SWNCC 21 Series

Minutes of Twenty-First Meeting of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee, August 12, 1945

1. Proclamation by the Emperor of Japan

Mr. McCloy stated that, after the 20th SWNCC meeting yesterday at which it was considered that no proclamation by the Emperor would be required, it had been agreed in a meeting with the Secretary of State that the Emperor of Japan, although not required to sign the instrument of surrender, should issue a proclamation authorizing representatives to sign the instrument of surrender on his behalf for delivery by them to the Supreme Commander and for publication to the people of Japan. He presented a draft proclamation. Certain revisions were discussed and agreed to.

The Committee approved the draft Proclamation by the Emperor, with amendments. (The Proclamation, as approved, appears as Enclosure “D” of SWNCC 21/6.74)

The Committee approved the Instrument of Surrender, after providing space for signature by the representatives of the four powers and amending it (a) to include the two provisions taken from the British draft75 and (b) to be consistent with the issuance of a proclamation by the Emperor. (The approved Instrument of Surrender appears as Enclosure “A” of SWNCC 21/6.76)

2. Instrument of Surrender (SWNCC 21/5, Enclosure “A”77)

The Committee reviewed this document. Mr. Gates referred to a letter from Secretary Forrestal to the Secretary of State recommending that acceptance of the instrument be countersigned by the United [Page 645] States, Chinese, United Kingdom and Soviet representatives. Admiral Gardner stated, in support of this recommendation, that signature by representatives of all four powers would serve to impress upon the Japanese from the beginning the unity of the powers. Mr. McCloy and Mr. Dooman felt that this is a political matter and that, if counter signatures were provided, this might form the basis for insistence by the other powers not only that they pass on the surrender documents but also that every subsequent decision of the Supreme Commander be concurred in by them in advance, thus prejudicing his freedom of action. This question was discussed at length throughout the meeting and was not resolved until after the meeting when provision of spaces for signature by representatives of the four powers, who will be present with the Supreme Commander at the time and place of surrender, was directed by the President.

Mr. Dunn read a draft of surrender terms proposed by the British. It was agreed that this draft contained desirable provisions not contained in our draft with respect to (a) the preservation and saving from damage of ships, aircraft and other military and civil property and (b) the liberation, protection, care and maintenance of allied prisoners of war and civilian internees. Similar provisions were incorporated in the United States draft instrument of surrender.

The Committee further revised the instrument of surrender to make it consistent with the signing of a proclamation by the Emperor.

3. General Order No. 1 (SWNCC 21/5, Enclosure “B”78)

Admiral Gardner recommended that further study be given to the division of areas for the purposes of surrender to various allied commanders as provided in paragraph I. The Kuriles, Ryukyus, the Admiralties and Korea, among others, were specifically discussed in this connection.

Mr. Dunn stated that the provisions of the General Order as drafted were acceptable to the State Department, subject to further study of the allocation of areas contained in paragraph I.

The Committee agreed to defer consideration of General Order No. 1 until it has been reviewed and revised as deemed necessary by representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was agreed that Mr. Dunn would obtain further data as to commitments made as to the Kuriles prior to further consideration of the matter by the Committee.

4. Directive to Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SWNCC 21/5, Enclosure “C”79)

The Committee approved the directive after revising it: (a) to cover the requirement that the Emperor sign a proclamation; (b) to [Page 646] conform more closely to the language contained in the communications addressed to our three allies on 11 August wherein it was proposed that the Supreme Commander accept, coordinate and carry out surrender terms; (c) to permit signing of the acceptance by the representatives of the four powers and to provide for the presence of Fleet Admiral Nimitz as U.S. representative; (d) to provide for the issuance of general orders; and (e) to clarify the directive in certain other respects. (The directive, as approved, appears as Enclosure “C”, SWNCC 21/6.80)

  1. August 12; see enclosure 1 to directive to General MacArthur, p. 648.
  2. Ante, p. 642.
  3. See enclosure 2 to directive to General MacArthur, p. 649.
  4. August 11, not printed.
  5. August 11, p. 635.
  6. August 11, not printed.
  7. For text as signed by President Truman, see p. 647.