Welcome To The Official Website For The
U.S.S. RICHARD B. RUSSELL (SSN-687)
SENATOR RICHARD B. RUSSELL TELEGRAPH ON USING THE ATOM BOMB
TRANSCRIPT OF THE TELEGRAPH SENT TO PRESIDENT TRUMAN

Winder GA, Aug 7 427P

THE PRESIDENT

(PERSONAL DELIVERY) THE WHITE HOUSE

PERMIT ME TO RESPECTFULLY SUGGEST THAT WE CEASE OUR EFFORTS TO CAJOLE
JAPAN INTO SURRENDERING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE POTSDAM DECLARATION.  LET
US CARRY THE WAR TO THEM UNTIL THEY BEG US TO ACCEPT THE UNCONDITIONAL
SURRENDER.  THE FOUL ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR BROUGHT US INTO THE WAR AND I
AM UNABLE TO SEE ANY VALID REASON WHY WE SHOULD BE SO MUCH MORE
CONSIDERATE AND LENIENT IN DEALING WITH JAPAN THAN WITH GERMANY.  I
EARNESTLY INSIST JAPAN SHOULD BE DEALT WITH AS HARSHLY AS GERMANY AND
THAT SHE SHOULD NOT BE THE BENEFICIARY OF A SOFT PEACE.  THE VAST MAJORITY
OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, INCLUDING MANY SOUND THINKERS WHO HAVE INTIMATE
KNOWLEDGE OF THE ORIENT, DO NOT AGREE WITH MR. GREW IN HIS ATTITUDE THAT
THERE IS ANY THING SACROSANCT ABOUT HIROHITO.  HE SHOULD GO.  WE HAVE NO
OBLIGATION TO SHINTOISM.  THE CONTEMPTUOUS ANSWER OF THE JAPS TO THE
POTSDAM ULTIMATUM JUSTIFIES A REVISION OF THAT DOCUMENT AND STERNER
PEACE TERMS.

IF WE DO NOT HAVE AVAILABLE SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF ATOMIC BOMBS WITH WHICH
TO FINISH THE JOB IMMEDIATELY, LET US CARRY ON WITH TNT AND FIRE BOMBS UNTIL
WE CAN PRODUCE THEM.

I ALSO HOPE THAT YOU WILL ISSUE ORDERS FORBIDDING THE OFFICERS IN COMMAND
OF OUR AIR FORCES FROM WARNING JAP CITIES THAT THEY WILL BE ATTACKED.  
THESE GENERALS DO NOT FLY OVER JAPAN AND THIS SHOWMANSHIP CAN ONLY
RESULT IN THE UNNECESSARY LOSS OF MANY FINE BOYS IN OUR AIR FORCE AS WELL
AS OUR HELPLESS PRISONERS IN THE HANDS OF THE JAPANESE, INCLUDING THE
SURVIVORS OF THE MARCH OF DEATH ON BATAAN WHO ARE CERTAIN TO BE BROUGHT
INTO THE CITIES THAT HAVE BEEN WARNED.  

THIS WAS A TOTAL WAR AS LONG AS OUR ENEMIES HELD ALL OF THE CARDS.  WHY
SHOULD WE CHANGE THE RULES NOW, AFTER THE BLOOD, TREASURE AND
ENTERPRISE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE GIVEN US THE UPPER HAND.  OUR
PEOPLE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN THAT THE JAPANESE STRUCK US IN THE FIRST BLOW IN
THIS WAR WITHOUT THE SLIGHTEST WARNING.  THEY BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD
CONTINUE TO STRIKE THE JAPANESE UNTIL THEY ARE BROUGHT GROVELING TO THEIR
KNEES.  WE SHOULD CEASE OUR APPEALS TO JAPAN TO SUE FOR PEACE.  THE NEXT
PLEA FOR PEACE SHOULD COME FROM AN UTTERLY DESTROYED TOKYO.  WELCOME
BACK HOME.  WITH ASSURANCES OF ESTEEM

RICHARD B RUSSELL US SENATOR

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PRESIDENT TRUMAN’S RESPONSE:


                August 9, 1945

Dear Dick:

I read your telegram of August seventh with a lot of interest.

I know that Japan is a terribly cruel and uncivilized nation in warfare, but I can’t bring
myself to believe that, because they are beasts, we should ourselves act in the same
manner.

For myself, I certainly regret the necessity of wiping out whole populations because of
the “pigheadedness” of the leaders of a nation and, for your information; I am not
going to do it unless it is absolutely necessary.  It is my opinion that after the Russians
enter into war the Japanese will very shortly fold up.

My object is to save as many American lives as possible but I also have a humane
feeling for the women and children in Japan.

Sincerely yours,

Harry S. Truman