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Draft copy of the earliest Japanese Instrument of Surrender in English, estimated at $2,000-$4,000 at Quinn's.

Draft copy of the earliest Japanese Instrument of Surrender in English comes to Quinn’s July 16

FALLS CHURCH, VA — What is thought to be the earliest extant copy of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender in English headlines the Summer Rare Book Auction at Quinn’s Auction Galleries on July 16. The 23-page typed comes for sale from the family of Charles Andrew Jensen (1916-2007), who worked in US Navy Communications Intelligence.

Issued as the Allies were beginning to plan the occupation of Japan, following Hirohito’s radio address on August 15 and an August 19 summit in Manila, the contents of the draft document are about 85 percent compatible with the final surrender document as signed on September 2. Essentially a series of raw cables transmitted from the Pacific front to the Communications Intelligence (COMINT) organization, this document is dated August 31, the original agreed-upon date for the surrender before the timing was pushed back due to a tropical storm.

The draft copy repeatedly dictates that the surrender to the United States and the Allied Powers and subsequent occupation of Japan would be to the Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet (Admiral Nimitz), instead of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (General Douglas MacArthur). This may have been an oversight by either the Japanese delegation or the US delegation at the Manila peace conference.

Additional documents detail the progression of the surrender, arrival preparations of the MacArthur delegation, and the difficulties brought on by Tropical Storm Grace (noted as Typhoon in the communique). Several parts of the raw cables are not completely decoded or have slight errors noted.

The descendants of Charles Jensen, who was responsible for decoding encrypted Japanese messages during the Second World War, have consigned it for sale with an estimate of $2,000-$4,000.