740.00119 E.W./1–1445

The Secretary of State to the United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy)

No. 33

The Secretary of State refers to Ambassador Murphy’s telegram No. 482, January 14, 1945, and his despatch No. 66 of the same date,97 and wishes to reiterate support of his maintenance of an unqualified policy of unconditional surrender, as transmitted in the Department’s telegram No. 371 of January 15 [16], 1945.

The Department is deeply concerned that this policy of unconditional surrender not be compromised in any way whatsoever. It views the endeavors of the Psychological Warfare Division to modify this policy as unwarranted and finds that the argumentation of the Psychological Warfare Division does not correspond to the views of this Government regarding the meaning of unconditional surrender.

The policy of unconditional surrender was meant from the start to apply to the entire German nation, and not merely to the German Government, the High Command, or the Nazi Party. It is meant to apply to the German Government, the High Command, and the Nazi Party, in particular, insofar as these agencies of the German people, possessing public power and authority, might represent the German people in any formal act acknowledging unconditional surrender, such as the signing of an instrument to that effect. The unconditional surrender itself applies, without exception, to all Germans, individually and collectively, in all respects, including the sense in which the German people may be considered as individual human beings.

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Great care was taken in the framing of the instrument of unconditional surrender of Germany agreed upon by the three major Powers to avoid therein the appearance of a contractual arrangement and to obtain the acknowledgement of the absolutely unlimited powers of the victors. There is now a growing possibility that the surrender instrument will not be signed and that military resistance will be brought to a close by a series of local capitulations. In this case where no formal acknowledgment of unconditional surrender may be obtained from German military and political authorities, it is particularly important that no statements be made by official or semi-official Allied sources to the German people as a whole or as individuals, which may be construed by them as promises or commitments on our part.

The policy of unconditional surrender has been steadfastly maintained by this Government since the Casablanca Conference, has never been altered nor modified in any way, and should not now be permitted to be compromised during the final stages of military operations against Germany.

  1. Despatch not printed.