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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 12, 1945

MEMORANDUM PRESENTED TO MR. HARRIMAN BY V. M. MOLOTOV ON 12 NOVEMBER 1945

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    This Soviet reply to the American government attempts to lay out Soviet changes to American proposals for a control mechanism and Far East Commission in Japan and provides justification for those changes.
    "Memorandum Presented to Mr. Harriman by V. M. Molotov on 12 November 1945 ," November 12, 1945, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 98, ll. 0119-0121. Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208915
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Presented to Mr. Harriman by V. M.

Molotov on 12 November 1945

The Soviet Government has examined the reply of the Government of the United States of America to the changes of the Soviet Government to the US proposals concerning the questions of the control body for Japan and the Far East Commission handed to V. M. Molotov by Ambassador Mr. Harriman on 9 November.

  1. 1. As is evident from the reply of the US Government the latter does not want to see the difference between the situation of Japan in the period of the disarmament of the Japanese armed forces (August-September), when the Supreme Commander acted without any control and an Allied control body, and the situation after the end of their disarmament, when the need appeared to create an Allied control body. Based on this concept, the US Government evidently intends to basically preserve unchanged all the rights and privileges of the Supreme Commander which he enjoyed in the August-September period when he created and changed the regime with respect to Japan at his personal discretion without informing the Allied representatives in Japan. But such a concept excludes the necessity of creating any control body deserving of being called a control body. The Soviet Government cannot agree with such a concept, for it cannot fail to take into account the fact that after the end of the disarmament of the Japanese armed forces a new situation was created in Japan, and new questions of a political, economic, cultural, administrative, and financial nature arose, the correct solution to which is impossible with a simplified purely military approach to the matter and without the presence of a control body.
  1. 2. The information of the US Government about the position of the Soviet Government and Generalissimo I. V. Stalin contains inaccurate elements.

I. V. Stalin recognized and continues to recognize that the US has greater responsibility in Japanese affairs than the rest of the Allies, but he never agreed that only the US bore responsibility, for he thinks that those Allied powers whose troops took an active part in defeating the Japanese armed forces also bear [some] responsibility.

I. V. Stalin recognized and continues to recognize that in the solution of a majority of questions the last word rests with the Supreme Commander, as permanent Chairman of the control body, but I. V. Stalin never agreed that the Supreme Commander retained such a right in all questions without exception, for he thinks that in all cases of differences the Supreme Commander enjoys the final word when it is a matter of questions of principle like questions of a change of the mode of control over Japan, a change in the composition of the Japanese government, etc. That is why in the conversation with Mr. Harriman I. V. Stalin rejected the example with the Consultative Commission in Italy and recommended being guided by the example with the control commissions in Hungary and Romania, meaning the position of the control commissions in these countries established after the surrender and disarmament of Germany.

The Soviet government is solidly with I. V. Stalin in all this.

The U. S. Government’s reference to the fact that such question of principle will be discussed in the Far East Commission, and not in the Control Council, and that the Control Council will deal only with the implementation of the directives of the Far East Commission cannot be considered convincing since, in the opinion of the Soviet Government, control has great importance not only in the matter of drafting directives, but especially also in the matter of implementing these directives on the scene, in Japan.

  1. 3. The Soviet Government considers it advisable for the control body to be called a Control Commission or Control Council, since the name correctly reflects the functions and substance of the work of this body as a control [body]. The problem is not that this body will consist of military people, but that it will exercise control over Japan both on military questions as well as on all other questions of a political, economic, cultural, administrative, and financial nature.
  1. 4. The Soviet Government also considers it advisable that the principle of unanimity of the main powers be preserved when deciding questions in the Far East Consultative Commission. This principle has been successfully employed in the European Consultative Commission. It is based on the voting procedure in the Security Council. It would be correct to also preserve it for the Far East Consultative Commission.
  1. 5. It is evident from the above that the US Government has no basis to fear that in the event of the adoption of the Soviet changes it “would be paralyzed in giving the Supreme Commander any directives”. The US Government can be assured that the Soviet Government has no intention of impairing the priority rights of the US in Japanese affairs. The Soviet changes only pursue the following simple and elementary goals: a) to make it so that the participation of the Soviet Union in the control over Japan does not seem decorative; b) to ensure such conditions of cooperation in control over Japan in which the Soviet Government could also bear responsibility; and c) to promote the assurance of an agreed system of measures free from random factors and meeting the common interests of the Allies in the matter of control over Japan.

Moscow, 12 November 1945

Authenticated: Potrubach

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