The U.S. War department Magic intercepted messages,.
Togo(Foreign minister) July 11
We are now secretly giving consideration to termination of the war because of the pressing situation which confront Japan both at home and abroad. Therefore when you have your interview with Molotov..you should not confine your self to the objective of a rapprochement between Russian and Japan but should also sound him out on the extent to which it is possible to make use of Russia in ending the war....
While we naturally hoped to obtain a treaty through negotiation between Hirota and Malik, those talks are also intended to find out the extent to which it is possible to make use of Russia in ending the war.
We should like to know the views of the Russia government on this subject with all haste....
While there is no question of you r skill , please be careful in your conference to avoid giving the impression that our plan is to make use of the Russians in ending the war. page 232 Downfall
Despite the last statement in my previous message it would appear suitable to make clear to Russians our general attitude with regard to termination of the war. Therefore, please tell them that;
"We consider the maintenance of peace in East Asia to be one aspect of the maintenance of world peace. Accordingly , Japan---as a proposal for ending the war and because of her concern for the establishment and maintenance of lasting peace----has absolutely no ideas of annexing or holding the territories occupied as are result of the war"
(Showa Tennno Dokuhakuroku
After outlining my intention, I asked Konoe his opinion related to the outlook for the war. he replied that it was imperative to bring the war to an end at this juncture. When I told him that i might ask him to go to the Soviet Union on a mission, he accepted the proposal, claiming that he would give his utomost , at the risk of his life, were it the imperial command. page 228)
I have not yet received a wire about your interview with Molotov. Accordingly , though it may smack of attacking without sufficient reconnaissance, we think it would be appropriate to go a step further on this occasion and before the opening of the Three Power[i.e., Potsdam] conference, inform the Russia of the Imperial will concerning the ending of the war. We should , therefore, like you to present this matter to Molotov in the following terms:
His Majesty the Emperor, mindful of the fact that the present war daily brings greater evil and sacrifice upon the peoples of all the belligerent powers, desires from his heart that it may be quickly terminated . Bus so long as England and the Untied States insist upon unconditional surrender the Japanese Empire has no alternative but to fight on with all its strength for the the honor and existence of the Motherland. His Majesty is deeply reluctant to have any further blood lost among the people on both sides, and it is his desire, for the welfare of humanity, to restore peace with all possible speed.....
It is the Emperor's private intention to send Prince Konoe to Moscow as a Special Envoy with a letter from him containing the statements given above. Please inform Molotov of this and get the Russians' consent to having the party enter the country.....
Although it will be impossible to have this delegation get there before the big men in Moscow leave for the Three Power Conference, we must arrange for a meeting immediately after their return. Accordingly , I should like to have the trip made by plane , if possible
page 223 Downfall
An American naval-intelligence commentary
Although the above traffic does not reveal definitely whether or not the Japanese Chiefs of Staff participated with the Foreign Office in "secretly giving consideration to termination of the war, " the fact that the move is stated to be an expression of "the Emperor's will," would appear to be of deep significance. page 223 Downfall
Wrekerling to Marshall
Wrekering believes there are number of interesting deduction suggested by Message 893(Togo's urgent cable)
(1) That he Emperor has personally intervened and brought his will to bear in favor of peace in spite of military opposition;
(2) That conservative groups close to the Throne, including some high ranking Army and Navy men, have triumphed over militaristic elements who favor prolonged separate resistance;
(3) That the Japanese government clique is making a well coordinated, united effort to stave off defeat believing
(a) that Russian intervention can be brought by the proper price, and (b) that an attractive Japanese peace offer will appeal to war weariness in the United States.
Of these (1) is remote, (2) is a possibility and (3) quite probably motivating force behind the Japanese moves. Mr.Grew agrees with these conditions.
Sato July 15
I would like to point out, however, that even on the basis of your various message I have obtained no clear idea of the recent situation. Nor am I clear about the views of the Government and the Military with regard to the termination of the war. Moreover, I have been of the opinion that , if it were finally decided to bring the war to an end, it would be necessary to obtain a new formal resolution which would held in the Imperial resolution Presence on 8 June. page 226 Down Fall
Togo july 17
...Although the directing powers, and the government as well , are convinced that our war strength still can deliver considerable blows to the enemy, we are unable to feel absolutely secure peace of mind in the face of an enemy who will attack repeatedly. If today, when we are still maintaining our strength, the Anglo-Americans were to have regard fro Japan's honor and existence, they could save humanity by bringing the war to an end. If, however, they insist unrelentingly upon unconditional surrender, the Japanese are unanimous in their resolve to wage a thorough-going war.
The Emperor himself has designed to express his determination and we have therefore made this request of the Russian. Please bear particularly in mind , however, that we were not seeking the Russian mediation for anything like an unconditional surrender. page 227 Downfall
Togo July 21
Special Envoy Konoe's mission will will be in obedience to the Imperial Will. He well request assistance in bringing about an end to the war through the good offices of the Soviet Government. In this regard he will set forth positive intention, and will also negotiate details concerning the establishment of a cooperative relationship between Japan and Russia which will form the basis of Imperial diplomacy both during and after the war.
Please make the above representations to the Russians and worked to obtain their concurrence in sending of the special Envoy. Please understand especially my next wire. page 229Downfall
The Magic Diplomatic Summary of Sato's response
It goes without saying that in my earlier message calling for unconditional surrender or closely equivalent terms. I made an exception of the question of preserving our national structure.[i.e., the Imperial system] Although I have no fear that you misunderstood what I said in the last part of my 8 June message, I am writing this fro your information.
b. In connection with the question of preserving our national structure...we must create a strong impression [with the Soviets] that our proposals represent the positive demands of Japan's 70 million people [i.e., presumably their maximum concession]
c. Except for the matter of maintenance of our national structure, I think that we must absolutely not propose any conditions. The situation has already reached the point where we have no alternative bu unconditional surrender or its equivalent. page 229
Togo July 21
With regard to unconditional surrender we are unable to consent to it under any circumstances whatever. Even if the war drags on and it becomes clear that it will take much more than bloodshed, the whole country as one man will pit itself against enemy demands unconditional surrender. It is in order to to avoid such a state of affair that we are seeking a peace , which is not so called unconditional surrender, thorough the good office of Russia....
Therefore, it is not only impossible for us to request the Russians to lend their good offices in obtaining a peace without conditions, but it would also be both disadvantages and impossible , from the standpoint of foreign and domestic considerations, to make an immediate declaration of specific terms.
The fact that the Americans alluded the Atlantic Charter is particularly worthy of attention at this time. It is impossible for us to accept unconditional surrender, no matter in what guise, but it is our idea to inform them by some appropriate means that there is no objection to the restoration of peace on the basis of the Atlantic Charter.
In all likelihood the difficult point is the attitude of the enemy in insisting on the form of an unconditional surrender. If America and England stick to this, the whole thing will break down over this one point. On the other hand, although the government of Russia , England and America may be cool toward our proposal of Special Envoy on the ground that it may be a peace stratagem on our part, this---as I have stated repeatedly---is not merely a "peace feeler."
page 231 Downfall
Frank's evaluation in his book "downfall"
Those who argue that American policy makers recognized that Japan was near surrender when they chose to unleash atomic weapons rest the core their case on selected excerpts of these diplomatic exchanges from July 11 to August 3. The first important defect with this critique is that is simply ignore the fact there were two streams of decrypted Japanese messages. Military Ultra showed without exception Japan's armed forces girding for Armageddon. ......
More fundamentally, the full series of Magic Diplomatic Summaries demonstrated just how illusory is the image that Japan was near to capitulation before atomic weapons were employed. ....Even after the Emperor intervened to propose a special envoy to the Soviet Union, Magic revealed that neither he nor the government had agreed on the term they would accept, much less terms that were acceptable to the Allies.....
The most often repeated condemnation of American diplomacy in the summer of 1945 is that policy maker understood that a promise to retain the Imperial institution was essential to end the war, and that had the United States communicate such a promise, the Suzuki cabinet likely have promptly surrendered. The answer to this assertion is enshrined in black and white in the July 22 edition of the Magic Diplomatic Summary. There, American policy makers could read for themselves that Ambassador Sato had advised Foreign Minister Togo that the best terms Japan could hope to secure were unconditional surrender, modified only to the extent that the Imperial institution could be retained. Presented by his own ambassador with this offer, Togo expressly rejected. ....
Togo rejected the unconditional surrender, but he didn't reject the term Sato proposed, i.e., the terms that national polity should be preserved.
Furthermore Togo were willing to accept Atlantic Charter.
The Atlantic Charter established a vision for a post-World War II world, despite the fact that the United States had yet to enter the war. The participants hoped that the Soviet Union would adhere as well, after having been attacked by Nazi Germany in June 1941 in defiance of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
In brief, the nine points were:
1. No territorial gains were to be sought by the United States or the United Kingdom.
2. Territorial adjustments must be in accord with wishes of the peoples concerned.
3. All peoples had a right to self-determination.
4. Trade barriers were to be lowered.
5. There was to be global economic cooperation and advancement of social welfare.
6. freedom from want and fear;
7. freedom of the seas;
8. disarmament of aggressor nations, postwar common disarmament
9. defeat of Germany and other Axis powers
Was it not a good deal for Truman?
At least at this point, was it not sufficient to give a time to delay the schedule to
drop the bomb and see the how Japan would react?
After all, as leaders of a democratic and war-weary country, they were in a great hurry to end the war. Both General George Marshall and Secretary of War Henry Stimson were deeply worried about the state of public and military morale.Racing the Enemy: A Critical Look /Michael Kort
But does that justify the violation of the international law that civilians be protected?
Aug 7 Togo to Sato
The situation is becoming more and more pressing, and we would like to know at once the explicit attitude of the Russians, So will you put forth still greater efforts to get reply from in in haste
Hiroshima was destroyed at 8.15a.m. on August 6.
This is cited by Hasegawa to prove that Russia has a greater impact on Japanese decision to surrender than Atomic bombs. He also cites as his ground the fact that Anami's warning that the U.S. might have 100 atomic bombs and the next target might be Tokyo had no discernible impact on he debate.
New-Type, Cruel Bomb Ignoring International law
Imperial Govern-ment Protest to the Government of the United States.
August 10, 1945
With regard to the attack by a new-type bomb on the city of Hiroshima by a B-29 bomber on the 6th inst. the Imperial Government filed the following protest on the 10th inst. to the Government of the United States through the Government of Switzerland, and gave instructions to the Japanese Minister to Switzerland, Kase, to make the explanation of explanation of the same effect to the Inter-national Committee of Red Cross.
Protest against the Attack of a New-Type Bomb by American Airplane
On the 6th of this month, an airplane of the United States dropped a new-type bomb on the urban district of the city of Hiroshima, and it killed and wounded a large number of the citizens and destroyed the bulk of the city. The city of Hiroshima is an crdinary local city which is not provided with any military defensive preparations or establishments, and the whole city has not a character of a military objective. In the statement on the aerial bom-bardment in this case, the United States President “Truman” asserts that they will destroy docks, factories and transport facilities.
However, since the bomb in this case, dropped by a parachute, explodes in the air and extends the destructive effect to quite a wide sphere, it is clear to be quite impossible in technique to limit the effect of attack thereby to such specific objectives as mentioned above; and the above efficiency of the bomb in this case is already known to the United States. In the light of the actual state of damage, the damaged district covers a wide area, and those who were in the district were all killed indiscriminately by bomb-shell blast and radiant heat without dis-tinction of combatant or non-combatant or of age or sex. The damaged sphere is general and immense, and judging from the most cruel one that ever existed.
It is a fundamental principle of international law in time of war that a belligerent has not an unlimited right in chosing the means of injuring the enemy, and should not use such weapons, projectiles, and other material as cause unnecessary pain; and these are each expressly stipulated in the annex of the Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and artices 22 and 23(e) of the Regulations respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land. Since the beginning of the present World War, the Government of the United States has declared repeatedly that the use of poison or other inhumane methods of warfare has been regarded as illegal by the pubic opin-ion in civilized countries, and that the United States would not use these methods of warfare unless the other countries used these first.
However, the bomb in this case, which the United States used this time, exceeds by far the indiscriminate and cruel character of efficiency, the poison and other weapons the use of which has been prohibited hitherto because of such an efficiency. Disregarding a fundamental principle of international law and humanity, the United States has already made indiscriminate aerial bombardments on cities of the Empire in very wide areas, and it has already killed and injured a large number of old people, children, and women and collapsed or burned down shrines, temples, schools, hospital and ordinary private houses.
Also, the United States has used the new bomb in this case which has indiscriminate and cruel character beyond comparison with all weapons and projectile of the past. This is a new offence against the civilization of mankind. The Imperial Government impeaches the Government of the United States in its own name and the name of all mankind and of civilization, and demands strongly that the Government of the United States give up the use of such an inhumane weapon instantly.
Note: Japan Branch of the International Law Association, Japanese Annual of International Law, 8, pp.251-2. (Tokyo: 1964)
(page 297 "Racing the Enemy)