I stumbled upon this document (in Russian, use Google Translate). It seems to be a translation of the beginning of General Order No. 1 (Wikipedia, Wikisource).

I noticed 2 peculiar differences in paragraph 1b:

  1. Wikisource version does not mention Kuril Islands at all, Russian document mentions them in paragraph 1b.
  2. Wikisource version gives division line in Korea as parallel 38° North, in Russian document it’s 38°50’ (hence more land for Americans; about 90 km further North).

I searched this site doc20vek.ru and found two related documents:

  1. Letter from Stalin to Truman, where Stalin acknowledges he received the text of the order, asks to add Kuril Islands to Soviet zone, and also asks for an occupation zone in Northern half of Hokkaido.
  2. Response from Truman to Stalin, where he agrees to Kuril Islands, declines the Hokkaido zone and also asks for an American air base in central Kuril Islands.

From this I assume that the order was revised, with Kuril Islands added to paragraph 1b. However, none of the letters mention Korea.

It’s generally known that, between WW2 and Korean War, Korea was divided along 38°00’ parallel, and Soviets received whole Kuril Islands.

So my questions are:

  1. Whether a revised English version of General Order No. 1, mentioning Kuril Islands, exists, and, if yes,
  2. Which parallel does it set for division of Korea?

1 Answer 1


The website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the text of General Order No. 1, as issued on 2 September 1945, in both English and Japanese. The English text states:

(b) The senior Japanese Commanders and all ground, sea, air and auxiliary forces within Manchuria, Korea North of 38 degrees North latitude, Karafuto, and the Kurile Islands, shall surrender to the Commander-in-Chief of Soviet Forces in the Far East.

This has the updated text, mentioning the Kurile Islands, and states that the 38th parallel is the dividing line in Korea.

A scanned version of the original can be found on the National Diet Library of Japan Digital Collections website in the volume SCAP Directives to the Imperial Japanese Government:

General Order No 1, Para 1b

As you can see, the text is the same as that on the website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted above.

It appears that the text on Wikisource may come from the draft Revision of General Order No. 1, dated 11 August 1945, which can be read on the website of the Office of the Historian of the US Department of State.

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