5-152 Memorandum for Admiral Leahy, Admiral King, General Arnold from Brigadier General Andrew J. McFarland

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: June 4, 1945

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for Admiral Leahy, Admiral King, General Arnold from Brigadier General Andrew J. McFarland1

June 4, 1945 Washington, D.C.

Top Secret

SUBJECT: Immediate Demand for the Unconditional Surrender of Japan.2

J.C.S. 1340/1 having been submitted informally, General Marshall approved subparagraphs a and b as presented in SM-1737 subject to the amendment of the new paragraph 3 on pages 7 and 8 as indicated in the enclosure.

Your action is requested.

A. M.




3. If Japan should make a public peace proposal while we are redeploying men from the European Theater to the Pacific Oceans Areas, it might have considerable effect on the American people. War weariness in the United States may demand the return home of those who have already fought long and well in the European war regardless of the effect of such return on the prosecution of the Japanese war. It may be politically and psychologically difficult to refuse a Japanese offer which prevents an actual invasion of the home islands with the incident saving of American casualties. might then lead to some public demand for acceptance of a Japanese offer designed to prevent both invasion of the home islands and our prosecution of the war to a point which would destroy Japanese capacity to start a new war. A demand for unconditional surrender now would tend (a) to keep before the American public the national importance of rendering Japan impotent to commit further aggression and (b) to reduce the psychological injury to our effort to win the war which might be the result of any tempting Japanese offer for a peace falling short of destruction of Japan’s war potential. These advantages would be in addition to the obvious advantages of the proposal in serving as a useful vehicle of our propaganda and in providing a possible foundation for a surrender which would not lead to an inconclusive peace.3


NOTE: Deletions are lined out.

Additions are underlined.


Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), 387 Japan [5-9-45], National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.


1. McFarland was U.S. Army representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s joint secretariet and U.S. representative on the Combined Chiefs of Staff’s combined secretariat.

2. For previous consideration of an “unconditional surrender” demand on Japan, see note 1, McCloy Memorandum of Conversation, May 29, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-147 [5: 206-7].

3. King and Arnold approved Marshall’s suggested modification. Leahy returned his copy of the document printed here with the handwritten note: “I prefer action after the capture of Okinawa.”

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 211-212.


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Holding ID: 5-152

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