America at war! (1941--) -- Part 2

Casablanca war plan maps Hitler’s doom with 1943 smash attack

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:

  1. Full decision on an overall plan of offensive action against the Axis in 1943.

  2. 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.

Diplomatic maneuvers

  1. Initial steps toward a solution of the French North African political troubles.

  2. Hints of possible diplomatic maneuvers of a magnitude yet unrevealed. North African dispatches mentioned rumors involving Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Spain and even Italy.

  3. 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.”

  4. 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.

All-plane trip defied Secret Service dictum

Casablanca, Morocco (UP) – (Jan. 24, delayed)
President Roosevelt made the trip to his historic conference with Prime Minister Churchill entirely by air. He flew by Clipper to a point in North Africa where he transferred to a four-motored bomber that had been especially outfitted for his comfort.

Washington (UP) –
The President’s flying trip to Africa breached the Secret Service’s longstanding policy of objection to air travel by the nation’s chief executives. Mr. Roosevelt’s last previous plane trip was in 1932, when he flew from Albany to Chicago to accept the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Casablanca, Morocco (UP) – (Jan. 24, delayed)
Although President Roosevelt was on the other side of the Atlantic from Washington for his conference with Mr. Churchill, he was still in a white house.

“Villa No. 2,” as the residence in which he stayed is known, is entirely white. The word Casablanca itself means “white house.”

Casablanca. Morocco (UP) – (Jan. 24, delayed)
Eddie Baudry of Montréal, a reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Company, was wounded fatally while flying to Casablanca, and when he was buried at Port Lyautey with full military honors, a wreath was placed on his grave at the personal direction of President Roosevelt.

Baudry, married and father of a small son, was the first correspondent killed in North Africa. He was wounded while aboard an Army transport plane carrying war correspondents to Casablanca.

Denver, Colorado (UP) – (Jan. 26)
Blonde Louise Anderson, the only woman at the conferences between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, must know by now the location of the North African front.

Miss Anderson, a first officer in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, asked when she arrived in Africa:

Where is the front, please, to the east or west?

As stenographer at the historic meeting, she has recorded the discussions. En route to Africa, her ship was torpedoed but remained afloat.

London, England (UP) –
The secret of the conference between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill was kept so well that some of the highest British military and political men did not learn where it was being held until it almost ended, it was revealed today.

Hull says critics of Africa events don’t have facts

Denounces as vicious the attacks made as parley was going on

Washington (UP) –
Secretary of State Hull today denounced critics of the administration foreign policy who, he said, poured out vicious and venomous comments while President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill were working on Allied war problems.

White House Secretary Stephen T. Early agreed during his morning press conference today that “subsequent chapters undoubtedly will be written” to the story of the Casablanca meeting. But he added that the story is complete “so far as it can be told at the present time.”

Hull’s remarks were made at a press conference in response to requests for comment on the fact that criticism of the State Department’s handling of North African affairs coincided with the Roosevelt-Churchill meeting in Casablanca.

Hull said that the people who believed the government to be in error should wait until they were in possession of the facts before making their attacks. He said he personally was content with the policies of the government.

Hull excoriates critics

Hull pointed out that the Roosevelt-Churchill meetings began on Jan. 14 and continued for some ten days.

The abuse that was poured out on the State Department became mast violent during the latter stages of that period, he said.

Hull said that the President was included in the attacks by implication, even if not actually mentioned by name.

We were told, Hull continued, by some persons up on Mount Olympus that we didn’t have people of sufficient stature in North Africa.

Actually, Hull said, there were two people of some stature there – Mr. Roosevelt and Churchill – and they were laboring day in and day out.

He said he believed that some of the critics did not want accurate Information on the situation.

Questioned about Peyrouton

He told reporters that he did not mean to speak in a carping spirit but that obviously some persons had not sought facts.

Hull was asked if it could be assumed that, since Marcel B. Peyrouton arrived in Algeria on Jan. 16, that his appointment as Governor had been approved by the group meeting in Casablanca. The Secretary replied that he thought the correspondents could form a very intelligent conclusion on that matter from the situation as it has been revealed.

Rapidly developing evidence that the full story of the Casablanca conference is far from completely told is catching the sensitive interest of this wartime capital.

There was quick enthusiasm here for the fact that President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill had met in North Africa. There was more than a touch of disappointment that Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and Premier Joseph Stalin had not been there, too.

Hear de Gaulle, Giraud failed to reach terms

Leaders plan to exchange military and economic missions shortly

London, England (UP) –
British and American leaders will make another attempt to bring together Gen. Charles de Gaulle, Fighting French leader, and Gen. Henri Honoré Giraud, chief of the French North African regime, who failed to agree on major political issues at Casablanca, well-informed sources said today.

A Fighting French spokesman disclosed, however, that military and economic missions would be exchanged soon between de Gaulle and Giraud. It was understood that in their talks during the Roosevelt-Churchill conference, the estranged French leaders had agreed upon economic and military coordination and other minor problems.

It was understood that de Gaulle’s French National Committee would select the personnel for the missions, probably on Friday. The de Gaullists will then leave for Algiers to work out military and economic problems. The committee was reported reliably to be in session today to discuss the missions.

No fusion of forces

The spokesman said de Gaulle and Giraud each would be informed of the other’s military maneuvers, although there would be no fusion of their forces. The economic consultations would include trading between North Africa and those parts of the French Empire held by the Fighting French.

The political problems were the chief snag in de Gaulle-Giraud relations. The Fighting French maintain that continuation of the present political confusion in Africa will lay a foundation for civil war in France after the country is liberated from the Axis.

The de Gaullists also believe that a fascist nucleus and supporters of Pierre Laval’s Vichy regime are in the North African administration and insist that these factions constitute danger to the Allied cause.

Competent quarters close to de Gaulle said that at Casablanca, he refused to recognize anybody in the North African regime except Giraud, whom he considered reliable.

Informants said de Gaulle and Giraud were unable to agree on basic issues such as refutation of the Vichy regime of Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain and Pierre Laval, restoration of the laws of the French Republic which Pétain wrote off the statute books, and creation of a single French authority in exile to represent France.

Statement by de Gaulle

De Gaulle, back in London, issued the following statement:

I was very honored to meet President Roosevelt in Africa.

His friendship for France is a particularly comforting factor in the struggle which the French people are waging against the enemy within and without its own territory.

It was an equal satisfaction to me to be able to renew conversations on this occasion with British Prime Minister Churchill.

De Gaulle conspicuously did not mention Giraud or express satisfaction at having met him.

Africa confab disappointing, Willkie says

Cites the absence of Chiang Kai-shek and Joseph Stalin

Wendell Willkie maintained today, in commenting on the conference between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, that first reports as to decisions reached at the meeting were disappointing.

It had been hoped, the Republican leader said in a radio address, that Joseph Stalin and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek would attend the conference and that a board for grand military strategy, in which Russia and China would have an equal voice, would be created.

Willkie said:

Perhaps we will learn later that some of the matters not mentioned in the communiqué were discussed and clarified between Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill.

He deplored the fact the communiqué made no specific reference to a solution of “the tangled and ugly problems of North African politics,” but added that:

Perhaps the French collaborators were reduced in status and the men who have risked their lives for freedom have at last come into their own in North Africa.

Flying Fortresses launch bombing attack after Allies draw up master war plan

Report fliers batter ports in the north; naval installations blasted – our losses are believed small

Deadly Flying Fortresses, built by Americans, flown by Americans, made their first raid over Nazi Germany today, bombing objectives.

London, England (UP) –
American bombs from American planes crashed on German soil today for the first time in this war, carrying into action the promise of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to batter the Axis into unconditional surrender.

The raid was made against German naval installations and was presumably a continuation of the ‘round-the-clock assault of the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Force against German submarine bases and repair depots.

Flying Fortresses and Liberator bombers – big four-motored planes bristling with .50-callber machine guns – made the attack.

The target was still a secret, although most speculation here centered on one of Germany’s northwestern ports – Hamburg, Kiel, Bremen, Flensburg, Rostock and Lübeck.

Great day for fliers

It was a great day for U.S. bomber crews who have waited impatiently for weeks to drop bomb on German soil. Fortresses and Liberators have been over occupied France several times, but heretofore their deepest penetration into enemy territory was a raid on Dec. 20 against Romilly-sur-Seine, 70 miles east of Paris.

Details are lacking

The authoritative statement merely said:

U.S. Army Air Force Flying Fortresses and Liberators attacked naval installations in Germany today.

Today’s attack is apparently another step in the assault of the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force on German submarine bases. There has been much emphasis on the anti-submarine bombing since the first of the year because of the growing Allied concern about the U-boat campaign against United Nations supply lines.

Losses believed light

If the attack was actually made on Baltic ports, the big bombers flew a roundtrip of close to 1,000 miles from their British bases.

No figures were available immediately on the losses, if any, suffered by the Americans, but it was believed to be low.

Earlier British heavy bombers and Coastal Command planes, extending the Allied aerial offensive to the southwest coast of France, bombed targets in the German-held port of Bordeaux.

Another force of Bomber Command planes attacked the battered German submarine base of Lorient on the French coast and left fires burning in the dock area. Two planes were missing.

Naples is bombed

Rome, Italy (UP) – (Italian broadcast recorded in New York)
A High Command communiqué said today that an Allied plane had bombed the outskirts of Naples, wounding two civilians, and that other planes “attempted” to bomb Messina, Sicily.

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Soldiers lined up for ‘just another brass hat’ find he’s their Commander-in-Chief

Casablanca, Morocco (UP) – (Jan. 21, delayed)
U.S. troops in French Morocco lined up today expecting to be inspected by “just another bunch of brass hats” when to their amazement they were reviewed by the President of the United States.

Mr. Roosevelt rode past the soldiers in a jeep, ate a field lunch and drove 108 miles north to visit Port Lyautey, scene of the hardest fighting in the North African campaign, and to lay a wreath at an American cemetery near the 400-year-old fortress of Kasbah Mehdia.

The Presidential convoy formed at 9:30 a.m. It skirted the city of Casablanca and drove directly to the review area, several miles to the north. Mr. Roosevelt rode in the official limousine of Lt. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and was escorted by other limousines, armored scout cars carrying 50-callber machine guns and weapon carriers.

Umbrella of planes

It drove past the airport, where scores of planes took off, forming a vast umbrella that protected the President all day.

The convoy speeded through the winding hill roads, on which soldiers, not knowing who they were guarding, were stationed at regular intervals, guarding every inch of the road with pistols and Tommy guns.

Reaching the review area, where the troops were lined up for at least a mile in front of their tanks, half-tracks, scout cars and cannon of all sizes, Mr. Roosevelt left the limousine and entered a jeep driven by Staff Sgt. Oran Lass of Kansas City, Missouri.

Riding with Mr. Roosevelt were Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark, commander of the U.S. 5th Army; Charles Fredericks, the President’s personal bodyguard, and the general officer commanding during the inspection of troops. Immediately behind the Presidential jeep was another with bodyguards. The next jeep carried Maj. Gen. George S. Patton Jr., commander of troops in this area; Adm. Ross McIntire, Mr. Roosevelt’s physician, and Harry L. Hopkins. Robert S. Murphy, U.S. envoy in North Africa, and Lend-Lease Administrator W. Averell Harriman were in another car.

The soldiers were unaware of Mr. Roosevelt’s presence at first. Staring straight ahead at attention, they could not see him until his jeep passed less than six feet away. Few were able to resist smiling.

Eats at field kitchen

The convoy turned into an open field where a field kitchen had been set up. The President ate a typical field lunch of ham, green beans, sweet potatoes, coffee, bread liberally spread with butter, strawberry preserves and canned mixed fruit.

Mr. Roosevelt returned to Casablanca along roads lined by troops, whom he greeted. They saluted him with waves and yells.

Editorial: FDR-Churchill meeting in Africa thrills world

The dramatic and unprecedented meeting of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill at Casablanca has thrilled the people of America and Britain and brought new hope to the enslaved men and women in the countries overrun by the Nazis.

So well was the secret kept that news of the conference at this remote North African city so near the present war zone came as a complete surprise, both in Allied and Axis quarters. Announcement of the decision to force the enemy’s “unconditional surrender,” even if it requires every last resource of the Allied world, may well give Hitler as big a jolt as a defeat on the field of battle.

The determination to follow Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s historic insistence on unconditional surrender at the end of the Civil War was backed up by detailed plans worked out by the top-ranking military, naval and flying leaders of both nations. They covered all theaters of the war.

Thus is finally ruled out any possibility of a negotiated peace. Furthermore, we hope and believe it may bar any repetition of Allied blunders at the close of the last World War and assure a seizure of enemy territory until the announced objective of destroying the military power of the Axis has been achieved.

It was also reassuring to learn that Stalin had been invited to attend and was prevented only by his preoccupation with the great Russian offensive. Both he and Chiang Kai-shek were kept fully informed of developments at the conference.

As we read of Roosevelt’s precedent-shattering transoceanic flight to the parley, of the obvious joy and amazement of American troops near the scene of recent fighting when they discovered that their reviewing officer was their Commander-in-Chief and, indeed, of the whole handling of this drama-drenched episode in a strange, far-off land, the inspiring, almost uncanny, skill of the President’s direction of the war is driven home more forcefully than ever.

The mere going to Casablanca was the highest strategy. It gave notice to the temporarily subjugated people of France and the other freedom-loving countries of Europe – as no ordinary parley possibly could have – that the United States and Britain are in dead earnest in their plans for liberation. Any last lingering skepticism should be ended. And any possibility of Hitler’s consolidating his conquests is now gone forever.

Editorial: End of French schism shows folly of U.S. policy’s critics

Just about as important as the broader implications of the Casablanca parley was its success in ending the French factional political tangle whose repercussions here and in Britain had assumed threatening proportions.

Roosevelt and Churchill brought about a meeting between Gen. de Gaulle, leader of the Fighting French faction, and Gen. Giraud, High Commissioner of French Africa, out of which came an agreement that the main French objective is the liberation of France and the triumph of human liberties by the total defeat of the enemy.

This end will be attained, declared a joint statement by the two generals:

…by a union in war of all Frenchmen fighting side by side with all their Allies.

So, at last some common sense is emerging out of all the unbelievable bickering which might well have threatened the future of France.

The lengths to which some radical elements in this country, with the support of a few whose opinions arc ordinarily sounder, have gone has been shocking. Gen. Eisenhower and Secretary of State Hull have been under constant fire. And since the attacks continued even after the President’s statement supporting our North African policies and emphasizing their temporary character, the critics cannot dodge the responsibility of having been aiming at Mr. Roosevelt, too.

The administration argument is well understood. It was a question of saving American lives. If Darlan and later Giraud had not been recognized such chaos might have resulted in French North Africa that even the success of our expedition might have been endangered.

From the beginning it has been the American policy to accept help from all the French elements desirous of freeing France from the Nazi yoke, with the understanding that when that result has been attained the French people themselves will be free to select their own political leaders.

Apparently, it was brought home to the two French leaders at the Casablanca parley that a unified civilian population and unified military support are prerequisites to the freeing of France. At any rate they have accepted the argument that there is no use in quarreling over future leadership until it is assured that there is a free France to lead.

If any further evidence were needed of the complete good faith of Americans in this situation, the mere holding of the conference on French soil will doubtless deeply touch the sentimental French people of all the varied factions into which they have unhappily been split.

Now that the French leaders themselves have seen the light, it is to be hoped that their partisans in the United States will follow suit and stop shooting from the rear at our leaders in the field.

Reading Eagle (January 27, 1943)

Strategic decisions unrevealed in 10-day confab at Casablanca

Move to wean Axis satellites seen’ offensive from West is indicated
By Harrison Salisbury, United Press staff correspondent

The world today heard the story of ten days at Casablanca in which President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill placed their stamp upon 1943 offensive plans to bring about the “unconditional surrender” of the Axis.

But indications grew that the dramatic announcement of the war conference on the sun-drenched African coast left many dramatic events and important decisions unrevealed.

Strategic decisions, it was certain, would not be revealed until their reality is brought home to the Axis by the crunch of bombs, the blast of shells and the scramble of landing troops on the European continent anywhere from Norway to Italy or the Balkans.

Maneuvers unrevealed

However, suggestions appeared in dispatches of United Press correspondents from North Africa that diplomatic maneuvers of unrevealed scope may have accompanied the military discussions.

There was no authoritative basis for these suggestions and there was no statement from Allied quarters touching on the possibility of moves designed to wean Axis satellites or sympathizers away from Adolf Hitler.

Finland was hinted as one possible subject of an Allied get-out-of-the-war-while-the-getting-is-good drive. Italy was another and there were rumors as to eye-opening and cards-on-the-table maneuvers involving Spain, Turkey and Sweden.

The ten-day session of the President and Prime Minister ending Sunday, overshadowed all other news from the far-flung fighting fronts of the war.

The news of fresh Russian successes, of deepening gloom in Germany’s satellite states, of ever grimmer warnings by Nazi propagandists to the German public of the seriousness of the reverses in the East provided a dramatic background for the Casablanca announcement.

Foremost in the conclusions drawn in Washington and London was a conviction that the big news of Casablanca is yet to be told.

Results of parley

Thus far, these results of the conference have been made known:

  1. Allied strategic plans for 1943, calling for blows from the West against Hitler’s citadel timed to coincide most effectively with Russian blows from the East, have been started toward execution.

  2. Specific details for the liquidation of the Axis foothold in Tunisia are presumably settled and should quickly be clarified with announcements of a new Anglo-American command in the Mediterranean.

  3. The initial step toward bringing together the dissident French groups represented by Gen. Charles de Gaulle and Gen. Henri Honoré Giraud has been taken, but full collaboration and agreement is still distant.

  4. No apparent progress toward establishment of a unified Allied high command, with Russia and China represented, appears to have been made. However, Joseph Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek were closely advised of Anglo-American decisions.

Some observers believed the language of the Casablanca communiqué, particularly in passages in which Mr. Roosevelt and Churchill appeared to speak for Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek as well as themselves

Confer in Moscow

Stalin and Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov met with British and American diplomatic representatives in Moscow last night a few hours before the news of the Casablanca meeting was flashed to the world.

The communiqué emphasized that Stalin had been invited to attend the conference, but that he found it impossible because of his preoccupation with the Red Army’s offensive.

London reaction to the announcement was enthusiastic except as regards the de Gaulle-Giraud situation. Fighting French spokesmen made clear that whatever progress had been made in settling this thorny issue was almost entirely confined to generalities. De Gaulle and Giraud, it appeared, agreed in their common desire to win France’s liberation and to fight for that end – but on little else.

However, the feeling was strong in London that much more has not been told about Casablanca than has been placed on the record.

This feeling was shared by correspondents in Africa. They noted there was no real necessity for Mr. Roosevelt to make a 6,000-mile trip by air to Africa simply to have a heart-to-heart talk with Churchill, that the joint Allied staff conferences could have been held much more conveniently elsewhere and that speculation and inquiries by newsmen as to participants in the discussions – other than those officially announced – were severely discouraged.

Multitude of rumors

They occupied these observations with the multitude of rumors suggesting that Finnish, Spanish, Turkish, Swedish or even Italian representatives may Have been there. There was no tangible evidence, apparently, for these rumors except Finnish labels spotted by one correspondent on the luggage of one of the arrivals at Casablanca.

There have been some reports recently suggesting that the Finns might be interested in a way out of the war. A Finnish mission headed by Commerce Minister V. A. Tanner is currently in Stockholm, and the German radio only last week claimed that Russia had made a new peace offer to Finland which was rejected. There appears to have been little fighting other than minor skirmishes on the Finnish-Russian front for nearly a year.

Finland’s positions would be of major strategic importance to the Allies in event of a move on northern Norway designed to clear the convoy route to Russia.

The revelation that Mr. Roosevelt and Churchill, accompanies by every top military, naval and air chieftain of the Anglo-American Command had met for 10 days on the African coast right under the nose of the Axis, was beamed to occupied and Nazi Europe by all available means.

The initial effect of the Casablanca Conference was expected to be felt in North Africa.

New army setup seen

While no immediate announcement was forthcoming, it was assumed that complete decisions on the Allied command and tactical plans for the elimination of remaining Axis forces there had been made.

London believed that two commands would be established – a commander-in-chief for the whole Mediterranean, presumably including any forthcoming operations from that theater against Europe, and a field commander in Africa itself. The African field commander would assume charge of the British 1st and 8th Armies and the U.S. 5th Army. London believed an American general would receive one post and a British commander the other. It appeared to be a tossup as to which would receive which.

Caution was voiced in London against expectations of an immediate Allied sweep through Tunisia or any immediate dramatic Allied move against the continent.

Conference stirs ire of Nazis, Japs

Casablanca meeting described as ‘bluff’

London, England (UP) –
Germany, completely misled on the Roosevelt-Churchill conference, heaped denunciation on the President today and that Nazi Vichy radio echoed that “Frenchmen” had hoped they would be spared such new effrontery as an Allied meeting on French Empire soil.

The London Daily Sketch, discussing the complete secrecy which protected the conferees at Casablanca, said Allied intelligence agents in the United States had given fake reports of a meeting in Washington to suspected Axis agents and as the result, “an important group” of German spies had been arrested.

It was not until 6 a.m. (1 a.m. EWT), three hours after the world, that German radios heard here reported that the President and Prime Minister Churchill had met at Casablanca.

The OWI reported that the Germans broadcast the fact of the Casablanca Conference at 10:45 p.m. EWT yesterday in an English-language morse code program – 45 minutes after it was announced.

All last night, in broadcasts in many languages, the German and other Axis radios had told in detail how Churchill had gone to Washington to confer with the President, who, they said, had demanded new bases in the British Empire in return for supplies for Britain.

Germany’s first broadcast putting the conference on the right side of the Atlantic merely quoted, in French and German, the fact that it had been held and the names of those who took part. It carried the news under an Amsterdam date, in keeping with the German policy of faking the places of origin of broadcasts on events in Allied countries.

‘Blow to sentiments’

Next the Nazi Vichy radio said:

The general opinion was that Churchill had gone to Washington to confer with the President, but this time the two statesmen met at Casablanca. The choice of Casablanca. The choice of Casablanca, that great city of our empire, deals a severe blow to the sentiments of Frenchmen, who had believed we would be spared such new effrontery.

At 9 a.m. (4 a.m. EWT), Berlin gave its first comment, in an official German news agency dispatch:

Roosevelt’s theatrical appearance in French territory, conquered without fighting, was symbolic of United States imperialism.

Roosevelt’s statement regarding a desire to see the strongest coalition in world history destroyed shows a lack of sense for reality for which he will be punished by the future course of events.

That he wishes the European peoples to bleed white while fighting against Bolshevism confirms that he is one of the greatest criminals in world history.

Germany quoted “political quarters” that the situation in North Africa and differences between the “invasion powers” there – America and Britain – and “French dissidents” had necessitated the personal intervention of the President and Churchill.

Typed as ‘bluff’

This broadcast said:

Internal differences which cannot be bridged have to be camouflaged by a bombastic meeting with the usual democratic propaganda bluff.

It was said that the Allied communiqué on the meeting referred to “offensive action” only to conceal submarine losses.

Berlin said:

Berlin considers that all that is being said on the offensive action subject in Allied declarations is mere propaganda.

As last as 7:15 p.m. EWT yesterday, Berlin was broadcasting such stories as:

STOCKHOLM: The outcome of the conference in Washington is being awaited in London with the utmost interest.

The Nazi Radio Paris broadcast at about 5:30 p.m. EWT yesterday:

Well-informed circles in Stockholm say that the Churchill conversations taking place in Washington deal with new territorial demands by the United States on Britain in exchange for further supplies.

It was learned in circles connected with the British Embassy at Madrid that violent discussions with Secretary of State Cordell Hull caused Viscount Halifax, British Ambassador in Washington, to decide to resign. The reason for the decision was said to be heavy claims made by the United States for cession of new bases.

Berlin had made the same statement regarding territorial claims.

Tokyo’s reaction

San Francisco, California (UP) –
Tokyo radio said today that the results of the meeting between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill were “all tall talk and no cider.”

Quoting “informed circles,” Tokyo radio said:

The total result of the conferences was their outstanding scrap centered on the puppet French regime set up by both Britain and the United States for dominating North Africa.

Another object was, the Tokyo radio said, to determine how:

Britain and the United States could get into the good graces of the Soviet Union as it would be too vital for the U.S. and Britain to incur the displeasure of the Soviet Union at the present stage of the World War.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 27, 1943)

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

A forward airdrome in French North Africa – (Jan. 26)
This airdrome is full of stories about freakish escapes from death, as all airdromes are. But the strangest story I know is that of an airplane and its whole crew that disappeared in mid-air.

This was a veteran Flying Fortress crew. Its members had been heroes on many missions over Europe. They were leading a flight of three on their bombing run over a Tunisian port. The two wing planes were flying close on either side, the pilots following the lead plane, and suddenly it disappeared right before their eyes.

What happened is a matter of conjecture. But it seems very likely that an anti-aircraft shell made a direct hit on the plane’s bombload, setting off its own bombs, and that the whole plane blew to tiny bits instantly and just vanished. Nothing was ever seen except a little cloud of black smoke where the plane had been. Then the two other ships were flying on alone. One airman happened to be taking a picture at the very moment of the disappearance. The film showed two planes and a puff of smoke between.

A direct hit setting off a plane’s bomb load has never happened before in the American or British forces. I think it must have happened to the Germans, however, for I remember a British artillery officer telling me two years ago of a high-flying German bomber disappearing in a flash while he was looking at it through field glasses.

Fellow fliers of this ill-fated American crew were naturally pretty blue over the accident. But, as they say, when anything as freakish as that gets you, your number is just up regardless. And they go on with the war as usual.

When the boys tell you about it, they say:

Well, at least they never knew what happened to them, it was so quick.

The dearth of women, especially American women, is one of the greatest trials our soldiers overseas have to go through. There are thousands of men here, but only one woman has ever set foot on this vast airdrome. That was Margaret Bourke-White.

A sergeant who is a cook in one of the kitchens here was telling me:

You know how we’re always cussing and carrying on with each other. Well, the other day Miss Bourke-White walked through the kitchen all of a sudden. I guess we weren’t saying anything bad at the time, but we just hadn’t seen an American girl in so long that we all blushed.

I’ve met her, incidentally, for the first time, here in this remote desert spot. She is pleasant and good-looking, with prematurely graying hair. She makes quite a sight in Army trousers and wool-lined leather flying jacket.

The commanding general here is an exceptionally nice guy. We eat breakfast at his table, although usually we take out other meals out at some field mess, eating out of mess kits.

At any rate, we have marmalade for breakfast, and when the general doesn’t eat with us, I take his marmalade off his plate and eat it myself. The morning I met Miss Bourke-White, she up and asked the general if she could have his marmalade. I told her I’d been in the habit of eating it. And she said:

Your work and mine are so different nobody could ever imagine us as competitors, but from now on we’ll be better rivals for the general’s marmalade.

The eating isn’t as good here as back around Algiers and Oran. The farther east you go the more regimented the food becomes. That’s because it’s harder to buy fresh stuff from the country, and our food comes mostly out of ration cans. Not that it’s at all bad. A person could live very healthfully on it forever. But after you’ve eaten the same thing for weeks on end you get rather bored with it, to understate the case.

We are blessed with plenty of oranges, tangerines, figs and dates – especially dates. They are served at every meal here, huge platefuls of them. You can buy them in the stores or from boys in the streets of the villages.

Some of our Christmas boxes from back home were full of stuffed dates. If somebody will just send me a little sackful of sand for Easter, everything will be wonderful.

Völkischer Beobachter (January 28, 1943)

Das Kitschtheater von Casablanca –
Feierliche „Versöhnung“ unter Jupiterlampen

Von unserer Stockholmer Schriftleitung

Stockholm, 27, Jänner –
Der geheimnisvolle Schleier über den britisch-amerikanischen Beratungen ist jetzt gelüftet. Noch 24 Stunden vorher hatten die Londoner Blätter von einer „historischen Überraschung“ geschrieben. Das einzige überraschende aber ist, daß die Beratungen nicht, wie ursprünglich angenommen und geplant war, in Washington, sondern in der Nähe von Casablanca in Französisch-Marokko stattfanden. Sachlich und inhaltlich unterschieden sich die Beratungen in nichts von der Konferenz, die vor genau einem Jahre in Washington stattgefunden hatte, wenn auch der äußere Rahmen groß aufgemacht sich im grellen Licht der Jupiterlampen vollzog. Roosevelt und Churchill können aber kaum erwarten, daß die Welt ihren Besprechungen irgend welche sensationelle Bedeutung beimißt.

Stalins Sessel bleibt leer

Wie vor einem Jahr wurde ein großer Stab von Militärs und Politikern aufgeboten. Wie vor einem Jahr versichert das im Anschluß an die Konferenz herausgegebene Kommuniqué, daß die gemeinsamen Generalstäbe die gesamte Kriegslage besprochen und alle Unterlagen für die Hilfsmittel „für eine besonders intensive Fortsetzung des Krieges“ geprüft hätten. Wie vor einem Jahr glänzten die Sowjets durch Abwesenheit, obwohl man sie auch dieses Mal aufgefordert hatte und so weit gegangen war, Stalin „einen bedeutend weiter östlichen Platz“ vorzuschlagen. Wie vor einem Jahr versichern Roosevelt und Churchill, „sie seien sich klar über die unerhörten Kriegslasten der Sowjetunion,“ und wie vor einem Jahr geloben sie,

…die Last der bolschewistischen Armeen dadurch zu erleichtern, daß sie sich an gewissenhaft gewählten Punkten in dem Kampf mit dem Feind einlassen werden.

Wie vor einem Jahr wird erklärt, daß sowohl Stalin wie Tschiangkaischek völlig auf dem laufenden gehalten wurden.

Das also ist die ganze „Sensation.“ Damit das Ergebnis aber nicht allzu mager ausfiel, wurden die landesflüchtigen Generale Giraud und de Gaulle unter Druck gesetzt, ebenfalls nach Casablanca beordert und gezwungen, eine Erklärung herauszugeben, indem sie ihren Willen zur Zusammenarbeit versichern. Nachdem man die beiden französischen Kampfhähne unter einen Hut gebracht hatte, von dem man nicht einmal weiß, ob er wieder hochgeht, setzten sich Roosevelt und Churchill noch einmal mit ihren Beratern zusammen und gaben kund und zu wissen, daß sie damit:

…ihre Pläne für die offensiven Aktionen im Jahre 1943 abgeschlossen hätten, die jetzt jeder für sich in die Tat umsetzen würde.

Wer unterwirft wen?

Roosevelt, der nun einmal Krieg im Hollywooder Stil führt und etwas für die Hebung der Stimmung im eigenen Lande tun muß, hat die Beratungen bei Casablanca die „Konferenz der bedingungslosen Unterwerfung“ getauft. Es steht nicht ganz fest, ob damit England gemeint war. Churchill war vorsichtiger und erklärte lediglich, er hätte noch nie einer „wichtigeren“ Konferenz beigewohnt.

Interessanter als diese nachträglichen Deklarationen, die dem blassen Kommuniqué nachdrücklich etwas Farbe verleihen sollen, ist die Zusammensetzung des Stabes, den Roosevelt und Churchill mit nach Marokko brachten. Auf englischer Seite war neben dem Ersten Seelord Sir Doucley Pound, dem Chef des Generalstabes Sir Allan Brooke, dem Luftmarschall Sir Charles Portal, dem Oberbefehlshaber im Mittleren Osten General Alexander und dem stellvertretenden Chef der britischen Luftwaffe, Luftmarschall Tedder, auch der Transportminister Lord Leathers anwesend. Das deutet darauf hin, daß der Unterseebootkrieg einen der Hauptpunkte der Beratungen bildete. Von amerikanischer Seite waren außer den drei Stabschefs Harry Hopkins und Harriman zugegen. Zur Berichterstattung hatten sich der General Eisenhower und der Chef der britischen Mittelmeerflotte Admiral Cunningham eingefunden. Schließlich wurde auch Roosevelts Vertreter, Murphy, heranzitiert, während der britische Sondergesandte MacMillan bezeichnenderweise nicht genannt wird.

Da die amerikanische Verfassung es dem Präsidenten verwehrt, ohne besondere Genehmigung des Kongresses ins Ausland zu reisen und von einer solchen Genehmigung nichts bekannt ist, so bleibt nur die Annahme übrig, daß Roosevelt Französisch-Marokko seelenruhig als amerikanisches Gebiet betrachtet. Churchill war also wiederum, genau wie in Washington, nur „Gast“ Roosevelts. Eine „Gastrolle“ ist es allerdings nicht mehr, die er spielen muß…

Verhandlungen hinter Stacheldraht

tc. Tanger, 27. Jänner –
Roosevelt und Churchill hielten ihre tägliche Konferenz in Casablanca hinter einem „riesigen Ring aus Stacheldraht“ ab, wie von dort berichtet wird. Der Konferenzort war ein Hotel in der Nähe von Casablanca. Ein Dutzend Villen, die das Hotel umgeben, war für die Kongreßteilnehmer beschlagnahmt und ebenfalls aufs stärkste militärisch gesichert worden.

In ihren Presseerklärungen beteuerten Roosevelt und Churchill die enge Freundschaft, die zwischen ihnen bestünde, und bedauerten mehrmals, daß kein Sowjetvertreter erschienen war.

Nach einer Reuter-Meldung hat sich auch Wendell Willkie zu der Besprechung in Casablanca geäußert. Er drückte seine Unzufriedenheit darüber aus, daß die Leiter der Sowjetunion und Tschungking-Chinas nicht anwesend waren und daß ein großer militärischer strategischer Rat nicht zustande gekommen sei. In einer Rundfunkansprache erklärte Willkie:

Vielleicht werden die Gerüchte über die Bildung eines großen strategischen Rates noch Wahrheit. Wir hatten gehofft, daß Stalin und Tschiangkaischek bei den Besprechungen anwesend sein würden.

Hintergründe des Treffens in Casablanca –
Die Kriegführungsschwierigkeiten der USA.

dnb. Stockholm, 27. Jänner –
Die amerikanische Monatszeitschrift American Magazine bringt sieben in ihrer jüngsten Nummer eine Reihe an die amerikanische Öffentlichkeit gerichteter Botschaften führender USA.-Politiker, in denen diese teils rückblickende Betrachtungen über das vergangene Jahr anstellen, teils aber auch Voraussagen für 1943 machen.

„Unsere Gegner schlugen uns 1942 immer weiter zurück und ließen Sich in ihrem Vormarsch durch nichts aufhalten,“ stellte dabei unter anderem Marineminister Knox fest. Vor allem seien – so betont er – Fehler, wie man sie 1942 in allen Kriegsorganisationen der USA. gemacht habe, im neuen Jahr unbedingt zu vermeiden. Der Unterstaatssekretär im USA.-Kriegsministerium, Patterson, bemerkt: So verständlich auch die immer Wieder laut werdende Forderung nach größerer militärischer Aktivität sei, so müsse die Bevölkerung der Vereinigten Staaten doch die Transport- und Nachschubschwierigkeiten erkennen und in ihre Berechnungen einbeziehen. Der Vorsitzende der Kommission für den Arbeitereinsatz, MacNutt, stellt in seinem Beitrag fest, in den USA.:

…kratze man jetzt die letzten Reste des noch verbliebenen Menschenmaterials zusammen.

In der richtigen Weise für den Arbeitseinsatz und vor allem für die Arbeiterbeschaffung zu sorgen, sei eines der größten Probleme, vor denen die USA. 1943 stünden. Deshalb werde im neuen Jahr der Fraueneinsatz in den Rüstungsbetrieben und in der Landwirtschaft eine ganz besondere Rolle spielen.

Innenminister Harold Ickes erklärt: Der amerikanische Benzinmarkt habe seit Kriegseintritt der USA. turbulenteste Zeiten durchgemacht. Zahllose Tanker seien versenkt worden, das Verkehrswesen habe an der Atlantikküste schwerste Störungen erfahren und man habe schließlich zu einer allgemeinen Benzinrationierung greifen müssen. Gerade in der Treibstoffversorgung gehe man im neuen Jahre schweren Zeiten entgegen.

Die Lagebetrachtungen des USA.-Beauftragten für das Kriegstransportwesen Eastman, gipfelten in der Feststellung, daß die USA. vor gewaltigen Aufgaben stehen, die um so unlösbarer erscheinen müßten, als sich praktisch alle Gummifelder in den Händen des Feindes befänden. Dies werde um so mehr als ein schwerer Schlag in den USA. empfunden, als fast der gesamte Schiffsverkehr längs der Küste durch die ständigen U-Boot-Angriffe unterbrochen sei. Man habe den Schiffsverkehr durch den Panamakanal so gut wie stilllegen müssen und sei infolgedessen mehr als je auf den Auto- und Eisenbahnverkehr angewiesen. Aber auch den Eisenbahnverkehr könne man nicht nach Belieben ausdehnen, da es hier zur Verstärkung des Rollmaterials an den nötigen Rohstoffen fehle.

Während Roosevelt und Churchill sich in Casablanca trafen, um vor der Weltöffentlichkeit das Theater einer angeblichen Bereinigung ihrer Differenzen in Nordafrika zu spielen, werfen die von American Magazine aus den Federn maßgebender USA.-Politiker veröffentlichten Botschaften ein grelles Schlaglicht auf die mannigfachen ernsten Schwierigkeiten, in denen sich Roosevelt und sein Land heute mehr denn je befinden. Sie geben in Wahrheit den düsteren Hintergrund der allgemeinen Gegenwartslage der Vereinigten Staaten ab, vor dem die Begleitmusik der anglo-amerikanischen Publizistik zu dem mißglückten Zusammentreffen Roosevelts und Churchills in Casablanca nur wie leere Phrasen und wie der vergebliche Versuch wirken kann, die Völker Englands und der USA. über die nüchternen Tatsachen einer Kriegführung, die gegen ihre Regierungen spricht, mit billigen Mitteln hinwegzutäuschen.

La Stampa (January 28, 1943)

Le attrezzature di Bona e Algeri bombardate

Un attacco appoggiato da carri armati e mezzi blindati contro le nostre posizioni in Tunisia respinto – Un piroscafo navigante in convoglio colpito da un nostro aerosilurante

Il Quartiere Generale delle Forze Armate ha comunicato nel pomeriggio di ieri il seguente bollettino N. 977:

Nella Tripolitania occidentale limitati soontri di opposti reparti motocorazzati.

Un attacco appoggiato da carri armati e puntate di mazzi blindati contro nostre posizioni nel settore tunisino venivano respinti. Nostri cacciatori distruggevano in combattimento un bimotore americano: tra membri dell’equipaggio sono stati catturati. Altri quattro apparecchi venivano incendiati al suolo dalla caccia germanica in riuscito attacco su un aeroporto avversarlo.

Formazioni di bombardieri Italiani hanno ripetutamente colpito le attrezzature di Bona e di Algeri. Con audace azione notturna, nel Mediterraneo occidentale un nostro aerosilurante centrava con siluro un piroscafo di medio tonnellaggio navigante in convoglio.

Nel pomeriggio di Ieri e questa notte quadrimotori nemici hanno tentato incursioni su Messina: la difesa contraerea ha impedito agli attaccanti di agire sull’abitato costringendoli a sganciare il carico di bombe in mare ed in località viciniori; danni non gravi. Due dai velivoli, raggiunti dal tiro delle artiglierie, precipitavano uno a levante di S. Ranieri e l’altro a ponente di Pellaro.

Stamane poco prima dell’alba un aereo ha sorvolato Napoli lanciando da altissima quota alcune bombe cadute nei pressi di Torre del Greco: due case coloniche risultano colpite e due feriti sono segnalati tra l coloni. Non ha fatto ritorno alla base un nostro velivolo.

Il convegno di Casablanca –
Nessun problema risolto in dieci giorni di colloquii

La stampa britannica manifesta la sua delusione e deplora l’assenza degli alleati rosso e cinese

Lisbona, 27 gennaio –
A conferma dei gravi dissidi e delle difficoltà della situazione in Africa settentrionale, si apprende oggi che Roosevelt e Churchill, accompagnati dai rispettivi Stati Maggiori, si sono incontrati a Casablanca, dove avevano convocato anche De Gaulle e Giraud per imporre loro di mettersi d’accordo.

La conferenza, che è durata dieci giorni, ha dato luogo ad un nutrito scambio di messaggi con Stalin e Ciang Kai Scek, i quali, pur essendo stati invitati a parteciparvi, risposero di non potersi assentare dai loro paesi.

Dopo l’incontro, Churchill ha espresso il suo rincrescimento per il fatto che Stalin e Ciang Kai Scek non fossero presenti; lo stesso vivo disappunto è stato d’altra parte espresso pubblicamente anche da Wandell Willkie. Anche i quotidiani londinesi Daily Mail e News Chronicle insistono su questo punto. Nella stampa britannica tutto è relegato in secondo piano. Sono, in generale, telegrammi descrittivi, che parlano del sole e delle bianche case del Marocco, ma dicono molto poco delle decisioni prese. Del resto, anche i comunicati ufficiali sono vaghi e si esprimono in termini generali, di modo che i commenti dei giornali sono, essi stessi, poco precisi, accontentandosi di dare lunghe parafrasi dei comunicati e delle dichiarazioni. Ma dietro a tutto questo – nota la Reuter – sembra si nasconda una delusione generale, pel fatto che i grandi problemi, che tutto il mondo sperava di veder regolati, sembra non lo siano stati. Il News Chronicle ed il Daily Herald esprimono apertamente tale delusione.

Il Times riconosce, altresì, che un accordo completo fra Giraud e De Gaulle non è stato raggiunto, ed aggiunge:

Casablanca non sarebbe certamente stata scelta come luogo per la riunione, se questo dissidio non avesse costituito la immediata preoccupazione della conferenza. Dalla rapida espulsione del nemico dai suoi ripari in Tunisia dipende la possibilità di ogni piano per l’assalto alla fortezza europea nel 1943, e nulla è più suscettibile di ritardare questa vitale tappa preliminare, che la continuazione dei malintesi tra gli alleati sulle linee di comunicazione africane.

D’altra parte il Times ritiene che i piani alleati possono essere messi in esecuzione, con probabilità di successo, soltanto se la minaccia dei sommergibili verrà finalmente dominata.

Il Daily Herald parla più chiaramente:

Cosa è che la conferenza non ha compiuto? Essa non ha certamente realizzato le profezie venute da Washington da una settimana e più. Il gran consiglio strategico delle quattro nazioni alleate non è nato. Nè una parola è detta nel comunicato circa il coordinamento degli scopi degli alleati per il dopo-guerra. Una altra speranza non realizzata è che la conferenza avrebbe eliminato le difficoltà politiche, nette quali gli alleati si trovano in seguito alla loro occupazione dell’Africa settentrionale francese.

In quanto al News Chronicle esso disapprova il fatto che la conferenza abbia avuto luogo in Africa, perchè ritiene che:

…nessuno dei risultati ottenuti giustifica questo spostamento. Tutte le questioni discusse potevano esserlo altrove che in Africa del Nord. Una stretta di mano scambiata fra Giraud e De Gaulle non pub aver regolato la situazione.