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Memorandum for the President
August 10, 1945 Washington, D.C.
The attached proposal for the immediate relief of our prisoners of war is, in my opinion, of primary importance. We are at work on plans for evacuation by ship and by air.
This matter will undoubtedly have to be coordinated with the British and Chinese. The proposal is written so that they can later name additional places for assembly of their nationals.1
As a condition precedent to a discussion of the proposal of the Japanese government,2 the governments of the United States, the British Commonwealth and China require that the Japanese government immediately forthwith and without delay transport the prisoners and other nationals they now hold of the three nations just mentioned and any other nationals of the United Nations to the points hereinafter indicated for immediate release to the representatives of the nations concerned. The Japanese government will facilitate the evacuation of these released prisoners by whatever means the Allied governments concerned find convenient. There will be no cessation of the naval and air attacks on the Japanese Empire and forces elsewhere until the foregoing condition is complied with:
Places designated are:
Keijo — Korea
Dairen — Kwantung
Tsingtao — China
Tokao — Formosa
Canton — China
Fukuoka — Kyushu
Osaka — Honshu
Yokosuka — Honshu
Murovan — Hakkaido
and such additional places as may be designated later by the governments of the United States, Great Britain and China.3
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. The memorandum (but not the enclosure) was marked “not used,” presumably because the subject was being handled by the secretaries of war and state, who had received copies of Marshall’s draft proposal.
2. Just after 7:30 A.M. on August 10, U.S. signals intelligence monitors picked up a Japanese transmission in the clear to the governments of Sweden and Switzerland for retransmittal to the U.S., U.K., U.S.S.R., and China governments asserting Japan’s desire for “a speedy termination of hostilities. . . . The Japanese Government are ready to accept the terms enumerated in the joint declaration which was issued at Potsdam on July 26th. . . with the understanding that the said declaration does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a Sovereign Ruler.” (Foreign Relations, 1945, 6: 627.)
3. On August 11, the four Allies acknowledged receipt of the Japanese note and accepted the stipulation regarding the emperor but added that he would be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. Moreover, “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.” (Ibid., pp. 631-32.)
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. 263-264.