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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 18, 1945

TELEGRAM FROM ALEKSANDR VASILEVSKY TO STALIN

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    Vasilevsky reports on the progress of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and planning for invasion of the Japanese island of Hokkaido and other islands in the Pacific.
    "Telegram from Aleksandr Vasilevsky to Stalin," August 18, 1945, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Dmitriń≠ Antonovich Volkogonov papers, 1887-1995, mm97083838, Reel 5, containers 7 through 9. Translated by Sergey Radchenko. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122331
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18.8.45

Moscow. Personally to Cde. Stalin
Copy: personally to Cde. Bulganin and Antonov

The forces of the Far Eastern Front in the course of August 17 continued to implement the task put before them under sharply diminished resistance of the adversary. Along some directions during the day there were instances of capitulation of separate contingents and detachments of the adversary, and also the dispatch of parliamentarians to us. Both the statement of the Kwantung Army to the Soviet Army in the Far East, and the reports of the parliamentarians, speak about the order given to the forces of the Kwantung Army about stopping military actions of the Japanese army and capitulation. During the day up to 25000 Japanese-Manchurian soldiers and officers were disarmed. Capitulation continues, even though skirmishes occur along parts of the front.

On the basis of the tasks put before the forces of the Far East and the Pacific Ocean Fleet, that is: occupation of the territory of all of Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Liaodong Peninsula with the ports of Dairen [Dalian] [and] Port Arthur, Korea up to the 38th  parallel, southern half of the island of Sakhalin, half of the island of Hokkaido to the north of the line going from the town of Kushiro to the town of Rumoe [sic], including both of the said towns in the Soviet area, and fully all of the Kurile islands, the forces of the front, for the coming period, have been given the following tasks:

The Transbaikal Front together with the forces of the MPR [Mongolian People’s Republic] are to occupy territories of Manchuria and Inner Mongolia within the line [running] from Tsitsihar until Changchun, Tonghua and further along the Zhujian [sic] (Yalu) River until the Korean bay, fully the Liaodong and the Kwantung peninsulas and further until the southern borders of former Manchuria and Inner Mongolia. With this, the forces of the front must occupy with land forces the city of Changchun no later than 20.8.45, the city of Mukden [Shenyang]—21.8, Liaodong and Kwantung peninsulas—28.8.45. To expedite the occupation of cities of Changchun and Mukden, Commander of the Front has been ordered to dispatch, on 18.8.45, his representatives to the aforesaid cities, with the command of the Kwantung Army being warned about it ahead of time.

The 1st Far Eastern front is to occupy the territory of Manchuria to the south of the Boli line, inclusive of Harbin, and to the east of the line [extending from] Changchun, [to] Tonghua, Zhujian [sic]  (Yalu) River and the territory of Korea, including all the way to the 38th parallel. To expedite the occupation of the cities of Harbin and Kirin no later than the morning of 1.9.45.

[During?] the occupation of the city of Kirin and the city of Harbin, on 18.8.45, commander of the Front sends his representatives by airplane.

Simultaneously, the forces of the Front are tasked with the occupation of half of the island of Hokkaido, to the north of the line extending from the city of Kushiro until the city of Rumoe [sic] and the southern part of the Kurile Islands until the island of Shimushiru-to [Shimushir], inclusive. To this end, the command of the Front, with the help of ships of the POF [Pacific Ocean Fleet] and the merchant fleet, in the period from 19.8.45 to 1.9.45 will transport, one after another, three rifle divisions of the 87th rifle corps headed by the head of the corps Ksenofonov, with the deployment of two of them to the island of Hokkaido and one to the Kurile Islands. [Illegible] the island of Hokkaido. Together with the 87th rifle corps, one destroyer and one bomber division from the 9th air army will be relocated [there].

The 2nd Far Eastern Front is to occupy, by 20.8.45, the territory of northern Manchuria within the Boli line, exclusive or Harbin, exclusive of Tsitsihar.

Simultaneously, the forces of the Front have been tasked with occupation of the southern part of the island of Sakhalin and the northern part of the Kurile Islands to the island of Shimushiru-to [Shimushir], inclusive.

For the occupation of the southern half of the island of Sakhalin, one is to use the forces that are currently located there; later, another rifle division will be additionally supplied. We will begin occupation in the morning on 18.8.

For the occupation of the northern part of the Kurile Islands two rifle regiments from the 101st rifle division, located in Kamchatka, are to be transported to the islands. Subsequently we think to strengthen the region of Kamchatka and the northern part of the Kurile Islands with another rifle division, entrusting the management of all forces here to the head of Kamchatka defense region.

To strengthen defense of Kamchatka, the Kurile Islands, the islands [sic] of Sakhalin and the island of Hokkaido, in accordance with your instructions, we are asking for your permission, during the period from 20.8 until 10.9.45 to relocate a part of the forces of the POF to Petropavlosk in Kamchatka and its main forces to the port of Otomari (southern part of Sakhalin) with the calculation to have:

In Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka—a brigade of coastguard ships, a brigade of submarines, a division of mine-layers, a division of torpedo boats, a division of trawlers, one air regiment of sea bombers;

In the area of the port of Otomari—a division of coastguard ships, a division of submarines, a division of torpedo boats, a division of trawlers, [illegible] air division of sea air force;

For strengthening the defense of Korea, we are thinking to create in the region of the port of Cheongjin a [illegible] defensive area, bringing into it: one division of mine-layers, a division of torpedo boats, a division of trawlers, 113th naval infantry brigade. The main attention in the area—defense of the ports: Rason, Cheongjin and Wonsan.

With respect to the introduction of naval forces to the region of the ports of Dairen [Dalian] and Port Arthur [Lüshun], [we] require your additional instructions. [We] also need your permission for [illegible] for naval transfers of troops [illegible] merchant fleet [illegible] until 15.9.45. All of the preliminary directives on the present plan have been given by the commander of the Front.

Instructions to the commander of the POF together with Admiral Kuznetsov will be made on 18.8 personally in Vladivostok.

Simultaneously with the implementation of the tasks entailed in the present plan, I categorically demand from the forces of the Front to organize immediate accounting for and removal to one’s own territory of captured weaponry, foodstuff and equipment of industrial enterprises.

I ask your approval or instructions on this plan.

[Signed] Vasilevskii 18.8.45

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