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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 20, 1945

CABLE FROM ALEKSANDR VASILEVSKY TO STALIN

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    Vasilevsky reports on the progress of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and the surrender of Japanese forces.
    "Cable from Aleksandr Vasilevsky to Stalin," August 20, 1945, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Dmitriĭ Antonovich Volkogonov papers, 1887-1995, mm97083838, Reel 5, containers 7 through 9. Also published in V.P. Galitskii, V.P. Zimonin, “Desant na Khokkaido Otmenit’,” Voenno-Istoricheskii Zhurnal, No. 3 (1994), pp. 7-8. Translated by Sergey Radchenko. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122336
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Moscow. Cde. Stalin

Copy: General Staff Cde. Antonov

Reporting on the situation on the Far Eastern front at the end of 19.8.45.

1. On 19.8.45 on all fronts in Manchuria the resistance of the Japanese forces ceased and our forces began planned disarmament of the forces of the enemy. During the day of 19.8.45 about 65 thousand Japanese-Manchurian forces were disarmed.

2. During the day the forces of the Transbaikal Front deployed air troops with responsible representatives of the command of the Front to Changchun and Mukden [Shenyang], 250-300 people in each city. Our forces in the aforesaid cities were met with warm welcome on the part of the Japanese command and representatives of the Japanese authorities. All demands of our representatives are being fully implemented. During the night of 20.8.45 these cities are being approached by our forward mobile detachments. On 20.8.45 the cities of Changchun and Mukden will be fully secured by us.

3. Forces of the 1st Far Eastern Front during the day continued to disarm detachments of the 3rd and the 5th armies of the Japanese forces. During the day the front’s forces deployed air troops, with whose assistance the city of Kirin was captured. Mobile land forces will enter the city no later than 20.8.45.

4. Forces of the 2nd Far Eastern Front continued, after capturing Shanxing [sic], without meeting enemy resistance, to move along both banks of Sungari [Songhua] River. The city of Harbin is still firmly occupied by our forces, landed on 18.8.45 by the first Far Eastern Front. On the island of Sakhalin from the morning of 19.8.45 the Japanese initiated the capitulation of their forces, which are located immediately in front of our Front. During the day of 19.8.45 more than three thousand Japanese soldiers and officers of the 88th infantry division capitulated here, and our forces moved 25 km to the south by the end of the day. From the evening of 19.08.45 from Sovgavan’ we transferred troops numbering 4220 people with artillery and transport with the aim of landing in the vicinity of the port of Maoka (southern part of Sakhalin) so as to speed up full occupation of the island. In our estimates, the island of Sakhalin should be fully occupied no later than the evening of 21.8.45. On the Kurile Islands dogged fighting continued and counter-attacks by the enemy on the island of Simusyu [Shumshu] were being beaten back until 19.8.45. From 19.00 on 19.8.45 fighting on this island ceased and the enemy, with the assistance of their parlamentarians, began general capitulation. From the morning of 20.8.45 we begin to land troops on the island of Paramushiru-to [Paramushir].

5. On 19.8.45 I had a meeting with the head of the headquarters of the Kwantung Army Lieutenant General Hata. In accordance with your instructions [we] created the most favorable conditions for his reception in all respects. General Hata asked to hurry up with the questions of the occupation of the entire territory of Manchuria so that the Soviet forces could as quickly as possible take the Japanese army, and the Japanese population in Manchuria, under their protection. At the same time General Hata asked to postpone disarming of Japanese forces in remote regions of Manchuria and Korea until the arrival of our forces, in order to provide for necessary order and guarantee the safety of factories and possessions. As General Hata stated, the deterioration of relations between the Japanese and the Manchus, and also the Koreans in recent days has reached the limit. General Hata, requesting the quickest entry of our forces into Manchuria and, as a consequence, the capitulation of his army, at the same time requested appropriate attitude both to generals and officers, and the soldiers of the Japanese army on our part, and also appropriate sustenance and medical service for them. I gave our forces necessary instructions in this respect.

6. General Hata finished his conversation with me with assurances that all my demands about the order of the implementation of capitulation will be immediately and precisely executed, and also expressed his hopes that this meeting will be guarantee future strong friendship between Japan and the USSR. To my request to inform the command of the Japanese forces defending the Kurile Islands about the pointlessness of their fight against the Soviet forces, which are striving to occupy these islands, general Hata promised to immediately turn to the Japanese headquarters with this question. At 17.00 on 19.9.45 general Hata flew to Changchun with my instructions where he landed at 21.00 under difficult weather conditions.

7. At the present time I and the command of the first Far Eastern front are seriously preoccupied with the preparation of the operation to land on the island of Hokkaido. Currently we are gathering maritime intelligence, preparing the air force, the artillery, infantry and means of transport. With your permission we will begin the maritime operation immediately after occupying the southern part of Sakhalin, approximately on 22.8.45.

8. On 19.8.45 the Emperor of Manchukuo “Pu Yi” and his retinue were delivered to the headquarters of Kravchenko’s army. In accordance with your instructions, I am interning him and I am thinking of placing him in the region of Chita.

9. In accordance with your instructions I gave directions to the Transbaikal Front command to prepare landing troops with the aim of sudden capture of the ports of Dairen [Dalian] and Port Arthur [Lüshun].

20.8.45 3.00

Vasilevsky

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