5-266 To James F. Byrnes, November 5, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: November 5, 1945

Subject: Postwar

To James F. Byrnes1

November 5, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]

Top Secret

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Governmental policy which is the present basis for action by the War Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on matters connected with the use of Allied forces in the occupation of Japan is contained in SWNCC 70/5, approved by you 18 August 1945.2 It envisages participation of Allied forces, but not in such numbers as to prevent U.S. control of the implementation of policies regarding enforcement of the surrender terms. Based on this policy the Joint Chiefs of Staff have already accepted in principle British participation in the occupation of Japan and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek has already discussed with the Commanding General of the China Theater the provision of a Chinese Army of three divisions for Japan.

It is understood from the remarks of the Secretary of State at the meeting of the Committee of Three on 30 October that there is now some question about the continued validity of the policy in SWNCC 70/5. If this expressed policy is no longer effective, it is requested that the Secretary of State inform the War Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the proposed revisions in this policy so that the proposals and commitments of the War Department for troop strength may be modified accordingly as soon as possible.3

Sincerely yours,

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed letter.

1. This letter was written for Secretary of War Patterson’s signature.

2. The text of this document (“National Composition of Forces to Occupy Japan Proper in the Post-Defeat Period”) is in Foreign Relations, 1945, 6: 603-9. An October 11 report by the Joint Staff Planners of the Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested a total occupation force of about two hundred thousand with the British Commonwealth, Soviet Union, and China providing a maximum of thirty thousand each and the balance coming from the United States. (Ibid., pp. 744-45.)

3. At the November 13 meeting of the Committee of Three, Patterson referred to this letter. The brief of the meeting’s minutes that Marshall received noted: “Mr. Byrnes stated agreement with Marshal Stalin’s position, feeling that entire occupation of Japan should be done by the United States. Mr. Byrnes advised that to bring the British, Chinese and Australians into this occupation without the Russians would further split the world into two camps; however, he felt that Chinese participation only would not so result. It was suggested that through SWNCC the JCS be requested to review this matter.” (Brief, November 13, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OCS, SGS, Memos and Briefs to the Chief of Staff]. On Stalin’s opinion of occupation policy in Japan, see Foreign Relations, 1945, 6: 787-93.)

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), p. 349.

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