Interview with Stuart Murray
ww2dbaseUSS Missouri Captain Remembers the Surrender Ceremony in Tokyo Bay
Reminiscences of the Surrender of Japan and the End of World War II
by Admiral Stuart S. Murray, U.S. Navy (Retired) [Captain of the USS Missouri from May 1945]
Excerpt from a US Naval Institute Oral History interview, recorded in 1974 at Annapolis, Maryland.
Adm. Murray: "...Our instructions had been that the Japanese delegation, which would be headed by [Foreign Minister] Shigemitsu, would consist of eleven Japanese. Shigemitsu was [Foreign Minister] and representing the emperor of all the armed forces of the Japanese Empire. Then there would be three representatives of the civilian government of Japan. Three from the Imperial Army and three from the Imperial Navy. So it would be a total of eleven Japanese.
We got that information. We also found out from what we had already known that Shigemitsu had a wooden leg; His leg had been blown off in Shanghai several years before. That presented a problem. First, the Japanese delegation was going to be delivered to the vicinity of the Missouri by destroyer the next morning. The destroyer would be off the Missouri's bow, very close aboard, by about eight o'clock in the morning, so that there'd be no question of the Japanese getting there anyway. Then they would be sent over by a small boat to the Missouri at the proper time. General MacArthur had said that he didn't want the Japanese aboard the Missouri on its weather deck more than five seconds and he didn't want them to be even a fraction of a second late in getting up there. Nine o'clock was the official time. Well, it's kind of hard to try to run something within five seconds. Walking up a gangway, then across a deck, and then up another deck, and about twenty feet more to get into position, so the only way we figured we could do it was two parties. So we took young sailors and took a swab handle and put it down their trousers' legs so they couldn't bend their legs, strap it on them and they'd get in a small boat just exactly like the one that the delegation would come over in, and they would be Shigemitsu.
Well, we practiced this about twenty times—how long it took them to get them out of the boat from sitting in it, get up on the bottom platform for the forward gangway, come up the gangway then on to the ship, across the quarter deck to the ladder up to the verandah deck where the surrender would be signed, in front of my cabin. These sailors were pretty good. The average time was, in fact the slowest time in about twenty attempts was one and a half minutes, ninety seconds. I figured these sailors were more ambitious than the Japanese would be, so I doubled the time and figured that three minutes was the minimum time we had to allow. We can't allow much more than that or they'll get there too soon. We thought we had that all set. They would come alongside about four minutes before nine, about 8:56, the boat would come alongside and we could gain one or two minutes by the sailor standing at the bottom of the platform of the gangway to push the boat out a little bit and tell the coxswain not to let them get up, so we could control a little bit.
Well that was one of the things that we thought we had all set. The other thing was that we finally got the word on, on the 1st of September, I believe it was, anyway the night before that there were to be ties worn, no side arms of any sort or kind by anyone at the ceremonies, there would just be khaki with the collars open on the khaki shirts and overseas caps or regular caps at their discretion, although I think all wore caps.
Then we had the list of who was coming except for one or two whom they said would come, at the last minute might come. And we could stick them in whenever a hole was available. In order to make room on the verandah deck on the starboard side, we found that we could train Turret 2, which was the high turret up forward. So that it was trained with guns pointing to the starboard bow and would make room for eight or ten more people to stand on the starboard side of the turret barbette. We fixed up a platform just forward of the surrender deck, as we got to call it, and I guess it still is, with planking to place about twelve or fifteen photographers who would be right on a level with the platform in that we made that level with the deck, so they would be right there in good position. We put another one, but smaller, to hold about eight or ten, on the starboard side of it. Then we fixed up the platform, or the gun mount rather, of the 40mm quad, which was on the starboard wing of the verandah deck by training the guns vertically and taking the ammunition boxes off we could get about six or eight more in there. The rest of the photographers were placed around in places above there.
This whole thing took quite a little bit of planning and work, and we were working all the time with Admiral Halsey's staff. I was working more with Admiral Carney. We would go over the plans of the things and I'd check them out with him after we'd arrived at a decision as to what we were going to do since they had the final say on what was going to be unless they reported to Admiral Nimitz which, on most of the details, wasn't at all necessary.
Oh, yes, on the uniforms it was decided that there would be only the side boys who were rated by the individual by his position, such as eight for a full admiral, or six for a rear admiral or four for a captain, and so forth, on down, and eight for the Japanese – the premier would rate eight, and nothing would be done in the way of side honors other than that the bo'sun mate pipe the side. The side boys would salute and there'd be attention on deck, and that was all. No guard of honor of Marines and no playing of martial marches which are accorded under full-honors conditions.
On marking all these circles for the various visitors and also for the correspondents and photographers, we suddenly received word that the Secretary of the Navy was sending out some visitors who would be there for the ceremony and he wanted them to have a good place. We thought that was a good idea and we set them up on top of Turret 2, where they'd have a good bird's eye view of everything and not interrupt the rest of our plans! Altogether, with those and certain honored ones we were told to give special positions to – correspondents like Mr. Ash, I believe, and a few others with special distinction – we put them up there with the SecNav guests.
Q: Where were they sent?
Adm. Murray: They were included with the Secretary of the Navy's guests, as a matter of fact. So we put them up on top of Turret 2. We had about eight people up there, as I recall. They sat in chairs. They were safer if they sat, rather than try to stand up. They wouldn't fall.
There was one other little ticklish item. With both Fleet Admiral Nimitz and General of the Army MacArthur, each one rating five stars, General MacArthur a red flag with five stars and Fleet Admiral Nimitz a blue flag with five stars, I asked Admiral Nimitz if he wanted both of them at the same height, and he said very emphatically so, since this was afloat and it was a Navy ship his flag would be on the starboard side and General MacArthur's on the port side, and both at the same heights. That sounds like a simple thing but when you get 120 feet in the air at the top of the masthead, or close to it, it's not very simple. However, we solved that by making a pigstick, in other words a little stick there at the top, which you used for flags, and welding a bar on the top of the mainmast, and to this bar we had two flags, the one on the starboard a blue five-star flag, the one on the port a red five-star flag, all made up so that with a yank on the flag halyards would break and fly in the breezes as each gentleman came aboard we'd break his flag.
Of course, we were flying Admiral Halsey's four-star flag all the time, since he was aboard, but at the time we broke Admiral Nimitz' flag his would be hauled down. It was quite a little nasty thing at first, getting this horizontal bar up there because we didn't want General MacArthur to see his flag was lower than Admiral Nimitz's, or Admiral Nimitz to say his was lower than General MacArthur's. I'm sure neither one of the gentlemen would personally have noticed it, but certainly some member of his staff would have picked it out.
Q: That's an item that no one except someone who was there would have realized created a problem!
Adm. Murray: I know. It seems a very minor thing, but minor things sometimes can take on bigger importance!
Q: That is true.
Adm. Murray: While we were getting ready also someone, I don't know who, suggested that it would be awfully nice to have a card certifying that Joe Doaks was aboard the Missouri at that time and signed by General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz and Admiral Halsey. So a very nice card was made up and it was on the Rising Sun and "This certified that (blank) was aboard the USS Missouri at the time the surrender was signed by the Japanese, Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945." On one side would have General MacArthur's signature, as you looked at it, on the left, to the right was Admiral Nimitz, and in the middle of it was Admiral Halsey's signature. Down in the lower right-hand corner, I signed as captain of the ship, as a kind of certification. Our printers there on the Missouri were quite expert printers, and they took an old Saturday Evening Post thing and lifted General MacArthur's signature where they had signed this article, and it was perfect, and they put it right on the card. We showed the proof of it to Admiral Halsey to get his okay. He thought it was wonderful, but he said, "Don't even lift mine. I'll sign it right now," so he signed on the page so they could use his. I told him that I was going to personally sign every card so that we could keep track of them and the sailors down there in the print shop didn't run ovv a bunch of extras, because they didn't get my signature on them, I would keep them!
So we made these cards up after we'd received General MacArthur's and Admiral Nimitz' permit to use this. We showed them a sample with their signatures on it and we did not necessarily want them to sign anything else. They both thought it was a joke and said that was all right as far as they were concerned so long as we didn't clamp their signatures on something else. We made these cards up so that there would be only one for each person who was physically aboard the Missouri at that time, and that included the whole crew of the Missouri, but only one. I might add that after each person had been given his card as he came aboard, several asked me for some additional ones and I told them, no, only one person and no additional ones. Even Admiral Nimitz, without thinking, asked if we didn't have half a dozen extra ones because he'd like to send one to the Secretary of the Navy and Admiral King and a few of the others and I told him, no, only the ones physically aboard, as it said right on the card, go it. That was it was worth an awful lot more to the individual. He agreed and said never mind, "don't let anybody have another. And if anybody puts too much pressure on you, let me know and I'll back you up." We had a few spares made up which I kept after we got a complete count of who was going to be there in case there a few extras run in, and there were a few, the Secretary of the Navy's guests. Then, after it was all finished, I took the die, or whatever you call the plate that the print shop had used and burned the whole thing up in an incinerator. The executive officer and two members of the crew, and the first lieutenant witnessed the burning so there was no question as to what happened to it. The plate was ruined after it was burned and was absolutely unusable. We actually threw it out over the side. The cards were all burned up. That way we knew that no extras were being made unless some expert could go ahead and make his own from the one he personally had. I wouldn't be surprised if there had been a lot of them made just for that reason, but I never heard of it.
Q: I was wondering if you ever had.
Adm. Murray: There was a kind of check at times and those who had generally had it locked away in their safe for posterity, just as mine is, and those who don't ever heard of it. Late that night, on the 1st of September, we had the situation pretty well in control we thought-
Q: Were you nervous?
Adm. Murray: Not exactly what you might call relaxed, because we knew there to many things hanging fire. The program was that the correspondents and photographers would come down from the Yokohama area on destroyers; we figured it would take two of them to bring them down, and they would arrive down at the Missouri about 7:30 in the morning. Then General Mac Arthur would come down by destroyer and arrive about 8:40 in the morning –between 8:30 and 8:40, and the others would come aboard from whatever means of transportation they had available to them, except they would come in small boats.
So the next morning, the 2nd of September, since we had a lot to do and also we were missing these 200-plus men and about twenty officers who were still ashore with the landing party, we had a very early reveille and started in on getting everything ready
Q: Where was the location of your ship at this time?
Adm. Murray: This was the spot we had anchored in there in Tokyo Bay, Off Yokosuka. The same spot we'd originally anchored, where Perry had been in 1853.
The VIPs who were to watch the ceremonies and the signers started to arrive about 0715 from various places, depending on when their transportation could get them there. Some of them came in from the part of the Third Fleet that was still operating outside Tokyo Bay and others from the ships in that vicinity. Admiral Nimitz came aboard about one or two minutes after eight, and we hoisted his five-star flag, we broke it up there on the yard arm, and hauled down Admiral Halsey's four star one, and that settled that question of arrivals. At eight o'clock we had hoisted a clean set of colors at the mainmast and a clean Union Jack at the bow as we were at anchor, and I would like to add that these were just regular ship's flags, GI issue, that we'd pulled out of the spares, nothing special about them, and they had never been used anywhere so far as we know, at least they were clean and we had probably gotten them in Guam in May. So there was nothing special about them. Some of the articles in the history say this was the same flag that was flown on the White House or the National Capitol on 7 December 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and at Casablanca, and so forth, also MacArthur took it up to Tokyo and flew it over his headquarters there. The only thing I can say is they were hard up for baloney, because it was nothing like that. It was just a plain ordinary GI-issue flag and a Union Jack. We turned them both in to the Naval Academy Museum when we got back to the East Coast in October.
The only special flag that was there was a flag which Commodore Perry had flown on his ship out in that same location 82 years before. It was flown out in its glass case from the Naval Academy Museum. An officer messenger brought it out. We put this hanging over the door of my cabin, facing forward, on the surrender deck so that everyone on the surrender deck could see it. It was facing the Japanese. This was a thirty-one-star flag, that's all the states we had at that time. I imagine that the Japanese looked at that when they came up. Since I was behind them I can't be sure.
Q: Excuse me. When Admiral Nimitz came aboard, where did he go, to Admiral Halsey's cabin?
Adm. Murray: Yes, we went straight to Admiral Halsey's cabin. I greeted him at the gangway, as I did all the visiting dignitaries on the starboard forward gangway, which was the quarter deck on the Missouri. Just for the record, side honors that day, the officer of the deck would be standing on the upper platform of the ship, and then to his right would be the necessary number of side boys. He'd be standing in the line with the side boys but just separate from them, and the bo'sun's mate would be there to blow his pipe, the pipe for the salute by the side boys. I was standing one or two paces further inboard than the last side boy to greet them as they came down there.
Q: Did he have any comment that you recall?
Adm. Murray: Not that I recall, other than "good morning." Admiral Halsey was down there also as well as Admiral Carney, and Lieutenant Kitchell, his flag lieutenant, was there also and Admiral Nimitz went directly on up to Admiral Halsey's cabin. He probably said, "All set?" and we all said, "Yes, Sir." And that was probably about all he said at that time.
The newspaper correspondents and the photographers arrived in their two destroyers at about 7:30, which we put alongside each quarter of the Missouri aft, and took them aboard. When they landed they were told to show their assignment to the escorts who would take them there, and that's what they did, and they were taken directly to their places and told to stay there. Behind each group of correspondents about an average of one escort to two correspondents, the escorts stayed all during the ceremony, so there wouldn't be any wandering around, as we knew they would want to do. The photographers, the same thing. They were taken to their places. That was what we thought would happen, and our numbers and circles were very important. There was no argument. Here's your number and that's where you belong. We didn't have any trouble with them there, at first anyway.
General MacArthur and his staff arrived on the destroyer about 8:40 and came along the port side, amidship of the Missouri. Admiral Nimitz, Admiral Halsey, and I met him as he came aboard and escorted him to Admiral Halsey's cabin.
Along with General MacArthur and his staff was an Army colonel from Washington who had flown out with the surrender papers. It was the first time we had seen them. They were to be signed by the Japanese first, of course, and then the allied powers. We had placed our beautiful mahogany table and its two nice chairs, the present of Admiral Frazer and the British fleet, on deck in the central spot and it looked very nice there.
One look at these documents and, you might say, all hell broke loose! These documents were about 40 inches by 20 inches each and two of them had to be in line. Our beautiful mahogany table was 40 by 40! Couldn't do it. So I called the four nearest sailors and we headed for the wardroom, which was the deck below my cabin. Well, we got there and were going to grab the wardroom table and get it up there. The wardrobe table was bolted down – it should be, of course. So we dashed down to the next compartment to the crew's mess compartment. The mess cooks had just finished cleaning up all the tables from the breakfast and were hanging their tables to the overhead to get them out of the way so they could watch the surrender ceremony from their place in the rear division. Well, we grabbed the first table – the crew's last table, the mess cooks were just cleaning it up, so that was it. They didn't want their table taken away from them. They didn't know what it was all about, but they did know that was their mess table that they were supposed to clean up and take care of. We waved them down and said "You'll get it," and took it on up.
Well, on the way to the wardroom we knew we had to have a cover for that table, so I yanked a green table cover off the first wardroom table I came to and said to the guys out there on the deck to set up this mess table and spread the green cloth on it. It really looked very nice. The group was all aboard then. I noticed Admiral Nimitz by the time we got the table squared away-
Q: Did he know the problem you were having?
Adm. Murray: I did tell Admiral Nimitz about it later after it was over with. He laughed and said well it's a good touch anyway. Someone remarked about it later. "That's a beautiful common touch, to use the crew's general mess table, and use a green cloth from the wardroom." Of course there were little sarcastic remarks because it appears that the table cloth I'd yanked off had a lot of coffee spots on it from spilled coffee, and they wanted to know at the Naval Academy Museum why I didn't get a clear one! But that was the reason. No one was thinking about it then, least of all I. We had to have something and we had to have it in a hurry.
I noticed that Admiral Nimitz seemed to be having a discussion with the Russian official delegate, a Lieutenant General, and I walked over to a few feet away after we got the table covered up and the documents on it, and asked him if there was anything I could do. He said that the Russian delegates wanted their newspaper correspondent to stand in line right behind him, where only the signer delegates and their deputies were allowed to stand. They were in a line facing forward, with their backs towards the bulkhead of my stateroom, and all the guests were facing - on line fore and aft-facing to the starboard by the Turret 2 barbette, and the Japanese were on the forward section of the verandah deck, facing aft, with the crew's mess table with the surrender documents on it halfway between the two sets of signers.
As Admiral Nimitz told me that the correspondents wanted to be there, I thought the best way was to use some of the eight or ten Marines I had around as guards to take care of the trouble. So I motioned the Marines to grab him and take him where he belonged. The correspondent apparently got the word as to what was happening because he dashed through the line of the signers and also through the line of the VIP'S over by Turret 2 and started up the ladder on the side of Turret 2 barbette to get up there with two husky Marines each with a Colt .45 at his side chasing him. He'd gotten about halfway up the ladder towards the top when the Marines caught up with him and grabbed his legs and pulled him down and escorted him with a little arm pressure, one on each side, to the assigned position, which was a couple of decks higher than where he was. I told the Marines to stay with him.
They stayed with him the whole surrender time and there were no more problems on him, but the people on deck, the signers and VIPs together thought it was a wonderful joke and so did the Russian general. In fact, he slapped Admiral Nimitz on the back and said, "Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!" He thought it was a wonderful joke. I judge that his neck was saved, he didn't order him off and he didn't say he couldn't stay there, and was really relieved when we took care of the whole situation with a couple of Marines.
The Japanese were allowed to have a news reel photographer. My recollection is only one, but there might have been two, But my orders since they had only the limited number he was assigned a position on the 40mm gun platform on the starboard wing of the verandah deck. I thought there was a possibility he might try to pull a fancy trick with his camera or something and be a hero or a kamikaze by taking with him some of the central people. So these two Marines each had a hand on the leg of the Jap and put him in his place and told him to stay there. And each Marine with one hand on the Jap's leg, since he was up about three or four feet higher than they were when they were standing on the main deck, and with the other hand the Marines -most of the time, I don't know that it was all the time, but just part of the time- they had their other hand on the butt of their Colt .45 in its holster alongside of him. There was no question that the Jap got the word, and he didn't trust those Marines at all because when he first got there I looked at him and he was really shivering. He was in his place but he was shaking so I don't know how good his pictures would have been if he had started them then. There was no question he was kept well under control.
None of the rest of them gave us any trouble at that time, other than trying to wander off to another spot very often when they thought could get away with it but the sailors behind them, or the Marines whichever ones they happened to be, would rapidly send them back. They never got very far. Maybe three or four feet and that was all. So we didn't have any more difficulty with them, other than just routine to be expected from any correspondent who never stays where he's supposed to be, and least of all the photographers.
We were given the precise time for the Japanese emissaries to get into position, and we'd done all this training and figured our time by doubling it to three minutes, and then to play safe I'd added another minute on and said four minutes. In other words, at 8:56 the small boat in which they were coming from the destroyers would be there. The Japanese were in small boats by the destroyer which was about 200 yards from us about 8:30 so they wouldn't be late, and they were floating out there waiting for the word of the Missouri to come alongside. Well, we called alongside about 8:50 because the boats had drifted in and was only about 50 yards off, and we knew we could control it a little bit. So the boat came alongside and it was only 8:55, which would be five minutes before it came alongside, but I thought, well, Shigemitsu's heart's not going to be in it, so that extra minute was all right. So we signaled to the sailor on the bottom of the gangway down there who ostensibly was to help him aboard, okay, let the boat stay there. So they started up the gangway.
Q: Excuse me, Admiral. Where were you now?
Adm. Murray: At that time I walked over and was standing on the top platform of the quarterdeck, the gangway.
Q: So you could see what was going on?
Adm. Murray: So I could see where they were. I was outboard of all the side-boys, in other words. I thought that Shigemitsu would never get moving out of that boat. He must have sat there and wiggled for a full thirty seconds before he made any motion, it seemed like, of getting out. But finally he started up and really and truly he just crept out of that boat and up the gangway and across the deck with the other ten in the delegation following him, of course, as he was the emperor's direct representative. They were led by an Army colonel who had charge of the arrangements to see that they were there. He'd have to slow down all the time to keep from running away from Shigemitsu.
Well, they finally got to the ladder going up from the fore deck to the verandah deck where the surrender documents were. Time was running out, five seconds were already passed, almost just as Shigemitsu's top hat appeared on the level with the verandah deck. General MacArthur stepped out of Admiral Halsey's cabin, which was one deck above that, right on the stroke of nine, and he took one look and saw the Japanese still coming and he turned around and went back into the cabin. The Japanese proceeded on up and took their positions in line and something like two and a half or three minutes after nine General MacArthur came out and came down and took his position on the after side of the surrender table. He made a few remarks, there was a prayer, and the Star Spangled Banner was played, and he made a few remarks about hoping this would usher in permanent peace and so forth, then he turned to the Japanese and asked them please to come forward. He said, "The Japanese emissaries will now come forward and sign the surrender documents." Shigemitsu, who was accompanied by one of his civilian representatives -Kase was his name, the anglicized version of it-came with him, sat in the big chair, or got into it rather awkwardly. As he sat down in it, this wooden leg of his went out and hit the tie rod that holds the legs of the table up. As you know, a mess table is collapsible and it's held up by two diagonal rods from the center of the table, one from each end leg, with a light hook loosely over the tie rod between the two feet at each end. He hit this enough that it rattled. You could hear it on the quarter deck. And it moved but it didn't drop. Our fingers were all crossed, all those who knew how it was. We didn't want that to happen and it didn't.
They saluted as they came over the side. Then after they came over the side they saluted colors and the officer of the deck, then they came down the line of the side boys who were standing at salute after the bosun's mate had piped them aboard.
Q: And did you follow them up to the surrender deck?
Adm. Murray: No, because with the Army Colonel, Shigemitsu was just getting up on the topside of the deck by the time the last one was even with me. So I moved over two feet towards the gangway going up to the surrender deck to get a better view, but that was all. Actually, from where I was standing the only thing I could see of it was between the Japanese.
Shigemitsu seemed to have quite a bit of trouble due to confusion which, I suppose, under the circumstances isn't surprising, as to where he was to sign. He was kind of fumbling around and this Mr. Kase wasn't helping him any and finally General MacArthur after what I suppose seemed like an hour and was probably five or ten seconds, said "Sutherland, show him where to sign." So General Sutherland who was his chief of staff, came over from where he had been standing with the VIPs next to turret 2 and pointed out the place to sign so Shigemitsu signed. Then he signed the other document since one copy was to be for the allies and the other was to be taken back by the Japanese as their official copy.
After he had signed, General Umezu signed for all the armed services. Then General MacArthur signed for all the allied powers. He used several pens, as you hear various and sundry accounts of it, on there but the picture that I have taken over the top of his head shows that five pens were used. Most people say six, but I think five is correct, because I have the photographs as proof of it.
Following General MacArthur's signature Admiral Nimitz signed as the U. S. official representative. Then the representative of Nationalist China, General Hsu, signed, followed by Admiral Grant Fraser, the United Kingdom representative, and then General Derevyanko, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics representative. He was then followed by General Blamey of the Commonwealth of Australia, and then the Dominion of Canada, Colonel Cosgrove signed. And then the provisional government of France signed, General LeClerc. Then the representative of the Netherlands, Admiral Helfrich who, incidentally, had relieved Admiral Hart when he left Java in February 1942 and was in command of all the allied forces in that area when the Japanese came down and chased us out of Java in 1942. He was followed by the representative of New Zealand, Air Marshal - That completed the signing as far as that was concerned;
Before I get off that I would like to mention one other thing...that General MacArthur, when he signed, asked General Wainwright, who had been captured when Corregidor fell and kept a POW, and also General Percival of the British Army, who had been in command at Singapore and taken prisoner then - he had these two come and stand alongside him. They were, of course, very emaciated - looking and had just been flown in the day before from a prison up Manchuria where they'd been released by the Japanese or rescued by our prison camp troops who went around to take care of all of them and get them out. He gave each of those - he gave Wainwright his first pen when he started out signing and Percival the second one. The other three he put in his pocket.
While the signing was going on there was some question apparently about the last signer, who was the man from New Zealand, and General Sutherland came over to look and say something about it at the same time but nothing was said. General MacArthur would be four or five feet behind the signers where the microphones were that could be heard all over the ship as too what was going on. I remember seeing General Sutherland put his finger down and the air marshal signed down there.
Well, when the ceremony was completed, with the New Zealander having signed it, General MacArthur said, "These proceedings are now closed," and the Japanese came forward - this Mr. Kase to pick up the Japanese part of it, the Japanese copy of the surrender papers, and he started to question something on it and was walking over towards the colonel who had brought the documents - or brought the Japanese delegation - also towards General Sutherland. General Sutherland and the colonel came over there and pointed at something to do with this. Well, General Sutherland, I think it was but it may have been the colonel, took a pen and drew a line on the thing and said, "Now that's fine. Now it's all fixed." So Mr. Kase took his copy and folded it up and they went on down the gangway to leave.
Q: Do you know what the trouble may have been?
Adm. Murray: Yes, Colonel Cosgrove of Canada had signed on the New Zealand line, and the New Zealander when it was his turn to sign, he was the last one on the signing list, his hole was already filled up so he'd been told to sign down below and he'd signed below it, and that's what the Japanese had objected to. This was on the Japanese copy only. On the U.S. copy he'd signed in the right place, but Colonel Cosgrove hadn't signed in Canada's hole on the Japanese copy. So that's what they'd done. They'd taken a line and just drew it up from Colonel Cosgrove's signature up to the right place, which was about three up above it, so that was okay.
When the Japanese came on down picked up their copy of it, being escorted down by their colonel from headquarters, and on to their small boat and back to the destroyer, they were taken back to Tokyo with their copy. Just as the ceremony was over there was a fly-by of U.S. planes, flying overhead and flying by. It was really quite a sight to see them flying by. I might add that we had a double cap of flyer planes over our head all the time while the ceremony was going on, plus the fact that all of our AA battery was completely manned except for those on the starboard side where these visitors were in front of it. Our whole AA fire control parties were manned. The main battery plotting room officer, Lieutenant Plate, now Rear Admiral Plate in command of cruisers and destroyers, Pacific, was the officer of the deck so that he was not in the main battery control. My gunnery officer, who was Commander Byrd, now Rear Admiral Byrd was manning the AA fire-control tower, and my acting executive control officer, Commander Lyon was down as the CIC officer which he regularly was, and the navigator was on the bridge.
We went back into my cabin after we got the last flag officer off who was leaving, and we'd mostly secured antiaircraft defense because we figured they no longer had such a big catch if a kamikaze did come over, but we still kept part of the antiaircraft manned. I was sitting in my cabin with the heads of departments and what we really would like very much to have would have been a couple of good stiff drinks, but since we couldn't have that we did the next best thing and were having coffee. Someone, as we started drinking the coffee and relaxing said, "We'd better save that table and that cloth and those chairs. Somebody might want to give them to the Museum. Maybe the Smithsonian would like to get them." Well, that hit us all at the same time and we jumped up and dashed out on the deck, out through the rear of the room, and no table! Crumpled up in a pile alongside the bulkhead was the green cloth, so we heaved that into my cabin. The chairs were already in there...the two British chairs. We had brought those in. They were in the cabin, so we had the two chairs in the cabin but not that mess table. So we dashed down to the mess hall again to the same place and, sure enough, the mess cook was very happily setting up his table for lunch! So we had to take it away from him again. This time I told him why I was taking it away from him and that he should be proud of his mess table and to tell his people who were supposed to eat there to go to another table. Well, he agreed with it because there was nothing else he could do. So we took it up this time and put it in the proper place in my cabin along with the mome cloth and the other things. Admiral Nimitz had also left the surrender documents - the U.S. copy, which was the other one that the Japanese didn't have - for the Missouri to take back to the States. It was taken down to Guam to him and then he would take it to Washington or send it back from there. He was the U.S. representative and therefore responsible for it., so I had those in the cabin also. So we had all the surrender things to be locked up."
***END OF TRANSCRIPT EXCERPT*** ww2dbase
Did you enjoy this article? Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.
Share this article with your friends:
Stay updated with WW2DB:
» Japan's Surrender
- » 1,062 biographies
- » 331 events
- » 36,844 timeline entries
- » 1,034 ships
- » 332 aircraft models
- » 185 vehicle models
- » 344 weapon models
- » 104 historical documents
- » 190 facilities
- » 462 book reviews
- » 25,706 photos
- » 297 maps
Winston Churchill, on the RAF