America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

Ferguson: Understanding children

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

Background of news –
Analysis of the subsidy vote

By Jay G. Hayden. North American Newspaper Alliance

Most shell-shocked victims soon returned to front

80-90% of men are cured quickly by special treatment, officer says

Navy rated slight favorite over Army

Edge comes from Penn game scores; Blaik, Whelchel are moanin’ low

West Point, New York (UP) –
A trail of tears from those arch-pessimists coaches Earl “Red” Blaik of Army and John “Billick” Whelchel of Navy brought the inescapable conclusion today that it is a tossup who will lose the traditional football clash between the service teams.

Both coaches are convinced that victory is wholly unlikely unless their teams receive a series of breaks or luck, each describing minutely the advantage enjoyed by the opponent.

Behind their verbal sparring, however, the two elevens, both rounding out their most successful seasons in years, are drilled to razor sharpness and with the inevitable inspiration that comes from playing against the other service school, should put on their best performances to date.

Navy, probably because it beat Pennsylvania while Army had to settle for a tie with the Quakers, is a slight favorite. Cadet supporters stress that their team was the betting choice last year and took a two-touchdown drubbing,

In the ultimate, it will probably devolve itself into a contest between Army’s hard-driving backs breaking fast from the T-formation and Navy’s spot-passing out of the single wing. The team developing the best defense, barring trickery, will probably win.

The color and pageantry of other service classics will be minimized with only the lucky Orange County neighbors of the Cadets being legal spectators. President Roosevelt, by proclamation, declared all of the United States except a 10-mile area around the Academy “out of bounds” for the game and persons outside that charmed circle can’t get in for love or money.

Navy will be represented by a Lend-Lease cheering section made up of the Army Cadet 1st Regiment. Though Navy yells will be made with “tongues in cheeks,” the Cadets promised to give them lively representation.

Each team will be at full strength, with only Doug Kenna, the Army’s oft-injured back, not expected to see action among the regulars.

The probable lineups:

Positions Navy Army
LE Channell McKinnon
LT Whitmire Merritt
LG Brown Murphy
C J. Martin Myslinski
RG Chase McCorkle
RT Sprinkle Stanowicz
RE Johnston Rennessy
Q Nelson Lombardo
LH Hamburg Minor
RH B. Martin Maxon
F Hume Davis

San Diego Navy battles March Field

New York (UP) – (Nov. 26)
While the Army-Navy Game takes the spotlight in the East, the Midwest presents the Great Lakes-Notre Dame clash in Chicago as its outstanding attraction.

Elsewhere, Lehigh and Lafayette battle in the East’s only other game – a contest with little but tradition at stake between the two rivals.

In the Midwest, Oklahoma (Big Six champion) closes its competition an odds-on favorite to defeat the weakest Nebraska team in years. Tough Iowa Pre-Flight plays Minnesota in the only other middle country game.

In the South, Randolph Field plays Southwest Louisiana Institute with a probable bowl bid in the offing for the winner. Other contests pit Southern Methodist against Texas Christian in their annual close-out game, Georgia against a heavily-favored Georgia Tech, Rice against Southwestern University and North Carolina against Virginia Military.

In the West, San Diego Navy plays the March Field Fliers in the service contest of the day and Southern California meets UCLA in a return engagement while Del Monte Pre-Flight plays California.

How long will foe last?
Japs abandon face slapping in Philippines

By A. T. Steele

Eyewitness tells of landing –
Johnson: Yanks storm ashore under withering fire to crush Japs on Tarawa in bloody battle

One Marine major uses shotgun to blast snipers
By Richard W. Johnston, United Press staff writer

With U.S. Marine assault forces at Tarawa, Gilbert Islands – (Nov. 23, delayed)
Exactly 60 hours ago, the sea off this tiny island was swarming with Higgins landing boats and I was scrambling down a net with U.S. forces that were about to launch an assault on Tarawa.

It was 8:30 a.m. (local time) – zero hour – and the U.S. Marines were about to land again, and write another glowing chapter in their long and honorable history.

This was “D-Day” and for an hour, our big battleships offshore had been pouring shells onto the atoll. Still earlier – shortly after 6:00 a.m. – carrier-borne dive bombers peeled off above the island.

Orange flames shot into the air and then a pillar of black smoke rose slowly. We had hit a Jap ammunition dump.

I was assigned to a battalion commanded by Maj. Henry Pierson Crowe, 44, who has spent 24 years in the Marine Corps. We went down the nets at 8:30 a.m. and our boats streaked for the beach.

Then we were ashore and I flopped down in the sand. The Jap snipers opened up and bullets began whistling overhead. Then enemy machine-gunners put a curtain of fire across the beach.

Mortal shell crashes

I got to my feet and started forward, but a mortar shell crashed nearby and flattened me face down in the sand. Then another ammunition dump exploded and all of us were bounced off the ground by the explosion. Coral and debris rained down as I got to my knees and started crawling up the beach toward a primitive command post. There I saw one of the strangest sights I ever expect to see.

Maj. Crowe, standing upright and ignoring the Japanese fire, was stomping back and forth issuing commands and carrying a 12-gauge shotgun. Every once and a while, he would swing the shotgun to his shoulder and take a potshot at a Jap sniper.

I paused there a moment and had time to think back on our landing and wonder how any of us had come through it alive. About 1,500 yards out from the shore, the Japs began to fire on our boats. A few minutes later, there was a crashing, scraping sound and our boat was hung on coral, 1,000 yards from the shore.

Maj. William C. Chamberlin of Chicago, Illinois, a former economics professor at Northwestern University, and now our battalion executive officer, decided on the spot to abandon ship. He plunged into water shoulder-deep and we followed him. The Jap machine-gunners let us have it and all we could do was to keep walking through the water toward the shore. It was the longest walk of my life.

Men fall into water

Bullets cut ripples in the water around us. A Marine walking by my side dropped with a bullet through his leg. I could see men falling into the water, wounded or dead. All the boats in our wave of the assault had been hung up on the coral and the water was filled with Marines plunging and slipping toward the shore.

That walk through the water was bad enough, but we still had our troubles at the command post where Maj. Crowe was blasting away at the Japs with his shotgun.

The Japs were endeavoring to pin our men down behind a natural barricade of sand. But time after time, the Marines went over the top in the face of Jap fire without hesitation or reluctance.

The Japs maintained a steady fire from a reinforced concrete blockhouse only 100 feet from our post until Maj. Crowe ordered up a demolition squad with flamethrowers. A great ball of flame engulfed the blockhouse and there was no more resistance from that quarter.

Wave after wave of Marines thrust against the Jap positions widening the beachhead.

Just after noon, a reinforcing wave appeared offshore. As the Higgins boats scuttled for the beach, Jap emplacements on our flank opened up with a five-inch automatic weapon and blew two of the boats out of the water.

Planes work over area

Survivors plunged into the sea and swam toward shore under relentless machine-gun strafing.

Maj. Crowe shifted several companies against the Jap flanking position because it was evident they would have to be knocked out if our incoming boats were to be saved.

At 2:30, after the bitterest fighting, our men fell back to give Hellcat fighters and dive bombers a chance to work over the area.

For more than an hour, our planes crisscrossed it, hitting a point less than 200 yards from my foxhole. The din was head-splitting but not as bad as that made by the destroyers which opened up with a tremendous fire.

After the destroyer finished, the Hellcats and dive bombers gave a return engagement. They came drilling in 60 feet off the water, their fire reverberating like a stick dragged over a washboard.

After the bombardments, our men were able to bring our casualties to the more or less protected area behind the barricade.

Typewriter survives

I broke out my typewriter, which had somehow survived the trek through the breakers and typed up my notes.

Beside me lay a boy with a shot through his shoulder. While my fingers tapped the typewriter keys, a Marine on my left died.

Then the Hellcats came over for a last pass at the Japs and something creased my chest. It was an empty .50-caliber shell kicked out by the planes. I thought at first it was a bullet.

Gradually, our men were pushing the Japs back across the island. Every man from private to major conducted himself without thought of personal safety. Because of this, many will never leave Tarawa. Their grave will be in its shifting sands.

But because they died, the Japs will leave Tarawa.

Maj. de Seversky: Victory depends on distinguishing strategic from tactical aviation

By Maj. Alexander P. de Seversky

Quite a few drinks left –
Liquor warehouses hold 412,620,184-gallon cache

Supply will last more than five years at present rate it is released for marketing

U.S. State Department (November 27, 1943)

Harriman-Clark Kerr-Molotov meeting, midnight

United States United Kingdom Soviet Union
Mr. Harriman Sir Archibald Clark Kerr Foreign Commissar Molotov

Molotov asked Harriman and Sir Archibald Clark Kerr to call on him. He told Harriman and Clark Kerr, on the basis of information which had reached him, that Roosevelt’s presence at Tehran was known to German agents there, that these agents were planning a “demonstration,” that this might involve an attempt at assassination, and that Stalin therefore urged Roosevelt to move to either the British Legation or the Soviet Embassy. A house in the Soviet Embassy compound was being made ready for Roosevelt’s occupancy. Harriman, on returning to the American Legation, discussed the matter with Connolly and Reilly and the three of them agreed to recommend to Roosevelt that he should move to the proffered residence in the Soviet Embassy compound. Roosevelt agreed, and the move took place on the afternoon of the following day.

Völkischer Beobachter (November 28, 1943)

38.000 BRT. vor Algier versenkt –
93 Terrorbomber in 24 Stunden abgeschossen

Bombenkrieg als Prüfstein des Anstandes für die Neutralen –
Deutschland klagt nicht, sondern wehrt sich

U.S. State Department (November 28, 1943)

The Secretary of War to the Assistant Secretary of War

Washington, November 28, 1943

Eyes only to McCloy from Stimson

Hull and I agree with the suggestion that the tentative recommendations of the European Advisory Commission be submitted to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for comment and suggestion by them prior to any final submission of recommendations by the commission to Governments. We are pleased to note Eden’s tentative agreement to remove further pressure for removal of Combined Civil Affairs Committee to London, and to permit British representatives Combined Civil Affairs Committee to take full part in all discussions relating to operations based on UK… State Department believes that UK-US Commission to deal with French political situation should be located in London. I congratulate you heartily on having worked out thus far such satisfactory solution of these problems.

The Minister in Egypt to the President’s special assistant, temporarily at Tehran

Cairo, 28 November 1943

Immediate and urgent for Harry Hopkins signed Kirk.

With reference to document which you gave me for safe keeping pending instructions from Tehran I learn from Ryan of Ministry of Information that British have communicated text in code through British Embassy here to Foreign Office in London preparatory to release upon notification flash from your party. Ryan states such release will be immediate without twenty-four-hour advance notice mentioned and that Cairo handout will be for background only and not for transmission.

In view of this situation, I would appreciate immediate detailed instructions as to action to be taken by me so that there may be no slipup by the Legation and in order that I may notify Chinese as you requested. Russell Barnes of Office of War Information now in Tehran is familiar with set-up here and can furnish you with any additional information in that regard.

Meeting of the President with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 11:30 a.m.

President Roosevelt
Mr. Hopkins
Admiral Leahy
General Marshall
Admiral King
General Arnold
Captain Royal, Secretary

Joint Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 28, 1943, 11:30 a.m.

The President said he understood that the British felt our forces in Italy could advance to the Pisa-Rimini line. He believed that as we push north into Italy, the Germans will retire behind the Alps.

Admiral Leahy said as he saw it we could do either of two things: (1) Undertake OVERLORD, or (2) go after Italy and Rhodes, and then OVERLORD would revert to the status of an operation of opportunity such as RANKIN.

General Marshall said that if our forces advance as far as the Ancona line and the Rhodes operation should be undertaken in February, it would mean postponing OVERLORD probably until about 15 June, possibly July. He said the British want to do Rhodes earlier unless the Andaman operation is thrown out. The British propose to undertake Rhodes in lieu of the Andaman operation. The means which would be sucked in for the accomplishment of the Rhodes operation would be considerable. He pointed out that the Soviets probably want a more immediate operation than OVERLORD. He said we could probably increase the pressure in Italy and expedite General Eisenhower’s advance. The British are very anxious to bring Turkey into the war and undertake the Rhodes operation. They state that this will result in opening the Straits. General Somervell believes that even should Turkey enter the war, it might be six to eight months thereafter before the Dardanelles could be opened. This consideration is predicated largely on the fact that in order to undertake operations in the Aegean, a change of base will be required, and it always takes considerable time to shift from one base to another.

The President inquired whether the British had explained the total number of men they have in the Middle East.

General Marshall stated that the Prime Minister realizes and desires to deploy these troops. The main problem as regards collaboration with the Soviets is that they desire pressure exerted within the next two months. If, on the other hand, the Soviets decide that they do not really need immediate assisting operations, it might be possible to complete the operation north of Rome, undertake Rhodes, and delay OVERLORD until about 15 June. The British Chiefs of Staff are in an embarrassing position with regards to giving up BUCCANEER. The Prime Minister claims that if Turkey entered the war and we undertake the Dodecanese operation, Bulgaria and Rumania would immediately fall.

The President inquired, “Suppose we can get the Turks in, what then?”

General Marshall said the requirements will be difficult to provide for Aegean operations. The British idea is to have the Turks hold the Straits.

Admiral King added that the British furthermore consider that Rhodes and certain other islands in the Aegean must be taken. He pointed out that we cannot do Rhodes before sometime in February.

General Marshall said he believed that we should buck up General Eisenhower without effecting any undue delay in OVERLORD.

General Marshall added that the Soviets should know better than anyone else about the situation in Bulgaria, whether or not that country could be expected to fall if Turkey entered the war and the Dardanelles were opened.

Admiral King pointed out that General Wilson had stated to the Combined Chiefs of Staff he did not know very much regarding the conditions in Bulgaria.

General Marshall said that the Germans already know considerable about the land and air buildup in the U.K. in preparation for OVERLORD – also about the concentration of landing craft in the U.K. and they are conscious of the definite gathering of force in the U.K. He added that it looks as though a delay in OVERLORD would certainly be necessary if we undertake additional commitments in the Mediterranean.

The President said that he understood there were now some 21 German divisions in the Balkans and the Dodecanese. What should we say if the Soviets inform us that they will be in Rumania soon, and inquire what can the United States and Britain do to help them?

General Marshall said that we could certainly do more along the east coast of the Adriatic by opening up small ports and getting supplies in to the Tito forces. He pointed out that communications inland from the coast are very bad. He believed, however, that it would not be difficult to get in munitions, foodstuffs and other supplies for the guerrilla forces. He said that it had been agreed with the British that the Adriatic should be made a separate command under one officer. He pointed out that the United States Chiefs of Staff had also agreed to a unified command in the Mediterranean, subject to the President’s approval. It was believed that we could put ships into the Eastern Adriatic Coast and assist in supporting Tito.

Admiral Leahy said that General Eisenhower feels that if he can get far enough north in Italy he can push into the northeast toward Austria.

General Marshall added that he could also push with a left wing toward Southern France. These two movements, together with the limited operations on the Adriatic Coast, could hold several German divisions.

The President made the suggestion that certain special 2,000-ton merchant ships constructed for the U.S. Army be converted to LSI(L)s.

General Marshall said delays would be caused largely by vehicular transportation facilities. LSTs would not be the bottleneck in such a movement. On the other hand, LSTs are a bottleneck as regards overseas transportation. One LST is equivalent to about six or seven LCTs. He believed that the Prime Minister would use every wile to cut out BUCCANEER. He pointed out that the United States have constructed suitable landing fields on captured islands in as short a period as twelve days.

The President pointed out that control of the Andaman Islands would make it possible to cut, by air, supply lines from Bangkok. He said we are obligated to the Chinese to carry out the amphibious Operation BUCCANEER.

Mr. Hopkins observed that the Prime Minister considers that as between Rhodes and BUCCANEER, the former is the more important.

Admiral King pointed out that as an alternative to withdrawing means for the carrying out of BUCCANEER, withdrawal of certain shipping earmarked for OVERLORD had been suggested.

The President observed that the Generalissimo had been told that the British would build up their fleet in the Indian Ocean. The question was, of what value would the fleet be there unless some operation were carried out?

Admiral Leahy pointed out that only a small portion of naval strength would be involved in the Burma operation.

Admiral King said that the Prime Minister told the Generalissimo orally what ships would be available to support the Burma Command. The only place for the use of landing craft is the Andaman Islands.

General Marshall said the British had observed that they cannot decide about BUCCANEER versus Rhodes until after they have talked to the USSR. They feel they should not be pressed to carry out an operation for political reasons until the military considerations are proven sound. He, General Marshall, considered that BUCCANEER is sound. He said he had talked to Admiral King regarding this matter. As regards the feasibility of constructing only one landing strip in the Andamans, General Marshall said he did not believe it.

The President pointed out that the United States would have more experience with opening up and holding occupied territory.

Admiral King said the British idea is that if they take Rhodes, the Turks will take all other islands. The Allies will have to give material, ships, and supplies for opening up the Dardanelles.

The President felt that the British would probably say after Rhodes was taken, “Now we will have to take Greece.” … If we should get the Andaman Islands, where would we go? He felt that small groups of commandos, operating in support of Tito along the Adriatic Coast, had great possibilities. Another suggestion would be for a small force to penetrate northward from Trieste and Fiume. He said he was much more favorably inclined towards operations from the Adriatic rather than from the vicinity of the Dodecanese.

Admiral Leahy observed that in order to put forces into Trieste and Fiume, we should have to push the German Army further north into Italy; otherwise, they would be on the left flank of the penetrations from Trieste.

The President agreed that the Germans should be pushed on toward the Alps. He thought it would be a good idea to go around the ends into France and Austria. He pointed out that during the last war the Austrians required Germans to help them. He believed that if we push far enough north into Italy, the Germans will retreat behind the mountains.

In reply to a question from the President as to whether or not the Chiefs of Staff were being pressed by the French to go into Southern France, Admiral King replied in the affirmative. He added that if Turkey comes into the war, we certainly will be involved in the Dodecanese.

In reply to a question from the President as to the value of airfields in the vicinity of Smyrna should Turkey come into the war, General Arnold said we could use certain of these fields for heavy bombers and we would be able to help by using other airfields in Turkey for both heavy and medium bombers.

In reply to a question from the President as to whether or not the British had talked about a landing in the vicinity near Salonika, the Chiefs of Staff replied in the negative.

Admiral King observed that neither General Wilson nor General Donovan think the Bulgars will quit.

The President said he did not have the conscience to urge the Turks to go into the war.

In reply to a question from the President, General Arnold stated that the Germans have now about 700 planes in the Balkans; furthermore, the Turks have no really modern planes, all are obsolete.

General Marshall pointed out that the British originally planned to give the Turks 27 fighter squadrons; they finally gave them 17, but more fighter squadrons would have to be given to the Turks.

General Marshall observed that one of the difficulties in the Italian campaign is lack of equipment for troops due to lack of shipping. There are divisions sitting in North Africa now with insufficient equipment due to lack of shipping. These divisions could be used if the equipment were available. He pointed out that the real issue is, what do the Soviets mean by “immediate help”? The USSR evidently wants Turkey into the war as a cold-blooded proposition. The Soviets definitely want something, and we should find out what it is.

The President thought that by January we could mount commando group operations in the Adriatic and the Aegean.

General Marshall questioned whether it would be feasible to undertake very many commando raids. He questioned whether these operations would conflict with planned operations in Italy.

The President pointed out that his idea was that a commando raid should be on a small scale, say with about 2,000 men to a group. These small groups would not require landing craft on the same scale as larger operations.

In connection with a remark from the President regarding retention of landing craft for OVERLORD, Admiral King pointed out another factor which should be given consideration with regard to the number of landing craft planned to return to the United Kingdom for OVERLORD. He said we won’t get the 67 retained in the Mediterranean into the U.K. due to the fact that they will have been used in action operations and there will certainly be considerable attrition. He added that all landing craft production after March is earmarked for the Pacific. If there is a delay of one month in OVERLORD, the one month’s increased production can be diverted to OVERLORD.

The President observed that we must tell the Soviets that we get just so much production per month. All this production is earmarked for definite planned operations. In order to transfer means such as landing craft, it is necessary to take them away from one place in order to add to the means at another. There is no pool available.

General Marshall observed that when General Eisenhower has one command of the entire Mediterranean, better use of landing craft may be effected.

Admiral King observed that destroyers and other craft could be utilized for commando raids.

General Marshall said the Prime Minister believes he could control the Mediterranean if he could get his own man, General Alexander, in as Commander in Chief.

The President observed that we must realize that the British look upon the Mediterranean as an area under British domination.

General Marshall said the British were wedded to committeeism. Unity of command would expedite operations. General Marshall explained to the President the relationship between General Eisenhower’s and General Wilson’s command, and the attitude of General Eisenhower’s subordinate commanders in chief versus the independent commanders with General Wilson and the effects of this at the Combined Chiefs of Staff meeting last Friday. He pointed out that while the United States perhaps does not do committee work as well as the British, nevertheless they (the British) have certainly had a very serious time in the Middle East due to the lack of unity of command.

The President said he was afraid that Marshal Stalin will ask just how many German divisions could be taken off the Soviet Western Front immediately. He said he did not intend to get involved in a discussion as between the relative merits of the Dodecanese and the Andamans.

General Arnold observed that the flow of planes through the Azores has already begun as of yesterday. He said it was planned to pass 147 through in December and as many as 154 in January.

In reply to a question from the President as to how many squadrons of planes were operating in antisubmarine work out of the Azores, Admiral King replied about three squadrons.

Roosevelt-Stalin meeting, 3 p.m., Roosevelt’s Quarters, Soviet Embassy

**Present **
United States Soviet Union
President Roosevelt Marshal Stalin
Mr. Bohlen Mr. Pavlov

Bohlen Minutes

November 28, 1943, 3 p.m.

The President greeted Marshal Stalin when he entered with “I am glad to see you. I have tried for a long time to bring this about.”

Marshal Stalin , after suitable expression of pleasure at meeting the President, said that he was to blame for the delay in this meeting; that he had been very occupied because of military matters.

The President inquired as to the situation on the Soviet battlefront.

Marshal Stalin answered that on part of the front, the situation was not too good; that the Soviets had lost Zhitomir and were about to lose Koresten [Korosten] – the latter an important railroad center for which the capture of Gomel could not compensate. He added that the Germans have brought a new group of divisions to this area and were exercising strong pressure on the Soviet front.

The President then inquired whether or not the initiative remained with the Soviet forces.

Marshal Stalin replied that, with the exception of the sector which he had just referred to, the initiative still remains with the Soviet Armies, but that the situation was so bad that only in the Ukraine was it possible to take offensive operations.

The President said that he wished that it were within his power to bring about the removal of 30 or 40 German divisions from the Eastern front and that that question, of course, was one of the things he desired to discuss here in Tehran.

Marshal Stalin said it would be of great value if such a transfer of German divisions could be brought about.

The President then said that another subject that he would like to talk over with Marshal Stalin was the possibility that after the war a part of the American-British merchant fleet which, at the end of the war, would be more than either nation could possibly utilize, be made available to the Soviet Union.

Marshal Stalin replied that an adequate merchant fleet would be of great value, not only to the Soviet Union, but for the development of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States after the war, which he hoped would be greatly expanded. He said, in reply to the President’s question, that if equipment were sent to the Soviet Union from the United States, a plentiful supply of the raw materials from that country could be made available to the United States.

The Conference then turned to the Far East.

The President said that he had had an interesting conversation with Chiang Kai-shek in Cairo, on the general subject of China.

Marshal Stalin remarked that the Chinese have fought very badly but, in his opinion, it was the fault of the Chinese leaders.

The President informed Marshal Stalin that we were now supplying and training 30 Chinese divisions for operations in Southern China and were proposing to continue the same process for 30 additional divisions. He added that there was a new prospect of an offensive operation through North Burma to link up with China in Southern Yunnan and that these operations would be under the command of Lord Louis Mountbatten.

Marshal Stalin then inquired as to the situation in the Lebanon.

The President gave a brief description of the background and events leading up to the recent clashes, and in reply to Marshal Stalin’s question said that it had been entirely due to the attitude of the French Committee and General de Gaulle.

Marshal Stalin said he did not know General de Gaulle personally, but frankly, in his opinion, he was very unreal in his political activities. He explained that General de Gaulle represented the soul of sympathetic France, whereas, the real physical France engaged under Petain in helping our common enemy Germany, by making available French ports, materials, machines, etc., for the German war effort. He said the trouble with de Gaulle was that this [his?] movement had no communication with the physical France, which, in his opinion, should be punished for its attitude during this war. De Gaulle acts as though he were the head of a great state, whereas, in fact, it actually commands little power.

The President agreed and said that in the future, no Frenchman over 40, and particularly no Frenchman who had ever taken part in the present French Government, should be allowed to return to position in the future. He said that General Giraud was a good old military type, but with no administrative or political sense, whatsoever. He added that there were approximately 11 French divisions, partly composed of Algerians and other North Africans, in training in North Africa.

Marshal Stalin expatiated at length on the French ruling classes and he said, in his opinion, they should not be entitled to share in any of the benefits of the peace, in view of their past record of collaboration with Germany.

The President said that Mr. Churchill was of the opinion that France would be very quickly reconstructed as a strong nation, but he did not personally share this view since he felt that many years of honest labor would be necessary before France would be reestablished. He said the first necessity for the French, not only for the Government but the people as well, was to become honest citizens.

Marshal Stalin agreed and went on to say that he did not propose to have the Allies shed blood to restore Indochina, for example, to the old French colonial rule. He said that the recent events in the Lebanon made public service the first step toward the independence of people who had formerly been colonial subjects. He said that in the war against Japan, in his opinion, that in addition to military missions, it was necessary to fight the Japanese in the political sphere as well, particularly in view of the fact that the Japanese had granted the least nominal independence to certain colonial areas. He repeated that France should not get back Indochina and that the French must pay for their criminal collaboration with Germany.

The President said he was 100% in agreement with Marshal Stalin and remarked that after 100 years of French rule in Indochina, the inhabitants were worse off than they had been before. He said that Chiang Kai-shek had told him China had no designs on Indochina but the people of Indochina were not yet ready for independence, to which he had replied that when the United States acquired the Philippines, the inhabitants were not ready for independence which would be granted without qualification upon the end of the war against Japan. He added that he had discussed with Chiang Kai-shek the possibility of a system of trusteeship for Indochina which would have the task of preparing the people for independence within a definite period of time, perhaps 20 to 30 years.

Marshal Stalin completely agreed with this view.

The President went on to say that Mr. Hull had taken to the Moscow Conference a document which he (the President) had drawn up for the purpose of a National [International?] Committee to visit, every year, the colonies of all nations and through use of instrumentalities of public opinion to correct any abuse that they find.

Marshal Stalin said he saw merit in this idea.

The President continued on the subject of colonial possessions, but he felt it would be better not to discuss the question of India with Mr. Churchill, since the latter had no solution of that question, and merely proposed to defer the entire question to the end of the war.

Marshal Stalin agreed that this was a sore spot with the British.

The President said that at some future date, he would like to talk with Marshal Stalin on the question of India; that he felt that the best solution would be reform from the bottom, somewhat on the Soviet line.

Marshal Stalin replied that the India question was a complicated one, with different levels of culture and the absence of relationship in the castes. He added that reform from the bottom would mean revolution.

It was then 4 o’clock and time for the General Meeting.

The President , in conclusion, stated that an additional reason why he was glad to be in this house was that of affording the opportunity of meeting Marshal Stalin more frequently in completely informal and different [sic] circumstances.

Roosevelt-Molotov meeting, about 4 p.m.

Molotov called on Roosevelt after Stalin had departed.

Foreign Commissar Molotov to President Roosevelt

November 28, 1943

Translation of communication November 28, 1943, from Mr. Molotov at Tehran

Marshal Stalin has acquainted himself with the communiqué concerning the conference of President Roosevelt, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and Prime Minister Churchill, which took place in North Africa in the second half of November this year.

Marshal Stalin expresses his thanks for the information and states that he has no observation at all to make in regard to the communiqué.

First plenary meeting, 4 p.m.

United States United Kingdom Soviet Union
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill Marshal Stalin
Mr. Hopkins Foreign Secretary Eden Foreign Commissar Molotov
Admiral Leahy Field Marshal Dill Marshal Voroshilov
Admiral King General Brooke Mr. Pavlov
Major General Deane Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham Mr. Berezhkov
Captain Royal Air Chief Marshal Portal
Mr. Bohlen Lieutenant General Ismay
Major Birse

Bohlen Minutes

November 28, 1943, 4 p.m.

The President said as the youngest of the three present he ventured to welcome his elders. He said he wished to welcome the new members to the family circle and tell them that meetings of this character were conducted as between friends with complete frankness on all sides with nothing that was said to be made public. He added that he was confident that this meeting would be successful and that our three great nations would not only work in close cooperation for the prosecution of the war but would also remain in close touch for generations to come.

The Prime Minister then pointed out that this was the greatest concentration of power that the world had ever seen. In our hands; here is the possible certainty of shortening the war, the much greater certainty of victories, but the absolute certainty that we held the happy future of mankind. He added that he prayed that we might be worthy of this God-given opportunity.

Marshal Stalin welcomed the representatives of Great Britain and the United States. He then said that history had given to us here a great opportunity and it was up to the representatives here to use wisely the power which their respective peoples had given to them and to take full advantage of this fraternal meeting.

The President then gave a general survey of the war as a whole and the needs of the war from the American point of view. Before turning to the war in the Pacific, the President said he desired to emphasize that the United States shared equally with the Soviet Union and Great Britain the desire to hasten in every way possible the day of victory. He then said that the United States was more directly affected by the war in the Pacific and that the United States forces were bearing the chief burden in that theater with, of course, help from Australian and British forces in that area; the greater part of the U.S. naval establishment was in the Pacific and over a million men were being maintained there. He pointed out as evidence of the immense distances in the Pacific that one supply ship operating from the United States could only make three round trips a year. The allied strategy in the Pacific was based on the doctrine of attrition which was proving successful. We were sinking more Japanese tonnage than the Japanese were able to replace. He said that the allies were moving forward through the southern islands and now through the islands to the east of Japan. On the north little more could be done due to the distance between the Aleutian and Kuril Islands. On the west our one great objective was to keep China in the war, and for this purpose an expedition was in preparation to attack through North Burma and from Yunnan Province. In this operation Anglo-British [Anglo-American] forces would operate in North Burma and Chinese forces from Yunnan. The entire operation would be under the command of Lord Louis Mountbatten. In addition, amphibious operations were planned south of Burma to attack the important Japanese bases and lines of communication in the vicinity of Bangkok. The President pointed out that although these operations extended over vast expanses of territory, the number of ships and men allocated for the purpose were being held down to a minimum. He summed up the aims of these operations as follows: (1) to open the road to China and supply that country in order to keep it in the war, and (2) by opening the road to China and through increased use of transport planes to put ourselves in position to bomb Japan proper.

The President then said he would turn to the most important theater of the war – Europe. He said he wished to emphasize that for over one year and a half in the last two or three conferences which he had had with the Prime Minister, all military plans had revolved around the question of relieving the German pressure on the Soviet front; that largely because of the difficulties of sea transport it had not been possible until Quebec to set a date for the cross-channel operations. He pointed out that the English Channel was a disagreeable body of water and it was unsafe for military operations prior to the month of May, and that the plan adopted at Quebec involved an immense expedition and had been set at that time for May 1, 1944.

The Prime Minister interposed and remarked that the British had every reason to be thankful that the English Channel was such a disagreeable body of water.

The President then said that one of the questions to be considered here was what use could be made of allied forces in the Mediterranean in such a way as to bring the maximum aid to the Soviet armies on the Eastern front. He added that some of these possibilities might involve a delay of one, two or three months in the large cross-channel operation and that before making any decision as to future operations in the Mediterranean he and the Prime Minister had desired to ascertain the views of Marshal Stalin on this point. He pointed out that among the possible points of future operation in the Mediterranean were Italy, the Adriatic and Aegean Seas and Turkey. In conclusion, the President emphasized the fact that in his opinion the large cross-channel operation should not be delayed by secondary operations.

Marshal Stalin stated that in regard to the Pacific war the Soviet Government welcomed the successes of the Anglo-American forces against the Japanese; that up to the present to their regret they had not been able to join the effort of the Soviet Union to that of the United States and England against the Japanese because the Soviet armies were too deeply engaged in the west. He added that the Soviet forces in Siberia were sufficient for defensive purposes but would have to be increased three-fold before they would be adequate for offensive operations. Once Germany was finally defeated, it would then be possible to send the necessary reinforcements to Siberia and then we shall be able by our common front to beat Japan. Marshal Stalin then gave a brief review of military developments in the Soviet-German front since the German offensive in July. He said that the Soviet High Command had been preparing an offensive of its own but that the Germans had stolen the march on them and attacked first. Following the failure of the German offensive, the Soviet forces had passed over to the attack, and he admitted that the successes which they had achieved this summer and autumn had far exceeded their expectations as they had found the German army much weaker than they had expected. He said that at the present time there were 210 German Divisions facing the Soviet armies with six more in the process of transfer from the west. To this should be added 50 non-German Divisions (10 Hungarian, 20 Finnish, 16 to 18 Rumanian), making a total of 260 Divisions facing the Soviet armies with six more on the way. In reply to the President’s question, Marshal Stalin stated that the normal battle strength of a German front line Division was from 8,000 to 9,000 but that if Auxiliary corps, supply, etc. forces were added the total strength of each Division was around 12,000. He said that last year the Soviet armies had faced 240 Axis Divisions of which 179 were German, whereas this year they faced 260 of which 210 were German with six more on the way. He said that the Soviet Union had had 330 Divisions at the start of the summer campaign and that it was this numerical superiority over the Germans which permitted the offensive operations to develop so successively [successfully?]. He added, however, that the numerical superiority was gradually being evened up. He said one of the great difficulties encountered by the Soviet armies in advancing was the question of supply since the Germans destroyed literally everything in their retreat. He mentioned that although the initiative on the front as a whole remained in Soviet hands, the offensive because of weather conditions had slowed down in those sectors. In fact, in the sector south and southwest of Kiev the German counteroffensive had recaptured the town of Zhitomir and would probably recapture Korosten in the near future. He said the Germans were using for this counter-attack three old and five new tank Divisions and twenty to twenty-three motorized infantry Divisions in an attempt to retake Kiev.

Marshal Stalin then turned to the allied operations in Italy. He said that from their point of view the great value of the Italian campaign was the freeing of the Mediterranean to allied shipping but that they did not consider that Italy was a suitable place from which to attempt to attack Germany proper; that the Alps constituted an almost insuperable barrier as the famous Russian General Suvorov had discovered in his time.5 He added that in the opinion of the Soviet military leaders, Hitler was endeavoring to retain as many allied Divisions as possible in Italy where no decision could be reached, and that the best method in the Soviet opinion was getting at the heart of Germany with an attack through northern or northwestern France and even through southern France. He admitted that this would be a very difficult operation since the Germans would fight like devils to prevent it. Marshal Stalin went on to say that it would be helpful if Turkey would enter the war and open the way to the Balkans, but even so the Balkans were far from the heart of Germany, and while with Turkish participation operations there would be useful, northern France was still the best.

The Prime Minister stated that the United States and Great Britain had long agreed as to the necessity of the cross-channel operation and that at the present time this operation, which is known as OVERLORD, was absorbing most of our combined resources and efforts. He added that it would take a long statement of facts and figures to explain why, to our disappointment, it would be impossible to undertake this operation in 1943 but that we were determined to carry it out in the late spring or early summer of 1944. He went on to say that the operations in North Africa and Italy had been clearly recognized by both the President and himself as secondary in character but that it was the best that could be done in 1943. He said that the forces which were now in process of execution [accumulation?] for the OVERLORD operation involved an initial assault of 16 British and 19 U.S. Divisions, a total of 35. He pointed out that the strength of the individual British and American Divisions was considerably stronger than a German Division. He said it was contemplated to put one million men on the continent of Europe in May, June and July.

Marshal Stalin remarked at this point that he had not meant to convey the impression that he considered the North Africa or Italian operations as secondary or belittle their significance since they were of very real value.

The Prime Minister thanked the Marshal for his courtesy by repeating that neither he nor the President had ever considered the operations in the Mediterranean [as anything more than a stepping-stone?] for the main cross-channel operation. He said that when the 16 British Divisions earmarked for OVERLORD had landed in France, they would be maintained by reinforcements, but that no additional British Divisions could be sent to Europe since, taking into consideration the British forces in the Middle East, India and the size of the Royal Air Force which was not idle, this would utilize all British manpower which was based on a population of only 46 million. He added that it was the United States which would send in a steady stream of necessary reinforcements for the development of OVERLORD. He added, however, that the summer of 1944 was a long way off and that following the capture of Rome, which was hoped would take place in January 1944, it would be six months before OVERLORD would begin. He and the President had repeatedly asked themselves what could be done with forces in the Mediterranean area during this period to bring the greatest pressure to bear on the enemy and help relieve the Soviet front. He said he did not wish to have any allied forces to remain idle during this period. He admitted that some of the operations which had been discussed might involve a delay of some two months in OVERLORD. He added, however, that they are all ready to withdraw seven of the best British Divisions from the Italian theater in preparation for OVERLORD, but emphasized that the great difficulty lay in the shortage of landing craft and that this constituted a great bottleneck of all allied operations.

Reverting to the Italian theater, the Prime Minister said that the weather had been exceptionally bad in Italy and that General Alexander, who under General Eisenhower was in command of the 15th Army Group in Italy, believed that in taking Rome there was an excellent opportunity of destroying or at least mauling 10 to 15 German Divisions. There was no plan for going into the broad part of Italy subsequent to the taking of Rome, and once the great airfields in the vicinity of that city had been captured and the Pisa–Rimini line had been reached, the allied forces would be free for other operations, possibly in southern France, or an enterprise across the Adriatic.

He said that the operations of the Partisans in Yugoslavia, which had been greater and better than those of Mihailović, opened up the prospects to the allies to send additional help to Yugoslavia, but there was no plan to send a large army to the Balkans, although through commandos and small expeditions something might be done in that area.

The Prime Minister then said that he had come to one of the largest questions we had before us, namely, the question of Turkey’s entrance into the war which we should urge upon that country in the strongest possible terms. If Turkey would enter the war it would open up the Aegean sea and assure an uninterrupted supply route to Russia into the Black Sea. He mentioned that only 4 Arctic convoys to the North Russian Ports could be considered this season because of the need of escort vessels in connection with OVERLORD. He then inquired, how shall we persuade Turkey to enter the war and in what manner? Should she provide the allies with bases or should she attack Bulgaria and declare war on Germany, or should she move forward or stay on the defensive on the fortified lines in Thrace. He added that Bulgaria owed a debt of gratitude to Russia for her liberation from Turkish rule.

Marshal Stalin interposed to remark that this liberation had taken place a long time ago.

The Prime Minister said that Turkey’s entrance into the war would undoubtedly have an effect from Rumania from whom peace feelers had already been received, and also from Hungary and might well start a landslide among the satellite States. He added that the Soviet Government had special feelings and special knowledge on these questions and he would welcome their views. The Prime Minister concluded by inquiring whether any of the possible operations in the Mediterranean were of sufficient interest to the Soviet Union if these operations involved a two-or-three-month delay in OVERLORD. He said that he and the President could not make any decision until they knew the Soviet views on the subject and therefore had drawn up no definite plans.

The President then said that he had thought of a possible operation at the head of the Adriatic to make a junction with the Partisans under Tito and then to operate northeast into Rumania in conjunction with the Soviet advance from the region of Odessa.

The Prime Minister remarked that if we take Rome and smash up the German armies there we will have a choice of moving west or, as the President says, east in the Mediterranean, and suggested that a sub-committee be appointed to work out the details of the various possibilities.

Marshal Stalin inquired if the 35 Divisions which he understood were earmarked for OVERLORD would be affected in any way by the continuation of the operations in Italy.

The Prime Minister replied that they would not, since entirely separate Divisions were being used in the Italian Theater. The Prime Minister, in reply to Marshal Stalin’s questions as to the relationship of the operations which he had outlined, explained that after the taking of Rome there would be available some 20 to 23 British, American, French and Polish Divisions which would be available for operations in the Mediterranean without in any way affecting the preparations for OVERLORD. He repeated that this force could either move west, or as the President suggested, to the eastern part of the Mediterranean. He said that since shipping was already allocated, any movements of effectives between OVERLORD and the Mediterranean would be very limited. He added that while the OVERLORD involved an initial assault of 35 Divisions, of which 16 would be British, the development of the operation envisioned by July 50 or 60 Allied Divisions on the continent, but repeated that the additional Divisions would come from the United States and not Great Britain. He added that the total strength of an American or British Division, including auxiliary forces, amounted to 40,000 men. He also stated that although the British and American air forces were very large and undertaking great operations, it was expected that the United States air force would be doubled or tripled within the next six months. He proposed to make available to Marshal Stalin the exact schedule of movements of supplies from the United States to Great Britain which already involved one million tons of stores.

Marshal Stalin then inquired if Turkey entered the war would some Anglo-American forces be allocated to that area.

The Prime Minister replied that two or three Divisions, British or British controlled, were available for the capture of the islands of the Aegean, and that as an immediate aid to Turkey it was proposed to send 20 squadrons of fighters and several anti-aircraft regiments, adding that the preparation[s] to send these forces to Turkey were already far advanced.

Marshal Stalin replied that in his opinion he questioned the wisdom of dispersing allied forces of [for?] the various operations mentioned such as Turkey, the Adriatic and Southern France since there would be no direct connection between these scattered forces. He said he thought it would be better to take OVERLORD as the basis for all 1944 operations; that after the capture of Rome the troops thus relieved might be sent to Southern France, and in conjunction with forces operating from Corsica might eventually meet in France the main force of OVERLORD from the north. These would be in the nature of diversionary operations to assist OVERLORD. Marshal Stalin said that he favored the operations in Southern France particularly as he thought Turkey would not enter the war. He repeated that he was convinced that Turkey would not enter the war.

The President remarked that there would be 8 or 9 French Divisions, which included native Divisions, available for an operation against southern France.

Marshal Stalin remarked that in an operation against southern France the transportation difficulties would be greatly facilitated.

The Prime Minister said he agreed with Marshal Stalin in regard to the inadvisability of scattering our forces. He pointed out that the squadrons destined for Turkey and the Divisions for the seizure of the Aegean islands were now being used for the defense of Egypt and that their use would not distract in any way from OVERLORD or the operations in Italy.

Marshal Stalin remarked that these operations would be worth-while only if Turkey entered the war which he again repeated he did not believe would happen.

The Prime Minister replied that he had in mind the six months which would elapse after the expected capture of Rome before the beginning of OVERLORD, and that both he and the President were most anxious that their troops should not remain idle since if they were fighting, the British and American governments would not be exposed to the criticism that they were letting the Soviet Union bear the brunt of the war.

Marshal Stalin replied that in his opinion OVERLORD represented a very large operation and that it would be facilitated and, in fact, would be certain of success if the invasion of southern France was undertaken some two months before OVERLORD. This would divert German troops from the northern part of France and assure the success of OVERLORD. He said that as an extreme measure he would be inclined to leave 10 Divisions in Italy and postpone the capture of Rome in order to launch the attack in southern France two months in advance of OVERLORD.

The Prime Minister replied that he was sure Marshal Stalin would permit him to develop arguments to demonstrate why it was necessary for the allied forces to capture Rome, otherwise it would have the appearance of a great allied defeat in Italy. He pointed out the allied forces would be no stronger before the capture of Rome than after, and in fact without the fighter cover which would be possible only from the north Italian fields it would be impossible to invade northern France. In reply to Marshal Stalin’s questions regarding Corsica, the Prime Minister pointed out that there were no adequate airfields on the island.

The President said that he thought the question [of] relative timing was very important and that he personally felt that nothing should be done to delay the carrying out of OVERLORD which might be necessary if any operations in the eastern Mediterranean were undertaken. He proposed, therefore, that the staffs work out tomorrow morning a plan of operations for striking at southern France.

Marshal Stalin pointed out that the Russian experience had shown that an attack from one direction was not effective and that the Soviet armies now launched an offensive from two sides at once which forced the enemy to move his reserve back and forth. He added that he thought such a two-way operation in France would be very successful.

The Prime Minister stated that he personally did not disagree with what the Marshal had said and that he did not think he had said anything here which could possibly affect adversely an operation in southern France, but he added it would be difficult for him to leave idle the British forces in the eastern Mediterranean which numbered some 20 Divisions, British controlled, which could not be used outside of that area, merely for the purpose of avoiding any insignificant delay in OVERLORD. He said that if such was the decision they would, of course, agree, but they could not wholeheartedly agree to postpone operations in the Mediterranean. He added, of course, that if Turkey does not enter the war that is the end of that, but that he personally favored some flexibility in the exact date of OVERLORD. He proposed that the matter be considered overnight and have the staffs examine the various possibilities in the morning.

Marshal Stalin stated that as they had not expected to discuss technical military questions he had no military staff but that Marshal Voroshilov would do his best.

The Prime Minister stated it would not [now?] be necessary to consider how far we could meet Turkey’s request in the event that she agreed to enter the war.

Marshal Stalin replied that Turkey was an ally of Great Britain and at the same time had relations of friendship with the United States and the Soviet Union who as friends could ask Turkey and indeed bring pressure to bear on her to carry out her obligations as an ally of Great Britain. He said that all Neutrals considered Belligerents to be fools and it was up to the countries represented here to show that the Neutrals were the ones that were fools and that we must prove to Turkey that if they stay out of the war on the winning side that they were indeed the fools.

The Prime Minister said he thought it would be an act of supreme unwisdom if the Turks were to refuse an invitation from Russia to join the war on the winning side. He added that Christmas in England was a poor season for Turkeys. When the joke had been explained to Marshal Stalin, he said he regretted that he was not an Englishman.

The President then stated that should he meet the President of Turkey he would, of course, do everything possible to persuade him to enter the war, but that if he were in the Turkish President’s place, he would demand such a price in planes, tanks and equipment that to grant the request would indefinitely postpone OVERLORD.

Marshal Stalin repeated his doubt as to Turkey’s intention and said that they had in fact already replied to the suggestion that they enter the war. Although many considered this reply favorable, he personally thought it was negative in character.

The Prime Minister remarked that in his opinion the Turks were crazy.

Marshal Stalin said there were some people who apparently preferred to remain crazy.

The meeting adjourned until 4 p.m., November 29, 1943.

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 28, 1943, 4 p.m.
U.S. secret

The President said, as the youngest of the three Chiefs of State present, he had the privilege of welcoming Marshal Stalin and Prime Minister Churchill to this auspicious conference. We are sitting around this table for the first time as a family, with the one object of winning the war. Regarding the conduct of naval and military meetings, it has been our habit, between the British and the United States, to publish nothing but to speak our minds very freely. In such a large family circle we hope that we will be very successful and achieve constructive accord in order that we may maintain close touch throughout the war and after the war. The General Staffs of the three countries should look after military matters. Marshal Stalin, the Prime Minister and I have many things to discuss regarding matters pertaining to conditions after the war. If anyone of us does not want to talk about any particular subject brought up, we do not have to. The President added that before he came to the discussion of military problems, he felt that perhaps the Prime Minister would like to say something about matters pertaining to the years to come.

The Prime Minister said that we represent here a concentration of great worldly power. In our hands we have perhaps the responsibility for the shortening of this war. In our hands we have, too, the future of mankind. I pray that we may be worthy of this God-given opportunity.

The President then turned to Marshal Stalin and said, “Perhaps our host would like to say a few words.”

Marshal Stalin said:

I take pleasure in welcoming those present. I think that history will show that this opportunity has been of tremendous import. I think the great opportunity which we have and the power which our people have invested in us can be used to take full advantage within the frame of our potential collaboration. Now let us get down to business.

The President said he would like to start with a general survey of the war and of the meaning of the war. This survey will be from the American point of view. We earnestly hope that the completion of the war will come just as soon as possible. Let us begin with a subject that affects the United States more than either Great Britain or the USSR, the subject of the Pacific. It is most important to us to bring back to the United States those forces which are now in the Pacific. We are bearing a major part of the Pacific war. The United States has the greatest part of its naval power in the Pacific, plus about one million men. We are proceeding on the principle of attrition as regards Japan. At the present that policy is being accepted in our country. We believe we are sinking many Jap ships, both naval and merchant – more than they can possibly replace. We have been moving forward toward Japan from the south and now we are moving toward Japan through the islands from the east. There is very little more that we can do as regards operations from the north. On the west of Japan, it is necessary for us to keep China in the war. Hence, we have arranged plans for operations through North Burma and into the Yunnan Province. That operation will advance us far enough so that China herself can strike into the Yunnan Province. In addition, we are still discussing an amphibious operation in order to strike at the supply lines from the Jap base at Bangkok. This base is a veritable storehouse for Japan. The whole operation covers a huge territory, and large numbers of ships and men and planes are necessary to carry it out. We must definitely keep China actively in the war.

The President said, in the second place, we hope, by opening the Burma Road and increasing the transportation of supplies by plane into China, we will be in a position to attack Tokyo from China by air this summer. All this is regarding the Southeast Asia operations. But we want to express to you the very great importance not only of keeping China in the war but of being able to get at Japan with the greatest possible speed.

Now to come down to the more important operations which are of immediate concern to the USSR and Great Britain. In the last two or three conferences at Casablanca, Washington and Quebec, we have made many plans. As a matter of fact, about a year and a half ago the major part of our plans were involved in consideration of an expedition against the Axis across the English Channel. Largely because of transportation difficulties we were not able to set a definite date. Not only do we want to get across the English Channel but once we are across, we intend to proceed inland into Germany. It would be impossible to launch such an operation before about 1 May 1944 – it was decided at Quebec. The Channel is such a disagreeable body of water. No matter how unpleasant that body of water might be, however, we still want to get across it.

Mr. Churchill interpolated that we were very glad it was an unpleasant body of water at one time.

We cannot do everything we would like to do in the Mediterranean and also from the United Kingdom, as there is a definite “bottleneck” in the matter [matériel] of war called landing craft. If we were to conduct any large expedition in the Mediterranean, it would be necessary to give up this important cross-Channel operation, and certain contemplated operations in the Mediterranean might result in a delay in OVERLORD for one month or two or three. Therefore, I pray in this military Conference to have the benefit of the opinion of the two Soviet Marshals and that they will inform us how in their opinion we can be of most help to the USSR.

The President said that he felt that even though OVERLORD should be delayed, we can draw more German divisions from the Soviet front by means of that operation than any other. We have the troops in the Mediterranean but there is a shortage of landing craft. We might help the USSR by doing certain immediate operations in the Mediterranean, but we must avoid, if possible, delaying OVERLORD beyond May or June. There were several things we could do: (a) increase the drive into Italy; (b) undertake an operation from the Northeast Adriatic; (c) operations in the Aegean; (d) operations from Turkey. That is what this military conference is concerned with and we want to create a withdrawal of German divisions from the Western Front.

The Prime Minister interpolated “as soon as possible.”

The Prime Minister said we would like to know what we can do that would most gratefully [greatly] help that which the Soviets are doing on their Western Front. He added that we have tried to outline matters in the simplest terms. There are no differences between Great Britain and the United States in point of view except as regards “ways and means.” We would like to reserve any further comments until after we have heard from Marshal Stalin.

Marshal Stalin said, as regards the first part of the President’s remarks, we Soviets welcome your successes in the Pacific. Unfortunately, we have not so far been able to help because we require too much of our forces on the Western Front and are unable to launch any operations against Japan at this time. Our forces now in the East are more or less satisfactory for defense. However, they must be increased about three-fold for purposes of offensive operations. This condition will not take place until Germany has been forced to capitulate. Then by our common front we shall win.

Regarding the second part of the President’s remarks concerning Europe, Marshal Stalin said he had certain comments to make. Firstly, in a few words, he would like to tell how the Soviets are conducting their own operations, especially since they started their advance last July.

Here The Marshal inquired whether he would be taking too much time to discuss the operations on the Soviet front, and The President and Prime Minister both replied emphatically in the negative and requested him to proceed.

Marshal Stalin said that after the German defense had collapsed, they were prepared to start their offensive, i.e., they had accumulated sufficient munitions, supplies and reserves, etc. They passed easily from the defensive into the offensive. As a matter of fact, they did not expect the successes they achieved in July, August, and September. Contrary to the Soviet expectations, the Germans are considerably weakened. At the present time the Germans have on the Soviet front 210 divisions, plus 6 German divisions that are in the process of being furnished for this front. In addition, there are 50 non-German divisions, which include 10 Bulgarian, 20 Finnish, and 16 to 18 Rumanian.

The President asked what the present strength of these divisions was.

Marshal Stalin replied that the Germans considered a normal division to be eight to nine thousand men, not counting the corps troops, anti-aircraft artillery, and so forth. Including these special troops, the divisions totaled about twelve thousand. He said that last year the Germans had 240 divisions on the Soviet front, 179 of which were German. However, this year they have 260 divisions on the Soviet front, 210 of which are German, plus the six that are now moving from the West. The Red Army has 330 divisions opposing the Germans. This Soviet excess of 70 divisions is used for offensive operations. If the excess did not exist, no offensive operations would be possible. However, as time goes on the difference between the German and Soviet strength decreases, particularly as to the result of demolitions which the Germans construct during their withdrawals, which makes supply difficult. As a result, the operations have slowed down, but the Red Army still maintains the initiative. In some sectors the operations have come to a standstill.

Marshal Stalin said that as to the Ukraine, west and south of Kiev, the Germans have taken the initiative. In this sector they have three old and five new tank divisions, plus 22 or 23 infantry or motorized divisions. These are for the purpose of capturing Kiev. Some difficulties may, therefore, be foreseen. All of these factors make it necessary that the Soviets continue operations in the West and remain silent as far as the Far Eastern front is concerned. The above is a description of the Soviet operations during this past summer.

Now a few words as to how the USSR believes the forces of the United States and Great Britain could be best used to help the Soviet front. Possibly this is a mistake, but the USSR has considered the operations in Italy as of great value in order to permit ships to pass through the Mediterranean. As to other large operations against Germany from the Italian front, it is not considered that operations in Italy are of great value to further the war against the Axis. Thus, it is believed that the Italian operations were of great importance in order to produce freedom of navigation, but that now they are of no further great importance as regards the defeat of Germany. There was once a time when the Soviets tried to invade the Alps, but they found it a very difficult operation.

In the USSR it is believed that the most suitable sector for a blow at Germany would be from some place in France – Northwestern France or Southern France. It is thought that Hitler is trying hard now to contain as many Allied divisions in Italy as possible because he knows things cannot be settled here, and Germany is defended by the Alps. It would be a good thing if Turkey could open the way to Germany, and it would then be unnecessary to launch a cross-Channel operation. However, despite the fact that the heart of Germany is far from the Balkans, it would be a better area from which to launch an attack than from Italy. Soviet military authorities believe it would be better to use Northern France for invasion purposes, but it must be expected that the Germans will fight like devils to prevent such an attack.

The Prime Minister then said that the British had long agreed with the United States that an invasion of North and Northwestern France across the Channel should be undertaken. At the present time preparations for such an operation are absorbing the major part of our energies and resources. He said it would take a long statement to explain why the U.S. and U.K. have not been able to strike against France in 1943, but that they are resolved to do so in 1944. In 1943 operations in Africa and across the Mediterranean were the best that could be accomplished in view of the limitations imposed by the lack of shipping and landing craft. He said that the United States and Great Britain had set before themselves the object of carrying an army into France in the late spring or early summer of 1944. The forces set up for this operation amount to 16 British divisions and 19 U.S. divisions, a total of 35. It must be remembered, however, that these divisions are almost twice as strong as the German divisions. The enterprise will involve a force of a million men being placed into France in 1944.

At this point Marshal Stalin stated that he had not wished to imply that the Mediterranean operations had been unimportant.

The Prime Minister said he was very grateful for the Marshal’s courtesy, but both he and the President had never regarded the Mediterranean operations as more than a stepping stone to the main offensive against Germany. He said that after the British 16 divisions had been committed, there would be no more British divisions available for the operations. The entire British manpower would be necessary to maintain the divisions thus committed in France and elsewhere throughout the world. The remaining buildup for the offensive against Germany would rest with the United States. The Prime Minister said, however, that the summer of 1944 is far away. This particular operation is six months away. It is asked now what can be done in the meanwhile that will be of more use and take more weight off the USSR, possibly without delaying OVERLORD more than a month or two. Already seven of the best divisions have been withdrawn from the Mediterranean for OVERLORD and many landing craft have already gone or are being collected together. These withdrawals, plus bad weather, have resulted in our great disappointment at not now being in Rome. However, it is hoped to be there in January. General Alexander, who is commanding these operations under the direction of General Eisenhower, feels that that offensive might result in completely cutting off the 10 or 12 divisions now opposing the Anglo-American forces. This would result from amphibious operations, flanking movements, which would cut off their lines of withdrawal.

The United States and the British have not come to any decision regarding plans for going into the Valley of the Po or for trying to invade Germany from Northern Italy. It was felt that when the Pisa-Rimini line should be reached we could then look toward Southern France or the Adriatic. It would be possible to use sea power in order to open the way.

The Prime Minister said, however, that the operations referred to above were not enough. Ways of doing much more were now being talked of. Splendid things had been accomplished in Yugoslavia by Tito, who is doing much more than Mihailovich had accomplished. There were no plans to put a large army into Yugoslavia, but a blow could be struck at the Germans by means of assisting the Tito forces through increased supplies.

The Prime Minister said that one of the greatest things under consideration was the matter of bringing Turkey into the war, persuading her in, and opening the communications into the Dardanelles, Bosphorus and the Black Sea. Such operation would make possible an attack on Rhodes and other islands in the Aegean. The above would have a very important effect in that it would be possible for convoys to supply the USSR through that route and these convoys could be maintained continuously. At the present time four convoys are scheduled via the northern routes, but it will not be possible to send more because of the necessity of utilizing the escorts for the OVERLORD buildup.

The Prime Minister said one of the most important questions is how Turkey can be persuaded to come into the war. What should be done about this matter? If Turkey should enter the war, should she be asked to attack Bulgaria or should her forces stop on the Thrace front? What would be the effect of Turkey’s action on Bulgaria? What do the Soviets think Bulgaria would do in the event of Turkey’s coming into the war? How would Turkey’s entry into the war affect Rumania and Hungary? Would not Turkey’s entry into the war and consequent operations in the Aegean bring about a political “turnover” and force a German evacuation of Greece? It would be appreciated if the Soviets would let us know their opinion, political as well as military, on the above questions.

Marshal Stalin said with regard to the remark of the Prime Minister as to whether it was thought Bulgaria would remember the Soviet action in freeing her from the Turks – the liberation of Bulgaria has not been forgotten.

The Prime Minister continued that the objective of operations which were contemplated in the Eastern Mediterranean was to support the Soviets provided the USSR considered the matter of sufficient interest for these operations to be undertaken – even if it meant as much as about two months’ delay in OVERLORD. Until it is known how the Soviets feel about Turkish and Aegean operations, the matter cannot be definitely decided. The U.S. and U.K. can only decide this point after consulting with the USSR.

The President said that possibly an entry through the Northeastern Adriatic for offensive operations against Germany in the direction of the Danube would be of value. Such operations were being considered together with a movement into Southern France. Plans for these operations had not been worked out in detail. Such plans would be based, of course, on the assumption that the Red Army would at the same time be approaching Odessa. It was thought, however, that it would be desirable to have a subcommittee go into the details of this matter.

The Prime Minister said that if the Anglo-American forces take Rome and break up the German formation south of the Apennines, they would then have the choice of proceeding to Southern France or eastward across the Adriatic.

Marshal Stalin said that he understood it would require 35 divisions to invade France. Did these include the forces to be used in the Mediterranean?

The Prime Minister indicated that the Mediterranean forces were entirely separate from those included in the OVERLORD buildup. Pie added that after the Italians had been defeated in Italy there remained the possibility of an attack against Southern France or across the Adriatic in the direction of Hungary and the Danube. Entirely separate from the OVERLORD buildup there would be 22 divisions available in the Mediterranean; these should all be used. However, it was not possible to move more than seven of them to the OVERLORD buildup because of a lack of shipping. Pie explained again that the OVERLORD buildup was to include 16 British and 19 American divisions; that once the 16 British divisions had been committed there would be no more British divisions available. However, the United States would continue to pour divisions into France as fast as they could be shipped across the Atlantic until a total force of 50 to 60 divisions had been reached. He pointed out, incidentally, the British and American divisions with their necessary supporting troops could be roughly estimated at 40,000 men each.

The Prime Minister also spoke of the large air forces being assembled in England. The present RAF has about reached its maximum strength and [will?] be maintained at this strength in the future. However, it is contemplated that the American Air Forces in England will be doubled or tripled in the next six months. The U.S. has already shipped a million tons of stores to the United Kingdom in preparation for the OVERLORD operation. Mr. Churchill said that the President and he would be delighted to have the whole schedule of the OVERLORD buildup, both as to personnel and supply, presented to the Soviet authorities and answer any questions which they might have on this subject. He added that the schedule so prepared is being carried out.

Marshal Stalin said it seemed to him that in addition to the operations to capture Rome and in addition to those envisaged for the Adriatic, an operation in Southern France was contemplated.

The Prime Minister replied it was hoped that an operation against Southern France might be carried out as a diversion for OVERLORD but that detailed plans for such an operation had not been worked out.

Marshal Stalin asked if Turkey enters the war will Anglo-American forces be allocated to assist them?

The Prime Minister said that speaking for himself, two or three divisions would be required to take the islands in the Aegean that control communications to Turkey, that 20 squadrons of fighter aircraft and several regiments of anti-aircraft artillery could also be supplied by the British without seriously affecting other operations in the Mediterranean.

Marshal Stalin then said that the Anglo-American presentation was clear to him and indicated that he would like to make some comments. He said that it was not worthwhile to scatter the British and American forces. The plans presented seemed to indicate that part would be sent to Turkey, part to be utilized in Southern France, part in Northern France and part for operations across the Adriatic. He suggested that OVERLORD be accepted as a basis for operations in 1944 and other operations should be considered as diversionary. He thought that after Rome had been captured there might be a chance for an operation against Southern France from Corsica, in which event the OVERLORD forces plus the Southern France invasion force could establish contact in France. This, he thought, would be a much better operation than to scatter forces in several areas distant from each other. He considered that France was the weakest of all German-occupied areas. He added that he had no hopes of Turkey entering the war and in fact was convinced that she would not, in spite of all pressure that might be exerted.

The Prime Minister said that he and the President had understood that the Soviet authorities wanted Turkey to come into the war. They were prepared to make every effort to persuade or force her to do so.

Marshal Stalin said the Soviets do want Turkey to enter the war but he felt that she could not be taken in by “the scruff of the neck.”

The Prime Minister said that he agreed that the Anglo-American forces should not be scattered but that the operations he had outlined in the Eastern Mediterranean would require only three or four of a total of 25 divisions that might be available. He thought that this could be accomplished without seriously affecting the main operations of OVERLORD. Most of the operations would be done by divisions from the Middle East. The air power necessary to assist Turkey would be taken from that now protecting Egypt and thus they would be brought into a better position to strike at the enemy.

The Prime Minister said he dreaded the six months’ idleness between the capture of Rome and the mounting of OVERLORD. Hence, he believed that secondary operations should be considered in order to deploy forces available.

Marshal Stalin said he would like to express another opinion, i.e., that he believed OVERLORD has the greatest possibilities. This would particularly be the case if OVERLORD operations were supported by another offensive movement from Southern France. He believed that the Allies should be prepared to remain on the defensive in Italy and thus release 10 divisions for operations in Southern France. Within two or three months after operations commenced in Southern France and the German forces had thus been diverted, the time would be propitious to start an operation in the North of France such as OVERLORD. Under these conditions the success of OVERLORD would be assured. Rome might then be captured at a later date.

The Prime Minister observed that we should be no stronger if we did not capture Rome. If the airfields north of Rome are not secured it would be impracticable to place adequate aircraft for an attack on Southern France. He said it would be difficult for him to agree not to take Rome this January. He added that failure to do so would be considered as a crushing defeat, and that the House of Commons would feel that he was failing to use his British forces in full support of the Soviet ally. He said that in this event he felt it would be no longer possible for him to represent his government.

Marshal Stalin suggested that an operation against Southern France might be undertaken and given air cover from bases on Corsica.

The Prime Minister said that it would take considerable time to construct the necessary airfields on the Island of Corsica.

The President said that Marshal Stalin’s proposals concerning Southern France were of considerable interest to him. He would like to have the Planners make a study of the possibilities of this operation. The question of relative timing in the Eastern Mediterranean with reference to these operations posed a very serious question. The point was whether it would be better to go into the Eastern Mediterranean and delay OVERLORD for one or two months or to attack France one or two months before the first of May and then conduct OVERLORD on the original date. He was particularly desirous that this operation not be delayed if it were possible to avoid it.

Marshal Stalin said as the result of the Soviet experience in the past two years they have come to the conclusion that a large offensive from one direction is unwise. The Red Army usually attacks from two directions, forcing the enemy to move his reserves from one front to the other. As the two offensives converge the power of the whole offensive increases. Such would be the case in simultaneous operations from Southern and Northern France.

The Prime Minister said he agreed with the views expressed by Marshal Stalin but did not feel that his proposals concerning Turkey and Yugoslavia were inconsistent with them. He wished to go on record as saying that it would be difficult and impossible to sacrifice all activity in the Mediterranean in order to keep an exact date for OVERLORD. There would be 20 divisions which could not be moved out of the Mediterranean because of a lack of shipping. These should be used to stretch Germany to the utmost. He expressed the hope that careful and earnest consideration should be given to making certain that operations in the Mediterranean were not injured solely for the purpose of keeping the May date for OVERLORD. He added that agreement between the three powers was necessary and would be reached but he hoped that all factors would be given careful and patient consideration before decisions were reached. He suggested meditating on the discussions of the first meeting and reviewing them at the meeting of the next day.

The President said he thought it would be a good idea for the staff to immediately conduct a study on the operations against Southern France.

The Prime Minister agreed that the staff should investigate plans for operations against Southern France but added that they should also work on Turkey.

Marshal Stalin agreed that it would be well to continue consideration of these matters the next day. He had not expected that the conference would deal with purely military questions and therefore they had not brought a large military staff. He added, however, that Marshal Voroshiloff was present and would be available for military discussions.

The Prime Minister asked how the question of Turkish entry into the war should be considered. He asked if she could be brought in, what she should be expected to do in the event that she did come in and what the cost of her entry would be to the three powers concerned.

Marshal Stalin said that the entry of Turkey into the war was both a political and a military question. Turkey must take pride in the policy of entry from the point of view of friendship. The British and the United States should use their influence to persuade Turkey to help. In this way it would be impossible for Turkey to maintain her position as a neutral and continue to play fast and loose between our side and the Axis. It was his opinion that if it were not possible to induce Turkey to enter the war as a matter of friendship, she should not enter. Marshal Stalin added that all neutral states, including Turkey, look upon belligerents as fools. We must prove to them that if they do not enter this war, they will not reap the benefits of the victory.

The Prime Minister observed that Christmas time would be a dangerous season for Turkey. He added that he proposed submitting a paper which he would present before the conference, containing six or seven questions which should be answered in order to clarify the Turkish situation.

The President said that he would do all he could to persuade the President of Turkey to enter the war. However, he felt personally that Turkey would ask such a high price for her entry as a belligerent that OVERLORD would be jeopardized.

Marshal Stalin said that the Turks have not yet answered the proposals already made to them but that he expected their reply would be in the negative.

The Prime Minister said that Turkey would be mad not to accept the Soviet invitation to join the winning side. If she failed to align herself with us, she would certainly loose [lose] the sympathy of the British people and almost certainly of the American people.

Marshal Stalin observed that “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” The Turks are now inactive and they should help us.

The Conferees then agreed that the plenary session should be held at 1600 the following day.

The President observed that it would be desirable to have a military conference first.

It was agreed that a military conference should be held at 1030 the following day, that Marshal Voroshiloff should represent the USSR, Admiral Leahy and General Marshall should represent the USA and General Brooke and Air Marshal Portal should represent Great Britain.

The Pittsburgh Press (November 28, 1943)

Development to affect all war theaters

Events expected to have political rather than military character
By Ned Russell, United Press staff writer

Weather improves –
Yanks beat off 2 Nazi attacks

Germans attempt to seize initiative in Italy
By Harrison Salisbury, United Press staff writer