SWNCC 21 Series

Extract From Minutes of Twentieth Meeting of State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee, August 11, 1943

1. Communications to United Kingdom, USSR and China Concerning Supreme Commander

Mr. McCloy 56 circulated separate draft communications57 to the United Kingdom, Soviet and Chinese Governments with respect to the designation of General MacArthur as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers to accept, coordinate and carry into effect the Japanese surrender, and the designation of representatives of each to be present with him. These documents, he explained, were prepared at the request of Secretary of State Byrnes. He pointed out that each communication set forth in general terms the Japanese forces which are to surrender to its designated commander, these provisions to be made specific later in General Order No. 1. He also pointed out that each of the communications included a statement that it was assumed that this procedure would be acceptable and that preliminary instructions were being issued to General MacArthur. He stated also that the War Department, with the approval of Mr. Byrnes, was communicating this information to General MacArthur.

In response to a question by Mr. Gates,58 Mr. McCloy stated that he was informed that the selection of General MacArthur as Supreme Commander had been directed by President Truman.

The Committee approved these three draft communications, on behalf of their respective departments, and agreed that they be delivered to the Secretary of State.

2. Instrument of Surrender, Directive to Supreme Commander and General Order No. 1

Mr. McCloy stated that it had been determined this morning not to have the Emperor sign the surrender instrument and that the note sent to the Japanese had been revised accordingly. This, he stated, required revision of the instrument of surrender. He presented redrafts of (1) the Instrument of Surrender, (2) the Directive to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers to be signed by President Truman, and (3) General Order No. 1 to be issued by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters at the direction of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.59 He stated that these documents had been approved by the War Department and requested their prompt consideration by the State and Navy Departments.

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He explained that the term “Imperial General Headquarters” had been substituted for “High Command” in all documents as a result of research by the War and Navy members of the Joint Staff Planners. He also stated that the draft General Order No. 1 was intended to be forwarded to General MacArthur with instructions to use it as a guide rather than as a document to be literally adhered to, thus giving him the authority to alter it to meet circumstances as they exist at the time of issuance.

The Committee agreed that these three documents be processed by the Secretariat as a paper in the SWNCC 21 series for consideration by the Committee.

3. Further Communication to the Japanese

Mr. McCloy presented a draft of a further communication to the Japanese Government to be transmitted after receipt of agreement by the Japanese to the note transmitted to it this morning and after agreement by the three Allies to the proposals contained in the communications to be addressed to them (Item 1). This communication sets forth the steps to be taken at once by the Japanese Government. It will not be cleared with our Allies but copies will be sent them after transmission.

The Committee approved this draft communication to the Japanese Government.

  1. John J. McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War.
  2. Not printed here. (740.00119 Control (Japan)/6–646)
  3. Artemus L. Gates, Under Secretary of the Navy.
  4. For General Order No. 1, see infra.