America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

The Ambassador to the Soviet Union to the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs

Cairo, 22 November 1943

The British and ourselves are sending representatives from Cairo to Tehran tomorrow, November 23, to make the physical arrangements for the Conference including the living quarters and security in all details. It would be helpful if you would advise our Commanding General in Tehran, General Connolly, what representative of the Soviet Government he should get in touch with to coordinate our planning with yours. I would be grateful if you would also cable me in Cairo that this has been arranged.

I had a most hospitable welcome and interesting afternoon during our unexpected stop in Stalingrad for which I am very grateful.

I look forward to seeing you. Regards.

Roosevelt-Churchill dinner meeting, 8 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Admiral Mountbatten
Admiral Leahy

The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 22, 1943

For the President from Secretary Hull:

Steinhardt reports Turkish Government has now made official reply to Eden’s recent proposals, summarized as follows:

  1. Turkey does not share British opinion that war between Turkey and Germany would not result from Turkey’s granting air bases, and Turkey is consequently unwilling to do so.

  2. Turkey believes she should take effective part in war on Allied side.

  3. However, the British have not supplied indispensable minimum arms promised by Churchill at Adana, nor has German strength deteriorated to extent contemplated at Adana before Turkey would be asked to come in.

  4. Consequently, Turkey’s coastal cities, communications, military bases, and industries would be promptly destroyed and Turkey would become liability instead of asset.

  5. Moreover, Eden’s proposals would leave Turkey as isolated belligerent, since they do not provide for collaboration of Turkey in action undertaken by Great Britain as contemplated in Anglo-Turk Alliance.

  6. Thus, demand that Turkey enter war before end of year would entail sacrifices beyond Turkey’s material capacity and inconsonant with Turkish Government’s elementary duty toward the people.

Steinhardt also reports from reliable Turkish sources that:

  1. Von Papen recently informed Turkish Government cession of even one Turkish air base would lead to immediate war declaration by Germany and Bulgaria with disastrous consequences for Turkey.

  2. Bulgaria has decided on active and effective cooperation with Germany in event of Turkish concessions to Allies, agreeing to immediate joint attack to occupy Thrace and Straits within three days, meanwhile destroying Istanbul from air and paralyzing Turkish communications in order to make prompt Allied assistance impossible.

Helsinki reports November 19 that it is clear that the Finnish Government as a result of intense German pressure, and despondency following Moscow Declaration has decided to continue in more strict collaboration with Germany.

The Chargé at Lisbon has been unable to arrange an interview with the Prime Minister before November 22. The Chargé has learned that the Portuguese apparently do not wish to be consulted or informed regarding the use of facilities at Horta and Teceria [Terceira?] by United Nations’ forces, since they consider this to be a matter entirely between the British and the Americans. The Chargé intends to ask Salazar to confirm this position particularly as it applies to the use of American engineering personnel.

I assume that the British are keeping you informed on developments in Lebanese crisis. We have been supporting the British from the beginning. Murphy informs us the question of authorizing Catroux to order recall Helleu approved by Committee by vote of 12 to 3. Three dissenting members were de Gaulle, Pleven and Diethelm.


American-British preliminary meeting, 9 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins General Brooke
Admiral Leahy Air Chief Marshal Portal
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
Admiral King Field Marshall Dill
General Arnold Admiral Mountbatten
Lieutenant-General Stilwell Lieutenant General Ismay
Lieutenant General Somervell Lieutenant-General Carton de Wiart
Major General Stratemeyer Brigadier Hollis
Major General Wheeler
Major General Chennault
Major General Wedemeyer
Captain Royal

Leahy indicates that the Combined Chiefs joined the President’s dinner party after the meal and that “Mountbatten outlined his plans and his needs for the Burma campaign which had been assigned to him at the Québec Conference held in August 1943.” Alan Brooke states that the purpose of the meeting was “to discuss Dickie Mountbatten’s plans and to prepare for meetings with Chiang Kai-shek.” Arnold mentions Chiang as one of the participants, while the Log indicates that Chiang, Madame Chiang, and three Chinese generals were present. It appears doubtful that the Chinese contingent actually attended.

Völkischer Beobachter (November 23, 1943)

Neuer USA.-Vorstoß –
Die Gilbertinseln angegriffen

dnb. Tokio, 22. November –
Nach einer Verlautbarung des Kaiserlichen Hauptquartiers griffen starke Marineeinheiten des Feindes, die Flugzeugträger und Schlachtschiffe einschlossen, am Morgen des 19. November die Inseln Makin und Tarawa der Gilbertgruppe an.

Die letzten Nachrichten von dort besagen, daß am 21. November die Kämpfe zwischen den japanischen Verteidigern und den Angreifern immer noch im Gange sind, nachdem es einem Teil der feindlichen Kräfte gelungen war, auf den Inseln zu landen.

Bougainville-Kosten in Menschen und Dollars –
Die ‚brutale Wahrheit‘ für die USA

dnb. Tokio, 22. November –
Ein kürzlich in der New York Times erschienener Leitartikel, in dem „mehr Wahrheit und weniger Bemäntelung“ der eigenen Verluste durch die USA.-Zensur verlangt wird, wurde am Montag vom Sprecher des japanischen Informationsamtes zum Anlaß genommen, den Korrespondenten unter Hinweis darauf, daß Washington sich immer noch nicht zu einem Eingeständnis des durchschlagenden japanischen Erfolges in den fünf Schlachten bei Bougainville habe entschließen können, die USA.-Verluste in Form ausführlicher Aufstellungen anschaulich zu machen.

Einleitend zitierte der Sprecher die New York Times, die wörtlich geschrieben hatte:

Der Zustand muß aufhören, daß dem Publikum immer nur eine Art von „Traumkrieg“ vorgesetzt wird, in dem nur der Feind Schläge erleidet. Die brutale Wahrheit würde am besten dazu dienen, die breiten Massen aus ihrer Lethargie zu erwecken. Washington weigert sich, sein Versprechen einzulösen und ein wahres Bild der Lage zu geben, weil befürchtet wird, daß der Eindruck zu niederschmetternd sein würde.

An Hand ausführlicher Tabellen, die den Korrespondenten überreicht wurden, gab der japanische Sprecher dann die „brutale Wahrheit“ bekannt. Aus der ersten Aufstellung, die dem merkantilen Denken der Nordamerikaner vielleicht am besten entspricht, haben die Vereinigten Staaten in der Zeit vom 27. Oktober bis zum 17. November einen Verlust an Kriegsschiffsraum erlitten, dessen Herstellung die Summe von 626 Millionen Dollars gekostet hat. Diese Summe umfasse nur die sicher versenkten Einheiten und deren Herstellungskosten nach vorsichtiger Schätzung. Tatsächlich dürfte der Feind so viel Schiffsraum verloren haben, daß die Summe von einer Milliarde Dollar den Wiederaufbau kaum decken dürfte.

Ebenso durchschlagend wie die Versenkung von Kriegsschiffsraum sind die Verluste der ausgebildeten Mannschaften, die dabei ums Leben gekommen sind. Nach einer weiteren ausführlichen Aufstellung, die sich in sofort versenkte Schiffe mit 80 bis 100 Prozent, versenkte mit 30 bis 40 Prozent und beschädigte mit 10 Prozent Verlustannahme gliedert, haben die Nordamerikaner in dem gleichen Zeitraum bei der Versenkung oder Beschädigung von 80 Kriegsschiffen einen Minimalverlust von 10.095 Mann oder einen Maximalverlust von 24.045 Mann an Besatzungen erlitten.

Wie der Sprecher abschließend noch einmal darlegte, seien die feindlichen Verluste nach den vorsichtigsten Schätzungen zusammengestellt und dürften sich tatsächlich auf weit höhere Ziffern belaufen.

U.S. Navy Department (November 23, 1943)

CINCPAC Communiqué No. 19

Central Pacific.
Our forces have captured Makin. On Tarawa, the Marines have con­solidated their positions and are making good progress against enemy con­centrations on eastern end of Betio Island with capture assured. The situation on Abemama is well in hand.

Raids are being continued against the Marshalls by carrier aircraft and Army Seventh Air Force Liberators.

U.S. State Department (November 23, 1943)

U.S. Delegation memorandum

Cairo, November 23, 1943

Comments on reports that the Generalissimo is deeply concerned over the Soviet Government’s attitude toward his regime and its intention to support the Chinese communists

In Moscow there are definite indications that the Soviet Government:

  1. In the post-war period wants peace within China and a strong central government,

  2. Recognizes that this objective can be obtained only through the Generalissimo,

  3. Will insist on a more liberal policy based on democratic principles and improvement in social conditions,

  4. Desires some solution of the Chinese communist problem either by the Generalissimo’s acceptance of them as an independent political party or by bringing them into the Government in some manner,

  5. Does not have ambitions in respect to Chinese territory in general. This view is supported by their recent withdrawal from the Province of Sinkiang. The recognition of Outer Mongolia’s independence was for military protection against the Japanese advance. There is no indication yet as to the Soviet Government’s attitude regarding the question of a warm water port, although it would be consistent for them to agree to the independence of Korea under some type of trusteeship in which the four great powers would participate.

The Chinese Ambassador in Moscow has expressed opinions along these lines.

Harriman-Vyshinsky conversation, forenoon

United States Soviet Union
Ambassador Harriman Mr. Vyshinsky
Mr. Bohlen

Memorandum by the Ambassador to the Soviet Union

Memorandum of Conversation

Cairo, November 23, 1943

While waiting to see the President, I followed up Mr. Hopkins’ request that I obtain more information about the attitude of the Soviets on some of the Mediterranean problems.

I bluntly told Vyshinski of the serious view we took of the French Committee’s actions in Lebanon. I said we could not permit the French Committee to destroy the confidence of the world in the sincerity of American principles on freedom and democracy. I asked him what the Soviet Government’s views were in the matter. He said he had not been instructed but he was quite sure there could be no other point of view for his Government.

Next I asked him what he thought about the King of Italy. He said he was going to keep his mind open till he could judge the situation on the ground but he certainly made it clear that he was predisposed not to favor the retention of the King. He said:

We have all stated the principles which we are going to apply in Italy as agreed to in the Moscow Conference and these certainly must be put into effect.

He said that any elements or institutions which tend to impede these principles will have to be moved out of the path and anything that assists in the implementation of these principles should be encouraged.

I then asked him whether he had any recent information about Mihailović. He said he had none. I said I had none either but I thought it was time to tell Mihailović “that he should fish, cut bait, or go ashore.” He heartily agreed with this statement and added that, from his point of view, up to the present Mihailović had not only not been helpful in the prosecution of the war but had even been harmful.

Roosevelt conversations with various callers, forenoon

The following foreign persons called on the President: Vyshinsky; Mountbatten; Churchill and his daughter, Mrs. Sarah Oliver; Chiang and Madame Chiang; and the Chinese Generals Shang, Lin, and Chu. The calls were apparently of brief duration and were primarily of a courtesy nature.

Vyshinsky was accompanied by Harriman and by Bohlen, who acted as interpreter.

Vyshinsky was on his way to Algiers to serve as the Soviet representative on the Tripartite Advisory Council for Italy set up at the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers in October 1943. He asked to see the President for the purpose of paying his respects. The President expressed to Vyshinsky the need for close cooperation between the three powers represented on the Council for Italy. The President explained the difficulties he was having with de Gaulle, and he touched on the idea of a trusteeship for immature countries, mentioning Morocco in this connection. Vyshinsky expressed general agreement with the views of the President and appeared impressed with the frank manner in which the President spoke.

Chiang-Hurley conversation, forenoon

Madame Chiang asked whether Roosevelt and Churchill were to meet with Stalin, to which Hurley replied that such a meeting was scheduled but not for Cairo. There was discussion of the pending plan for American-British-Chinese military cooperation in Burma.

The President to the President’s personal representative

Cairo, 23 November 1943

My Dear General Hurley: You are directed to proceed to Tehran in Iran for the accomplishment of a mission on the conditions outlined in the Secretary of State’s message to you dated at Washington, November 5, 1943, as modified by the Secretary of State’s message to you dated at Washington November 19, 1943.

As my personal representative you are also directed to perform additional duties, the nature and the object of which I have outlined to you personally.

Plenary meeting, 11 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt (in the Chair) Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins General Brooke
Admiral Leahy Air Chief Marshal Portal
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
Admiral King Field Marshall Dill
General Arnold Lieutenant General Ismay
Lieutenant General Stilwell Admiral Mountbatten
Lieutenant General Somervell Lieutenant General Carton de Wiart
Major General Stratemeyer
Major General Wheeler
Major General Chennault
Major General Wedemeyer
Generalissimo Chiang
Madame Chiang
General Shang
Lieutenant General Lin
Major General Chu
Brigadier Hollis
Captain Royal

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 23, 1943, 11 a.m.

Southeast Asia Operations

The President, extending a warm welcome to the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek, and to the Chinese Delegation, said that this was an historic meeting and a logical consequence to the Four Power Conference recently concluded in Moscow. The effect of this meeting would, he hoped, not only bear fruit today and in the immediate future, but for decades to come. He suggested that Admiral Mountbatten might be asked to give a general survey of intended operations in Southeast Asia. The ground to be covered mainly concerned the land, since seagoing operations were in progress all the time. There was, he felt sure, unanimous agreement that every effort should be made to send more equipment to China, with a view to accelerating the process by which we could launch an air offensive against the heart of Japan itself.

Admiral Mountbatten then outlined the operations he proposed for the coming campaign in Burma. Apart from current air operations by British-U.S. air forces and two Chinese divisions operating from Ledo, the first land movement would take place in mid-January. The 15th British Indian Corps would advance on the Arakan front with a view to taking up an improved line. This Corps would not, however, be restricted to a defensive role, but would exploit success wherever possible. For this purpose, a West African brigade would be deployed on an outflanking movement. At the same time the 4th British Indian Corps (Imphal Force) would start operations with the object of capturing Minthami, Mawlaik, and Sittaung and advancing as far as possible to the southeast.

Admiral Mountbatten then explained the natural difficulties with which the Allied Forces had to contend. Our lines of communication ran through one of the most difficult countries in the world, served by a one-meter gauge railway which, nevertheless, had been worked up to carry 3,100 tons a day, with the hope that this might be increased by a further 500 tons a day. After leaving the railway and the Brahmaputra River, the communication was by roads now being built. All this was being done in thick jungle and across mountains running north and south across the line of communications. The Japanese in Burma were at the end of an excellent line of communication up the Irrawaddy from Rangoon, with a railway running through Indaw to Myitkyina. They had vast resources and adequate equipment and a force of some five divisions, which was likely to be augmented by a sixth division. In order to make good the disparity between our extremely difficult and the Japanese relatively good communications, we had adopted the expedient of air supply on a large scale.

In February General Wingate intended to make three thrusts with his Long-Range Penetration Groups. One would be from Chittagong; the second would support the 4th Group in the Tamu area; and the third would help the Chinese forces operating from Ledo. It was hoped that the 3rd Group would, by the use of gliders operating ahead of the Yunnan forces, disrupt and muddle the Japanese. Meanwhile, the Ledo forces would move down in the Myitkyina direction to link up at Bhamo with the main operations of the Yunnan forces advancing on Lashio. In mid-March the 5th Indian Parachute Brigade would seize the airfield at Indaw, after which the 26th Indian Division would be flown in to Indaw by transport aircraft and thereafter be maintained by air.

It was hoped in these operations to surprise the Japanese by using novel methods of supply and by the boldness of our advance through what they might consider to be impassable country. Subject to the Generalissimo’s permission, General Stilwell had agreed that the Ledo force should come under the 14th Army Commander until it reached Kamaing, after which it would revert to the command of General Stilwell. Admiral Mountbatten enquired whether this arrangement was agreeable to the Generalissimo.

The Generalissimo said that he would like to see the proposals illustrated on a map before giving his decision.

Admiral Mountbatten then gave certain logistic information for the air route over the “hump.” He had promised the Generalissimo to work the supply over this route up to 10,000 tons a month. For November and December, the figure would be 9,700 tons. For January and February, however, it would drop to 7,900 tons. In March the figure should rise again to 9,200 tons. Twenty-five additional first-line transport aircraft were required and this demand had been put to the Combined Chiefs of Staff with, he understood, every prospect of the demand being met.

The Prime Minister said that these were important military operations of a much greater magnitude than ever previously contemplated for this theater. The plans had not yet been examined by the Chiefs of Staff, but this would be done at the earliest opportunity, possibly the same day. In all there was an Allied force of approximately 320,000 men who would apply pressure on the enemy in this theater. They would have a qualitative as well as a quantitative supremacy over the enemy. He had high hopes of these operations, the success of which largely depended on surprise and secrecy and ignorance on the part of the enemy as to the lines of approach and the points of attack.

Owing to the surrender of the Italian Fleet and other naval events of a favorable character, a formidable British Fleet would be established in due course in the Indian Ocean. This would ultimately consist of no less than 5 modernized capital ships, 4 heavy armored carriers, and up to 12 auxiliary carriers, together with cruisers and flotillas. This force would be more powerful than any detachment which it was thought that the Japanese could afford to make from their main fleet in the Pacific, having regard to the U.S. naval strength in the Pacific theater. In addition to all this Admiral Mountbatten would have formed by the spring an amphibious “circus” for use in such amphibious operations as might ultimately be decided upon, but for which preparations were now going ahead with all speed.

The Generalissimo said that in accordance with the view he had expressed at Chungking, the success of the operations in Burma depended, in his opinion, not only on the strength of the naval forces established in the Indian Ocean, but on the simultaneous coordination of naval action with the land operations.

The Prime Minister said that naval operations in the Bay of Bengal would not necessarily be coordinated with and linked to the land campaign. Our naval superiority in this area should ensure the security of our communications and a threat to those of the enemy. It should be remembered that the main fleet base would be anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 miles away from the area in which the armies were operating. Thus, no comparison could be made with these operations and with those carried out in Sicily, where it had been possible for the fleet to work in close support of the Army.

The Generalissimo considered that the enemy would reinforce Burma and that this could only be stopped by vigorous naval operations.

The Prime Minister said it would be disastrous if we could do nothing to prevent the Japanese bringing large reinforcements by sea through the Malacca and Sunda Straits. We could not guarantee to cut off reinforcements by sea entirely, but we should do everything to prevent their arrival.

The Generalissimo said he was not clear as to the timing of the concentration of the naval forces in the Indian Ocean. He was convinced that simultaneous naval and land operations gave the best chance of success for the operations. Burma was the key to the whole campaign in Asia. After he had been cleared out of Burma, the enemy’s next stand would be in North China and, finally, in Manchuria. The loss of Burma would be a very serious matter to the Japanese and they would fight stubbornly and tenaciously to retain their hold on the country.

The Prime Minister said he was unable to agree that the success of the land operations entirely hinged on a simultaneous naval concentration. The fleet could not, in any event, be assembled by January, nor, indeed, until sometime later. The ships had to be tropicalized and fitted with special equipment. Some would be starting soon, but the build-up to full strength would not be achieved until the late spring or early summer of 1944. It seemed, however, on the whole improbable that in the meanwhile the enemy would send naval forces in any strength to the Bay of Bengal.

The President enquired about the railway communications between Siam and Burma.

Admiral Mountbatten said that the Japanese had recently completed the railway from Bangkok to Thanbyuzayat (15º55’N 97º40’E) and this would improve their facilities for maintaining forces in Burma to an appreciable degree.

The Prime Minister thought that the Japanese were mainly relying upon road and rail communications from the Malay Peninsula to maintain their forces in Burma. As we did not possess shore air bases, it was not possible for us to threaten the Japanese communications in the Gulf of Siam. He wished to emphasize the great importance he attached to the operations in Southeast Asia, which would be driven forward with all vigor and dispatch. He hoped to have a further talk with the Generalissimo when some other details of the British naval situation would be communicated.

In conclusion, the President said that the matter could not be carried any further that morning. He hoped that the Generalissimo would take this opportunity of meeting the Chiefs of the American and British Staffs and to discuss these important problems frankly with them.

Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff

Cairo, 23 November 1943

CCS 401/1

VLE airfields (B-29) in the China-Burma-India Area

  1. As the United States Chiefs of Staff will be aware, the President has already telegraphed to the Prime Minister with regard to the provision of suitable airdromes in India and China for the operation of B-29 aircraft against Japan in the spring of 1944. The Prime Minister has instructed the Commander in Chief, India, to render every possible assistance in the construction of the four air bases in India and has so informed the President. An examination of the project has been undertaken and we are satisfied that the difficulties involved, including the movement of the extra tonnage required through the port of Calcutta, can be overcome.

  2. We therefore accept the recommendations of the United States Chiefs of Staff contained in paragraph 7 of CCS 401 and are issuing the necessary instructions to the British authorities concerned.

  3. If the necessary work in India is to be completed in time, it is essential that the United States units and equipment required should arrive in Calcutta by 15 January; otherwise the work will not be completed by 1 April and in fact would have to be stopped to allow resources temporarily diverted owing to airfield construction to be sent through to Ledo.

Roosevelt-Churchill luncheon meeting, 1:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Mrs. Oliver
Commander Thompson
Mr. Martin

The Prime Minister’s private secretary to the President’s special assistant

Cairo, November 23, 1943

Mr. Hopkins. (Private)
Colonel Warden asked me to send you this telegram to see. Could you please let me have it back.



The British Minister in Saudi Arabia to the British Foreign Office

Jedda, 15 November 1943

War Cabinet Distribution – Repeated to Minister of State Cairo.
475. My telegram No. 455.

Ibn Saud has sent me a message from Mecca to the effect that United States representative in Jedda asked him the following questions on November 13.

(1) Has Saudi Arabian Government asked His Majesty’s Government for arms?
(2) If so when did they make their request to His Majesty’s Government?
(3) What arms did Saudi Arabian Government ask for?
(4) Has anything been promised by His Majesty’s Government?
(5) What has arrived?
(6) Are arms being supplied by His Majesty’s Government as a gift or against payment?
(7) Did His Majesty’s Government offer to supply arms or did the question arise out of a demand from Saudi Arabian Government?

  1. Ibn Saud informed my United States colleague that His Majesty’s Government had promised to supply 50 light reconnaissance cars but that none had arrived to date. He did not know if payment was expected or whether they were being supplied under Lease Lend in accordance with the list of Saudi Arabian arms requirements submitted to His Majesty’s Government by Saudi Arabian representative in London for supply under Lease Lend.

  2. I feel my United States colleague’s action in putting these questions to Ibn Saud is unfortunate as it would appear to show 1) a lack of collaboration between His Majesty’s Government and United States on this question and 2) United States distrust of any information given them by His Majesty’s Government.

  3. I venture to suggest that we should come to some agreement with United States over the quantities of war material to be supplied to Saudi Arabian Government as soon as possible and inform Ibn Saud accordingly.

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 2:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Air Chief Marshal Portal
Admiral King Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
General Arnold Field Marshall Dill
Lieutenant General Stilwell Lieutenant General Ismay
Lieutenant General Somervell Admiral Mountbatten
Vice Admiral Willson General Riddell-Webster
Rear Admiral Cooke Lieutenant General Carton de Wiart
Rear Admiral Bieri Captain Lambe
Rear Admiral Badger Brigadier Sugden
Major General Stratemeyer Air Commodore Elliot
Major General Wheeler Brigadier Cobb
Major General Handy Brigadier Head
Major General Fairchild Brigadier McNair
Major General Wedemeyer
Brigadier General Kuter
Brigadier General Hansell
Brigadier General Tansey
Captain Doyle
Colonel Roberts
Colonel O’Donnell
Captain Freseman
Commander Long
Present for the Last Item Only
General Shang
Lieutenant General Lin
Vice Admiral Yang
Lieutenant General Chou
Major General Chu
Major General Tsai
Major General Chennault
Brigadier Redman
Captain Royal
Colonel McFarland
Commander Coleridge

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 23, 1943, 2:30 p.m.

Conclusions of the 127th Meeting

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Accepted the conclusions of the 127th Meeting. The detailed record of the Meeting was also accepted subject to minor amendments.

The role of China in the defeat of Japan (CCS 405)

General Stilwell informed the Combined Chiefs of Staff that he had received a message from Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek stating that he did not wish any proposals for Chinese action laid before the Combined Chiefs of Staff until he had had a further consultation with the President and General Marshall.

Sir Alan Brooke said that it appeared that the operations set out in subparagraphs 2a, b, c, and d of CCS 405 were acceptable. The remaining proposals appeared unrealistic, particularly in view of the logistic difficulties which General Marshall had mentioned at a previous meeting. He could not see how Formosa could he attacked from the mainland of China without any landing craft.

Admiral Leahy said that he agreed with Sir Alan Brooke’s views. Subparagraphs 2a, b, c, and d were acceptable to the United States Chiefs of Staff; the remaining proposals were matters for the future, requiring detailed examination, particularly in view of the serious logistic implications. He suggested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should so inform the Chinese representatives.

General Marshall reminded the Combined Chiefs of Staff that up till now the Generalissimo’s sole interest had been in the provision of a large United States Air Force in China and a large number of transport aircraft. He had taken each step in the direction of the formation of ground forces with reluctance. Months had passed before he would agree to the training of the Chinese troops at Ramgarrh [Ramgarh]. More months had passed before he agreed to an increase in their numbers. Negotiations with the Indian government had necessitated further delay. Yet another period had passed before the Generalissimo would agree to the habilitation of the Yunnan force. Now, for the first time, the Generalissimo had shown an active interest in and an admission of the importance of the formation and employment of Chinese ground forces. He (General Marshall) personally had confidence in the value of Chinese troops provided they were properly led. Their powers of endurance should prove immensely valuable in the type of warfare in which they were to be employed. He considered that the Generalissimo’s new proposals should be given the most careful and sympathetic consideration. These factors and the value of China once Germany had collapsed and the flow of supplies to the East had increased, should be borne most carefully in mind when considering the Generalissimo’s plan.

Admiral King pointed out that the Generalissimo’s proposals must be considered in relation to the overall plan for the defeat of Japan. He agreed with General Marshall as to the importance of the change of heart shown by the Generalissimo in his latest proposals, and felt that he should not be discouraged if it could possibly be avoided.

General Arnold mentioned the problem of the employment of some two thousand heavy bombers which would be available on the defeat of Germany. Available bases in the Aleutians, Maritime Provinces, and the Islands were all of limited capacity.

Sir Charles Portal suggested that this great force might be used against shipping.

General Arnold pointed out that the bases he had mentioned would in fact be used by heavy bombers employed against shipping. His point was that only by using them out of China could the heart of Japan itself be attacked. Attacks on Japanese oil resources and shipping, while valuable, would not produce the final result.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff then discussed Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s views with regard to the employment of naval forces in the Bay of Bengal.

General Stilwell said he believed that the Generalissimo would be satisfied if we could guarantee naval security in the Bay of Bengal.

Sir Andrew Cunningham said that it would be right to say that we should have general control of the Bay of Bengal but he could not absolutely guarantee its complete security. He believed that the Prime Minister intended in due course to inform the Generalissimo of the British naval forces to be employed in the Bay of Bengal but felt that this information should be imparted by the Prime Minister himself and not by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

Admiral Mountbatten explained that in discussing amphibious operations with the Generalissimo in Chungking, he had pointed out that it was intended to launch an amphibious operation in the spring, probably to synchronize with the Burma land operations. From the air bases made available by the amphibious operation it was hoped to be able to interfere with seaborne supplies, both through Rangoon and Bangkok. He believed that the Generalissimo was in fact interested in this action rather than in the actual provision of naval forces in the Bay of Bengal.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed:
a. That the operations proposed in paragraph 2a to d inclusive, of CCS 405 are, in general, in consonance with the present concept of operations against Japan as expressed in CCS 397, Specific Operations for the Defeat of Japan, 1944.

b. That the operations proposed in paragraphs 2e to h inclusive, of CCS 405 go beyond the present concept of operations in China and require detailed examination and study with particular reference to logistic difficulties.

c. That the study indicated in b above, together with an examination of the employment for the defeat of Japan of the heavy bombers that would become available when Germany has been eliminated from the war, should be included in the general study of the overall plan for the defeat of Japan now being conducted by the Combined Staff Planners.

Estimate of enemy situation, 1944 – Pacific-Far East (CCS 300/2)

Sir Alan Brooke said that there appeared to be minor discrepancies with regard to the estimate of enemy forces available, which could be discussed by the Combined Intelligence Committee. In other respects, the paper could be accepted as an estimate of the situation.

Admiral Leahy agreed with this view.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Accepted and noted for future information the estimate of the enemy situation, 1944 – Pacific-Far East, set out in CCS 300/2.

Future operation in the Southeast Asia Command (CCS 390/1)

Sir Alan Brooke said that he noted that the United States Chiefs of Staff were not able to provide the forces necessary for CULVERIN. With regard to BUCCANEER, he would like to defer consideration of this operation until the Conference was further advanced.

Admiral Mountbatten said that the Japanese forces in CULVERIN had increased from one to three divisions. He was, however, prepared to accept a risk and to undertake Operation CULVERIN with smaller forces if this should be considered necessary. His chief concern was to be in a position to cut the Japanese lines of communication into Burma and to obtain an air base from which he could attack the Malacca Straits, Rangoon, and Bangkok. BUCCANEER, though not providing so many airfields, was approximately the same distance from Bangkok as was CULVERIN, and so offered almost equal strategical advantages; it could be undertaken with the forces now available to him. He would propose to launch BUCCANEER probably some two to three days after the launching of the land campaign in North Burma. This would disperse the Japanese air effort. The Burma operations and BUCCANEER each had a considerable effect on the other and had been planned and considered together.

After further discussion, the Combined Chiefs of Staff: Approved CCS 390/1 but agreed to suspend final decision regarding Operation BUCCANEER until later in the SEXTANT Conference in order to allow the operation to be considered in relation to the other operations to be undertaken.

Combined Chiefs of Staff – United Chiefs of Staff (CCS 406)

Sir Alan Brooke said that he would like further time to consider the proposals put forward by the United States Chiefs of Staff.

General Marshall explained that the United States Chiefs of Staff had given only very brief consideration to this matter but had felt that it would be valuable to outline a possible course of action before pressure was exerted from any quarter to widen the membership of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

Admiral King said that, as he saw it, the United Chiefs of Staff would consist of one representative of the Chiefs of Staff of each nation who would act as spokesman. This proposal would reduce the difficulties to their simplest possible terms if the issue were to be forced upon the United States and British Chiefs of Staff.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed to defer action on this paper.

The present situation in the Southeast Asia Command

The Combined Chiefs of Staff then entered into a general discussion of the situation in the Southeast Asia Command.

Admiral Mountbatten, in reply to a question, explained that the grounding of a vessel carrying spare aircraft engines would result in a deficit in air lift over the “hump” for December of some 2,100 tons. The backlog thus caused had not been included in his calculations and he suggested that the Combined Planners should look into this question. His plans were not made on wide margins of safety and did not make allowance for acts of God since he realized fully that too heavy demands from his theater would have direct repercussions on the operations in other theaters. In reply to a further question, Admiral Mountbatten said that his Royal Air Force transports were being used to the full. They were not being employed in China since there were insufficient numbers to train his parachute troops and long-range penetration groups. It had been necessary for United States aircraft to fly in supplies to the British units in Fort Hertz.

General Stratemeyer asked if it was possible for the Royal Air Force to provide old bombers which were not operationally fit, for use as transport aircraft.

Sir Charles Portal said that he did not feel that worn-out aircraft, even if available, could be used for this task. Manpower also was short and the production of British bombers was a direct measure of the weight of attack on Germany.

In further discussion of the possibility of interrupting Japanese communications, Sir Charles Portal pointed out that air bombing alone could not completely stop the use of enemy ports.

Admiral Mountbatten agreed with this view but explained that he had great hopes that heavy bombing of Japanese occupied ports would result in strikes of dock labor and a resulting slowing up in the flow of supplies.

General Arnold felt that our present calculations with regard to air transport possibilities had been wrongly based on a 100 percent figure of accomplishment. This figure was never achieved, and it would be safer to “lower our sights” with regard to target figures and accept as a bonus any increase on this lower figure.

In reply to a question by Sir Charles Portal, Admiral Mountbatten said that the airport at Blair in BUCCANEER had a 1,650-yard runway and was capable of operating three squadrons.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Took note of the above statements.

At this point General Shang Chen, Lieutenant General Lin Wei, Vice Admiral Yang Hsuan Ch’eng, Lieutenant General Chou Chih Jou, Lieutenant [Major] General Chu Shih Ming, Major General Tsai Wen Chih and Major General Chennault entered the meeting.

Sir Alan Brooke, in welcoming the Chinese Representatives, said that the Combined Chiefs of Staff were very pleased to have this opportunity to meet with them and discuss around the table plans for future operations in China. These discussions should lead to definite conclusions. Admiral Mountbatten had that morning put forward his plans and he suggested that the Chinese Representatives should ask any further questions that they might wish and put forward their own suggestions with regard to these plans.

General Chu, on behalf of General Shang Chen, explained that the Chinese Representatives had not had sufficient time to study these plans and would prefer to discuss them on the following day.

Admiral Mountbatten suggested that the Chinese Representatives should give an outline of the state of readiness of the Yunnan Force and of the detailed plans for its employment. He pointed out that the success of our efforts to open the land route to China was dependent on the successful operation of the Yunnan Force in coordination with the British attacks.

General Stilwell then outlined in detail the Chinese Forces available and their state of readiness. There were, at present, certain shortages of personnel which were being rapidly made good. The ten assault divisions would first be brought up to strength and any deficiencies in pack transport would be compensated for by the use of manpower.

With the aid of a map General Stilwell outlined the three coordinated attacks which would be made by the Yunnan force. He believed that sufficient tactical air forces were available to support these operations.

General Chennault and General Stratemeyer explained the arrangements which had been made for the coordination of the air effort with that of the ground forces.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Took note with interest of the above statements.
b. Agreed to meet again with the Chinese Representatives at 1530 hours on 24 November.

Memorandum by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff

Cairo, 23 November 1943

CCS 406

Combined Chiefs of Staff – United Chiefs of Staff

Reference: CCS 127th Meeting, Item 4

  1. The discussion in the CCS 127th Meeting concerning the Chinese military representatives meeting with the Combined Chiefs of Staff was the first of a series of such problems which will arise, particularly as our cooperation with the Soviets and Chinese develops. It would seem highly desirable to find a solution which will permanently (a) maintain the exclusive American-British character of the Combined Chiefs of Staff while avoiding these embarrassing complications and (b) furnish adequate and satisfactory machinery for discussions by the principal Allies at the Chiefs of Staff level, as military problems arise or political considerations make such meetings desirable.

  2. As a solution it is suggested:
    a. That the Combined Chiefs of Staff be recognized as an exclusive American and British Body, and
    b. That a “United Chiefs of Staff” be set up at the Chiefs of Staff level to include the principal Allies – that is, for the present, the four “Moscow” powers.

  3. The United Chiefs of Staff would function only when necessity arose, and would provide for attendance either by all members or by only those concerned in the problems to be discussed. This arrangement would give an “out” to China or Russia as the case might be. The proposed United Chiefs of Staff should consist of a single representative of the Chiefs of Staff of each nation. This representative would not necessarily have to be the same official at all meetings. Our Allies could not complain of being left out of Combined Chiefs of Staff discussion, since in theory, at least, the Combined Chiefs of Staff would be the lesser of the two bodies.

  4. Such a “United Chiefs of Staff” should be considered as a flexible organization designed to meet situations as they develop, including possible inclusion of other Allies at a later date, on the same basis of participation when concerned.

The President to the Director of War Mobilization

23 November 1943

Extremely important and urgent that I know at once whether the present schedules for production and completion of landing craft can be increased during January, February, March, April and May. On the assumption that landing craft takes precedence over all other munitions of war will you let me know how many additional landing craft by types can be delivered during the months of January, February, March, April and May? List each month separately. Call conference of all interested departments. Very urgent.


The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 23, 1943

For the President from Secretary Hull:

As the Russian Army approaches the Polish frontier the Polish Government is showing its extreme anxiety over the future of Poland and I believe that I should send you a rather full summary of developments.

The following are the principal points of a confidential memorandum from the Polish Premier to you which has been handed to me by the Polish Ambassador:

The Prime Minister referred to the Polish Government’s memorandum of October 6 which among other things expressed the hope that normal Polish-Soviet diplomatic relations could be restored in order that the Polish and Soviet Governments could then endeavor to settle their mutual problems and asked for British-American guarantees of the independence and integrity of Polish territory as well as the security of its inhabitants. To assure this the October 6 memorandum made the impractical suggestion that American-British troops should be stationed in Poland to prevent friction and possible reprisals. That memorandum indicated that if the Soviet Government should openly attempt to communize Poland after its armies had occupied Polish territory this might cause the Polish population as an act of desperation to retaliate in self-defense.

The latest memorandum dated November 18 appeals to you:

…to intervene with Marshal Stalin with a view to restoring Polish-Soviet relations, safeguarding the interests of the Polish State and the life and property of its citizens after the Soviet troops have entered Poland.

The memorandum asserts that “the unwillingness of the Polish Government to enter into discussions on frontier questions is based on the following considerations:”

  1. Poland has never given up the fight against Germany since 1939 and is fully entitled to emerge from the war without reduction of territory.

  2. Soviet claims to Eastern Poland comprises half of total Polish territory and contain important centers of Polish national life.

The memorandum continues:

The Polish Government could not see their way to enter into a discussion on the subject of territorial concessions above all for the reason that such a discussion in the absence of effective guarantees of Poland’s independence and security on the part of the United States and Great Britain would be sure to lead to ever new demands. The attribution to Poland of East Prussia, Danzig, Opole, Silesia and the straightening and shortening of the Polish Western frontier are in any case dictated by the need to provide for the stability of future peace, the disarmament of Germany and the security of Poland and other countries of Central Europe. The transfer to Poland of these territories cannot therefore be fairly treated as an object of compensation for the cession to the USSR of Eastern Poland which for reasons adduced above does by no means represent to the USSR a value comparable to that which it has for Poland. The attempt made to prejudice the fate of Polish Eastern territories by means of a popular vote organized under Soviet occupation by the occupying authorities is without any value either political or legal. It would be equally impossible to obtain a genuine expression of the will of the population inhabiting these territories in view of the ruthless methods applied there today and those which have been applied in the past by consecutive occupants.

The memorandum then states that:

A rising in Poland against Germany is being planned to break out at a moment mutually agreed upon with our Allies either before or at the very moment of the entry of Soviet troops into Poland.

In accordance with the principles adopted in Quebec, the Polish Government is entitled to exert sovereign authority over Polish lands as they are liberated from the enemy. Consequently, in case the entry of Soviet troops into Poland takes place after the reestablishment of Polish-Soviet relations, the Polish Government would be anxious, as it has already informed the American Government, to return immediately to Poland together with the Commander-in-Chief, and to cooperate there in the further struggle against Germany.

The entry of Soviet troops on Polish territory without previous resumption of Polish-Soviet relations would force the Polish Government to undertake political action against the violation of Polish sovereignty while the Polish local administration and army in Poland would have to continue to work underground. In that case the Polish Government foresee the use of measures of self-defence wherever such measures are rendered indispensable by Soviet methods of terror and extermination of Polish citizens.

Asserting that the Moscow Conference did not bring the question of resumption of Polish-Soviet relations nearer to a satisfactory solution, the memorandum states that the Polish Government has reason “to fear that in present conditions the life and property of Polish citizens may be exposed to danger after the entry of Soviet troops into Poland and the imposing on the country of Soviet administration. In that case desperate reaction of the Polish community may be expected following the violation of the principle adopted in Quebec assuring to the United Nations their liberty and their own administration.”

The memorandum further indicates that the Polish Government does not believe that the principles applied to Italy as adopted at the Moscow Conference would be satisfactory for Poland which is not an enemy country but a member of the United Nations. Moreover, it is stated that the presence of a few American and British liaison officers in Poland would not assure proper safeguards in the administration of the territory occupied by the Red Army.

When the Ambassador handed me the above memorandum, he also delivered a personal message to you from the Polish Prime Minister stating that he is anxious to submit to you personally and verbally certain alternatives for the solution of existing difficulties and would be grateful for the opportunity of doing so. He added “I am ready to undertake the necessary journey at any time and in complete secrecy.”

In presenting the Polish Prime Minister’s request to see you the Ambassador indicated that Mikolajczyk wished to join you and Mr. Churchill to which I replied that I did not believe it would be possible to arrange this since you would be busily engaged in military matters of great urgency.

Subsequent to this Ambassador Biddle telegraphed on November 20 that Mikolajczyk and the Polish Foreign Minister had insisted that they should be consulted in advance concerning any decisions that might be taken involving Polish interests.

The Poles indicated that decisions taken without full consultation with the Polish Government upon which the underground in Poland stakes its hope would undoubtedly lead to a serious crisis in that quarter. Furthermore, it would create a crisis in Polish circles in England, the Middle East, and might have “serious repercussions among Americans of Polish origin.” Mikolajczyk interjected that even a man condemned to death was granted a last word before the court.

The Polish Foreign Minister referred to a formula which Mr. Eden, he said, is considering which envisaged dividing Poland into regions in which respectively the military administration of the “liberating forces” and the Polish Government might function. He added that it was logical that whatever formulae were advanced would meet with counter proposals and the Polish Government considered it of the utmost importance that its representatives be on hand during these discussions.

In pressing for arrangements so that he could meet you Mikolajczyk said that there were things he could present orally but could not put in writing at this time.

On the basis of the foregoing and the extremely agitated state of mind of the Polish Ambassador here it is apparent that the Polish Government feels that it is in a desperate position. This may well lead to unfortunate public outbursts. In an effort to calm the Ambassador I made it clear to him that I had emphasized at Moscow my friendly and earnest interest in his country and had urged Molotov to find a basis for reestablishing diplomatic relations with Poland; that once these relations were restored ways and means could be found to work out and adjust their differences. I told the Ambassador that as a friend of Poland I would continue to watch every opportunity to be of service to both Governments.

I also pointed out to the Ambassador that I regretted to find on my return Polish attacks on the Four-Nation Declaration when this Declaration means everything to the future of Poland. I also indicated my regret at shortsighted Polish agitation in this country of a thoroughly unfriendly nature which has manifested itself in other ways than condemning the Four-Nation Declaration.

We are making every effort here and through Biddle in London to convince the Poles, official and unofficial, that they must take a calmer outlook and not prejudice their case by undue public agitation regarding our policies.

With the approach of the Red Army to former Polish territory it would appear that every friendly opportunity should be taken to bring about a resumption of Polish-Soviet diplomatic relations. If this is not possible at the moment, I believe we should exert all our influence to persuade the Polish Government to give instructions to its underground army to launch at the opportune moment a full-fledged attack on the Germans behind their lines and to assist the Red Army in its battle. The Polish Government should realize that if this is achieved the British and ourselves will be in a better position to convince the Soviet Government of the Polish Government’s desire to make a material contribution to the shortening of the war, and to collaborate with the other United Nations after the war in working for the establishment of an organization of peace-loving nations for the maintenance of international peace and security.


The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 23, 1943

For the President from Secretary Hull

Marshal Stalin, who is at the front, states that he will arrive not later than the 28th or 29th at the appointed place.

Roosevelt-Chiang dinner meeting, 8 p.m.

United States China
President Roosevelt Generalissimo Chiang
Mr. Hopkins Madame Chiang
Dr. Wang

The conversation touched on the following topics that are not mentioned in the Chinese summary record: The formation of a coalition government in China, British rights in Shanghai and Canton, the use of American rather than British warships in future operations based on Chinese ports, and the future status of the Malay States, Burma, and India.