Finally, the moment of surrender came at 2:41 a.m. on Monday, May 7. Kennedy and his colleagues shuffled into an L-shaped war room to watch "two crestfallen Nazi war lords" offer their country's official and unconditional surrender. "After the signatures of all were affixed—the documents and pens were passed from one another around the table—Jodl made a brief plea for such generosity as the Allies might be able to show to the German people and the two walked slowly out of the room." The correspondents were sent back to the classroom to await further instruction. Kennedy used the time to write his dispatch, which was stamped by a censor. The report couldn't be distributed because military officials still hadn't decided on the timing for the release of the news.
Around 4 a.m., Allen returned with an unwelcome update: "Gentlemen, I had anticipated that the news would be released at once, but it appears that this is not to be the case. General Eisenhower is desirous of having the news announced immediately for its possible effect in saving lives, but his hands are tied at a high political level and we can do nothing about it. The release has been set for 3 p.m., Tuesday, Paris time."
In other words, the U.S. military was ordering reporters to hold the news for more than 36 hours after the time of the actual surrender.
The correspondents were disgusted. They were all well accustomed to working within the constraints of censorship during wartime, but this decision seemed different. Allen had already said that releasing the news right away was urgent because it could save American lives. But this gag order went against the routine demands of military security—today we call it "national security." Allen said he understood the reporters' anger: "I appreciate your point of view, gentlemen... I personally think this story ought to be released without delay."
Kennedy says he was "exasperated" but still confident that the news would be released sooner. "The absurdity of attempting to bottle up news of such magnitude was too apparent. I knew from experience that one might as well try to censor the rising of the sun." So Kennedy and his colleagues returned to Paris keeping a secret that much of the world was desperate to hear.
We flew back to Paris in the pale gold sunshine of an early May morning. I have never seen the city so beautiful as it was from the air that day; crowned by the white gleaming dome of Sacré Coeur. Already the traffic of workers to their jobs had begun; the streets were full of little black dots. They would not work this day through. What news we had for them, and for workers everywhere! News that would make them throw down their tools and celebrate the peace after years of hardship and worry.
At 10 a.m.—more than seven hours after the surrender—Allen called a press conference in Paris. Reporters were angry. Allen promised he was doing what he could to move the story forward that day. Meanwhile, other officials at SHAEF told Kennedy that the delay was a favor to Russian leaders "who wanted to hold another and 'more formal' ceremony in Berlin." But this explanation seemed suspicious to Kennedy, who says he realized that Allied reporters were being told to hold one of the biggest news stories of the century so that Russia could better orchestrate its own spin on the surrender. By then, the news was slowly leaking out. Midday papers in Paris published accounts of loudspeakers being erected at 10 Downing Street, where the British awaited a formal announcement.
I took a short walk. Everywhere were rumors of the end of the war and puzzlement that no announcement had come... I was convinced that if the formal release did not soon come, the news would inevitably break through the barrier some other way. At 2:03 p.m., Paris time, the break came.
It was then that Lutz von Krosigk, a cabinet member in the Third Reich, announced Germany's unconditional surrender in a radio broadcast from Flensburg, where the Nazi government was headquartered. "After a heroic fight of almost six years of incomparable hardness, Germany has succumbed to the overwhelming power of her enemies," von Krosigk said. The broadcast, monitored by the British Ministry of Information, was "immediately distributed for publication." Kennedy heard it in a BBC report from his office radio in Paris. Minutes later, he began receiving urgent telegrams—relaying the news of the Krosigk broadcast—from the AP's New York office.