Reports of General MacArthur, Vol.1, Chapter 14

(U.S.Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 1966, pp.447-450). Reprinted by Shuppan in Tokyo,1998.

The Manila Conference

Headed by Lt Gen Torasirou Kawabe, Vice-Chief of the Army General Staff, the sixteen-man Japanese delegation47 on the morning of 19 August boarded two white, green-crossed, disarmed Navy medium bombers and departed secretly from Kisarazu Airdrome, on the eastern shore of Tokyo Bay.48  After landing at Ie Shima, according to General MacArthur's instructions, the Japanese passengers were immediately transferred to a U. S. Army transport plane and put down on Nichols Field south of Manila at about 1800 that same day.

On hand to meet the Japanese envoys as they emerged from the plane was a party of linguist officers headed by General Willoughby, General MacArthur's wartime director of intelligence. Following the necessary introductions and identifications, the Japanese were taken immediately to temporary quarters on Manila's Dewey Boulevard to await the meetings scheduled for that evening.49

Less than three hours after their arrival, the sixteen-man Japanese delegation was led by General Willoughby to the first of two conferences held that night with members of General MacArthur's staff. General MacArthur himself was not present. As the solemn procession moved from Dewey Boulevard through the battered and war-torn streets of Manila and up the broad steps of the City Hall, the stony-faced Japanese officers in their beribboned gray-green uniforms, with their peculiarly peaked caps, and with their two-handed Samurai swords dangling from their waists almost to the ground, made a grim and curious picture. Shortly after 2100, the Japanese and American representatives entered General Chamberlin's office and sat down facing each other across the long, black table of the map-covered conference room.50

The meetings continued through the night of the 19th and into the next day.51 As General Sutherland led the discussions, linguists busily scanned, translated, and photostated the various reports, maps, and charts which the Japanese had brought with them. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section personnel worked throughout the night to put General MacArthur's requirements into accurate Japanese before morning. It was a matter of vital importance that all documents be capably and correctly translated so that arrangements for surrender could be completed with a minimum of misunderstanding and a maximum of speed.

The conference proceeded smoothly and all major problems were resolved satisfactorily. Results of the negotiations made it advisable to modify some of the original concepts on the problem of occupation. Based upon the full co-operation of the Japanese Government and Imperial General Headquarters, the new modifications provided for gradual occupation of designated areas after the Japanese had disarmed the local troops. No direct de-militarization was to be carried out by Allied personnel ; the Japanese were to control the disarmament and demobilization of their own armed forces under Allied supervision.52

General Kawabe expressed his belief that the Japanese would faithfully carry out all Allied demands, but because of the unpredictable reactions of the Japanese civilian and army elements he requested that Japan be given an additional period of preparation before the actual steps of occupation were taken. General Sutherland allowed three extra days. The target date for the initial landings was postponed from 25 August to 28 August. The arrival of the advance unit at Atsugi Airfield was scheduled for 26 August.

At the close of the conference, General Kawabe was handed the documents containing the "Requirements of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.53 These directives stipulated General MacArthur’s requirements, concerning the arrival of the first echelons of the Allied forces, the formal surrender ceremony, and the subsequent reception of the occupation forces. Also given to General Kawabe were a draft of the Imperial Proclamation by which the Emperor would accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and command his subjects to cease hostilities, a copy of General Order No. I by which Imperial General Headquarters would direct all military and naval commanders to lay down their arms and surrender their units to designated Allied commanders, and lastly the Instrument of Surrender itself which would later be signed on board an American battleship in Tokyo Bay.

The Manila Conference was over. The Japanese delegation left at 1300 on 20 August and started back to Japan along the same route by which it had come. The homeward trip, however, was marred by an accident which caused a few anxious moments to the bearers of the surrender documents. The plane carrying the key emissaries had to make a forced landing on a beach near Hamamatsu, and it was not until seven hours after their scheduled time of return that the members of the mission were able to report the results of the Manila Conference to their waiting Premier.54 It now remained for Japan to prepare itself to carry out the provisions of surrender and to accept a peaceful military occupation of the Homeland by Allied forces. General MacArthur anticipated that, subject to weather conditions which would permit the necessary air and naval operations, the Instrument of Surrender would be signed within ten days. " It is my earnest hope," he announced after the departure of Japan's representatives from Manila, "that pending the formal accomplishment of the Instrument of Surrender, armistice conditions may prevail on every front and that bloodless surrender may be effectuated."55


47 Other Japanese delegates included the following:

Mr. Katsuo Okazaki Chief, Research Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Maj. Gen. Masakazu Amano Chief, Operations Section, Army General Staff.

R. Adm. Ichiro Yokoyama Member, Naval General Staff.

Mr. Shuichi Mizota Secretary to the Navy Minister.

Col. Arata Yamamoto Member, Army General Staff.

Capt. Toshikazu Ohmae Chief, Operations Section, Naval General Staff.

Capt. Hidemi Yoshida Member, Navy Ministry.

Mr. Kazuma Sugita Secretary to the Navy Minister.

Mr. Morio Yukawa Member, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Comdr. Yoshimori Terai Member, Naval General Staff.

Lt. Col. Masao Matsuda Member, War Ministry.

Lt. Col. Kiyoshi Minami Member, War Ministry.

Lt. Col. Morio Takakura Member, War Ministry.

2nd Lt. Sadao Otake Member, Army General Staff.

2nd Lt. Harumi Takeuchi Member,Army General Staff.

GHQ AFPAC "List of Japanese Emissaries to Manila " 21 Aug 45, G-3, GHQ Admin Files.

48Careful planning preceded the actual flight, according to Japanese officers concerned with the arrangements. " In planning the course of the airplane taking the Japanese delegates to Manila . . . precautions had to be taken to prevent interference by certain elements of the Japanese Air Force who, it was rumored, were planning to attack and destroy the plane. To insure the safe arrival of the delegates, the course to be taken by their plane was kept secret, and it was planned to fly a decoy plane on a direct route to Kyushu. At 0611 on 19 August,a Douglas-type naval transport plane, bearing the delegates, left Haneda,arriving at Kisarazu 14 minutes later. Here the group boarded two medium bombers leaving Kisarazu at 0707. The planes proceeded southeast for approximately 100 nautical miles and, once outside the fighter-plane range, headed for Tanegashima. At 1115 they were met just south of Tanegashima by two American Army fighter units, comprising two B-24's and twelve P-38's. . . . They arrived safely on Ie Jima at 1240…. '' Combined statement of Rear Adm. Ichiro Yokoyama, Navy Ministry ; Capt. Toshikazu Ohmae, Naval General Staff ; Capt. Hidemi Yoshida, Navy Ministry ; Cmdr. Yoshimoto Terai, Naval General Staff, 21 Nov 49, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.

49GHQ, AFPAC, Press Release 19 Aug 45.

50GHQ, AFPAC, Press Release, 19 Aug 45. During the conference, the Japanese and American representatives sat in the following order : Capt. Hidemi Yoshida opposite Maj. Gen. Lester Whitlock, ACofS, G-4 ; Capt. Toshshikazu Ohmae oppsite Maj. Gen. Richard J. Marshall, DCofS ; Rear Adm. Ichiro Yokoyama opposite Rear Adm. Forest P. Sherman, ACofS for Planning for CINCPAC ; Lt. Gen. Torashiro Kawabe opposite Lt. Gen. Richard K. Sutherland, CofS ; Mr. Katsuo Okasaki opposite Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Chamberlin, ACofS, G-3 ; Maj. Gen. Masakazu Amano opposite Maj. Gen. Charles A. Willoughby, ACofS, G-2 ; and Lt. Col. Masao Matsuda opposite Brig. Gen. Donald R. Hutchinson, CofS, FEAF. Interpreters sat at both ends of the table.


5210th Information and Historical Service, HQ Eighth Army, Occupational Monograph of the United States Eighth Army in Japan, Vol I, Aug 45Jan 46, pp. 11-12. Hereinafter cited as : Monograph of Eighth Army in Japan. G-2, GHQ, familiar with the structure of the Japanese armed forces and in control of the linguist service, was designated to supervise the Japanese plans for demobilization and disarmament.

53GHQ, SCAP, Requirements of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers Presented to the Japanese Representatives , at Manila, P. I.19 Aug 45 (TS).

54On the first leg of their return trip in an American transport plane, the delegates arrived at Ie Jima at 1745 on the 20th. Since one of the Japanese planes waiting there to take them back to Japan had developed trouble, it was decided to split the mission into two groups and leave one group behind on Ie Jima until its plane was repaired. The members of the first group left Ie Jima at 1840 and were escorted by twelve P-38's to the vicinity of Tanegashima. From there their plane proceeded along the coast from Shionomisaki until 2345 when the fuel supply became exhausted and they were compelled to make a forced landing on a beach approximately three kilometers east of the mouth of the Tenryu River. Except for Katsuo Okazaki, who suffered slight injuries, there were no casualties.

By foot and then by truck the delegates finally arrived at the evacuated headquarters of the Hamamatsu Air School at 0330 on the 2lst. At 0700 they left Hamamatsu Airfield in an Army heavy bomber, arriving at Chofu Airfield at 0800. The second plane left Ie Jima at 0830 on the 2lst and arrived safely at Kisarazu at 1400. Combined statement of lchiro Yokoyama, Toshikazu Ohmae, Hidemi Yoshida, Yoshimori Terai, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.

55GHQ, AFPAC, Press Release 20 Aug 45.