Stalin conversation, prepared by Bohlen in March 1960 on the basis of these notes and from memory, see document No. 1419, post.
For another account of this meeting, see Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 205. Byrnes subsequently (All in One Lifetime, p. 290) and erroneously ascribed the subject matter of this conversation to the Truman–Stalin meeting of July 17. See ante, p. 43.↩
- President Truman.↩
- See vol. i, document No. 586.↩
- Harry Hopkins.↩
- See document No. 1420, post.↩