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Parent Interpretation of the Potsdam Declaration
Date 5 March 1947
Language English
Collection Tavenner Papers & IMTFE Official Records
Box Box 4
Folder General Reports and Memoranda from March 1947
Repository University of Virginia Law Library
INTERNATIONAL PROSECUTION SECTION NETHERLANDS DIVISION 5 March 1947 To:Acting Chief of Counsel From:A. T. Laverge Subject: Interpretation of the Pottsdam Declaration 1.At your request I investigated available evidence to show that the contention of the Defense that the Japanese Government in signing the Pottsdam Declaration did not realize that the Japanese major war criminals were to be tried by the Allies is incorrect. The following documents seem to be among the most important ones. 2.On 26 November, 1942 Ambassador Kurusu made a speech in which he reviewed the sinister and deceitful policy of the United States. In this speech he quotes Under-Secretary of State, Sumner Welles, as stating that one of the major war aims was "punishment of individuals, groups and peoples responsible for the war." This speech of Kurusu's is reproduced in the "Official Announcements Concerning Foreign Relations", published by the "Japanese Board of Information" (Document 1201, Exhibit 466 for identification, page 137). Apart from the fact that this official Japanese declaration shows that as early as 1942 the Japanese were well aware that the Allies intended to punish those who were responsible for the war, it might be of interest to check the exact contents of Mr. Sumner Welles's speech as, if Kurusu's contention is correct, this seems to be the earliest declaration on this subject by any Allied government or government official. 3.The Kido Diary repeatedly discusses the Japanese acceptance of the Pottsdam Declaration and the question if one of the conditions should be the handling by the Japanese themselves of the persons responsible for the war. Finally the suggestion of the Foreign Minister, Togo, that this condition should not be included seems to have been accepted (Diary for 9 August 1945, Exhibit 1283). On 10 August the Emperor stated to Kido that the punishment of the persons responsible for the war was really something unbearable as they were the people who had given the most loyal and meritorious service (Not in evidence). On 29 August the Emperor stated to Kido that the delivery of war criminal suspects to the United Nations was unbearable to him and he would prefer to assume all responsibility himself by abdicating from the Throne. Kido, however, convinces him that mere abdication of the Emperor would not satisfy the United Nations (Not in evidence). On 12 September the Premier reported to the Emperor the Cabinet decision to have all war criminals