Nanking Embassy Files, Lot F–73: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China (Hurley)

[White House No. 323.] For immediate delivery to Chinese Government.

As a result of circulation of draft of reply to Japanese Government, have made unimportant change in language in paragraph 3 of draft which was approved by your Government.

In order to save time, am forwarding reply to the Japanese Government without waiting for approval of this slight change by the several Governments, feeling confident the change will meet with approval.

Message forwarded through Swiss Government reads as follows:

“I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of August 10 and in reply to inform you that the President of the United States has directed me to send to you for transmission by your Government to the Japanese Government the following message on behalf of the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and China:

‘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 will be required to authorize and ensure the signature by the Government of Japan and Japanese Imperial General Headquarters of the surrender terms necessary to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration, and shall issue his commands to all the Japanese military, naval and air authorities and to all the forces under their control wherever located to cease active operations 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.

‘Accept, sir, et cetera’ ”.

[Byrnes]