Includes diplomatic pressure on neutrals – hint at efforts to reach Finland and Italy
By Joe Alex Morris, United Press Foreign Editor
London, England (UP) –
The ten-day meeting of President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill at Casablanca was believed today to have laid the basis of a master war plan for 1943 designed to bring about the “unconditional surrender” of Axis forces in Europe.
Despite huge obstacles – particularly the constantly intensifying Nazi submarine warfare – it appeared obvious today that Allied plans were blueprinted at Casablanca for the purpose of bringing offensive operations against Adolf Hitler and his allies to a climax within ten months.
It seemed equally obvious that official communiqués and reports have told only a small fraction of the decisions and events at Casablanca which some quarters believed may produce “tremendous events” in the near future.
In the Führer’s face
The Casablanca news broke on the Axis with the suddenness of a bombshell, exploding at the darkest moment of the war thus far for Germany and Italy.
There was confidence in Allied quarters here that Casablanca was only the beginning of an ever-accelerating series of surprises for the Axis.
Behind the generalities of the communiqués, Allied quarters saw these developments:
Full decision on an overall plan of offensive action against the Axis in 1943.
Presumable agreement upon a unified command in Africa with a view to quick liquidation of Axis forces in Tunisia and early attacks, aerially or otherwise, against Italy.
Initial steps toward a solution of the French North African political troubles.
Hints of possible diplomatic maneuvers of a magnitude yet unrevealed. North African dispatches mentioned rumors involving Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Spain and even Italy.
Obliteration of any Axis feelers for a "negotiated’’ peace through the forthright declaration of Mr. Roosevelt and Churchill that the only terms acceptable to them were those of “unconditional surrender.”
Complete strategic decisions designed not only to bring greatest possible pressure to bear upon the Axis in Europe but to enhance cooperation with Russia and China and maintain utmost pressure upon Japan in the Pacific.
Decision to strike
There was no doubt that decisions were made on where and how Hitler is to be hit during the coming months.
It was believed the first result of the meeting would be the early establishment of a new African command.
The names of Gen. Sir Archibald Wavell, Gen. George C. Marshall, Gen. Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander (the British Middle East commander), and Lt. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower were mentioned most frequently.
Rumor about Finland
There was little but hints and rumors on the possibility that diplomatic negotiations of some nature occurred at Casablanca. However, dispatches from North Africa mentioned labels on the luggage of travelers indicating they had come from Finland and rumors spread that there might have been Swedish, Turkish and even Italian participants.
Some credence was lent to the Finnish rumors by signs that some Finnish diplomatic activity might be underway.
There have been recurrent indications of Allied efforts to take Finland out of the war – long stalemated on the virtually inactive Finnish-Russian front – and within the past week, a German propaganda broadcast alleged that Russia had made another peace offer to Finland which had been turned down.