August 10, 1945: Japan Offers to Surrender, With One Condition

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Meeting just after midnight on August 9, 1945, in the first hour of August 10, 1945, with Emperor Hirohito present, the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War deadlocked yet again, 3-3 between peace and war factions.  Looking to Hirohito to break the deadlock, the Emperor suggested acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration if the Imperial Throne were preserved.  The Japanese government asked the Swiss government to present to the US its conditional acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration.  Here is the text of the American Charge d’Affaires  to the Secretary of State conveying the news:

 

 

August 10, 1945

Sir; I have the honor to inform you that the Japanese Minister in Switzerland, upon instructions received from his Government, has requested the Swiss Political Department to advise the Government of the United States of America of the following:

“In obedience to the gracious command of His Majesty the Emperor who, ever anxious to enhance the cause of world peace, desires earnestly to bring about a speedy termination of hostilities with a view to saving mankind from the calamities to be imposed upon them by further continuation of the war, the Japanese Government several weeks ago asked the Soviet Government, with which neutral relations then prevailed, to render good offices in restoring peace vis a vis the enemy powers. Unfortunately, these efforts in the interest of peace having failed, the Japanese Government in conformity with the august wish of His Majesty to restore the general peace and desiring to put an end to the untold sufferings entailed by war as quickly as possible, have decided upon the following.

“The Japanese Government are ready to accept the terms enumerated in the joint declaration which was issued at Potsdam on July 26th, 1945, by the heads of the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, and China, and later subscribed to by the Soviet Government, with the understanding that the said declaration does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a Sovereign Ruler.

“The Japanese Government sincerely hope that this understanding is warranted and desire keenly that an explicit indication to that effect will be speedily forthcoming.”

In transmitting the above message the Japanese Minister added that his Government begs the Government of the United States to forward its answer through the intermediary of Switzerland. Similar requests are being transmitted to the Governments of Great Britain and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics through the intermediary of Sweden, as well as to the Government of China through the intermediary of Switzerland. The Chinese Minister at Berne has already been informed of the foregoing through the channel of the Swiss Political Department.

Please be assured that I am at your disposal at any time to accept for and forward to my Government the reply of Government of the United States.

Accept (etc.)

Grassli,

Charge d’Affaires ad interim of Switzerland

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6 Comments

  1. “…any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a Sovereign Ruler.”

    Somewhere in Washington, aides are scrambling to include that historic phrase on the TOPTUS for future speeches–alliteration and all.

  2. Don, how many weeks earlier to 8/10 had the Japanese tried to surrender? 3-4?? well before 8/6 and 8/9- and it was blocked by Stalin who wanted into the Sino war and did so in Manchuria on 8/8. asking Uncle Joe stalin for his ‘good office’….. he killed between 30-40 mil people.-
    from above…
    ‘ the Japanese Government several weeks ago asked the Soviet Government, with which neutral relations then prevailed, to render good offices in restoring peace vis a vis the enemy powers. Unfortunately, these efforts in the interest of peace having failed, the Japanese Government in conformity with the august wish of His Majesty to restore the general peace and desiring to put an end to the untold sufferings entailed by war as quickly as possible, have decided upon the following…………………….

    Was the bomb really necessary? Uncle Joe and all those other good Democrats –

  3. “An inner cabinet in Tokyo authorized Japan’s only officially sanctioned diplomatic initiative. The Japanese dubbed this inner cabinet the Big Six because it comprised just six men: Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki, Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo, Army Minister Korechika Anami, Navy Minister Mitsumasa Yonai, and the chiefs of staff of the Imperial Army (General Yoshijiro Umezu) and Imperial Navy (Admiral Soemu Toyoda). In complete secrecy, the Big Six agreed on an approach to the Soviet Union in June 1945. This was not to ask the Soviets to deliver a “We surrender” note; rather, it aimed to enlist the Soviets as mediators to negotiate an end to the war satisfactory to the Big Six–in other words, a peace on terms satisfactory to the dominant militarists. Their minimal goal was not confined to guaranteed retention of the Imperial Institution; they also insisted on preservation of the old militaristic order in Japan, the one in which they ruled.”

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/894mnyyl.asp?page=3

  4. your Frank esq. quote is encouraging me to see another side to this issue – the ‘shock value of the bomb’ for the japanese peace party [sic] …… Really – i am expanding my view on this in my mind after 30 yrs or so…….N.B.:Kido Koichi , Lord keeper of the privy Seal is not mentioned in Franks gang of 6- maybe he was in under a nome de plume http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/008633.html
    ….As Asado points out, the dropping of the two atomic bombs was the equivalent of American aid to Japan’s beleaguered peace party. Thus, Kido Koichi, the emperor’s main advisor, agreed that “we of the peace party were assisted by the atomic bomb in our endeavor to end the war.” He agreed, in other words, with the very man Nobile attacks, Henry L. Stimson, who understood the “profound psychological shock” the bomb would have. As Asado writes: “This ‘strategy of shock’ worked, for it encouraged the peace party to redouble its efforts to bring about a decision for surrender.”… Both the Japanese peace group and the U.S. advisors accepted the atomic bomb and its use as the main instrument for ending the war, a linkage that Asado notes “rested on the atomic devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” It was, as Rear Admiral Takagi Sokichi said, one of the “gifts from Heaven,” since it averted an impending and probable military revolt by the Japanese generals, and hence guaranteed acceptance of the Potsdam terms.

  5. i mis sequenced Koichi Kido’s given and surnames. The Lord high keeper of the privy seal …..and sometime visitor to titi pu.

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