740.00119 PW/8–245

Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Strategic Services ( Donovan ) to the Secretary of State

The following information, a sequel to a memorandum dated 13 July concerning a new Japanese attempt to approach Allied authorities through OSS representatives in Switzerland, has been received from Mr. Allen Dulles in Wiesbaden. The information was supplied by the source of the reference memorandum, Per Jacobsson, a Swedish national and economic adviser to the Bank for International Settlements in Basel. Jacobsson had asked to see Mr. Dulles and was brought to Wiesbaden for that purpose on 15 July, returning immediately to Basel.

Jacobsson reports that between 10 and 13 July he had a series of conferences with Yoshimura, a Japanese official attached to the Bank for International Settlements, and Kojiro Kitamura, a director of the Bank, representative of the Yokohama Specie Bank, and former financial attaché in Berlin. Yoshimura and Kitamura claim to be acting in consultation with the Japanese Minister to Switzerland, Shunichi Kase, and Brigadier General Kiyotomi Okamoto, former Japanese military attaché in Bern, who now is believed to be chief of Japanese Intelligence in Europe. Yoshimura and Kitamura claim further that Kase and Okamoto have direct and secret means of communicating with the Japanese Chief of Staff.17 Yoshimura also claims that the peace group which he represents includes General [Page 490] Yoshijiro TJmezu, Army Chief of Staff; Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai, Minister of Navy; and Shigenori Togo, Foreign Minister.

Yoshimura and Kitamura appeared to Jacobsson no longer to question the principle of unconditional surrender, though at one point they asked whether unconditional military and naval surrender might not be sufficient. On his own initiative, Jacobsson replied that such a proposal would not be acceptable to the Allies but would be considered merely a quibble. Both Japanese officials raised the question of maintaining Japanese territorial integrity, but they apparently did not mean to include Manchukuo, Korea or Formosa.

Throughout discussions with Jacobsson, the Japanese officials stressed only two points: (a) the preservation of the Emperor, and (b) the possibility of returning to the constitution promulgated in 1889. Kitamura prepared and presented to Jacobsson a memorandum asking him to sound out Mr. Dulles’ opinion on the two points.

(Mr. Dulles feels that these two Japanese are insisting on the retention of the Emperor because they feel that he alone can take effective action with respect to surrender and that some hope of survival must be held out to him in order to gain his support for unconditional surrender.)

Later Yoshimura and Kitamura prepared a second memorandum in which they asked how, if Tokyo were ready to proceed, conversations could be arranged with Allied representatives and what form of authorization would be required.

Jacobsson is personally convinced that these approaches are serious and that the Japanese group in Switzerland is in constant cable contact with Tokyo. This conviction appears to be based on impressions only, since his two Japanese contacts never stated precisely that they had received instructions from any authorized agency in Tokyo.

(Mr. Dulles, in carefully guarded statements, pointed out to Jacobsson that:

Mr. Grew’s statement of 10 July17a covered the situation. As yet these approaches which Jacobsson described, in the absence of conclusive evidence that they emanated from a fully-empowered official, fall squarely into the category of “peace feelers” described by Mr. Grew.
If competent Japanese authorities accepted unconditional surrender, appropriate Allied authorities would determine how such a surrender should be effected.
He (Mr. Dulles) had no comments to make with regard to dynastic and constitutional questions.
Prompt unconditional surrender appears to be the only way to save anything out of the wreckage.

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(Mr. Dulles agrees with Jacobsson that the Japanese have taken to heart the consequences which Germany has suffered, including extensive physical destruction and the collapse of all German authority, because it prolonged a futile struggle many months after its hopelessness was wholly apparent. Jacobsson feels therefore that a tendency is growing in certain Japanese circles to try to terminate the war at any cost, provided that non-militaristic Japanese governmental institutions can be preserved in the Japanese home islands.

(Mr. Dulles expects within a few days to obtain some evidence as to whether these approaches by Yoshimura and Kitamura have any serious backing or represent merely an effort by the Japanese group in Switzerland to start something on their own initiative.)

William J. Donovan
  1. Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu.
  2. Department of State Bulletin, July 15, 1945, p. 84.