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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III

471 — The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

10 August 1945

His Majesty's representative at Stockholm3 reports that the Swedish Foreign Minister4 asked him and his Soviet colleague to call on him urgently today to receive the text of a communication received today from the Japanese Minister. The original telegram from Tokyo is in Japanese and promises that the official English text will follow. An interim English text has been made locally in the Japanese Legation in Stockholm and may therefore differ from the text handed at the request of the Japanese Government to the United States Minister5 and the Chinese Minister in Berne. M. Undén asked them to preserve the utmost secrecy, but agreed to their telling United States and Chinese colleagues in confidence.

page 505

2. The interim text, dated 10 August, is as follows:

‘In accordance with the desire of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan to bring peace as soon as possible in order to prevent humanity from further disasters of war, the Japanese Government had asked the Soviet Government, who were maintaining neutral relations with Japan with regard to the war of Greater East Asia, to use their good offices. Unfortunately, however, the above efforts of the Japanese Government to bring peace did not bear fruit. Hereupon the Japanese Government, based upon the above-mentioned desire for peace of His Majesty the Emperor, earnestly wishing to remove immediately further disasters of war and to bring peace, have made the following decision. The Japanese Government accept the Potsdam Proclamation to Japan with the clear understanding that the terms of the Joint Proclamation to Japan, which was decided upon and published jointly by the leaders of the United States, Great Britain and China on 26 July 1945 at Potsdam, and to which the Soviet Government participated later, do not contain in any way a request for change of sovereignty of His Majesty the Emperor.1 The Japanese Government earnestly hope the above understanding of the Japanese Government is correct, and that the intention of your Government on this point will be made clear at the earliest moment. The Japanese Government have the honour to request the Swedish Government to convey the above to the British Government and to the Soviet Government respectively without delay.’

3 Sir Bertrand Jerram, KCMG (then Mr C. B. Jerram); Minister in Stockholm, 1945–47; Ambassador, 1947–48.

4 M. B. O. Undén, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs.

5 Mr Leland Harrison, United States Minister to Switzerland, 1937–47.

1 The official English text of this Note reads: ‘… does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a sovereign ruler.’