740.00119 Control(Japan)/8–1345

The Secretary of State to the Secretary of War ( Stimson )

Dear Mr. Secretary: In your letter to me of August 13, 1945 you requested that in view of the progress of military operations against Japan I nominate a political adviser to the Commander-in-Chief, Army Forces, Pacific Area Command, who should also be available, if requested, after the surrender of Japan, to advise regarding political matters the United States Commander-in-Chief, who would be charged with the duty of enforcing the surrender terms. Yesterday, in conversation with Under Secretary Acheson, Major General Hilldring56 again stressed the urgency of this nomination.

[Page 700]

I have been giving careful thought to this matter; and, since a final conclusion in regard to the matter may take more time than is available to me in view of my imminent departure for London, I suggest the following arrangement. I nominate as Acting Political Adviser to the Supreme Commander, Mr. George Atcheson, Jr., Foreign Service Officer of the United States. I also propose that he should have the personal rank of Minister while acting in that capacity. Mr. Atcheson is an experienced and competent Foreign Service Officer who for over twenty years has devoted himself to Far Eastern work in the Foreign Service. Situations in which Mr. Atcheson has especially distinguished himself have included his handling of the party that was bombed on the Panay by the Japanese in 1937;57 his period of duty as Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs of the Department 1941–43; and his recent tour of duty as Counselor of Embassy in Chungking.

The President has recently determined to nominate Mr. Atcheson as United States Minister to Thailand. However, there is no immediate possibility of Mr. Atcheson’s taking up those duties, and I should therefore propose that this matter be left open for the time being. Mr. Atcheson is a Foreign Service Officer of long experience, possessing the highest quality of courage, intelligence, and character. The Department has the utmost confidence in him and is convinced that he will advise the Supreme Commander with wisdom and distinction.

I trust that this nomination will be agreeable to you and that at a later date you will let me review the matter again.

Sincerely yours,

James F. Byrnes

[The instrument of surrender was signed aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945; for text, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 493, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1733; also, Department of State Bulletin, September 9, 1945, page 364.]

  1. Maj. Gen. John H. Hilldring, Director, Civil Affairs Division, War Department.
  2. December 12, 1937; see Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, pp. 517 ff.