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How The Sun's Correspondent Saw War End 50 Years Ago Yesterday 'THESE PROCEEDINGS ARE CLOSED'


Aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Sept. 2 [By Radio] -- World War II ended officially at 9:18 o'clock Tokyo time, this morning.

It ended with the words of Gen. Douglas MacArthur: "These proceedings are closed."

Japan's dream of conquest died under the frowning guns of the mightly battleship Missouri when Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu, chief of staff of the Imperial Headquarters, affixed their names to the instrument of surrender which placed Japan unconditionally in the hands of the Allies.

Stately as religious procession

It was a ceremony that followed a fixed military procedure, but was as stately regal as a religious procession.

MacArthur conducting the ceremony in plain uniform but wearing his famous cap, spoke in firm, full tones through a battery of five microphones and loudspeakers which carried the emphatic conviction in his voice echoing along the decks and across the waters to where the battleships Iowa and South Dakota were anchored.

The ceremony was watched by an attentive throng of 50 army generals, 50 senior naval officers, 36 foreign signers and delegates and 11 Japanese, all of whom were drawn up on the admiral's promenade deck amidships facing a ten-foot table covered with gold-trimmed green cloth, on which the instrument of surrender lay open.

Ranged around these were more than 200 correspondents, photographers and radiomen. The entire ship's complement of white-clad sailors and Marines were standing in formation on the fore and after decks during the ceremony.

The first signature, that of Shigemitsu, was affixed at 9:03 o'clock and the last, that of Air Vice Marshal Isitt, of New Zealand, at 9:17.

Then MacArthur said:

"Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always. These proceedings are closed."

In the narrows of Tokyo Bay

The Missouri was anchored in the narrows of Tokyo Bay, off the Yokosuka naval base. To the starboard was the Iowa and astern the South Dakota.

Scattered as far as the eye could see were destroyers, troopships and escorts and overhead, before and after the signing, buzzed planes of the fleet and the strategic air force.

Observers and officers boarded the Missouri shortly after dawn after a trip down the bay by destroyers. Visitors were all assigned stations on the gun turret, main deck, bridge deck and superdeck. At stations up the mast were blue-jackets. Every possible vantage point was crowded.

Officers in constant stream

A galaxy of officers arrived in a constant stream from 7:30 A.M.

The correspondents' destroyer tied up to the Missouri's port side, but others arrived by small boats and were piped over the side by bosun's whistle and crowded onto the deck to chat and wait until time for the ceremonies.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Save the King" brought everyone to attention at 7:59 A.M. facing the flag and saluting.

Guns at maximum elevation

All guns were raised to their maximum elevation lending an impression of strength and power.

Over the stern rail the Yokosuka naval base showed dimly through the mist. Over the port quarter, Tokyo lay invisible behind the grayness.

Seemed grotesquely puny

It was a gray day for Japan, and the squat little men who boarded this ship to make peace seemed grotesquely puny to have caused so much sorrow and worry in a nation which could produce weapons like this floating fortress.

On deck prior to the signing stood Admiral Richard E. Byrd, hero of South Pole explorations; Lieut. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright and Gen. Arthur E. Percival, just released from prison camps in Manchuria; and dignitaries who later signed the surrender for their respective countries.

With them mingled Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, almost inconspicuous in plain khaki, and Admiral William F. Halsey, "Bull of the Pacific," minus his naval cap but wearing the plain overseas type.

Admirals McCain, Sherman, Spruance and many other heroes of Pacific naval battles also were present.

Five full generals

There were five full generals: Stilwell, Krueger, Hodges, Spaatz and Kenny. Ranged with them were 11 lieutenant generals, 19 major generals, 15 brigadier generals, 8 colonels, 2 lieutenant colonels and one master sergeant -- Hubert Carroll, General Wainwright's orderly who served through three years and three months of imprisonment.

MacArthur met by Nimitz

Admiral Nimitz met MacArthur at the gangway and accompanied him as he walked swiftly, straight past the signing tables on which then lay only a plain white pad of paper, two pens in holders and a round paperweight.

At 8:51 a small boat containing the Japanese circled in to the landing on the starboard gangway. The boat was lost to sight under the ship's side as it came in close and it seemed an interminable time before the Japanese arrived, led by Shigemitsu, whose artificial right leg hindered his progress.

General follows Shigemitsu

Shigemitsu was followed by General Umezu, a short typical Japanese figure in dull khaki and peaked cap wearing yellow braid around his right shoulder. Then came two more top-hatted Japanese dressed, like Shigemitsu, in frock coats and morning trousers, with yellow gloves. Only Shigemitsu carried a cane.

The Japanese and Allies stared at each other in stony silence.

It was 8:58 when MacArthur appeared from the admiral's cabin, walked swiftly down the ladder and strode to the microphone battery.

His remarks on the surrender were in his hands as he took his place, and he began reading in the firm, clear voice of the accomplished speaker:

"We are gathered here, representatives of the major warring powers, to conclude a solemn agreement whereby peace may be restored."

Declares firm purpose

As supreme commander for the Allies, he said:

"I announce it as my firm purpose, in the tradition of the countries I represent, to proceed in the discharge of my responsibilities with justice and tolerance (his voice rising slightly in volume) -- while taking all necessary dispositions to ensure that the terms of surrender are fully, promptly and faithfully complied with."

At this point he became the complete military commander, his voice crackling like a lash, as he said:

"I now invite the representatives of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Government and Japanese imperial headquarters to sign the surrender at the places indicated."

There was no mistaking the stern command of that tone, and the Japs fidgeted under its impact.

A silk-hatted Japanese stepped to the table, laid aside his topper, and spread out Japanese copies of the instrument. A second aide stepped from the left as Shigemitsu limped stiffly to the table, sat down, doffed his hat and slowly affixed his signature where an aide indicated.

The first signature was completed at 45 seconds after 9:03 A.M. Shigemitsu wrote the second signature with the same deliberate care as the first.

Just behind him, General Umezu stepped up and replaced the minister as the latter withdrew. The general stood to sign both copies.

Calls Wainwright and Percival

The Japanese all returned to their former places by 9:06 plus 30 seconds and MacArthur announced he would sign for all the TTC Allied powers. He walked four steps to the table, and before signing, turned and said:

"Will General Wainwright and General Percival step forward and accompany me while I sign?"

The two generals walked forward and stood behind and slightly to MacArthur's left. The general signed part of his name with one of a pile of fountain pens on the table, then turned and handed it to Wainwright.

Second pen to Percival

He wrote again, then handed that pen to Percival.

He used six pens altogether, in cluding the old-style red one he carried in his shirt.

His signing completed, he called the representatives of the United States, and Nimitz stepped forward to sign, calling Admirals Halsey and Sherman to accompany him.

This set the pattern that was followed all down the line, each signer calling out officers to accompany them while they were at the surrender table.

Ends ceremony dramatically

MacArthur then ended the ceremony quickly and dramatically and walked briskly back to the admiral's quarters and the proceedings began breaking up.

General Sutherland approached the table to obtain the copies of the surrender instrument and gave one to a Japanese aide who, after looking at it, broke into an excited jabber.

The aide went back to Shigemitsu, explaining with waving hands. Then both sides went back to the table and, after prolonged discussion, Sutherland whipped out his own pen and began writing on the Japanese copy.

Only later it was learned that an error in signing by Colonel Cosgrave was the difficulty. Sutherland solved the problem by removing the designation from the wrong line and writing in the correct one.

In dun-colored folder

The instrument of surrender, approximately the size of a full newspaper page, was delivered to the Japanese in a dun-colored folder of sufficient size to hold it unfolded.

So ended World War II.

By terms of the instrument of surrender Japan:

Proclaims unconditional surrender to the Allies.

Commands the Japanese people and the armed forces to cease hostilities and comply with the requirements of the supreme commander.

All commanders to surrender

Commands imperial headquarters to issue orders for all Jap commanders to surrender themselves and forces under their control.

Commands all Japanese to obey and enforce the proclamations and directives of the supreme commander and directs all officials to remain at their posts performing noncombatant duties until released.

Undertakes to carry out provisions of the Potsdam declaration ,, "in good faith."

Orders prisoners freed

Commands the immediate liberation of all Allied war prisoners and provides for their care and maintenance and transportation.

Admits the authority of the Emperor and Government to rule Japan shall be subject to the supreme commander who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate terms of surrender.

The instrument of surrender itself was made legal in Japan by Emperor Hirohito in a proclamation authorizing his representatives to sign for him and ordering the cessation of hostilities and the faithful execution of the orders of the Imperial Government under the supreme commander. Following President Truman's proclamation of September 2 as V-J day, General MacArthur broadcast his message to the world.

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