Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Flag of Truce

On August 16th General Nogi sent an Officer under a flag of truce to the fortress, offering General Stoessel 'honourable terms' if he would surrender. The proposal was signed jointly by Nogi and Togo: "Our Army has almost completed it arrangements for a general assault which will begin very soon.  Once this attack is launched, the fate of Port Arthur will be settled"  To avoid a useless effusion of blood, we propose the evacuation of non-combatants and a surrender which will otherwise be imposed by force."
Admiral Togo, Georges Blond, 1961, p 192

Admiral Togo and General Nogi together with their Staff Officers during the Siege of Port Arthur.

1 comment:

  1. General Stoessel,

    In response to your letter of 16th instant, requesting my opinion of the Japanese surrender terms, I must reply with all the earnestness of my command that such a course would not be merely dishonorable and disloyal, but that it is a total departure from military expediency.

    The initial Japanese operations have been fraught with heavy enemy casualties. Attempts to occupy Shi-Shihung have attended him with great loss and it is certain that he cannot sustain such casualties. Our situation is strategically grevious, but tactically we hold a very superior position. I feel sure that the burden of expectation will weigh General Nogi down and only aid us.

    Furthermore, such a course would be entirely incompatible with our oaths of service and commissions as general officers. We have not even made the notional resistance necessary to satisfy honour before surrender, such as is customary in a hopeless situation. As I have pointed out, I feel most earnestly that our situation is not so.

    I am distressed to have to inform you that, in the event of a premature surrender on your part, not a single man of the Guards Brigade would obey such an order. I myself would sooner perish by my own hand.

    I remain, sir, your obd't servant,

    Major-General of Guards.