Cairo Conference (SEXTANT)

U.S. State Department (November 22, 1943)

Meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 11 a.m.

Present
General Marshall Major General Chennault
Admiral King Major General Wedemeyer
General Arnold Major General Deane
Ambassador Winant Brigadier General Kuter
Assistant Secretary of War McCloy Brigadier General Hansell
Vice Admiral Willson Captain Burrough
Lieutenant General Stilwell Captain Doyle
Lieutenant General Somervell Colonel O’Donnell
Rear Admiral Cooke Colonel Ferenbaugh
Rear Admiral Bieri Colonel Timberman
Rear Admiral Badger Colonel Smith
Major General Stratemeyer Colonel Bessell
Major General Wheeler Colonel Hammond
Major General Handy Colonel Todd
Major General Fairchild Commander Long
Major Chapman
Secretariat
Captain Royal
Colonel McFarland

Joint Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 22, 1943, 11 a.m.

Secret

Statement by Ambassador Winant

General Marshall said there was no formal agenda for the meeting which had been called principally for the purpose of hearing the views of Ambassador Winant, Ambassador Harriman and the representatives of the various theaters present as to the current situation in their particular areas. He said that the British Chiefs of Staff had proposed a meeting of the Combined Chiefs of [at?] 1500 hours in order to consider the matter of the procedure to be pursued during the conference and inquired if there were any objections on the part of the U.S. Chiefs to this proposal.

The U.S. Chiefs of Staff agreed to meet the Combined Chiefs of Staff at the hour indicated.

General Marshall then invited Ambassador Winant to express his views as to the state of mind of the British with respect to the current situation.

Ambassador Winant said that he found it difficult to give an accurate picture of British thinking with reference to a purely military conference, the need of which the British had felt some weeks ago. He pointed out that his statements would not in any way present his personal opinions but would indicate British opinion as he saw it. He said that the British felt the position of the United Nations was not sufficiently fluid to take advantage of the victories gained in Italy. These had resulted in the opening up of Mediterranean areas which offered to the Allies an opportunity for profitable action, if seized promptly, and which might assist in getting Turkey into the war. He said that Mr. Eden had differed with the Russian information [inclination?] to bring pressure to bear on Turkey and thought that a slow approach to her entry into the war was much better, and he had been able to persuade Mr. Molotov to accept this view.

Ambassador Winant said that he had recently had a talk with Admiral Sir Andrew Browne Cunningham, the British First Sea Lord. He had been impressed with Admiral Cunningham’s knowledge of the personalities who command Turkish policies and felt strongly that a conference with him would prove fruitful.

Mr. Winant said that in his opinion the British had no intention of diverting the means available for action in Burma. With reference to OVERLORD, he thought that the British had no idea of abandoning the operation but that they did oppose a fixed date for it. It is the British view that it was not possible to fix far in advance the psychological moment for launching an attack on the Continent and they feared that through the action of the British and U.S. military staffs they had signed a contract, the terms of which took precedence over subsequent changes in the military situation. He felt that the British were genuine in their desire to build up OVERLORD and that the principal difference in opinion as between them and the U.S. was as to timing. He pointed out that OVERLORD lacks a commander and that this lack was adding to the difficulties of the commander of the American forces in England. He said that the British were very anxious to employ fully the resistance possible to be developed among the unorganized forces in the Balkans. He felt that this was sufficient to warrant the expenditure of some means. With respect to Italy, he felt they do not want to advance as far as the Po Valley but only to go far enough to take Rome and secure the airfields in that area. They are of the opinion that day and night bombing is having tremendous effect in Germany in the destruction of bottleneck industry. They feel that this bombing has neutralized 17 cities and they hope that a comparable success will continue.

In answer to a question from Admiral King, Mr. Winant stated that the British feel that Russia wants Turkey in the war now and not later. He had been told by Mr. Eden that it was the Prime Minister’s opinion that Marshal Stalin is chiefly interested at the present moment in stretching German resources and that his interest in a second front was not nearly so great as it had been. He was still interested in vigorous action against the Germans but was not so much concerned as to the particular area in which it was brought to bear.

General Arnold inquired as to the British view on the possibility of carrying on operations in the Balkans without interfering with scheduled operations.

Mr. Winant replied that the British feel that it can be done without much cost by the employment of what he termed bush-league tactics in the Eastern Mediterranean. He said that the Prime Minister had been considerably upset by the British defeat in the Dodecanese although British military men thought that the Prime Minister’s view was considerably out of perspective.

Mr. Winant said that the British feel that they are supreme on the sea and that the British and the U.S. are supreme in the air but that the German is still superior to both in ground operations. Their ground operations in the Dodecanese had confirmed the Prime Minister’s views in this regard.

With reference to cross-channel operations he said that the British were disturbed now not so much by the difficulties of landing as by those to be encountered during the first 60 days. They were impressed with the excellent communications which ran from east to west and doubted that by bombing alone it would be possible to prevent the Germans from bringing up sufficient reinforcements to put the issue gravely in doubt.

Mr. Winant reiterated that the British are still behind the OVERLORD operation but wish to be sure that German resistance is properly softened before undertaking the actual landing operation.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 3 p.m.

Present
United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Air Chief Marshal Portal
Admiral King Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
General Arnold Field Marshall Dill
Lieutenant General Somervell Lieutenant General Ismay
Vice Admiral Willson General Riddell-Webster
Rear Admiral Cooke Captain Lambe
Rear Admiral Bieri Brigadier Sugden
Rear Admiral Badger Air Commodore Elliot
Major General Handy Brigadier McNair
Major General Fairchild
Brigadier General Hansell
Brigadier General Kuter
Brigadier General Tansey
Captain Doyle
Colonel Roberts
Secretariat
Brigadier Redman
Captain Royal
Colonel McFarland
Commander Coleridge

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 22, 1943, 3 p.m.

Secret

Admiral Leahy suggested, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff agreed, that General Sir Alan Brooke should take the Chair at the meetings of the Combined Chiefs of Staff at SEXTANT.

Conduct of conference

The Combined Chiefs of Staff discussed the future work of the Conference, with particular reference to the necessity for considering operations in the Far East as early as possible.

Sir Hastings Ismay said that he understood it was likely that the President and Prime Minister would hold a plenary session with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek at 1700 on Tuesday, 23 November, and that it had been suggested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should meet with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek on Wednesday, 24 November.

General Marshall read out to the Combined Chiefs of Staff a brief memorandum prepared by General Stilwell giving the Generalissimo’s views of future operations in the Chinese Theater. He suggested that the United States and British Chiefs of Staff should separately study this memorandum on the following morning and that the Combined Chiefs of Staff collectively should consider it at 1430 on Tuesday, 23 November. These proposals were accepted by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. It was also agreed that the Generalissimo and his principal advisers should be invited to be present at the Combined Chiefs of Staff meeting at 1530 on Tuesday, 23 November.

At the suggestion of Admiral Leahy, the Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed that the procedure to be used at SEXTANT should follow the lines of that used at the QUADRANT Conference, with specific reference to the recording of decisions, the approval of minutes, and the reports to the President and Prime Minister.

Proposed SEXTANT agenda (CCS 404 and 404/1)

Sir Alan Brooke explained that the British proposals set out in CCS 404/1 were designed to enable the Combined Chiefs of Staff to study at the earliest possible opportunity operations affecting the Chinese Theater. They could then turn to operations in Europe in order that if possible they should have fully considered these before meeting the USSR representatives.

Admiral King said he felt that the British agenda was acceptable as an outline into which the details suggested by the United States Chiefs of Staff could be fitted.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Accepted the proposals for the main subjects for discussion on the SEXTANT agenda as set out in paragraph 2 of CCS 404/1.

EUREKA

The Combined Chiefs of Staff discussed the arrangements for EUREKA.

Relations between Combined Chiefs of Staff and the representatives of the USSR and China

General Marshall said that he felt the Combined Chiefs of Staff should consider the question of their relationship both during the Conference and in the future, with the military representatives of the USSR and China. This seemed particularly important in view of the recent Four-Power agreements concluded in Moscow. There had already been an intimation from Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek that he would welcome an invitation for a Chinese military representative to sit with the Combined Chiefs of Staff. It might facilitate the development of good faith and mutual understanding with the USSR and China if each were invited to have a representative present with the Combined Chiefs of Staff. However, he thought that this should be based on a well-thought-out scheme, rather than on day-to-day decisions. There might be certain advantages in having the Soviet representatives attend at least some conferences in order that they could appreciate the difficulties of a worldwide war on every front in comparison with their own and China’s highly localized operations.

Admiral King said that the question raised a basic problem in that it might lead to the permanent expansion of the Combined Chiefs of Staff into a Four-Power body. It was pointed out that it would be impossible for the Chinese and the Soviet representatives to sit at the same table since they were not engaging the same enemies, nor could the Soviet representatives attend deliberations of the Combined Chiefs of Staff dealing with the war against Japan.

Admiral Leahy suggested that the Chinese and Soviets should, during the present Conference, be invited to be present only when the Combined Chiefs of Staff were discussing the problems of the particular fronts in which each was interested. With regard to the Soviets, it would of course most certainly be necessary, when a Western Front was opened, that our action should be coordinated with theirs and that the delegates attending meetings for this purpose should be able to speak with full authority.

Sir Charles Portal pointed out that this would be equally true if Turkey was brought into the war and operations in that area were undertaken.

Sir Hastings Ismay said that at Moscow it had been clear that the Soviet representatives did not realize that the machinery of the Combined Chiefs of Staff was in continuous operation. They would, he thought, expect to be invited only to Conferences such as QUADRANT or SEXTANT, but not to attend all the meetings at these Conferences. There had been no signs of their suggesting permanent representation with the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

There was general agreement that, subject to further consideration, the best procedure would be for the Chinese and Soviet Representatives to be invited to attend only those meetings of the Combined Chiefs of Staff at which matters concerning the fronts in which they were interested were under discussion. At EUREKA, however, it would obviously be necessary for the Soviet representatives to attend all meetings held.

Reaffirmation of overall strategic concept and basic undertakings

Without discussion, the Combined Chiefs of Staff: Accepted the overall strategic concept and basic undertakings as set out in CCS 380/2.

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Memorandum by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff

Cairo, 22 November 1943

Secret
CCS 404

Proposed agenda for SEXTANT

  1. Agreement as to conference procedure.

  2. Overall Objective; Overall Strategic Concept for the Prosecution of the War; Basic Undertakings in Support of Overall Strategic Concept.

  3. European-Mediterranean

a. Estimate of the enemy situation.

b. Report on the Combined Bomber Offensive.

c. Report on anti-U-boat operations.

d. Report on status of development of facilities in the Azores, air and naval.

e. Readiness report on OVERLORD, RANKIN, and JUPITER.

f. Report on Mediterranean operations, including the Middle East.

g. Plans for U.S.-British-USSR military collaboration.

h. Specific operations for the defeat of Germany and her Satellites, 1943-44.

i. Policies with respect to military considerations in dealing with neutral, liberated and occupied countries, including agreement as to division of responsibility between the United Nations.

  1. Japan

a. Estimate of the enemy situation, 1944, Japan (giving consideration to Russian and Chinese intentions).

b. Short-Term Plan for the defeat of Japan.

c. Report on the general situation in the Southeast Asia Command.

d. Report on operations in China.

e. Report on Pacific operations.

f. Transfer of United Nations efforts to the defeat of Japan upon the defeat of Germany.

g. Specific operations for the defeat of Japan, 1944, including amphibious operations in Southeast Asia.

  1. Relation of resources to plans.

  2. Final report to President and Prime Minister.

  3. Preparation and approval of any directives arising from conference decisions and of any reports to other Allies.

  4. Discussion as to the next conference.


Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff

Cairo, 22 November 1943

Secret
CCS 404/1

SEXTANT Agenda

  1. We have considered the Agenda for SEXTANT proposed by the United States Chiefs of Staff (CCS 404) and while we have no specific objections to the subjects set out in their memorandum, we suggest that a more simple agenda would meet the case.

  2. We, therefore, propose that the main subjects for discussion should be as follows:

I. Reaffirm Overall Objective, Overall Strategic Concept and Basic Undertakings (CCS 319/5, paragraphs 2-5 and paragraph 6, as subsequently amended by agreement between Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS 380/2))

II. Southeast Asia Operations

III. OVERLORD and the Mediterranean

IV. The War Against Japan

V. Progress Reports

  1. Discussion of the above main subjects would include the introduction of most, if not all, of the points put forward in the American agenda. The arrangements for dealing with the detailed subjects would, however, be made from day to day.

  2. It will be noted that Southeast Asia operations have been placed second on the list, in view of the intention to bring the Generalissimo and Admiral Mountbatten into the discussions at the earliest stage.

  3. It is thought that the Progress Reports should be left to the end of the Conference when the main items have been disposed of. This procedure will not, of course, preclude points being raised for discussion when the Progress Reports are taken.

A. F. BROOKE
C. A. PORTAL
A. B. CUNNINGHAM

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Memorandum by the Generalissimo’s Chief of Staff

Cairo, 22 November 1943

Secret
CCS 405

Role of China in defeat of Japan

At QUADRANT an outline plan for operations against Japan was presented in Annex “I” to CCS 319/2. These operations culminated in an invasion of Japan sometime after 1947.

The question at hand which concerns the China Theater is “what operations can be mounted from China which will have the greatest effect on the course of the war in the Pacific?” This question can be answered as follows:

a. Assist SEAC in operations against North Burma – current.

b. Develop land route to China and improve internal communications – current.

c. Continue to train and improve combat effectiveness of Chinese Army – current.

d. Initiate intensive bombing of Japan by VLR bombers – early 1944.

e. Recapture Canton and Hong Kong – November 1944-May 1945.

f. Carry out intensive bombing of Formosa and PI, deny use of Straits of Formosa and South China Sea to Japan and furnish land-based air support to any U.S. Navy activities in these areas – October 1944

g. Attack Formosa if required – May 1945-November 1945.

h. Offensive operations towards Shanghai – November 1945.

The above operations are tactically and logistically feasible. The cost is low. There is no competition with other theaters for specialized equipment and there is no conflict with operations projected by other theaters. These operations will:
(1) Provide greatest aid possible to other theaters, and

(2) Out down QUADRANT timetable for final defeat of Japan by one to two years.

Requirements:
a. One U.S. Infantry Division in India by March 1944. Two additional divisions about a month apart thereafter (these to be definitely earmarked for China Theater).

b. Continuation of supply program from U.S. for equipping Chinese troops.

c. Setting up India as a base for both China and Southeast Asia Theaters. All U.S. troops now in India except those necessary for operation of the Communication Zone to be moved to China after recapture of North Burma.

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740.0011 PW 1939/12–3143

Memorandum by Lt. Gen. Stilwell’s political adviser

Cairo, November 22(?), 1943

The China and South East Asia Theaters: Some political considerations

The mission of the South East Asia Command is to defeat the enemy in and presumably occupy former British and Dutch colonies and Thailand. French Indochina may later be included.

Insofar as we participate in SEAC operations, we become involved in the politically explosive colonial problems of the British, Dutch and possibly French. In so doing, we compromise ourselves not only with the colonial peoples of Asia but also the free peoples of Asia, including the Chinese. Domestically, our Government lays itself open to public criticism – “why should American boys die to recreate the colonial empires of the British and their Dutch and French satellites?” Finally, more Anglo-American misunderstanding and friction is likely to arise out of our participation in SEAC than out of any other theater.

By concentrating our Asiatic effort on operations in and from China, we keep to the minimum our involvement in colonial imperialism. We engage in a cause which is popular with Asiatics and the American public. We avoid the mutual mistrust and recrimination over the colonial question, potentially so inimical to harmonious Anglo-American relations.

General Stilwell has submitted a plan for increased American effort in the China theater. It envisages, among other things, the recapture of Canton, Hong Kong and Shanghai and a possible attack on Formosa. He proposes to use American and Chinese forces to accomplish this. The Chinese welcome this plan. It gives them something to fight for. They have slight interest in entering Burma, Thailand and French Indochina for only the territorial benefit of the British and the French. But their own territory and Formosa (which they claim) provide a real incentive.

The Chinese Army is great in size. But it is relatively untrained and generally corrupt. However much of the Generalissimo and his Army may in principle wish to assume the offensive, they cannot effectively do so excepting under firm American guidance. American leadership can concretely be exercised only as General Stilwell is given bargaining power, for the Chinese are sharp, practical traders. All aid and concessions to China must therefore be made in consultation with and through General Stilwell.

It is not proposed that with a concentration of effort on the China theater we should forthwith turn our backs on SEAC. In cooperation with SEAC we need to retake North Burma immediately and so reopen a land route to China. But after the recapture of North Burma, there comes a parting of the ways.

The British will wish to throw their main weight southward for the repossession of colonial empire. Our main interest in Asia will lie to the East from whence we can strike directly and in coordination with other American offensives at the center of Japan’s new Empire.

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Note by the Secretaries of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Cairo, 22 November 1943

Secret
JCS 606

Collaboration with the USSR

The following paragraph, from a radio from General Deane to General Marshall, is submitted by General Marshall to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for their consideration:

I suggest that the Joint Chiefs of Staff put the Russians on the defensive at once by having some request to make of the Russians. I think it is important that we are not put in a position of doing all the explaining. You might include the following subjects: built [sic] bases; improved communications and interchange of weather; shuttle bomber bases, and coordination of timing reference OVERLORD.

F. B. ROYAL
A. J. McFARLAND
Joint Secretariat

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Meeting of Roosevelt, Churchill, Chiang, and Madame Chiang, afternoon

An entry in the Leahy Diary for the afternoon of November 22, 1943, reads as follows:

Had tea in Kirk Villa with the President, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Madame Chiang, General Marshall and Mr. Hopkins.

Presumably the Churchill visit took place separately from that of the Chiangs. There are no indications that substantive problems were discussed during these visits, which appear to have been in the nature of courtesy calls.

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The Pittsburgh Press (November 22, 1943)

Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin meeting termed imminent

Washington also expects U.S. and British leaders to confer with Generalissimo Chiang
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Washington –
Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek is expected by well-informed persons here to figure in international war conferences about which London dispatches have been hinting for a week and which now have some official confirmation in Washington.

London reports said announcement was expected soon of a meeting among President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin. Washington sources immediately confirmed that such an announcement was likely, at least with respect to another Roosevelt-Churchill meeting – their seventh since Pearl Harbor.

Desire well known

The desire of both men to meet with Marshal Stalin is well known. Furthermore, it was emphasized here even before Secretary of State Cordell Hull went to the Moscow meeting of British, Russian and U.S. foreign ministers that their conference was to be preliminary to a Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin meeting.

A Chinese representative participated in the Moscow foreign ministers conference. Mr. Roosevelt is not only anxious to meet Marshal Stalin but would also like to talk things over with Generalissimo Chiang. The best information is that if the Anglo-American leaders confer with Marshal Stalin, they will also confer with Generalissimo Chiang, but at some other time and place.

Courtesy to Stalin

Setting a Roosevelt-Churchill conference with Generalissimo Chiang for a place and time different from any meeting with Marshal Stalin would be out of courtesy to the Russian leader. Premier Stalin might prefer to avoid a full-dress conference with representatives of the three nations now fighting Japan, with whom the Soviet Union is in a state of more or less precarious peace. No one here wants to do anything that would disturb Japanese-Russian relations at a time when the Red Army has its hands full doing a brilliant job of killing Germans.

The expected Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin meeting would be of greater military than political significance. It was remarked here at a public occasion earlier in the month that several of the highest-ranking U.S. Army and Navy officers were not in their accustomed places. The Vichy radio shortly afterward reported them to be en route to staff meetings preliminary to a conference among the Russian, British and U.S. heads of state.

May plan invasion

There were intimations at last August’s Québec Conference that Russian and Anglo-American military staffs probably would not be ready to talk until the three nations were ready for combined operations of some kind.

It is assumed, therefore, that any conference now would deal with development of the Anglo-American assault on the west shores of Europe and perhaps a pincer movement into the Balkans. The Red Army is now pressing toward the Balkan flank from the east while Anglo-American forces battle up the Italian boot on the western Balkan flank.

From the expected conference will presumably come the long-discounted announcement that Gen. George C. Marshall will command Anglo-American forces in the European Theater. There have been reports here that Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, commanding in the African and Mediterranean Theater, would come to the United States to sit in as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army during Gen. Marshall’s absence overseas.

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Operation Anakim? ‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎

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U.S. State Department (November 22, 1943)

President Roosevelt to Marshal Stalin

Cairo, 22 November 1943

Secret
Op priority

I have arrived in Cairo this morning and begin [begun?] discussions with the Prime Minister. Conferences will follow with the Generalissimo by the end of the week. He will thereupon return to China. The Prime Minister and I with our senior staff officers can then proceed to Teheran to meet you, Mr. Molotov and your staff officers. If it suits your convenience I could arrive the afternoon of November 29. I am prepared to remain for two to four days depending upon how long you can find it possible to be away from your compelling responsibilities. I would be grateful if you would telegraph me what day you wish to set for our meeting and how long you can stay. I realize that bad weather sometimes causes delays in travel from Moscow to Teheran at this time of the year and therefore would appreciate your keeping me advised of your plans.

I am informed that your Embassy and the British Embassy in Teheran are situated close to each other whereas my Legation is some distance away. I am advised that all three of us would be taking unnecessary risks by driving to and from our meetings if we were staying so far apart from each other.

Where do you think we should live?

I look forward to our talks with keen anticipation.

ROOSEVELT

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

Cairo, 22 November 1943
Secret

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

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

I look forward to seeing you. Regards.

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Roosevelt-Churchill dinner meeting, 8 p.m.

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

The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 22, 1943
Secret

For the President from Secretary Hull:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steinhardt also reports from reliable Turkish sources that:

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

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

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

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

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

CH

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American-British preliminary meeting, 9 p.m.

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

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


President Roosevelt’s log of the trip

Monday, November 22 (en route Tunis to Cairo, and at Cairo)

9:35 a.m. The President’s plane landed at Cairo West Airport (a Royal Air Force field). This was some two and one-half hours after plane number two of our party had arrived from Tunis, and the late arrival caused some concern at the field as to the President’s safety. Two different groups of fighter planes had been at appointed rendezvous at the scheduled times but each failed to make contact and eventually had to return to their base for refueling. The President’s plane, it developed, had detoured southward as far as latitude 28°00′00″ north and had then turned northward and followed the course of the River Nile up to Cairo. This route took them over the Sphinx and the Pyramids. The air distance from Tunis to Cairo, over the route flown by the President’s plane, was 1,851 miles. The President was met at Cairo West Airport by Major General Ralph Royce, USA, Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East, and his Chief of Staff, Brigadier General G. X. Cheaves [Cheves], USA. The Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek and their party had arrived in Cairo from Chungking the evening before our arrival (on November 21). Prime Minister Churchill and his party also arrived in Cairo on November 21.
10:10 a.m. The President disembarked and proceeded via automobile to Ambassador Alexander C. Kirk’s villa in the Mena District of Cairo, which is approximately seven miles west of Cairo and out near the Pyramids of Giza.
10:30 a.m. The President arrived at Ambassador Kirk’s Mena villa. He made this villa his home, at Ambassador Kirk’s invitation, during his entire stay in Cairo. This villa is of medium size and is beautifully furnished. It also has a lovely flower garden in the rear with an overlooking patio, and it was there that the President spent most of his few leisure moments. The general area surrounding the President’s quarters was guarded by American soldiers. Mr. Hopkins and Admiral Leahy lived in the President’s villa. Admiral Brown, Admiral McIntire and General Watson and other members of our party lived in nearby villas. The President brought along his own valet and cooks and stewards and throughout our stay here and at Tehran those cooks and stewards prepared the President’s meals. The SEXTANT Conference was held in the Mena House Hotel, located approximately one mile west of the President’s villa and right at the very base of the Pyramids of Giza. The President was met at his villa on his arrival by Ambassadors Kirk and Averell W. [W. Averell] Harriman. During the afternoon, the Prime Minister, the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek called on the President.
8:00 p.m. Dinner at the President’s villa for the President, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Mr. Hopkins, Admiral Leahy and Prime Minister Churchill.
9:00 p.m. Preliminary meeting of the President, Prime Minister Churchill and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek with their respective military and naval staffs and other delegates, A complete list of those present follows:
. . . . . . .
11:10 p.m. The preliminary meeting, as described above, adjourned.
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U.S. State Department (November 23, 1943)

U.S. Delegation memorandum

Cairo, November 23, 1943

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

In Moscow there are definite indications that the Soviet Government:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Harriman-Vyshinsky conversation, forenoon

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

Memorandum by the Ambassador to the Soviet Union

Memorandum of Conversation

Cairo, November 23, 1943
Secret

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Roosevelt conversations with various callers, forenoon

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

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

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

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Chiang-Hurley conversation, forenoon

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

The President to the President’s personal representative

Cairo, 23 November 1943

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

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

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Plenary meeting, 11 a.m.

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

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 23, 1943, 11 a.m.
Secret

Southeast Asia Operations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff

Cairo, 23 November 1943

Secret
CCS 401/1

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

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

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

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

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