740.00119 P.W./8–1045: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant )44

[White House No. 319.] Please deliver at once to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the following message. Please impress upon the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the urgency of a reply to this message and telegraph at once his reply.

  • “1. This Government proposes that a reply as quoted in paragraph 3 be made to the Japanese Government’s acceptance of the Potsdam proclamation.45
  • “2. In order that hostilities may be terminated and further loss of life be prevented this Government hopes that the British Government will associate itself with this Government in making an early reply as quoted in paragraph 3.
  • “3. With regard to the Japanese Government’s message accepting the terms of the Potsdam proclamation but containing the statement ‘with the understanding that the said declaration does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a sovereign ruler’, our position is as follows:

    ‘From the moment of surrender the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms.

    ‘The Emperor and the Japanese High Command will be required to sign the surrender terms necessary to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration, to issue orders to all the armed forces of Japan to cease hostilities and to surrender their arms, and to issue such other orders as the Supreme Commander may require to give effect to the surrender terms.

    ‘Immediately upon the surrender the Japanese Government shall transport prisoners of war and civilian internees to places of safety, as directed, where they can quickly be placed aboard Allied transports.

    ‘The ultimate form of government of Japan shall, in accordance with the Potsdam declaration, be established by the freely expressed will of the Japanese people.

    ‘The armed forces of the Allied Powers will remain in Japan until the purposes set forth in the Potsdam declaration are achieved.’”

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Byrnes
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  1. Similar telegrams sent to Moscow on the same date as White House No. 320, to Chungking on August 11 as White House No. 321.
  2. For Japanese reply, see infra; it had been broadcast over the Tokyo radio and received earlier in this way.