Memorandum by the Acting Director of the Office of Strategic Services ( Cheston ) to the Secretary of State
The following is the substance of a message, dated 1 August, received from Mr. Allen Dulles, Chief of the OSS mission in Wiesbaden. The information contained in this message is a sequel to memoranda dated 13, 16 and 18 July concerning a Japanese attempt to approach Allied authorities through OSS representatives.
Immediately following is a summary of a report by Per Jacobsson, a Swedish national and economic adviser to the Bank for International Settlements, transmitted to Mr. Dulles through an intermediary:
The Japanese Chief of Staff has acknowledged without comment a long cable which Brigadier General Kiyotomi Okamoto sent from Switzerland on 19 July. Okamoto’s telegram reportedly stated that Japan has lost the war and must promptly accept the consequences. [Okamoto is believed to be the head of Japanese Intelligence in Europe.]20
The Japanese Foreign Minister has also acknowledged a detailed report from Shunichi Kase, Japanese Minister in Bern. Kase’s report, sent on or about 21 July, included (a) Mr. Grew’s statement of 10 July, (b) a memorandum from Kojiro Kitamura, director of the Bank for International Settlements and former financial attaché in Berlin, who has been active in the current Japanese approaches to Mr. Dulles, and (c) a statement of Kase’s own position. The Foreign Minister’s reply to Kase’s message contained the following query: “Is that all you have to say?” Kase interprets this query as an invitation to continue peace approaches.[Page 493]
The recent tripartite ultimatum to Japan21 has been the chief topic of discussion among Japanese groups in Switzerland. Their first reaction, on the basis of excerpts published in the Swiss press, was that (a) the proclamation showed a lack of understanding of Japanese character, (b) the document should have not been framed on a basis of “take it or leave it”, (c) the inclusion of China as a signatory represented an “added element of humiliation”, and (d) the document should have been sent through private channels rather than publicly. After receiving the full English text through Jacobsson, and after further study, the attitude of the group changed, and the proclamation was accepted as an “astute document which left a possible way out”. The group was particularly impressed by “unconditional surrender” in connection with the “Japanese armed forces” and to the reference to revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. As a result, a telegram stressing these points was to be sent to Tokyo on 30 July.
The following is a summary of a memorandum to Mr. Dulles from the Japanese group in contact with Per Jacobsson. Jacobsson transmitted this memo along with his own report summarized above.
The Japanese group emphasizes that it is hoping for some decision within a week unless “resistance is too great”. The Allies should not take “too seriously” what was said over the Tokyo radio about the tripartite proclamation. This radio comment was merely “propaganda to maintain morale in Japan”. The real reply will be given through some “official channel”, possibly by Minister Kase or General Okamoto, if an official Government reply is not made over the Tokyo radio.
Mr. Dulles also has been informed, by a German authority on the Far East living in Switzerland who is one of his regular contacts, that Yosikazu Fujimura, a Japanese Navy representative in Bern, has sent seven long cables to his superiors in Tokyo during the past two months urging immediate cessation of hostilities. His superiors cabled in reply that the Japanese Navy no longer is able to “act alone”, and instructed Fujimura not to take the initiative without orders from Tokyo, but to maintain his “most valuable contacts”.
[Fujimura, a former Japanese Assistant Naval Attaché in Bern, reportedly has direct radio contact with the Navy Ministry and Navy [Page 494] Chief of Staff22 in Tokyo. To this same German source Fujimura previously had indicated an interest in the part which Mr. Dulles played in arranging for the German capitulation in North Italy and in ascertaining what terms short of unconditional surrender might have been granted these Germans. He suggested that Japanese naval circles in Tokyo would be willing to surrender provided they were given assurances (a) that the Emperor would be retained and (b) if possible, that they could save some face from the present wreckage. Fujimura’s approaches were the subject of memoranda dated 2 and 4 June.]23
The German source reports and Jacobsson confirms that Fujimura and Kitamura have established close contact with each other. The two men, Jacobsson confirms, are agreed that joint action by all Japanese services in Switzerland might make some impression on the Japanese Government, since Bern now “is probably next to Moscow the most important Japanese foreign post.”
- Brackets appear in the original.↩
- For proclamation calling for the surrender of Japan, approved by the Heads of Government of the United States, China, and the United Kingdom at Potsdam, July 26, see Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, vol. ii, p. 1474. For earlier documentation on unconditional surrender of Japan, see ibid., vol. i, pp. 884 ff., and ibid., vol. ii, pp. 1248 ff.↩
- Adm. Soemu Toyoda.↩
- Brackets appear in the original.↩