|ADM STUART S MURRAY’S ORAL HISTORY RE SURRENDER TABLE 2 SEPT 1945
Did you make a chart and umber them and identify them by name and number ?
Adm. M.: We made a chart and numbered them for our own information. Actually , we sent a copy of the chart up with it, but the other had a number and a place exactly where that number was, so that if anyone had it there was no question in his mind where these fellows were to go or to be taken, because we knew the only safe way was to take them. So we trained the escorts of sailors we had to be the main turret crew, I might add, because we were still manning our antiaircraft battery and figured we would have to man it during the ceremony also in the event of any final dying gasp which would have been a wonderful haul if a kamikaze plane had landed on the surrender deck.
So we trained those and we also trained guards to be around at various places. Not only would the sailors take them to their places and station the man there, but we drew circles on the deck in those places with a number on it , so there was no argument , that was the number. We did the same thing all over the surrender deck, where we would have this. About this time, either on the 31st of August or the 1st of September, Admiral Frazer embarked in the KING GEORGE V of the Royal Navy sent over a beautiful mahogany deal table and two very nice upholstered chairs.
Q. mahogany what table ?
Adm. M: Deal table, a hard table, about 40 inches square. A beautiful highly polished table. He knew that we didn’t have any particular table in view for the surrender ceremony and he asked Admiral Halsey if he could send that over to be used, if he would like , for the surrender ceremony, with the two chairs , one for the Japanese to sign from and one for the allied powers to sign from. We thought and accepted with thanks, besides it gave the British a chance to say, we had something in the surrender ceremony.
The other point that we had to do was to drill for the Japanese delegation coming aboard. Our instructions had been that the Japanese delegation , which would be headed by Premier Shigemitsu, would consist of eleven Japanese. Shigemitsu was premier 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 Premier Shigemitsu had a wooden leg; His leg had been blown of 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, who was rapidly named "Peg –leg Pete" by all the sailors and officers.
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-
Q. Was it steps of was it a gangway?
Adm. M. It was a gangway.
Q But not steps?
Adm. M. Steps on a gangway are just like stairs. 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 SecNavy guests.
Q: Where were they sent?
Adm. M.: 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.
Q: Do you remember who the Secretary of the Navy sent?
Adm. M. No, I don’t. I could look it up and probably find out most of them.
Q: I don’t know that it’s important.
Adm. M.: I don’t think it is. I remember Mr. Ash was one, Ochs Ash. The others were The New York Times I believe, but there were several other people like that. I don’t know offhand who it was. He did not come himself, Secretary Forrestal.
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. M.: I know. It seems a very minor thing, but minor things sometimes can take on bigger importance!
Q: That is true.
Adm. M.: 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. M. 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 never 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. M: 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
Where was the location of your ship at this time?
Adm. M. This was the spot we had anchored in there in Tokyo Bay, Off Yokosuka
Q. The same spot where you had originally anchored ?
Adm. M. The same spot we’d originally anchored , where Perry had been in 1853.
Q. So you didn’t have to move the ship or anything?
Adm. M. No. The VIPs who were to watch the ceremonies and so 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: I wonder if they recognized the significance?
Adm.M.: They did later, they didn’t then.
The newspaper correspondents and the photographers arrived about 7:30 –
Q: Excuse me. When Admiral Nimitz came aboard, where did he go. To Admiral Halsey’s cabin?
Adm.M.: 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. M.: 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, 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, midship of the MISSOURI. Admiral Nimitz, Admiral Halsey, and I met him as he came aboard and escorted him to Admiral Halsey’s cabin.
Q: Of course, you broke his flag at that point?
Adm. M.: We broke his flag, yes, as he came aboard.
Q: Haven’t you thought what a wonderful part you had in history?
Adm. M.: We were not thinking about such things then. We were thinking more about getting it over with without a mess-up.
Q: I mean in reflection.
Adm. M.: Well, yes, but also there was an awful lot of tedious work getting all those details worked out, and drilling, drilling with all hands there to get it all squared away so that there’d be no mix-up.
Q.: In reading about it in history, it sounds so simple.
Adm. M.: I know. Those things do. They don’t show how much work goes on behind the scenes.
Q: And the reason it was simple and worked out was because of all that work.
Adm. M.: I think so, very definitely. 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 mome cloth on it. It really looked very nice.
It should. The group was all aboard then. I noticed Admiral Nimitz by the time we got the table squared away-
Did he know the problem you were having ?
Adm. M. No, he never knew till later
Q. And neither did MacArthur, I suppose?
Adm. M. 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.
Q. You were really touch and go at that point, weren’t you?
Adm. M. Yes. We had to have something, and we h ad 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.
Q. Maybe he had a fear of correspondents based on previous experience !
Adm. M. I wouldn't be surprised. I knew there was no question in his mind. He thought it was a wonderful joke and he had no hard feelings whatsoever about that or any thing else regarding it.
Q. That's interesting, isn't it?
Adm. M. 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-
Q. Excuse me, Admiral. Where were you now?
Adm. M. 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. M. So I could see where they were. I was outboard of all the sideboys, 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 thiry 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 Shiegmitsu'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 nd 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.
Q. You haven't told me where you were during this.
Adm. M. No, I was on the quarter deck down below.
Q. When the Japanese came aboard?
Adm. M. I was down on the inboard side of the side boys.
Did they salute when they came aboard?
Adm. M. 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. M. 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.
Q. Between the-
Adm. M. They were bow-legged
Q. Oh, between their legs?
Adm. M. Yes, I could see onto the deck below. I stayed on the quarter deck all the time and never went up on the surrender deck during the ceremony. From down there I could run the thing and besides the commanding officer is supposed to be down there to greet arriving guests and say goodbye to departing guests.. So I was down there the whole time. Part of the time I was standing on the upper platform at the top of the gangway with the officer of the deck, and part of the time I was in closer to the ladder up to the surrender deck.
Q. Were you in the famous picture which Admiral Nimitz always signed and said, "Thanks for your cooperation in helping make this possible."
Q. You went to join the picture?
Adm. M. No. I don't know exactly which one you mean. I'm in a lot of them in the background. I'm not in the forefront of any of them. As a matter of fact, the surrender pictures show me most standing on the gangplank down there, but other than that, why I'm not generally visible anywhere.
Anyway, the table didn't fall down?
Adm. M: No,, the table did not fall down, thank heavens. I don't know what we'd done. But it didn't fall fall on us and no one else kicked it because they didn't have a wooden leg they couldn't bend.
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 Umezo , chief of staff of the imperial staff, 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 peop;le 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 Derevyanka , the Union of the 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 occurred during the signing, and that was that about the middle of the signing ceremony , while the allies were signing it , two things seemed to happen. One was that the Russian cameraman , who was on this platform just forward of the surrender deck - he had an excellent place except that the Japanese legs probably interfered with some of his view - sneaked down from the platform , crept along crouching way down and carrying his camera, and started up the ladder to the surrender deck. I supposed he thought he would have a very good chance to sneak up on deck and nobody would know anything about it and he would have no difficulty whatsoever in getting away with some pictures of it. Well, the difficulty was he walked right in front of me and the chief bo'sun's mate who was about my size. I just nodded my head towards the bo'sun's mate and we both just walked over and caught him as he started up the steps. We grabbed by the trouser legs. His suspenders didn't hold very well and his trousers kind of dropped down to his knees, but that was all right , we just dragged him right on down and the chief got him by the back of his coat, his shirt, and I grabbed him by his feet and we carried him, face down, across the deck, gave a swing , and swung him up on his platform about four or five feet higher up.
Well the other photographers over there had been watching this and they undoubtedly had had the idea that they would do that too if he got away with it They could hardly contain their amusement at this thing. They thought it was a wonderful joke. He never tried to do it again.
The other thing was 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. M. YesColonel 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. And I might add here that on the 30th of August Admiral Nimitz had received a message from the National Geographic Society in Washington requesting that they be allowed to send two or three men to the MISSOURI to determine accurately where the surrender documents were signed. Well, Admiral Nimitz asked me what I thought about it and I thought we could determine the position as anyone from the National Geographic Society coming out from Washington and besides I didn't see why we couldn't determine the position as accurately as anybody wanted it, but I told him also we'd fix it so that no one else could gun deck it.
Q. Did they mean the geographic position by latitude and longitude?
Adm. M. That's right, the latitude and longitude. I decided the best way to do that was to have the navigator at exactly nine o'clock cut in the position of the MISSOURI, right where she was then at anchor. Swinging on the anchor, of course, you can vary by 500 yards in almost direction - not 500 yards but 150 or 200 yards - just by swinging around the anchor. After he got all his bearings to have them so they were fixed, at least half a dozen of them , to make a good fix exactly where we were, then take all power off of every gyrocompass repeater on the topside of the MISSOURI so we wouldn't have any amateur navigators finding out the position of the MISSOURI exactly at time. We would set the position and tell them what it was, and we did., and that's what we did.
Q. Did anybody ask?
Adm. M. No, but it's on the plaque: It's engraved on the plaque exactly where it was.
Q. That took care of any dispute on that matter, didn't it?
Adm. M. There was no argument whatsoever and I've never heard of anyone questioning our position.
To go back to getting rid of our visitors now that we 'd gotten the Japanese off, other flag and general officers there were putting in the time waiting for General MacArthur and some of the more senior ones and Admiral Nimitz to leave the ship, General MacArthur's destroyer had been called alongside and we'd called the two destroyers alongside to take the correspondents and photographers off because they couldn't send any messages from the MISSOURI and they wanted to get over to the WISCONSIN just as fast as they could get there, fly hopefully to file their dispatches and a big hassle as to who'd get there first, although I understand it was settled in the order in which they would be filed so that they drew lots for that also and there was no argument.
We got rid of those and we had about a four-ring circus going on there, but I was up forward with the flag and general officers, seeing them off the ship and I had my senior officers back aft to look over the situation and get the correspondents off. General MacArthur left in his destroyer with his staff, and Admiral Nimitz left and went back to the SOUTH DAKOTA. Then the others gradually left, so that by about eleven o'clock, I would say we were clear of people except for I believe General Sutherland was having lunch with Admiral Halsey and Admiral Carney, since the General's daughter was married to Admiral Carney's son, so they were like kinsfolk visiting.
We went back into my cabin after we got the last flag officer off who was leaving ,the heads of departments, 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 a 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 mome cloth, so we heaved that into my cabin. The chairs were already in there.
Q. Were those British chairs?
Adm. M: Those were 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 Japs 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.
One of the things we thought about originally after we squared away all those places for photographers and correspondents and so forth , we figured out - and I don't know whether it was the gunnery officer or who - but someone figured out that this training of Turret 2 to starboard and it being a high turret had range finders on it, and if we placed that surrender table in the proper place it would be right under the eyes of the range-finders , and if a man should crawl out on his hands and knees to the this range - finder barrel , which was armored, pull the optics out of the range finder there, he'd have a perfect bird's eye view centered over the surrender table. I thought that was a wonderful idea and we loaded up our senior aviator, who was very skinny and wouldn’t occupy the space, at least he was an extra picture taker and he could get in there. So he was in an unannounced , unpublicized hole about twelve or maybe fifteen feet above the surrender table, right on top of it. That was the film that I mentioned that shows how many pens General MacArthur used
Q: Well, you do have documentation ! And is that a 16mm film that you have?
Adm. M.: That's a 16mm film that I have. Well, to complete that film , when we got down to Guam after leaving the surrender, we thought it would be a very good idea to have that film developed, and the only place it could be developed was over in CincPac's photo lab on Guam where they had wonderful wartime photographers. So we sent the picture over there along with some others that we had to be developed and they said , come back at two o'clock tomorrow afternoon . Since we were going to be in there about three days, that was fine.
The next day we got really smart. We had received a bunch of fresh - caught ensigns , and I mean fresh caught, right out of school,, who had joined us in Tokyo Bay, some before and some after the surrender. So we went one of these new fresh -caught ensigns who knew absolutely nothing about the film to pick up the pictures over there. Well, he went
Note from transcriber, Jane Lyons from the Elderhostel Group May 31,2001……The above page was # 468 of Admiral Murray's oral account of the Surrender . Missing are pages 469 and 470.
Continuing on Page 471
Adm. M.: They should have. . It should be back thee with all the other pictures of the surrender ceremony. I don't know whether they ever paid any attention to them .
To get back to the MISSOURI, after we got them all off and squared away we could relax a little bit and start picking up the pieces and unrigging from the surrender ceremony. Admiral Nimitz had told me that the MISSOURI could come down to Guam and pick him up and the staff - his staff- and take them back to Pearl Harbor.
Q. Excuse me, but do you want to put in here - you said you wanted to make comments about the things that had been published about the surrender ceremony that weren't accurate?
Adm. M.: Yes, I think before that last part goes it would be a very good idea.
Q.: You did mention one about the flags.
Adm. M.: Yes, I mentioned that. And the one which it's supposed to be, I suppose the major one is supposed to be the most accurate is this Mighty Mo
, The Biography of the USS Missouri by Gordon Newell and Vic Admiral Alan E. Smith, U.S. Navy, Retired. Well, it has some very wonderful things in it, very good, but when they get over to the author in Tokyo Bay they have all kinds of inaccuracies in it, and some of these were in other things before. I don't like to criticize anything too much except that people might think it was exactly right -
Q. Well, you're not doing it by way of criticizing this, but telling what is accurate.
Adm.: Yes. For instance, the book says that we were anchored before going into Sagami Wan. The first time the MISSOURI anchored after she left Leyte the 1st of July was when we anchored in Sagami Wan on the 28th - the 27th -of August. We never anchored before. We never anchored out in the operating area .That intimated that when the pilots came aboard we were anchored and also in the pictures in there of samurai swords and daggers taken from the Japs at the surrender were taken before the surrender document was signed.
It was checked in the flag cabin of the MISSOURI before the document was signed, yes, about a week before when Japanese delegations had come over to take their orders as to what they were going to do at Yokosuka and also the pilots.
Q: As you described on the tape.
ADM. M.: It had nothing to do with the surrender ceremony. Then, another glaring thing in it, to me most of all, is the statement in there that the flag on the MISSOURI was the same one that had been flying over the capitol on 7 December 1941, at the time of Pearl Harbor, and had been taken to Casablanca, and that it was then taken by General MacArthur up to his headquarter in Tokyo and flown over his headquarters' flag. Actually, it was no such thing. It was just a plain ordinary G.I. issue flag and also a Union Jack. They were both turned into the Naval Academy Museum when the MISSOURI got back on the East Coast, along with the table and the mome cloth, and chairs, and also Admiral Nimitz' and General MacArthur's five-star flags were turned in there.
I might add that they also detached me from the MISSOURI in this book something like ten days before I was. They said I had been detached before Navy Day 1945, and I wasn't. I wasn't detached until the 5th of November, but that, I suppose, is a minor thing. But I did not collaborate in writing the book, nor was I ever asked to take any part in it. I was only asked to send in notes about it, combat records. No one ever asked me a thing about the surrender ceremony or the flags before writing the book, and apparently whoever wrote the thing never bothered to check the official log of the ship where they'd found out lots of things that they didn't write.
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