Auctions | July 5, 2024

1945 Draft of Japanese ‘Instrument of Surrender’ to Auction


First extant draft copy of the Japanese ‘Instrument of Surrender’ in English, dated ‘Aug. 31, 1945’ and stamped ‘1945 AUG 31 1 20,’ prior to the official surrender ceremony aboard the ‘USS Missouri’ in Tokyo Bay, Japan, on September 2, 1945.

An August 31, 1945, dated draft of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, the final iteration of which was signed aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, leads Quinn's Auction Galleries' July 16 Summer Rare Book Auction.

The draft is essentially a collection of 23 raw cables including several Japanese communiques, dated 'Aug. 31, 1945' and stamped '1945 AUG 31 1 20'. It is approximately 85% compatible with the final surrender document that was signed by General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral Chester Nimitz, British Admiral Bruce Fraser, General Philippe LeClerc of France, and other Allies, as well as Japanese Foreign Minister Maoru Shigemisu and General Yoshijiro Umezu. 

The cables were transmitted from the Pacific Front to the Communications Intelligence Organization and, upon receipt, were stamped in purple with the name of Charles A Jensen (1916-2007). A US Navy cryptographer who worked in Communications Intelligence during World War II, Jensen was tasked with receiving and working on incoming wires. 

Along with the cables, the draft includes additional documents that detail the progression of the surrender and the MacArthur delegation’s arrival preparations. One document, dated August 24, 1945, advises that the impending Tropical Storm Grace might delay the Supreme Command of the Allied Powers’ arrival to Tokyo from Manila. Another document, received and partially transposed from code, shows the agreement of the Government of Japan, using their delegates in Manila, to hand over information about POW camps.

After the war ended, Ensign Charles A Jensen (later promoted to lieutenant) rescued and retained the draft, which very likely would have been discarded and lost forever had he not recognized its historical importance and taken the initiative to save it. No other examples of an early draft of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender are known to exist, either in institutional collections or the National Archives. The pre-sale estimate is $2,000-$4,000.

E.E. Cummings' 'W'

E.E. Cummings' W

Walter Scott's Waverley

Walter Scott's Waverley

Reflections on the Cession of Louisiana to the United States

Reflections on the Cession of Louisiana to the United States

William Swainson's ‘Zoological Illustrations’

William Swainson's Zoological Illustrations

Other highlights include: 

* a first edition, first series octavo publication by Sylvestris (nom de plume of abolitionist St. George Tucker) titled Reflections on the Cession of Louisiana to the United States. Published in 1803 by Samuel Harrison Smith, Washington City, the 27-page pamphlet extolls the benefits of the Louisiana Purchase, sympathetically suggesting the land be used as a colony for emancipated slaves, as the climate would be “favorable for the African constitution.” (estimate: $3,000-$5,000)

* William Swainson’s Zoological Illustrations or Original Figures and Descriptions of New, Rare, or Interesting Animals... , one of the earliest natural history publications to incorporate hand-colored lithographic illustrations, a first edition, first series published 1820-23 by Baldwin, Cradock and Joy in London (estimate: $400-$600)

* Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley; or ’Tis Sixty Years Since, published in 1814 by Archibald Constable and Co., London (estimate: $400-$600)

* E.E. Cummings’ W: ViVa, which is No. 46 of 95 copies and signed and inscribed to a theater critic by the author. Published in 1931 by Horace Liveright, New York, it has its original publisher’s boards and comes in its original slipcase (estimate: $400-$600)

* a complete bound set of the 1853-54 Pacific Railroad Survey (estimate $800-$1,200)

* an exceptional copy of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in an early state ($2,000-$3,000)

* Presidential signatures include a Herbert Hoover-signed 1934 first edition of The Challenge to Liberty (estimate: $100-$200) and three documents signed by Woodrow Wilson (estimage: $300-$500 each)