Editorial: Battle of Berlin
By Bertram Benedict, editorial research reports
Borderline jokes, fake patriots are tiring
By Si Steinhauser
Purchase of newspaper mats halted; other economies to be brought about by curtailing publicity services
GOP strength, progress of war bring about shift of opinion
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer
Völkischer Beobachter (November 30, 1943)
dnb. Tokio, 29. November –
Das Kaiserlich japanische Hauptquartier meldet:
Japanische Marinelufteinheiten griffen am Abend des 26. November feindliche Kriegsschifformationen westlich der Gilbertinseln an und versenkten zwei große Flugzeugträger. Dabei ging ein japanisches Flugzeug verloren. Diese Schlacht erhält in Zukunft den Namen „Zweite Luftschlacht bei den Gilbertinseln.“
Am 27. November fand ein erneuter Angriff auf weitere feindliche Einheiten in den gleichen Gewässern statt, wobei zwei weitere Flugzeugträger versenkt wurden, davon einer großen Typs, der sofort unterging. Weiter wurden zwei Kreuzer versenkt, während ein großer Kreuzer oder ein Schlachtschiff Beschädigt und in Brand gesetzt wurde. Die japanischen Verluste betragen fünf Flugzeuge. Diese Schlacht wird den Namen „Dritte Luftschlacht bei den Gilbertinseln“ erhalten.
Ferner hat ein japanisches U-Boot am 25. November in den Morgenstunden einen feindlichen Flugzeugträger westlich der Insel Makin angegriffen und so schwer beschädigt, daß mit seinem Totalverlust zu rechnen ist.
tc. Lissabon, 29. November –
Kritik an dem ,zu hohen Blutzoll,“ den die USA.-Truppen bei den Kämpfen um die kleine Gilbertinsel Tarawa zahlen mußten, übt die New York Herald Tribune am Sonntag. Das Blatt bemängelt vor allem auch die „ungenügende Unterrichtung“ der nordamerikanischen Öffentlichkeit über die hohen Verluste. Abschließend fordert dann die New York Herald Tribune, daß „besserer Gebrauch“ von Flugzeugen und Schiffsgeschützen gemacht werde, um das Leben der nordamerikanischen Soldaten zu schützen.
In zwei neuen Luftschlachten bei den Gilbertinseln hat die japanische Marineluftwaffe der USA.-Marine wiederum schwerste Verluste zugefügt. Besonders schwer wiegt die Versenkung von vier Flugzeugträgern, durch die der nordamerikanische Verlust an Flugzeugträgern seit Beginn der neuen USA.-Offensive auf elf Flugzeugträger gestiegen ist. Davon sind sechs bei den Kämpfen um Bougainville in der Inselgruppe der Salomonen und fünf Flugzeugträger bei den Gilbertinseln versenkt worden. Dazu kommt der Untergang von vier USA.-Schlachtschiffen sowie einer Reihe von Kreuzern und Zerstörern, die bereits auf dem Verlustkonto der neuen USA.-Offensive im Pazifik stehen.
Bei den Kämpfen um Bougainville haben die Marinebehörden in Washington es dabei bewenden lassen, die harten Schiffsverluste einfach abzuleugnen. Jetzt, bei den Kämpfen um die Gilbertinseln, hat sich der Marineminister Knox aber genötigt gesehen— wie bereits berichtet – die Öffentlichkeit in den Vereinigten Staaten auf schwere Verluste vorzubereiten. Knox mußte gestehen, daß die Japaner im Raume der Gilbertinseln erbitterten Widerstand leisten, aber er hat bisher über die Höhe der USA.-Verluste an Kriegsschiffen und Menschen noch nichts Genaueres bekanntzugeben gewagt. Um so genauer sind die japanischen Meldungen, die von der Schwere dieser Kämpfe im Pazifik zeugen.
Immer klarer zeigt sich, daß die USA.-Offensive im Pazifik das Ziel hat, in die Nähe jenes Seeraumes zu kommen, in dem man auf nordamerikanischer Seite den zentralen Pazifikstützpunkt der Japaner vermutet. Das ist das Gebiet der Inselgruppe der Karolinen mit der Koralleninsel Truk, um deren angeblich gewaltigen Ausbau durch die Japaner so viele Nachrichten verbreitet worden sind. Die Karolinen haben aber nach Westen und Süden ein weites Vorfeld, dessen erste Stellung die Bismarckinseln und die Marshallinseln bilden. Darüber hinaus hatten die Japaner sich bald nach ihrem Kriegseintritt Vorpostenstellungen auf den Salomoninseln und den Gilbertinseln geschaffen, die sie den Engländern abnahmen. In diesen Vorpostenstellungen tobt noch der Kampf. Nachdem die USA.-Marine durch die schweren Verluste an Schlachtschiffen und Flugzeugträgern bei Bougainville nicht in Richtung der Bismarckinseln mit dem Hafen Rabaul weiterkamen, richtete der Feind seinen Hauptstoß gegen die westliche japanische Vorpostenstellung im Bereich der Gilbertinseln, wo die USA nun ebenfalls hohe Schiffsverluste verzeichnen mußten.
Die Gilbertinseln liegen beiderseits des Äquators und bestehen aus einer langen Reihe kleiner Koralleninseln. Die ganze Gruppe hat nur eine Bodenfläche von nicht einmal 500 Quadratkilometer. Die japanische Besatzung auf den Gilbertinseln hat sich mit einer Verbissenheit verteidigt, die auch der Feind anerkennen mußte. Vor allem aber haben die Nordamerikaner auch dort wie auf den Salomonen erfahren müssen, wie kostspielig es für sie ist, Angriffsoperationen über die weiten Seeräume des Pazifischen Ozeans zu unternehmen. Mit großer Mühe haben die Vereinigten Staaten die Kriegsschiffsverluste des ersten Kampfjahres gegen Japan insbesondere an Schlachtschiffen und Flugzeugträgern durch Neubauten und Reparaturen auszugleichen versucht, um Reserven für die Pazifikoffensive zu schaffen. Schon jetzt aber hat Japan seine Schlagkraft im Pazifik erneut bewiesen. Die Japaner haben allein durch den Einsatz der Marineluftwaffe der USA.-Flotte Verluste von außerordentlicher Härte zugefügt, ohne daß die japanische Flotte selbst einzugreifen brauchte. Mit verhältnismäßig geringen Kampfmitteln hat der japanische Gegenangriff Gewaltiges erreicht und damit einen Vorsprung für das weitere harte Ringen im Pazifik gewonnen.
U.S. State Department (November 30, 1943)
Cairo, 30 November 1943
We have worked out with the British an arrangement for handling civil affairs, so called, in conjunction with the European Advisory Commission which I think will be satisfactory:
First, we agree to treat the EAC seriously and to put good men who are familiar with what has already been going on, on the staff to help Winant.
Second, they agree to forget their idea of moving the Combined Civil Affairs Committee to London and will empower their representatives in Washington to go ahead and function.
Third, all recommendations made by the EAC will be first submitted to the Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington for their comments and suggestions before being submitted as final recommendations to the respective governments.
Fourth, the Combined Chiefs of Staff will prepare the final directives for the commanders in the field, based on the determinations of the three governments as thus obtained – the detailed planning to be carried forward by the local command.
This general setup was agreed to in my conference with Eden and later Jebb, his assistant, before leaving for Tehran said he felt “London” (whoever that was) would go along. He asked me to prepare a memo embodying this agreement for final confirmation on his return which I have done.
This in my judgement is the best that can be done and I have gotten Hull’s and Stimson’s approval of it. If you say O.K. I think it can be put across. My only concern is as to how expeditiously the EAC will function. I do not get the impression that Winant is a fast administrator but we will give him as good a staff as we can collect. If it works at that end it will work at ours.
Will you phone me?
J. J. McCLOY
Cairo, 30 November 1943 Secret
At the Moscow Conference there was established the European Advisory Commission to which there has been referred civil affairs matters closely connected with military considerations of primary interest to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
It is essential that a liaison procedure be established between the European Advisory Commission and the Combined Chiefs of Staff whereby they can readily exchange views and comments on civil affairs matters.
With these considerations in mind, the following principles are laid down as satisfactory liaison procedure between the European Advisory Commission and the Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Tentative recommendations of the European Advisory Commission will be referred to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for their comment prior to final submission of recommendations by the Commission to the three governments.
b. The governments will transmit approved recommendations of the Commission to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, who will prepare and transmit final directives to the appropriate commanders. Detailed planning will be carried forward at the headquarters of the commanders concerned.
c. The British representation on the CCAC will be instructed to participate and empowered to act in all civil affairs matters relating to combined operations, without limitation as to area, that are brought before the committee.
Accepted at SEXTANT Conference
. . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Cairo, 30 November 1943
Memorandum for Mr. Harry Hopkins:
In the course of my talk with Eden I brought up Hull’s suggestion of a Committee set up somewhat as the Combined Committee to deal with all French questions. All matters relating to our dealings with the French would for the time being be cleared through that committee. Hull’s idea was that this would eliminate the irritation and distrust that now arises in connection with our respective French policies. Eden expressed prompt approval of the idea and today Hull cabled through Stimson to the effect that he thought it would be well to set such a group up in London. I gather it would be most informal and could consist of a military man and a foreign affairs man from each of the governments, calling on other agencies for such economic and other help as they need.
Would the President think well of this idea? If so, I can see that it is pushed along.
J. J. McCLOY
Cairo, November 30, 1943
In the first paragraph the question numbered (6) was not asked, though the answer was supplied by the King’s messenger. The remainder of the first paragraph is correct, and the second paragraph, insofar as it goes.
What does not appear from Mr. Jordan’s telegram is that King Ibn Saud was informed as a preface to the inquiry that the American and British military authorities in Washington were in consultation on the problem of arms for Saudi Arabia. The King was further informed that the subject of the inquiry would be discussed with the British Minister in Jidda; and the American Minister Resident did discuss it with the British Minister on a date which cannot be stated exactly without reference to records in Jidda, but which may have been November 16 or November 17, 1943.
A noteworthy feature of Mr. Jordan’s telegram is that his concern over apparent lack of collaboration did not lead him to refer to his American colleague to verify the completeness or accuracy of his information before reporting to the Foreign Office, nor did he mention it when discussing arms with the American Minister Resident on or about November 16, 1943. It is also worthwhile to note that the British Foreign Office (or Ministry of State) attributed sufficient importance to this point of procedure to refer it to the highest authority.
Tehran, November 30, 1943 Secret
To Kirk for Frank Shea from Hopkins.
Re Shea’s query instructions are as follows: Eliminate or hold for later release all references to Mena House, villas occupied by any members of party, or Mena itself. It is permissible to release details of trip to Pyramids and Sphinx and other color stories so long as no hint or disclosure of local conference locations is given. Cairo dateline still stands. Text of communiqué unchanged. Repeat this message to Steve Early for reference to Surles.
|United States||United Kingdom|
|Admiral Leahy||General Brooke|
|General Marshall||Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham|
|Admiral King||Air Chief Marshal Portal|
|General Arnold||Field Marshal Dill|
|Captain Freseman||Lieutenant General Ismay|
November 30, 1943, 9:30 a.m. Secret
Sir Alan Brooke began by saying that the problem was to arrive at an agreed basis for discussion with the Soviets at this afternoon’s Plenary Meeting. He then went on to consider operations in the Mediterranean from west to east. It had always been agreed that some operation should take place against the South of France. In Italy he felt that it was agreed we should not stay in the position now reached and must advance farther. For political and other reasons, it was important to get Rome, and he thought it was probably generally accepted that we should advance as far as the Pisa-Rimini line. For operations in Italy, it was clear that landing craft would be wanted. General Eisenhower had asked for the retention of the landing craft due to return to OVERLORD until 15 January. This would have a repercussion on the OVERLORD date.
In Yugoslavia it was important to give all possible help to the Partisans and there was general agreement regarding this. As regards Turkey and operations in the Aegean, agreement was much more in question. If Turkey were to be brought into the war, it would be desirable to open the Dardanelles and operations in the Aegean would be necessary. If Turkey were not to come into the war, the operations in the Aegean would not be called for.
If examination showed the operation against the South of France to be feasible, sufficient landing craft might be provided for the purpose. The sequence would then be Italian campaign, Rhodes (only if Turkey comes into the war), South of France, landing craft from Rhodes returning in time for the South of France. The date for the South of France operation would therefore be affected by the undertaking of the Rhodes operation.
Admiral Leahy said that the problem seemed to be a straightforward one of the date of OVERLORD. The Russians wanted OVERLORD on a fixed date in May. They also wanted an expedition against the South of France at the same time, or perhaps a little earlier or a little later. As far as he could see, the date of OVERLORD was the only point confusing the issue. If this matter was settled, everything would be settled. If OVERLORD was to be done by the date originally fixed, other operations could not be carried out. It was entirely agreed, he felt, that the operations in Italy must be carried on. On the U.S. side, it was felt that this could be done without interfering with OVERLORD and, indeed, the U.S. Planners were of the opinion that the operation against the South of France could be undertaken as well, without interfering with OVERLORD. If the landing craft were to be kept in Italy until 15 January, the U.S. calculation was that they could still be back in time for OVERLORD.
Sir Alan Brooke said that this was not thought by the British to be the case. Landing craft would need repair and there were also training demands. According to British calculations, even the date of 15 December for returning landing craft to OVERLORD was rather tight and it would be a great help if U.S. repair facilities could be made available for the British landing craft returning.
General Marshall then said that the paper submitted the day before by the United States Chiefs of Staff on the operation against the South of France had been produced at Cairo but was based on logistic and other data prepared in detail before SEXTANT. He said that four questions had been put to the U.S. Planners. Firstly, assuming that the operations against the South of France, set out in the paper in question, were undertaken, could OVERLORD take place on 15 May? In this connection the answer had been that, with the possible exception of transport aircraft, this date would still be possible for OVERLORD. There was reasonable expectation that the transport aircraft would be available from elsewhere. It was possible, moreover, that an airborne division might be brought from the U.S. by cargo ship infiltration, thus making it unnecessary to bring an airborne division from the United Kingdom.
As regards the timing of the operation against the South of France, he considered that it should not be carried out more than two to three weeks before OVERLORD.
The second question asked the U.S. Planners was how long the 68 LSTs could remain in the Mediterranean and still arrive in time for an OVERLORD date of 15 May. The U.S. calculation was that the landing craft must be released 2½ months before OVERLORD in order both that the necessary repair of craft could be effected and that the craft might be available for training purposes. This gave a date of 1 March. The time for training might be reduced by using more fully the craft already in the United Kingdom. It was clear that all U.S. resources must be used to assist in the repair of the landing craft returning late from the Mediterranean.
The U.S. calculation was that, after allowing for losses, the landing craft remaining in the Mediterranean after the departure of the 68 LSTs for OVERLORD would be sufficient to lift 27,000 troops and 1,500 vehicles.
Sir Andrew Cunningham said that the British felt that 100 days were necessary instead of the 2½ months calculated by the U.S. This put 15 February as the latest date to which the landing craft could be retained.
Admiral King agreed and said that therefore it should be safe to leave the landing craft in the Mediterranean until 1 February.
Sir Andrew Cunningham said that this also might allow for some small refits to be carried out in the Mediterranean before returning to the United Kingdom.
General Marshall then went on to the third question which had been asked the U.S. Planners, which was that if the Rhodes operation had to be undertaken as well as the operation against the South of France, how would OVERLORD be affected? It was difficult to get an answer to this question. In the first place, the dates were quite uncertain. Rome had not yet been taken and the date of the amphibious operation in Italy must be dependent on land operations. Moreover, in an amphibious operation such as might be carried out in the Italian campaign maintenance across the beaches might be necessary, which would delay accordingly the availability of landing craft. It was understood, however, that the amphibious operation contemplated was such that the main forces would join up quickly with it. Assuming that the Rome operation would have been completed by the end of January, the landing craft required for Rhodes could be in the Middle East by 15 February; the Rhodes operation could take place then on 21 March. Allowing a month for the operation, the landing craft could return to Corsica on 21 April, arriving 30 April. A month would probably be necessary for the repair of landing craft before the operation against the South of France which could, therefore, be undertaken at an earlier stage [at the earliest, say?] – 15 July. Moreover, the total landing craft available would be barely sufficient for operations against the South of France, and this was not allowing for any losses that might occur.
The Planners were also asked how long OVERLORD would be delayed if the 68 LSTs were never returned to the United Kingdom for OVERLORD. The answer to this was that these craft represented a three months’ production and, in consequence, three months’ delay to OVERLORD. As the landing craft could be made available alternatively only by withdrawing them from allocations to the Pacific, operations there would also be put back by three months.
Sir Alan Brooke said that the only landing craft that had not been mentioned were those allocated to Operation BUCCANEER, in which 20 LSTs and 12 LSI(L)s were involved. He then read certain extracts from Naf 492, giving General Eisenhower’s views on operations against the South of France.
General Marshall expressed himself as being opposed to an early date for the attack against the South of France in advance of the OVERLORD date. He was more inclined to a simultaneous operation.
Admiral King considered that D-Day should be the same for both operations and that this would provide a much better basis for planning. This met with general agreement.
Sir Alan Brooke then referred to the U.S. paper on the operation against the South of France and said that the paper would need careful examination as to the number of divisions that were available from Italy for such an operation, and the number that would need to be retained for the operations in Italy.
General Marshall explained that the figure of four British divisions represented garrison requirements in Italy outside the immediate zone of operations.
Sir Alan Brooke thought the figure of 10 divisions and an amphibious lift of 2 divisions, available from Italy for the South of France operation, to be too high.
Admiral King stressed the importance of insuring that landing craft were employed for the purposes for which they were designed and not diverted to other uses for convenience. This had happened in the Pacific and no doubt also in the Mediterranean and it was necessary to be firm in view of the importance of the landing craft factor.
Sir Andrew Cunningham agreed and said that once the assault was over and ports were open, all landing craft should be withdrawn for refit for the next operation. It was true that although in the Mediterranean the Commanders were alive to the situation and had tightened up matters considerably, there was still some misuse of landing craft.
In this connection, Sir Charles Portal referred to the tendency to be too conservative in the buildup. He referred particularly to the large stocks that had been accumulated in Sicily as an insurance. Probably there was a tendency to over-insure.
There was general agreement on the above considerations and some discussion ensued in which two extremes were quoted, one, in which the 8th Army landing in Sicily had taken a bare minimum of transport and in consequence had been delayed in their subsequent advance; and the other, in the planning for OVERLORD in which so many vehicles had been put down to accompany the leading formations, that the whole operation would tend to be hampered thereby.
As regards relief work, Admiral King considered that it was necessary to be hard-hearted and to cut out anything that was being taken across beaches which was not absolutely necessary. There was general agreement regarding this.
Sir Charles Portal then referred to the aspect of fighter cover for the operation against the South of France. He said he was not satisfied that the range from the available air bases would allow of adequate air support and thought the matter would need to be examined carefully. In AVALANCHE two alternative plans had been considered and one of these had had to be turned down because fighter cover could not be insured. Salerno had been 180 miles from available fighter strips in North Sicily. Marseilles was 190 miles from the nearest part of Corsica and 225 miles from the eastern side on which the best air bases were sited. We might want to go farther than Marseilles.
Admiral Leahy questioned as to why we should need to go as far west as Marseilles. There were good beaches at various places along the coast.
General Arnold agreed that the whole question would have to be studied very carefully. He stated that the estimates in the U.S. draft paper on operations against Southern France had been based on the use of long-range fighter aircraft.
Admiral King then asked whether he was correct in understanding that, should all other operations be dropped, the landing craft would not be available for OVERLORD to take place on 1 May.
Sir Alan Brooke replied that this was the case and that if the landing craft due to return to OVERLORD did not leave the Mediterranean until 15 January, 1 June would be the earliest date possible for Overlord because of the need for repairing the landing craft and using them for training purposes.
Admiral Leahy pointed out that the U.S. figures did not agree with this and that if the landing craft were retained until 15 February, OVERLORD would still be possible by 15 May.
Admiral King said that any U.S. facilities available for the repair of landing craft would be placed at the disposal of the Commander of OVERLORD for this urgent task.
Sir Charles Portal then made the suggestion that [if?] an amphibious lift of one division were left in Italy until the capture of Rome and one division with its amphibious lift were kept mounted in the Middle East until the middle of February, by then it would be known whether Turkey would come in. If Turkey did not come in, the division could be dismounted and the landing craft made available for OVERLORD.
Sir Alan Brooke said, in reply to this, that he felt that the landing craft that would be required for this division for the Aegean were already being used for the Italian campaign.
Admiral Leahy said that if the proposed operation were to take place after 15 February, this would surely delay OVERLORD.
Sir Charles Portal agreed but suggested that we might have two alternative dates for OVERLORD – the one if Turkey were to come into the war, and the other if Turkey were not to come in.
Admiral King made it clear that whereas the operations against Rhodes and the Dodecanese were contingent upon Turkey entering the war and were not concerned with OVERLORD, the operations against the South of France and in Italy were completely interlocked with OVERLORD. It should be possible for the Combined Chiefs of Staff to work out roughly on these bases two alternative dates for OVERLORD, as suggested by Sir Charles Portal.
Sir Charles Portal remarked that while he agreed with Admiral King, he could not accept that the entry of Turkey into the war would have no effect on OVERLORD.
General Marshall then said that disregarding the question of postponing the date for OVERLORD and considering the matter of landing craft only, it seemed to him that the suggestion of Sir Charles Portal would involve the dividing of the resources of landing craft available in the Mediterranean so that no real strength would be left anywhere. This, he thought, was serious as it would be splitting the most potent means of influencing the war. It would reduce correspondingly the effort in Italy and might have serious consequences. General Eisenhower’s views were different from those expressed formerly, and he now talked of a two-division amphibious lift whereas formerly he had only asked for one.
General Marshall felt, moreover, that there was the chance that the landing craft so withdrawn to the Aegean, to which Sir Charles Portal referred, might never be used. He said that he agreed completely with the Prime Minister as to the importance of keeping a tighter hold on supply. There was general agreement in this connection.
Sir Alan Brooke said that the OVERLORD plan should be coordinated with the plans for a Russian offensive. No Russian offensive had ever started before the end of May. Marshal Stalin clearly, and quite reasonably, would like us to draw the German strength away from the Russian front before the Russian offensive started.
A general discussion then ensued as to the answer that could be given to the Russians regarding the date on which it would be possible to undertake OVERLORD.
Sir Alan Brooke said that unless we could give the Russians a firm date for OVERLORD, there would be no point in proceeding with the Conference. As far as he could see, we could do OVERLORD in May if we did not undertake other operations. Sir Alan Brooke said that he did not think that 1 May would be possible although 1 June might be. This brought us back to the BUCCANEER operation to which, of course, there was a political background. He still thought that it would be better to use the landing craft allocated to BUCCANEER for this main effort against the Germans. In response to a question of Admiral Leahy as to whether the BUCCANEER landing craft would help OVERLORD at all, Sir Alan Brooke replied that it would, as it could be used both in the Aegean and against the South of France. Moreover, the amphibious lift for OVERLORD was itself all too small. It was even smaller than it had been at Salerno.
Admiral Leahy said that this affected the validity of the whole of the OVERLORD plan.
Sir Alan Brooke pointed out that if OVERLORD were delayed it would make more landing craft available.
Sir Charles Portal remarked that whatever operations were undertaken in the European theater, the OVERLORD operation would undoubtedly be helped indirectly.
Sir Andrew Cunningham said that unless BUCCANEER landing craft were to be used, it would not be possible, except at the expense of OVERLORD, to have more than a one-division lift for the South of France operation, a lift which, in his opinion, was not sufficient.
Admiral King said that the Prime Minister had laid great stress on the importance of keeping actively employed all forces now in the Mediterranean. He agreed with this in principle but drew attention to the 2½ months’ inactivity that would ensue for 35 divisions in the United Kingdom if the OVERLORD date was postponed from 1 May to 15 July. He had always felt that the OVERLORD operation was the way to break the back of Germany.
Sir Andrew Cunningham questioned the 2½ months referred to by Admiral King, saying that the earliest date possible for OVERLORD would be 1 June. Both Admiral King and Admiral Leahy then said that this came to them as a complete surprise as 1 May was the date agreed upon.
Admiral Leahy asked Sir Alan Brooke whether he believed that the conditions laid down for OVERLORD would ever arise unless the Germans had collapsed beforehand.
Sir Alan Brooke said that he firmly believed that they would and that he foresaw the conditions arising in 1944, provided the enemy were engaged on other fronts as well.
Sir Charles Portal said that it was still in the balance as to whether we would overcome the German increase in fighter production. The success of the combined bomber offensive had not been as complete as had been hoped for. The Germans were making tremendous efforts and were aiming at a production of 1,600 to 1,700 fighters per month. If they succeeded, the OVERLORD operation might be faced by a very strong fighter force acting against it.
General Arnold then said how important it was to examine carefully the whole question of air strengths throughout the world in order to ensure that our great air superiority could be applied to best advantage.
Sir Charles Portal expressed his opinion that from the air point of view a June or July date for OVERLORD would seem to be better, as regards weather, than one in May.
Admiral Leahy suggested that the Russians would not refuse a 1 June date for OVERLORD but that we would have to be firm about it.
Sir Alan Brooke said that the date would have to be fixed earlier than 1 June because of the need to retain landing craft for Italy until 15 January. It would be possible to fix a RANKIN date for 1 May when probably an attack could be made across the Channel with about two-thirds the strength now envisaged for OVERLORD. It was generally felt that the Russians would not understand the RANKIN operation if it were put to them. He reminded the Combined Chiefs of Staff that 1 May had been settled at TRIDENT as the date for OVERLORD by splitting the difference between the U.S. suggestion of 1 April and the British suggestion of 1 June. It had not been based on any particular strategic consideration.
General Ismay said that at Moscow the Russians had been told that the operation was scheduled for some time in May. They had not been told 1 May.
Sir Alan Brooke said that we might tell the Russians that OVERLORD could be undertaken not later than 1 June but that we would expect, in that case, the Russian offensive to take place also not later than 1 June.
Sir Andrew Cunningham agreed that 1 June could be adhered to.
Sir Charles Portal said that Marshal Stalin’s statement that the Russians would enter the war against Japan when Germany had been defeated, seemed to alter the whole relative importance of the war in Europe and the Pacific, and to shift the emphasis rather towards Europe for the time being.
There was some further discussion in which the dependence of the attack upon moon and tide and weather conditions was considered, and also the desirability of giving a bracket of dates instead of a fixed target date for the operation.
a. That we should continue to advance in Italy to the Pisa-Rimini line.
This means that the 68 LSTs which are due to be sent from the Mediterranean to the United Kingdom for OVERLORD must be kept in the Mediterranean until 15 January.
b. That an operation shall be mounted against the South of France on as big a scale as landing craft permit. For planning purposes D-Day to be the same as OVERLORD D-Day.
c. To recommend to the President and Prime Minister respectively that we should inform Marshal Stalin that we will launch OVERLORD during May, in conjunction with a supporting operation against the South of France on the largest scale that is permitted by the landing craft available at that time.
NOTE: The United States and British Chiefs of Staff agreed to inform each other before the Plenary Meeting this afternoon of the decisions of the President and Prime Minister respectively on the above point.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff were unable to reach agreement on the question of operations in the Aegean until they had received further instructions from the President and Prime Minister respectively.
|President Roosevelt||Shah Pahlevi|
|General Hurley||Prime Minister Soheily|
|Mr. Dreyfus||Foreign Minister Sa’ed-Maragheh’i|
|Colonel Roosevelt||Mr. Ala|
Apparently the principal subjects discussed were Iran’s economic problems and the desire of the United States to assist in their solution.
|United States||United Kingdom||Soviet Union|
|President Roosevelt||Prime Minister Churchill||Marshal Stalin|
|Mr. Bohlen||Major Birse||Mr. Berezhkov|
November 30, 1943, 1:30 p.m. Secret
Before luncheon, at the Prime Minister’s request, the President read to Marshal Stalin the recommendations of the combined British and American Staffs, which had been approved by himself and the Prime Minister.
Marshal Stalin expressed his great satisfaction with this decision. He added that the Red Army would at the same time undertake offensive operations, and would demonstrate by its actions the value it placed on this decision. He asked when the Commander-in-Chief would be named.
The President said he had to consult with his Staff, but that he was sure that the Commander-in-Chief would be named in three or four days or, in other words, immediately following his return, and that of the Prime Minister, to Cairo. The President said that there were a number of questions in regard to command which he had had to discuss with Mr. Churchill. He added that the Commander-in-Chief of OVERLORD would operate from England, and that there would be a Commander-in-Chief for the Mediterranean area. And one question was, under whose command the operations in Southern France would fall.
At this point The Prime Minister interrupted to say that the operations in Southern France should be under the Commander-in-Chief of OVERLORD, but the operations in Italy, which must be intensified to coordinate with the operations in France, would be under the Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean theater.
Marshal Stalin expressed agreement with this idea, and said it was sound military doctrine.
For the next part of the luncheon the conversation was general, until the Prime Minister asked Marshal Stalin whether he had read the proposed communiqué on the Far East of the Cairo Conference.
Marshal Stalin replied that he had and that although he could make no commitments, he thoroughly approved the communiqué and all its contents. He said it was right that Korea should be independent, and that Manchuria, Formosa and the Pescadores Islands should be returned to China. He added, however, that the Chinese must be made to fight, which they had not thus far done.
The Prime Minister and the President expressed agreement with Marshal Stalin’s views.
After some discussion of the great size of the Soviet Union, during which Marshal Stalin admitted frankly that had Russia not had at her disposal such a vast territory the Germans would have probably won the victory, the Prime Minister said that he felt that such a large land mass as Russia deserved the access to warm water ports. He said that the question would of course form part of the peace settlement, and he observed that it could be settled agreeably and as between friends.
Marshal Stalin replied that at the proper time that question could be discussed, but that since Mr. Churchill had raised the question he would like to inquire as to the regime of the Dardanelles. He said that since England no longer objected, it would be well to relax that regime.
The Prime Minister replied that England had now no objections to Russia’s access to warm water ports, although he admitted that in the past she had. He questioned, however, the advisability of doing anything about the Straits at the time, as we were all trying to get Turkey to enter the war.
Marshal Stalin said there was no need to hurry about that question, but that he was merely interested in discussing it here in general.
The Prime Minister replied that Great Britain saw no objections to this legitimate question, and that furthermore we all hoped to see Russian fleets, both naval and merchant, on all seas of the world.
Marshal Stalin said that Lord Curzon had had other ideas.
The Prime Minister replied that that was true, and that it would be idle to deny that in those days Russia and England did not see eye to eye.
Marshal Stalin replied that Russia also was quite different in those days.
The President reverted to the question of the approaches to the Baltic Sea, which he had previously discussed with Marshal Stalin. He said he liked the idea of establishing the former Hanseatic cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Lubeck into some form of a free zone, with the Kiel Canal put under international control and guaranty, with freedom of passage for the world’s commerce.
Marshal Stalin said he thought that that was a good idea, and then asked what could be done for Russia in the Far East.
The Prime Minister replied that it was for this reason that he had been particularly glad to hear the Marshal’s views on the Cairo communiqué, since he was interested to find out the views of the Soviet government on the Far East and the question of warm water ports there.
Marshal Stalin replied that of course the Russians had their views, but that it would perhaps be better to await the time when the Russians would be taking an active representation in the Far Eastern war. He added, however, that there was no port in the Far East that was not closed off, since Vladivostok was only partly ice-free, and besides covered by Japanese-controlled Straits.
The President said he thought the idea of a free port might be applied to the Far East besides, and mentioned Dairen as a possibility.
Marshal Stalin said he did not think that the Chinese would like such a scheme.
To which the President replied that he thought they would like the idea of a free port under international guaranty.
Marshal Stalin said that that would not be bad, and added that Petropavlovsk or [on?] Kamchatka was an excellent port, and ice-free, but with no rail connections. He pointed out in this general connection that Russia had only one ice-free port, that of Murmansk.
The Prime Minister then said that it was important that the nations who would govern the world after the war, and who would be entrusted with the direction of the world after the war, should be satisfied and have no territorial or other ambitions. If that question could be settled in a manner agreeable to the great powers, he felt then that the world might indeed remain at peace. He said that hungry nations and ambitious nations are dangerous, and he would like to see the leading nations of the world in the position of rich, happy men.
The President and Marshal Stalin agreed.
It was then decided that after a short session this afternoon at 4:30 there would be no more full sessions of the conference, but at 4:00 o’clock tomorrow the President, Marshal Stalin and the Prime Minister, together with Mr. Eden, Mr. Molotov and Mr. Hopkins, would meet to discuss political matters, and reference was made to Poland, Finland and Sweden as possible subjects of discussion.
|United States||United Kingdom||Soviet Union|
|Mr. Hopkins||Foreign Secretary Eden||Foreign Commissar Molotov|
|Captain Ware||Captain Lunghi||Mr. Pavlov|
November 30, 1943, 1:30 p.m. Secret
Mr. Hopkins brought up the question of the “strong points” to which reference had evidently been made previously in discussions with Mr. Molotov and Marshal Stalin about post-war Europe.
Mr. Molotov specifically mentioned Bizerte and Dakar and was interested in the question of the sovereignty of Bizerte. He said it would be difficult to realize how the war could not but affect such places, and that this was Marshal Stalin’s point of view also.
He added that it would be difficult also to comprehend how France, specifically, could be considered for treatment which would exclude punishment for her hostile acts committed in the past – in other words, how France could go unpunished for these acts.
Mr. Hopkins, specifically mentioning Belgium and Holland, brought out the implications of the fact that these countries were in close proximity to Germany and questioned the ability of such countries to defend themselves after this war.
Mr. Molotov said it had been shown once more that they are unable to defend themselves. Regarding France, however, he stated that this was a different matter. He said that France did not want to defend herself and in this respect she could be held much more responsible for her hostile acts than could Belgium and Holland.
Mr. Eden very willingly admitted that Great Britain should have given France more help.
Mr. Molotov indicated that France was not merely a country overpowered by the Germans but in fact was now with the Germans actively supporting German strategy. He added that France was not weak and that France did not want to join the Allies but wanted to collaborate with Germany. He said that the former French government had collapsed and that France made an alliance with Germany.
Mr. Eden , in reference to possible future attitudes toward France, said that nothing was too bad for the Lavals and Petains.
Mr. Molotov repeated that they are supporting Hitler now and that regarding France it is not just a matter of weakness.
Mr. Hopkins mentioned as an example the possibility of a strong point and airbase in Belgium and wanted to know what sort of agreement could be worked out in regard to who would operate such a base and under what right or authority.
It was pointed out that it would perhaps be easier just to arrange for the use of such bases for the Allies following the war in countries which had been enemy countries, and that in order to get the use of such bases in friendly countries, certain complications and rights of sovereignty might arise.
Mr. Eden suggested that the leasing of bases in the West Indies to the United States by Great Britain might serve as a rough example of these future arrangements.
Turning to Mr. Hopkins he said that it seemed that this was an exchange of bases for United States ships but really it was because “We like the United States to be there.” He asked Mr. Hopkins if he did not think that was really it.
Mr. Hopkins indicated that he would object to any such conclusion.
Mr. Molotov indicated that it would be hard to realize how such future arrangements for strong points could not but affect the countries where such bases were located but that at the present time it seemed uncertain what countries would be so affected. He said that he felt he was expressing the views of Marshal Stalin in stating that after the war in order to assure that there would be no future big war, the States particularly responsible for securing the peace will have to see to it that the main strategic bases will be in their control.
Regarding the strong points which will be taken from Germany or Japan, he remarked that these could be under the control possibly of Great Britain or the United States or both.
Specifically concerning Bizerte and Dakar, he mentioned United States or British control.
It appeared that he assumed there would be United States control in the Atlantic, and he asked if this was the correct understanding.
Mr. Eden said that the Prime Minister had stated that he did not want any more territory and that in regard to strong points taken from Germany and Japan, there might be joint control by the United States and Great Britain or United Nations control.
Regarding French bases, he could not say, since this matter would take great consideration, particularly in view of the fact that for many years England had been very close to France.
It might be supposed that the French could make a contribution by placing their bases under some United Nations control. In this way it would be possible for France to give something, and this should not in any way hurt the pride of France.
Mr. Molotov agreed that these sounded like legitimate demands.
Mr. Hopkins indicated that the place and strength of these future strong points would have to be worked out with a view as to who would possibly be a potential future enemy. He said that the President feels it essential to world peace that Russia, Great Britain, and the United States work out this control question in a manner which will not start each of the three powers arming against the others.
He indicated that the people would select as likely future enemies, Germany and Japan.
He said that the question of building up bases in the Pacific would not be a difficult one. Specifically in regard to the Philippines, he indicated that following their independence we would still consider it advisable to have naval and air bases there. He indicated that we feel such bases in the Philippines would not be under United Nations control but rather United States control.
In the event that Formosa was returned to China, naval and air bases would be desired there also.
The size, character, and duties of occupying forces on such bases would have to be worked out.
Mr. Eden said he agreed also.
Mr. Hopkins said that there are two problems which disturb the President in this connection. We do not want sovereignty over any islands which will be free [freed?] from Japanese domination. The United Nations may perhaps exercise some sort of protective influence.
The problem remains as to the type of base and as to who will operate them. The three great powers should decide these basic questions regarding strong points and who will control these. This control will involve air, naval, and ground forces.
Mr. Hopkins pointed out that it is relatively easy for the United States to discuss the question of strong points because the United States is not located under any possible immediate danger from Germany. The difficult problem will be to enforce peace upon Germany. The Russian and British strong points located nearer to Germany would involve more immediate problems in connection with the enforcing of peace on Germany.
The question of the location of strong points should not be too difficult once the most difficult problems in this connection have been basically agreed upon here. This whole question of strong points is one of the most important post-war problems.
Mr. Hopkins mentioned that there had been a brief discussion between the Prime Minister and Marshal Stalin on this subject and that it would be fully worthwhile, he believed, if the President, Prime Minister, and Marshal Stalin could further discuss this problem but that he understood that time was short and that possibly we could go into this matter now.
Mr. Molotov indicated that of course the heads of the governments had greater authority and would be more fully competent to talk through the issue but that possibly we could clarify the matter now.
Mr. Eden said he would like to know what Mr. Molotov recommends on the matter. Then he turned to the problem of Turkey.
He said that the Turkey problem had been thought over carefully and that it was his suggestion that we should make a joint summons to Turkey to enter the war. This summons would be made to Turkey, making clear what consequences would follow if Turkey refused, with all three of us backing the demand. He indicated that if it were agreeable to Mr. Molotov, an invitation could be extended to President Inonu of Turkey to come to Cairo where he could meet with the Prime Minister and the President if the President would be willing to stop over for this purpose in Cairo on his way back.
Mr. Eden said to Mr. Molotov that he would like to have Russian participation also and that it would be good if they would send someone representing the Soviet Government to the proposed meeting with the Turkish President in Cairo.
Mr. Eden added that it may be likely that President Inonu would not come; that he might make a constitutional excuse. But in case President Inonu does refuse to come to Cairo, he would suggest that the President or the Prime Minister should not go to Turkey. If President Inonu does not come, perhaps an Ambassador or better yet, some special messenger should be sent to President Inonu in Turkey with our demands.
Mr. Eden emphasized that he thought there should be a special person sent and asked who this person should be.
Mr. Molotov stated that he was in favor of bringing Turkey into the war not in the distant future, but now, this year.
Mr. Eden remarked that the problem then is not what we want but how. He stated that he understood that Marshal Stalin does not believe that Turkey will go to war, but Mr. Eden added it should be tried.
He said to Mr. Molotov that it was his feeling that the Soviet position was of much greater optimism in regard to the possibility of getting Turkey into the war at the time of the Three Power Conference in Moscow.
Mr. Molotov indicated that following the Numan request and the negotiations with Turkey conducted by Mr. Eden in the name of the Three Powers, that the reply which Great Britain had received from Turkey had caused the Russian loss of optimism.
Mr. Hopkins said that he understood that the Russians had wanted Turkey to enter the war particularly for immediate military benefit which the Russians had felt they would derive from having this action force more German troops away from the Soviet front.
He understood that the Prime Minister had discussed with Marshal Stalin on several occasions, the Turkey problem and that Marshal Stalin had emphasized his desire to have Turkey in the war now.
He said that the President would want to know more about the present Soviet attitude on this question. He assumed that all of us would want Turkey in the war and wanted to know whether there was actually a change in emphasis in the Soviet analysis of this situation.
Mr. Eden, in answer to a question put to him, stated that he had spoken in Turkey on behalf of the three countries.
Mr. Molotov remarked that under the authority of the protocol of the Three Power Conference, this was as it should be.
Mr. Hopkins indicated that it was quite all right for Mr. Eden to speak for the United States.
Mr. Molotov pointed out that the reply made by Turkey was very bad and could not but affect the Soviet point of view which he understood had been made clear to Mr. Churchill by Marshal Stalin.
Mr. Molotov then added that if Turkey does declare war on Germany and if Bulgaria continues to take a hostile attitude, the Soviet Union will not only break diplomatic relations with Bulgaria but will be at war with Bulgaria. This all goes to show, he indicated, that the Soviet Government does attach importance to the participation of Turkey in the war.
Mr. Eden said that when he first learned of this Soviet analysis in regard to Bulgaria in this connection, and that he had heard about this at the conference yesterday, that he was frankly surprised.
Mr. Molotov said that this was a brief exposition of the Soviet point of view.
He asked Mr. Eden if he could elucidate a statement made at the conference yesterday by Prime Minister Churchill to the effect that if Turkey refuses the demands, that Turkey’s post-war rights in the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles would be affected. He asked Mr. Eden what Mr. Churchill meant by this.
Mr. Eden replied “frankly I do not know.”
Then he went on to add that he supposed the Prime Minister had meant that the present cordiality and support being offered Turkey would be changed; in fact that the whole basis of relationship with Great Britain would be changed.
He offered to ask Mr. Churchill for further elucidation if Mr. Molotov would so desire.
Mr. Molotov indicated that he would like to know.
Mr. Eden then asked Mr. Molotov if specifically his government would agree to the suggestion to try to bring President Inonu of Turkey to Cairo.
Mr. Molotov said that he thought it would be a good idea but that he would ask Marshal Stalin.
Mr. Eden thanked Mr. Molotov very much.
Mr. Hopkins, turning to Mr. Eden, stated that he had good reason to believe that a substantial understanding on these points under discussion would be arrived at between Marshal Stalin, the Prime Minister, and the President.
Mr. Molotov said he was convinced that the results of this conference would add vigor to the people of our respective countries and that the coming together of the three heads of government would do still more toward improving the morale in our countries.
Mr. Hopkins indicated that if large undertakings were started following Turkey’s entry into the war, and if in this connection the island of Rhodes were occupied and attacks were made on the Dodecanese Islands, that such large commitments which would inevitably follow, would possibly cause at least a delay of OVERLORD. However, he stated that aside from the military situation which might be of sufficient importance that also there might be a psychological advantage in developing the war in this area at this time which would justify a delay in OVERLORD. Among other things, this might force Finland to ask for peace from Russia.
Mr. Molotov asked if he was to understand that the entry of Turkey into the war at this time was connected with a delay in the timing of OVERLORD in the opinion of Mr. Hopkins.
Mr. Hopkins said that the President was under this impression and so also our Chiefs of Staff.
Mr. Molotov said that Marshal Stalin would be against getting Turkey into the war now if this necessarily meant a delay of OVERLORD.
Mr. Hopkins said he hesitated to be too encouraging but that he might be mistaken and that possibly a formula was being worked out whereby this possible action in the Eastern Mediterranean could take place without interfering with OVERLORD.
Mr. Hopkins said that he understands there were three questions of urgent importance to the Russians in regard to OVERLORD as stated at the conference yesterday:
Mr. Eden then turned to the question of aid to Tito in Yugoslavia. He made mention of a mission with United States Officers in it and suggested to Mr. Molotov that the Russians might also want to send a mission and that maybe the Russians would want to have an airbase in Northern Africa.
Mr. Eden stated that the British were ready to provide that base.
Mr. Molotov said thank you.
Mr. Eden went on to explain that the British airbase for sending supplies to Tito is located at Cairo and asked Mr. Molotov where he would like to have a base for the Russians.
Mr. Molotov answered that he would leave that to the discretion of Mr. Eden and that as Mr. Eden suggested Cairo he thought that would be a good location for the Russians too.
Mr. Molotov said that the Soviet General Staff plans to send a mission to Yugoslavia and that on his return to Moscow he will be able to state who is taking part in this mission.
Mr. Eden said that he would try to get preliminary arrangements made and a place ready for an airbase for the Russians at Cairo and assured that such a base would be made available.
Mr. Molotov asked whether it would not be better to have a mission to Michaelovich [Mihailović] rather than to Tito in order to get better information.
Mr. Eden said that he would know better tomorrow but that from reports he had received from British Officers, Michaelovich would not be good to deal with, but he said that maybe it would be good for the Russians to send some of their people to Michaelovich.
Then he brought up the question as to whether the territory occupied by Tito was or was not separated by German forces from the area or areas occupied by Michaelovich.
Mr. Eden then referred to Mr. Molotov, making reference to what he termed an “indiscreet conversation” held between the Prime Minister and Marshal Stalin the other day on the subject of Poland.
He added that the British have only one desire – to prevent the problem from becoming a source of friction between our countries. He said that if the question of two steps to the left was to be considered for Poland, then he would want to know how large these steps would be. He said that if he knew what was in the minds of the Russians on this question he would then be able to ask them for some sort of an agreement of opinion. Therefore, he suggested that this problem should be carefully looked over.
Mr. Molotov added that he agreed.
Mr. Hopkins said that he was under the impression that the President had spoken quite openly and frankly with Marshal Stalin and that he had told him or would tell him all that he had on his mind on this subject and that he was sure the President and Prime Minister had talked over the question of Poland.
|United States||United Kingdom||Soviet Union|
|President Roosevelt||Prime Minister Churchill||Marshal Stalin|
|Mr. Hopkins||Foreign Secretary Eden||Foreign Commissar Molotov|
|Mr. Harriman||Sir Archibald Clark Kerr||Marshal Voroshilov|
|Admiral Leahy||Field Marshal Dill||Mr. Pavlov|
|General Marshall||General Brooke||Mr. Berezhkov|
|Admiral King||Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham|
|General Arnold||Air Chief Marshal Portal|
|Major General Deane||Lieutenant General Ismay|
|Captain Royal||Lieutenant General Martel|
|Captain Ware||Major Birse|
November 30, 1943, 4 p.m. Secret
The President opened the proceedings by stating that while most of those present were aware of what had occurred this morning at the meeting of the British and American Staffs, he wished personally to express his happiness at the decision reached which he hoped would be satisfactory to Marshal Stalin. He proposed that Sir Alan Brooke, British Chief of Staff, report for the Combined Chiefs.
General Brooke said that sitting in combined session the United States and British Staffs had reached the following agreement, which had been submitted for the approval of the President and the Prime Minister. It was agreed:
That OVERLORD will be launched during the month of May 1944.
That there will be a supporting operation in southern France on as large a scale as possible, depending on the number of landing craft available for this operation.
The Prime Minister stated that it was important that close and intimate contact be maintained with Marshal Stalin and the Soviet General Staff since it was important that in closing on the wild beast all parts of the narrowing circle should be aflame with battle. All operations must be considered, and if Turkey entered the war her action as well as the resistance operations in Yugoslavia should also be coordinated with the actions of the allied army.
Marshal Stalin said he fully understood the importance of the decision reached and the difficulties which would be encountered in the execution of OVERLORD. He added that the danger in the beginning of the operation was that the Germans might attempt to transfer troops from the eastern front to oppose OVERLORD. In order to deny to the Germans the possibility of maneuvering he pledged that the Red Army would launch simultaneously with OVERLORD large scale offensives in a number of places for the purpose of pinning down German forces and preventing the transfer of German troops to the west. He said that he had already made the foregoing statement to the President, and Mr. Churchill but he thought it necessary to repeat it to the conference.
The President said that we were all aware of the importance of maintaining the closest cooperation between the three Staffs, and now that they had gotten together he hoped they would stay together. He went on to say that he had already told Marshal Stalin that the next step would be the appointment of a Commander-in-Chief for OVERLORD, and that he was confident that this appointment would be made within three or four days or immediately after he and the Prime Minister had returned to Cairo. He suggested that if Marshal Stalin and the Prime Minister had no objection it might be advisable for the British and American military staffs to return to Cairo tomorrow as they had a great deal of detail work to do in working out the decisions reached here. Both Marshal Stalin and the Prime Minister agreed.
The Prime Minister stated that having taken this important decision the main question now was to find enough landing craft for all our needs. He said he could not believe that the great resources of the United States and England could not make available what was needed. He said he had caused an inquiry to be made in regard to the total number of landing craft in the Mediterranean, and that upon their return home his military staff would have this information. Mr. Churchill added that he wished to state that now the decision had been taken he felt that OVERLORD should be delivered with smashing force and he hoped that it would be possible to add to the strength of the operation as he wished to place that man in a position where there was no way out for him; if he put force in the west he would be smashed on the Soviet front, and if he attempted to hold firm in the east he would be smashed on the west. He went on to say that the present conclave might now break up as the military questions had been settled. Some political questions remained to be discussed and he hoped it would be possible on December 1st and 2nd to discuss these questions since he felt it would be of great value to be able to tell the world that full agreement had been reached on all questions at this conference. He expressed the hope that the President and Marshal Stalin would be willing to remain in Tehran through December 2 if necessary. Both the President and Marshal Stalin agreed.
The President then said it would be necessary to consider the text of the communiqué to be issued and suggested that the military staffs before their departure work out a draft of the military aspects of the conference for their consideration. This was agreed.
The Prime Minister then said some form of cover plan should be worked out in order to confuse and deceive the enemy as to the real time and place of our joint blows. He said that the vast preparations in England could not be concealed from the enemy, and it was therefore important that every effort be made to confuse and mislead him. He said that “truth deserves a bodyguard of lies.”
Marshal Stalin then described the methods used on the Soviet front to conceal the location and timing of Soviet offenses. This was done through the use of dummy tanks, aircraft, fake landing fields and false information on the military radio.
The formal conference then closed with the agreement that the President, Marshal Stalin and the Prime Minister, Mr. Molotov, Mr. Eden and Mr. Hopkins would meet tomorrow to discuss political questions.
November 30, 1943, 4 p.m. Secret
In opening the meeting, the President said he assumed that most of those present were familiar with what had transpired at the meeting of the British and American staffs earlier in the day, but he suggested that General Brooke be asked to read the conclusions which were reached at that meeting.
Marshal Stalin and the Prime Minister agreed.
General Brooke said that at the meeting of the British and American staffs they had agreed to recommend to the President and Prime Minister that they should inform Marshal Stalin that the Anglo-American forces would launch OVERLORD during the month of May, in conjunction with a supporting operation against the South of France, on the largest scale that would be permitted by the landing craft available at that time.
The Prime Minister said it is of course understood that we shall keep in close touch with Marshal Stalin and the Soviet military authorities in order that all operations may be coordinated with each other. He said that the Anglo-American-Soviet forces would be closing in on Germany from all parts of a circle and it was essential that the pressure be exerted by all forces at the same moment. For this purpose, he proposed to keep the Soviet authorities informed of the Anglo-American plans. He added that it would be possible to hold 8 to 10 German divisions on the Italian front, and he expressed the hope that the Yugoslavs could continue their good work in holding German divisions in that country. He said that if Turkey could be brought into the war, so much the better, and emphasized again the necessity for the three great Powers to work together as one team.
Marshal Stalin said that he understood the importance of the decision that had been reached by the Anglo-American staffs. He emphasized that there would be difficulties in the beginning and possibly dangers. The greatest danger would be that at the time of the attack the Germans might endeavor to transfer divisions from the Eastern Front to meet it and attempt to prevent its success. In order to deny the Germans freedom of action and [not to?] permit them to move their forces to the West he stated that the Soviets would undertake to organize a large-scale offensive against the Germans in May in order to contain the maximum number of German divisions on the Eastern Front and thus remove the difficulties for OVERLORD. He added that he had already made such a statement to the President and Prime Minister but felt it necessary to repeat it at the Plenary Session of the conference.
The President said that the Marshal’s statement concerning the timing and coordination of operations was extremely satisfactory and it forestalled a question on that subject he was about to ask. He suggested that now that the staffs of the three nations had gotten together it was essential they should maintain close contact with each other, with particular emphasis on making certain that all future operations were timed with relation to each other.
The President then said he had told Marshal Stalin that the next step was the appointment of the Supreme Commander for the OVERLORD operation. He said that he and the Prime Minister would take up this matter with their staffs and make the decision within three or four days, certainly soon after their arrival in Cairo.
The President said that the only military matters remaining for consideration were details of the OVERLORD operation which would have to be worked out between the combined British and American staffs, and suggested it might be more convenient for them to return to Cairo at once for this purpose.
After ascertaining from Marshal Stalin that he had no more matters which he wished presented to the Combined British and American Staffs, the President and Prime Minister agreed that the staffs should return to Cairo on the following day.
The Prime Minister said there are many details about the OVERLORD operation which remain to be settled. He said that the necessary landing craft would have to be found, but he could not believe that the two nations, with their great volume of production, could not make the necessary landing craft available. He said also that he would like to add weight to the operation as it is now planned, especially in the initial assault. In all events, he wished to make sure that the armed forces of the three nations would be in heavy action on the Continent of Europe during the month of June. If this were so, he added, it would make it very difficult for “that man.” If Hitler attempts to meet the Soviet attack from the east, the Anglo-American forces will move in on him. On the other hand, if he attempts to stop the Anglo-American forces, the Soviet forces will be able to advance into Germany.
Marshal Stalin said that he understood the necessity for the detailed staff planning and concurred that it would be a good idea for the staffs to return to Cairo at once.
The Prime Minister then indicated that since the military business of the conference was concluded, there were some political matters of extreme importance which remained to be decided. He hoped it would be possible for the three Heads of State to meet on the first and second of December and not to leave Tehran until December 3. He said it would be well if they remained until all questions of importance had been decided. He indicated that he was prepared to delay his departure, and the President and Marshal Stalin agreed to stay the extra day.
The President brought up the subject of the communiqué, particularly as it referred to the military decisions. He suggested that the military staffs draft something for the President and Prime Minister’s approval.
Marshal Stalin agreed that this should be done insofar as military matters taken up at the conference were concerned.
The Prime Minister said he thought the communiqué should strike the note that all future military operations were to be concerted between the three great Powers.
Marshal Stalin added, certainly those in Europe from both the east and west.
The Prime Minister said that the preparations for OVERLORD are bound to be known to the enemy. Numerous depots are being constructed in Southern England, the entire appearance of the coast is changing and photographs indicate these changes in detail.
Marshal Stalin said that it was difficult, if not impossible, to hide such a large operation from the enemy.
The Prime Minister then asked if any arrangements had been made to provide a combined cover plan for the operations in May as between the three great Powers.
Marshal Stalin said that on such occasions the Soviets had achieved success by the construction of false tanks, airplanes and airfields. They move these items to sectors in which no operations are planned, and such movements are immediately picked up by the German intelligence. In sectors from which blows are to be launched, all movements are made quietly and mostly under cover of darkness. In this manner they had often succeeded in deceiving the Germans. He noted that at times up to 5,000 false tanks and 2,000 false airplanes had been used, as well as the construction of a number of airfields which were not actually intended to be used. Another method of deception practiced by the Red Army was by the use of radio. Unit commanders communicate freely by radio giving the Germans false information and evoke immediate attacks from the German air forces in areas where such attacks can do no harm.
The Prime Minister observed that truth deserves a bodyguard of lies.
Marshal Stalin said, “This is what we call military cunning.”
The Prime Minister said that he considered it rather military diplomacy. He suggested that arrangements be made for liaison to be established between the three great Powers as regards the deception and propaganda methods to be adopted.
It was agreed that the Chiefs of State and their Foreign Ministers should meet on the following day at 1600.
Tehran, 30 November 1943 Secret
From: The United States Chiefs of Staff.
Subject: ALLOCATION OF ITALIAN SHIPS TO THE USSR
The question of the allocation of Italian ships to the USSR, as requested at the Moscow Conference, may be brought up during the EUREKA proceedings.
The original Russian request was for 1 battleship, 1 cruiser, 8 destroyers, 4 submarines and 40,000 displacement tons of merchant shipping. This request is the subject of the exchange of a number of dispatches between our delegation in Moscow and the President. During these exchanges the allocation, or possible allocation, of one-third of the Italian Fleet for the use of the USSR was concurred in by the United States. However, it is understood that the USSR would not be prepared at this time to man and employ one-third of the Italian Fleet.
If the allocation of Italian ships to the USSR is brought up at this time, the action agreed upon should be solely with regard to its influence on the prosecution of the war. The following factors are to be considered:
a. The turning over of Italian ships to the Russians at this time would have a serious adverse effect on the prosecution of the war in Italy and in such other places as Italian forces are now cooperating. It seems quite possible that the Italian crews, before surrendering the ships to the Russians would scuttle. Italy has been accepted as a cobelligerent. The surrender of Italian ships would provide valuable propaganda for use by the enemy with the Italians in Germany, occupied Italy, even elsewhere.
b. Italian ships would not come provided with spare parts and ammunition. Further, they would probably require some modernization, especially as regards antiaircraft armament, which the USSR has no means of effecting.
It is recommended that it continue to be agreed in principle that one-third of the Italian warships that are allocated for transfer to powers other than Italy be allocated for the use of the USSR It is further recommended that any question of the allocation of Italian naval ships to other powers be deferred, at least until after the conclusion of Allied offensive operations in Italy.
WILLIAM D. LEAHY
Admiral, U.S. Navy,
Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy