Cairo Conferences (SEXTANT)

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff with Roosevelt and Churchill, 11 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt (in the Chair) Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins General Brooke
Admiral Leahy Air Chief Marshal Portal
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
Admiral King Field Marshall Dill
General Arnold Lieutenant General Ismay
Lieutenant General Somervell Major General Laycock
Brigadier Hollis
Captain Royal

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 24, 1943, 11 a.m.

Operations in Europe and the Mediterranean

The President said that at this meeting he hoped there would be a preliminary survey of operations in the European Theater, including the Mediterranean. Final decisions would depend on the way things went at the conference shortly to be held with Premier Stalin. There were some reports that Premier Stalin had no thoughts beyond OVERLORD, to which he attached the highest importance as being the only operation worth considering. In other quarters it was held that Premier Stalin was anxious that in addition to OVERLORD in 1944, the Germans should be given no respite throughout the winter, and that there should be no idle hands between now and OVERLORD. The logistic problem was whether we could retain OVERLORD in all its integrity and, at the same time, keep the Mediterranean ablaze. In his view, Premier Stalin would be almost certain to demand both the continuation of action in the Mediterranean, and OVERLORD. As regards the Eastern Mediterranean, the question arose “where will the Germans go from the Dodecanese.” The answer seemed to be “nowhere.” If the same question was applied to ourselves, the answer seemed to depend on the action of Turkey. The entry of Turkey into the war would put quite a different complexion on the matter. This would be another question for discussion at the meeting with Premier Stalin.

The Prime Minister said he was in accord with the President’s views. We had had a year of unbroken success in North Africa and the Mediterranean, in Russia, and in the Pacific. Alamein and TORCH had paved the way for the extermination of large German forces in Tunisia. This was followed by the highly successful Sicily operation, and subsequently by the daring amphibious landing at Salerno and the capture of Naples. Then came Mussolini’s fall, the collapse of Italy and the capitulation of the Italian Fleet. In the whole history of warfare there had never been such a long period of joint Allied success, nor such a high degree of cooperation and comradeship extending from the High Command down to the troops in the field between two Allies. We should, however, be unworthy of these accomplishments and of the tasks lying ahead if we did not test our organization to see whether improvements could be made. That was the purpose of these periodical meetings.

As a contrast to the almost unbroken successes of the past year, the last two months had produced a series of disappointments. In Italy the campaign had flagged. We did not have a sufficient margin of superiority to give us the power to force the enemy back. The weather had been bad. The departure from the Mediterranean of certain units and landing craft had had, it seemed, a rather depressing effect on the soldiers remaining to fight the battle. The buildup of strategic air forces may also have contributed to the slow progress. The main objective was Rome, for “whoever holds Rome holds the title deeds of Italy.” With Rome in our possession, the Italian Government would hold up its head. Moreover, we should then be in a position to seize the landing grounds to the northward.

He, the Prime Minister, had agreed, but with a heavy heart, to the return of seven divisions from the Mediterranean Theater. The 50th and 51st British Divisions, which were first-class troops, had had their equipment removed in preparation for embarkation. In the meanwhile, the 3rd U.S. Division had been no less than 49 days in constant contact with the enemy, and other U.S. and British units had been fighting without rest for long periods.

Passing across the Adriatic to Yugoslavia, more trouble had brewed up. It was a lamentable fact that virtually no supplies had been conveyed by sea to the 222,000 followers of Tito. These stalwarts were holding as many Germans in Yugoslavia as the combined Anglo-American forces were holding in Italy south of Rome. The Germans had been thrown into some confusion after the collapse of Italy and the Patriots had gained control of large stretches of the coast. We had not, however, seized our opportunity. The Germans had recovered and were driving the Partisans out bit by bit. The main reason for this was the artificial line of responsibility which ran through the Balkans. On the one hand, the responsibility for operations here lay with the Middle East Command but they had not the forces. On the other hand, General Eisenhower had the forces but not the responsibility. Considering that the Partisans and Patriots had given us such a generous measure of assistance at almost no cost to ourselves, it was of high importance to insure that their resistance was maintained and not allowed to flag.

Moving further east to the Aegean, the picture was equally black. When Italy fell, cheap prizes were open to us, and General Wilson had been ordered to “improvise and dare.” Although we had not been able to seize Rhodes we had occupied Kos, Leros, Samos and others of the smaller islands. It had been hoped to capture Rhodes in October, but when the time came only one Indian division was available for the task, and this was considered an insufficient force to eject the 8,000 Germans in the island. The enemy had reacted strongly to our initial moves. He had ejected us one by one from the islands, ending up with the recapture of Leros where we had lost 5,000 first-class troops, with four cruisers and seven destroyers either sunk or damaged. Nevertheless, taking into account the German soldiers drowned and those killed by air attack and in the battle, neither side could claim any large superiority in battle casualties. The Germans, however, were now reestablished in the Aegean.

As stated by the President, the attitude of Turkey would have a profound effect on future events in this area. With Rhodes once more in our possession and the Turkish airfields at our disposal, the other islands would become untenable for the enemy.

It was to be hoped that the Russians would share our view of the importance of bringing Turkey into the war. They should see that great possibilities would accrue and a chance to join hands with them by means of sending supplies through the Dardanelles. The effect on Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria would be profound. All this might be done at quite a small cost, say, two divisions and a few landing craft. It might well be that a meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister could be arranged on the way back from meeting Premier Stalin.

Passing now to the Southeast Asia Theater, it was now clear that FIRST CULVERIN would require many more ships and craft than the British alone could supply. If it was thought by the United States Chiefs of Staff that CULVERIN was the best contribution to the Pacific war, then our resources would have to be made up by help from America. If, on the other hand, CULVERIN was thought to be too costly, it might be better to bring back from the Southeast Asia Theater to the Mediterranean sufficient landing craft for an attack on Rhodes. Thus the sequence would be, first Rome then Rhodes. He, the Prime Minister, wished to make it clear that the British had no idea of advancing into the Valley of the Po. Their idea was that the campaign in Italy should have the strictly limited objective of the Pisa-Rimini line. No regular formations were to be sent to Yugoslavia. All that was needed there was a generous packet of supplies, air support and, possibly, a few Commandos. This stepping-up of our help to the Patriots would not involve us in a large additional commitment. Finally, when we had reached our objectives in Italy, the time would come to take the decision whether we should move to the left or to the right.

Turning now to the knockout blow, OVERLORD, the Prime Minister emphasized that he had in no way relaxed his zeal for this operation. We had profited very considerably in our experiences of amphibious operations and our landing appliances had improved out of all knowledge. There would be an anxious period during the buildup, when the Germans might be able to concentrate more quickly than we could. Nevertheless, the 16 British divisions would be ready when called upon. It seemed to him that the timing of the operation depended more on the state of the enemy than on the set perfection of our preparations. He agreed with the view that if the Germans did not throw in the sponge by February, we should have to expect heavy fighting throughout the summer. In this event, it would have to be realized that the 16 British divisions were the limit of our contribution. The British could not meet any further calls on our manpower, which was now fully deployed on war service.

After reviewing all the various theaters of operations, the relationships seemed to work out as follows.

OVERLORD remained top of the bill, but this operation should not be such a tyrant as to rule out every other activity in the Mediterranean; for example, a little flexibility in the employment of landing craft ought to be conceded. Seventy additional LCTs had been ordered to be built in British shipyards. We must see if we can do even better than this.

General Alexander had asked that the date of the return of the landing craft for OVERLORD should be deferred from mid-December to mid-January. The resources which were at issue between the American and British Staffs would probably be found to amount to no more than 10 percent of the whole, excluding those in the Pacific Surely some degree of elasticity could be arranged. Nevertheless, he wished to remove any idea that we had weakened, cooled, or were trying to get out of OVERLORD. We were in it up to the hilt.

To sum up, the program he advocated was Rome in January, Rhodes in February, supplies to the Yugoslavs, a settlement of the Command arrangements and the opening of the Aegean, subject to the outcome of an approach to Turkey; all preparations for OVERLORD to go ahead full steam within the framework of the foregoing policy for the Mediterranean.

The President said that we could not tell what the state of German military capabilities would be from month to month. The Russian advance, if it continued at its present rate, would bring our ally in a few weeks to the boundaries of Rumania. At the forthcoming conference, the Russians might ask what we intended to do in this event. They might suggest a junction of our right with their left. We should be ready to answer this question.

The Russians might suggest that we stage an operation at the top of the Adriatic with a view to assisting Tito.

Turning to manpower, the President read out the figures for the U.S. and British air and land forces at present disposed overseas and in the respective home countries.

The Prime Minister said that the staffs had been giving much thought to how we should beat Japan when Hitler was finished. He was determined to solve this problem and the British Fleet would be disposed wherever it could make the best contribution towards this end. The air force buildup would also be studied.

The President said that he shared the views expressed by Mr. Molotov that the defeat of Japan would follow that of Germany and more rapidly than at present was generally thought possible. It seemed that the Generalissimo had been well satisfied with the discussion held the previous day. There was no doubt that China had wide aspirations which included the reoccupation of Manchuria and Korea.

The President then referred to the question of Command, remarking that he still received requests for the transfer of shipping and of air forces from one theater to another for a limited period of operations. In his view our strategic air forces from London to Ankara should be under one command. He cited the example of the command which Marshal Foch exercised in 1918.

The Prime Minister said that once we were across the Channel a united command would be established in the area of operations. He considered that the Combined Chiefs of Staff system had worked reasonably satisfactorily in taking the decision referred to by the President.

The Prime Minister paid a tribute to the accuracy and effectiveness of the U.S. daylight bombers operating from the United Kingdom.

The President and Prime Minister invited the staffs to study the problems as to the scope and dates of the operations to be carried out in the European and Mediterranean Theaters in 1944, with a view to arriving at an agreed view, if possible, before the coming meeting with the Russians.

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The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 24, 1943

For the President from Secretary Hull

You will recall that just prior to my departure for Moscow you approved a paper entitled “Civil Affairs for France” which outlined the basic principles under which the Supreme Allied Commander would operate with regard to civil administration of liberated French territory on the mainland during the period of hostilities. This paper had likewise received the approval of our War Department and subsequently was approved by the British Government. It was submitted to the Moscow Conference and by agreement with the British and Russian Delegations was referred to the European Commission. In view of the urgency of the matter and possible delay in setting up the Commission we suggested informally to the British that the Foreign Office might wish to take immediate steps to clear it in London through the American and Soviet Embassies.

The British Foreign Office has, however, now come back with suggestions for an entirely different approach communicated in a memorandum left with the Department by the British Embassy.

The British memorandum sets out that the British Government feels:

…that in view of recent changes at Algiers and in particular of the fact that the French resistance movements, whose role will be of such importance when Allied landings take place, are now strongly represented on the Committee, the collaboration of the French Committee and of the French military authorities may be impossible to obtain unless the matter is cleared on the Governmental level with the French Committee before the Allied military authorities get into touch with the French military authorities in the matter. And French cooperation in the planning, and later in the actual work of civil administration, is essential to its success.

The memorandum also states that the British Government anticipates that since the Russian Delegates raised the matter at Moscow the Russians will again revert to the question of “the status and role of the French Committee” as soon as discussion is resumed with them. Consequently the British feel, the memorandum continues, that “since this question raises an important aspect of a combined Anglo-American operation, it would be desirable that Anglo-American agreement should be reached before discussions are opened with the Soviet Government” and that for these reasons the British Government sees “no practical alternative to an early discussion of the whole problem with the French Committee, and feels that this ought to be done very soon if events are not to overtake action.”

A similar approach has been made by Peake of the Foreign Office to Phillips in London and COSSAC requests an early reply. Phillips telegraphs in part as follows:

(3) The proposed basic scheme envisages a French director of civil affairs. Manifestly his authority and responsibility would not extend to appropriate parts of the zone of operations until military conditions therein permit. However, under RANKIN “c” conditions, which envisage a Nazi collapse and the cessation of organized resistance by the German forces, on or before D-Day, there would arise an almost immediate need for the establishment of a provisional French administration for virtually all France. It would appear that the only available organization capable of handling such a situation in the large areas outside the corridors through which our forces will pass, is the French National Committee which now has the support of the resistance groups. The foregoing refers only to RANKIN “c.”

(4) In the case of OVERLORD, this situation would probably not arise until very extensive areas of France have been liberated. Until this situation arises, the French director’s responsibility would be necessarily limited to providing civil administration in areas to the rear of the fighting zone and then only as the military situation permits a progressive transfer of civil responsibility to him.

(5) Therefore, the immediate and pressing problem now before us is related [to planning for the cooperation of RANKIN “c.”

As you will observe, giving the changes in the French Committee as their reasons, the British have now advanced a basic contention that we should agree to negotiations with the French Committee relative to the basic civil affairs formula on a governmental level rather than the previous arrangement of dealing with French military authorities on a combined military operational level.

I should appreciate receiving your instructions as to the nature of the reply you wish made to this British suggestion as well as to the proposal that the French Committee be permitted to assume control of “virtually all France” under RANKIN “c” conditions.


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The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 24, 1943

For the President from Secretary Hull:

Mr. Kennan conversed with Dr. Salazar for two hours yesterday afternoon and presented the President’s personal letter. The letter clearly made a profound impression on the Prime Minister.

The conversation was cordial and friendly throughout. Dr. Salazar said he could not answer authoritatively offhand.

Dr. Salazar had expected us to use naval facilities granted the British as occasion required, without requesting permission.

He was not unsympathetic about facilities in Terceira and was ready to seek a formula to reconcile our use of the airport with the terms of the British agreement. He wondered whether we could not consider aircraft being delivered by ferry command to England as having British status from departure in this country until after passage through Portuguese territory, and said in this case he would not be interested in nationality of crews or ground forces serving such aircraft. Answering a specific question from Kennan he said this would apply to construction and engineering personnel.

As for facilities beyond those granted the British, his primary reaction was that this was tantamount to proposing Portugal’s entry into the war. He dwelt at length on his efforts to preserve Portuguese neutrality, and said the British alliance had afforded the pretext for giving the British their facilities while continuing to claim neutrality. He recognized the need for closer collaboration with Atlantic nations. Should he enter the war he would extend us all facilities, but he questioned the advantage of Portuguese belligerency.

Kennan stressed the importance of obtaining our facilities promptly and asked Dr. Salazar to bear this in mind.

Kennan considers Dr. Salazar’s reaction encouraging and hopes indications of British support, which will be conveyed by the British Minister [Ambassador] today, will further improve our position. He is sure that Dr. Salazar, after reading the President’s letter and observing recent events, is not unreceptive to our use of the Islands but is seeking a formula to reconcile his action with neutrality.


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Chiang-Marshall luncheon meeting, afternoon

United States China
General Marshall Generalissimo Chiang
Lieutenant General Stilwell Madame Chiang

The Director of War Mobilization to the President

Washington, November 24, 1943

Reference yours of 23 November.

Based on Bureau of Shipping predictions, program “C” can be increased in

January 0
February 2 to total of 447,
March 5 to total of 477,
April 15 to total of 517,
May 28 to total of 770;
LCIL increased in
January 0
February 3 to total of 508,
March 10 to total of 547,
April 20 to total of 597,
May 38 to total of 665;
LCT-7, no increases in months specified;
LCT-5 and 6, increased in
January 0
February 10 to total of 724,
March 21 to total of 785,
April 35 to total of 860,
May 50 to total of 950;
LCM-3 increased in
January 0
February 300 to total of 6,079,
March 300 to total of 6,829,
April 300 to total of 7,629,
May 300 to total of 8,469;
LCVP, increased in
January 0
February 200 to total of 9,646,
March 200 to total of 10,596,
April 200 to total of 11,546,
May 200 to total of 12,496;
LCC, increased in
January and February 0
March 15 to total of 69,
April 15 to total of 84,
May 15 to total of 99;

LVT, no increases considered feasible before June; any increases in LCPL and LCSS would be at the expense in equivalent reduction of LCVP. Headquarters ships AGC can be increased:

1 April delivery
2 May

Above figures result of conference of all interested agencies based on assumption that landing craft takes precedence over all other munitions including Russian protocol. Dates represent delivery tidewater ports United States. Will affect Army truck, Naval construction and to some extent high octane. Deliveries depend upon promptly directing priorities. Shall I proceed?

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The Supervising Agent, U.S. Secret Service to the Agent at Cairo

Tehran, November [24], 1943

Inform President that the United States Legation is adequate and is located one mile from the British Legation and Russian Embassy, which adjoin each other. The route between presents no security problems. The maximum altitude between Cairo and Tehran direct is no more than eight thousand feet. The railroad reaches an altitude of eight thousand feet. To obtain the train equipment, it will be necessary for us to notify the Shah. Plans are being made for both a direct flight from Cairo to Tehran and also for a flight from Cairo to the field at Abadan and then by rail to Tehran. The railroad terminal is located at Khorram Shahr which is seven miles from Abadan and it will be necessary to cross the Karoon River in a small boat. The railroad presents many dangerous security problems. General Hurley informs me of his conversation with the President. We have made no commitments as to a residence for the President. He can stay at the United States, the British or at the Russian Embassy if invited. You must leave Cairo at 6 a.m., Cairo Time, on the 26th. Arriving Abadan at 3 p.m. Then depart Khorram Shahr by rail at 4 p.m. Arrive Andimeshk at 9 p.m. Depart Andimeshk at 8 a.m. on 27th and arrive Tehran at 5 a.m. on the 28th. This schedule must be maintained if you expect to see any scenery. Urgently recommend you fly direct to Tehran, in which event you can depart Cairo at 7:30 a.m., Cairo Time, and arrive Tehran at 3:30 p.m., Tehran Time the same day. Otis Bryan concurs in all this. Urgently request decision as to whether you will fly direct or proceed by rail be sent to me tonight. Otherwise, I will depart Tehran at 7 a.m. on the 25th and will arrive Cairo at 1 p.m. Cairo Time the same day. McCarthy says facilities fine for Chiefs of Staff and requests you notify Captain Royal at Mena House that he will be in at 1 p.m. Cairo Time tomorrow with full details. Have three cars meet special plane at Payne Field tomorrow at one.

From Reilly to Spaman. Show this message to Admiral McIntire, Mr. Hopkins, General Watson, Admiral Brown, and the President.

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U.S. draft of communiqué with amendments by President Roosevelt

November 24, 1943

Draft of communiqué

President Roosevelt, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and Prime Minister Churchill, and their respective military leaders, have completed a conference somewhere in Africa. The several military missions have agreed upon future military operations directed against Japan from China and Southeast Asia. The plans, the details of which cannot be disclosed, provide for [continuous and increasingly] vigorous offensives against the Japanese. We are determined to bring unrelenting pressure against our brutal enemy by sea, land, and air. This pressure is already underway. Any time, place, and scope of our joint offensives in this area cannot now be disclosed, but Japan will know of their its power.

We are determined that the islands in the Pacific which have been occupied by the Japanese, many of them made powerful bases contrary to Japan’s specific and definite pledge not to militarize them, will be taken from Japan forever, and so the territory they have so treacherously stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria and Formosa, will of course be returned to the Republic of China. We are mindful of the treacherous enslavement of the people of Korea, and are determined that that country, at the earliest possible proper moment after the downfall of Japan, shall become a free and independent country.

We know full well that the defeat of Japan is going to require fierce and determined fighting. Our countries are pledged to fight together until we have received the unconditional surrender of Japan.

The Generalissimo has accompanied by his wife, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, who took part with the Generalissimo in several of the conferences with our military leaders.

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

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

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 24, 1943, 2:30 p.m.

Thanksgiving Day

Sir Alan Brooke said that since the following day would be Thanksgiving, he had made inquiries into the possibility of holding a service in the cathedral in Cairo and had found that this would be possible at 1800 hours. The British members of the Conference would, if agreeable to their American colleagues, like to join them in attending this service.

Admiral Leahy thanked Sir Alan Brooke for this gesture. It was very much appreciated by the United States Chiefs of Staff, who would gladly attend.

Conclusions of the 128th Meeting

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Accepted the conclusions of the 128th Meeting. The detailed report of the meeting was also accepted, subject to minor amendments.

Combined Chiefs of Staff – United Chiefs of Staff (CCS 406 and 406/1)

Sir Alan Brooke said the British Chiefs of Staff had considered the U.S. proposals and saw certain difficulties. The United Chiefs of Staff, if organized to exercise executive functions and take decisions, would in effect be superimposed on the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Only three members of the United Chiefs of Staff would be able to sit together at any one time since Russia and China were not fighting the same enemies, and the organization would be unable to take the wide global outlook which was the function of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. The Combined Chiefs of Staff now functioned day in and day out and dealt with day-to-day problems of global strategy. He felt it better that Russian and Chinese representatives should be asked to attend all future conferences, such as SEXTANT, to discuss matters in which they were directly concerned.

Admiral King felt it important to have ready some possible plan to meet future demands for stronger representation.

Admiral Leahy said he felt sure the Combined Chiefs of Staff would be put under pressure to alter their present machinery. He agreed that no other body could be superimposed above the Combined Chiefs of Staff, since such a body could never take major decisions.

Sir Charles Portal said that he felt that a distinction should be drawn between the day-to-day work of the Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington and the major decisions which were taken at the special conferences. He felt that if pressure were applied for permanent representation, the demand would be withdrawn if it were suggested that the Chinese or Russian Representatives concerned would have to be able to speak with the full authority of their governments.

Sir John Dill pointed out the special position of the United States and Great Britain in that they only were fighting a global war and were completely integrated and united on all fronts.

Sir Alan Brooke suggested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should not go further than to agree that, for the present, the Russians and Chinese should be asked to attend those meetings at future special conferences at which their own problems were being discussed.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Took note of CCS 406 and CCS 406/1.

b. Agreed:
(1) That the Combined Chiefs of Staff should not take the initiative in putting forward any proposals for machinery to secure closer military cooperation with the USSR and China.

(2) That if the USSR and/or the Chinese should raise the question, the difficulties of and objections to any form of standing United Chiefs of Staff Committee should be frankly explained to them. It should be pointed out:
(a) That the Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington are responsible for the day-to-day conduct of the Anglo-American forces which are closely integrated in accordance with the broad policy laid down at the formal conferences such as Casablanca, TRIDENT, QUADRANT, and SEXTANT which are convened from time to time; and

(b) That the USSR and/or Chinese Governments will be invited to join in any formal conferences which may be convened in the future to take part in the discussion of any military problems with which they are specifically concerned.

Agenda for EUREKA

Sir Alan Brooke said that he regarded the EUREKA Conference as primarily a political meeting at which certain points would probably be referred to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for their advice. He felt that it would be wise to consider at this conference the best method of coordinating Russian military effort with our own, particularly with regard to Russian action during and prior to the OVERLORD assault. It was essential that this attack should not take place during a lull in the fighting on the Eastern front.

Admiral Leahy agreed with this view and pointed out that there were several other items which might be raised, including the question of the provision of Russian bases for shuttle bombing. He agreed that it was wise to have in mind certain special points for discussion but that the work of the conference would be inevitably affected by the political discussions.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed:
a. That no formal agenda need be produced at this stage because the military problems to be considered would arise from the political discussions which would be held at the start of the conference.

b. That the three main military topics for consideration would appear to be:
(1) The coordination of Russian operations with Anglo-American operations in Europe.
(2) Turkish action on entry into the war.
(3) Supplies to Russia.

At this point Admiral Mountbatten, General Wheeler, General Wedemeyer, Brigadier Cobb, and Lt. Colonel Dobson entered the meeting, and Admiral Leahy withdrew.

Operations in Southeast Asia Command

General Marshall reported that he had discussed the proposed operations in the Southeast Asia Command with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. The Generalissimo disapproved of the present plan, which he felt would lead to heavy losses and possibly defeat. The Generalissimo had made the following stipulations: Firstly, that there must be an amphibious operation carried out simultaneously with the land attack in Burma. In this connection the Generalissimo had suggested action against the Andaman Islands. Secondly, that the advances by the columns as now envisaged in the plan should all be aimed at a line running east and west through Mandalay, including the occupation of Mandalay by one of the columns. The Generalissimo was satisfied that the Yunnan force should not advance beyond Lashio, its present objective.

He (General Marshall) had pointed out that the plan as explained to the Generalissimo was only the first stage of the operations to recapture Burma and was a conservative one and much less dangerous than that suggested by the Generalissimo. In view of the Generalissimo’s extreme interest in the naval situation in the Bay of Bengal, he suggested he be given, as soon as possible, the buildup of the British naval forces. Admiral Mountbatten should see him and explain his plan, pointing out that it was the first step only of a long campaign and that it was in the nature of a safe and conservative first step.

Admiral Mountbatten explained that the plan was based on the principle that the advance should end at the time that the monsoon would break. This would prevent Japanese repercussions. He stressed the point that it would be impossible to remain stationary in the positions captured at the end of the first stage. It would be essential therefore to have collected sufficient resources by October for the next step forward.

Sir Alan Brooke said that in taking the first step we were committing ourselves to the recapture of all Burma. There could be no question of holding a halfway line and we should probably have finally to undertake an airborne attack on Rangoon and amphibious operations. The alternatives were to continue the Burma land campaign to a finish or to give up the campaign altogether and endeavor to open the Malacca Straits. It was probably now too late to reverse our decision. This decision would, of course, affect the final plan for the defeat of Japan, and this must be realized.

Admiral King said he felt there was one alternative – to attack Bangkok instead. This would sever the Japanese lines of communication into Burma.

In reply to a question, General Marshall confirmed that the Generalissimo did not feel that the Chinese force from Yunnan should advance further than Lashio. The Generalissimo’s fear with regard to the present plan was that it would enable the Japanese to attack and defeat in detail the various columns, particularly the Chinese.

Admiral Mountbatten asked for direction from the Combined Chiefs of Staff as to what he should say to the Generalissimo with regard to future operations after the monsoon. These operations were largely dependent on the amount of air transport he could obtain in order to make his columns fully mobile. It might be possible to launch an amphibious operation in the Prome area and to put in more long-range penetration groups. He again emphasized that at the end of the monsoon it would be essential either to advance, in which case sufficient resources would have to be provided, or to retire. To remain stationary was impossible. He would have liked to advance as far as Mandalay in the present dry season if the resources had been available but the lines of communication to Mandalay did not permit this. Further, he had no reserve divisions. He hoped to gain his present objectives by early April when it might be expected that the monsoon would break. During the monsoon, long range penetration groups would operate. He asked that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should consider as early as possible the provision of resources to enable him to renew his advances at the end of the next monsoon.

General Marshall said that the Chinese fear appeared to be mainly that they might be left to carry out their Yunnan advance unsupported.

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

Boundaries of the Southeast Asia Command (CCS 308/7)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff considered a memorandum presented by the United States Chiefs of Staff on the revision of the boundaries of the Southeast Asia Command.

Admiral Mountbatten said that the proposals in the paper dealing with the boundaries themselves were acceptable to him but he did not believe that a committee sitting in Chungking should deal with political matters in Thailand and Siam. He pointed out that the Kra Isthmus was far removed from Chungking with which there was no communication. The Siamese and the French were not suspicious of the United States or Great Britain acting in concert, but rather of the Chinese themselves. His two main considerations were that preoccupational activity by such agencies as the SOE and OSS into Thailand and Siam must be permitted from his theater and that political questions should not be dealt with in Chungking, but either through the ordinary machinery of Government or perhaps even by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed to defer action on CCS 308/7.

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

Discussions with representatives of Chinese Government on operations in Southeast Asia Command

Sir Alan Brooke asked if the Chinese representatives had now had time to consider the plan for operations in the Southeast Asia Command put forward by Admiral Mountbatten.

General Shang confirmed that he had had time to study the plan. He had certain questions and comments. Though there might be differences of opinion, these comments were offered in a spirit of helpfulness and he hoped they would be accepted in the same spirit.

With regard to enemy intelligence, there were certain points of difference but he did not propose to raise these at the meeting but rather to exchange views with the appropriate staff officers. General Shang then put the following questions:
a. How many purely British units would be used in the area?
b. Would there be any further British units other than those now in the area?
c. Were there any armored or special troops?
d. What was the fighting experience of the formations which would be engaged?

Admiral Mountbatten and Brigadier Cobb outlined in considerable detail the nature of the British and Indian formations which would be engaged in the coming operations. Further details which might be required would be available from the staff of the Southeast Asia Command.

General Shang then asked for the plan for the employment of the Imphal column. Admiral Mountbatten explained that this column would fight its way through as far as possible. Strong resistance was, however, expected in the Kalewa area. He had insufficient air transport to supply this column from the air and, therefore, its rate of advance would be limited by the line of communications which could be built up behind them. All of the columns would advance as far as possible and exploit to the full the success they achieved.

General Shang then asked for details with regard to the Indaw column.

Admiral Mountbatten said that Indaw would be captured by the 50th Indian Parachute Brigade and the 26th Indian Infantry Division would then be flown in to hold it. It was essential to hold Indaw since it would serve as an essential base for the operations of long-range penetration groups against the Japanese lines of communication. An airfield was essential for this purpose since insufficient parachutes were available to supply the column by this means. The LRP groups were invaluable, not only for harrying lines of communication but also for killing Japanese.

In reply to a further question, Admiral Mountbatten explained the operations which would take place from Fort Hertz. He pointed out that the details of the coordination of these operations with those of General Stilwell’s Yunnan force had not yet [been] worked out. Plans with regard to amphibious operations could not yet be disclosed. There would, of course, be a land advance in the direction of Akyab which would be exploited to the full. He hoped to put an LRP group in by gliders west of the Salween River, commanded by an officer well known to the Chins who inhabited this area.

General Shang then made certain comments. The Generalissimo had instructed him to emphasize his conviction that the land operations in Burma must be synchronized with naval action and a naval concentration in the Bay of Bengal. The Generalissimo would be most disappointed if he was not fully apprised, before leaving the Conference, of the intention with regard to the strength and time of the arrival of the naval forces in the Bay of Bengal. The Generalissimo also considered that in the present plan the columns did not advance far enough. He considered that the plan also should cover the recapture of all Burma with Rangoon as an objective and the Mandalay-Lashio line as the first stage. Lastly the Generalissimo was insistent that, whatever the needs of the land campaign, the airlift to China must not drop below 10,000 tons a month. Though this might be thought to hinder the land operations, it must be remembered that operations in China and in Burma were closely related and the pressure exerted from China on Japanese forces must be maintained. The Generalissimo was most insistent with regard to the maintenance of the airlift to China.

Sir Andrew Cunningham said that he could state definitely that by the time that the land operation in Burma started, there would be adequate naval forces in the Bay of Bengal. The details of strength and date of this concentration would, he was sure, be communicated by the Prime Minister to the Generalissimo.

Admiral Mountbatten said that the plan for the first stage as outlined by General Shang was very similar to the one he had originally considered but logistic difficulties made it impossible. His staff could explain these difficulties in detail to the Chinese representatives. It was illogical to demand in the same breath that this extensive plan should be carried out and a 10,000-ton airlift to China maintained. He then outlined the relatively small reductions below 10,000 tons which would be necessary over a period to enable his present operations to take place. He pointed out that the 10,000-ton lift had never, in fact, been reached and was no more than a target. In his opinion, the U.S. Air Force had achieved miracles in reaching their present capacity over the “hump.” It was essential that the Chinese should make up their minds whether to insist on a 10,000-ton lift to China or whether they wished his present operations carried out. The Generalissimo had told him that he would regard with sympathy any small reductions below 10,000 tons necessary to enable the operations to be undertaken which, in fact, were designed to open the Burma Road to China. He must know where he stood. China could not have both the 10,000 tons and the land operations to open the road.

He would like an explanation with regard to the questions asked as to the numbers of British and Indian troops engaged. Did the Chinese Representatives wish to infer that the fighting qualities of the Indian troops were bad? This suggestion he most strongly refuted. The Indian divisions had fought magnificently in the North African campaigns. If, on the other hand, the Chinese Representatives wished to imply that British troops were remaining in India without playing an active part in the operations, he wished it to be clearly understood once and for all that this was not the case. There were only two British divisions not engaged; one of those was training for an amphibious role and the other was being broken up to form the long-range penetration groups.

General Shang explained that he had asked the questions referred to merely in order to have full details of the position and that, of course, he wished in no way to criticize the fighting qualities of either the Indian or British troops. With regard to tonnage over the “hump,” 10,000 tons per month was an absolute minimum, essential to maintain and equip the Chinese Army. Had it been possible to obtain it, they would have asked for ten times this amount.

Admiral Mountbatten pointed out that, in order to make the airline safe or to open the Burma Road, it was essential to put everything into the present battle. He considered that the Chinese, at this stage, should only equip troops which would actually take part in the present battle and that tonnage designed to equip or maintain the remainder must be foregone until the battle had been won.

General Marshall pointed out that the present campaign was designed to open the Burma Road, for which the Chinese had asked, and that the opening of the Road was for the purpose of equipping the Chinese Army. The Chinese must either fight the battle for opening the Road or else call for more American planes to increase the airlift over the “hump.” Any further increase in those American planes, at this time, he was opposed to. There must be no misunderstanding about this. The battle was to be fought to open the Burma Road. Unless this road were opened there could be no increase in supplies to China at this time since no further aircraft or equipment could be provided from the United States due to commitments elsewhere to meet serious shortages.

General Shang said that all were agreed that the Burma Road should be opened but in spite of that he felt that 10,000 tons per month was necessary for the China area. These supplies would not be hoarded or sold but would be used against the enemy. All the 10,000 tons was required for the Yunnan force and for the Chinese Air Force.

Admiral Mountbatten said that the requirements for the campaign had been calculated in consultation with General Stilwell and General Chennault. These requirements were met by the reduced tonnages he had suggested. The figure of 10,000 tons was a purely arbitrary one whereas his own were based on exact calculations. The Generalissimo had promised him that he would regard minor reductions sympathetically, and he, Mountbatten, hoped that he would now do so.

General Shang said that he was not in a position to give any decision with regard to a reduction in the tonnage over the “hump” but would report the points which had been made.

General Stilwell said that he had been instructed by the Generalissimo to put forward four points which the Generalissimo considered essential: Firstly, naval and amphibious operations to be synchronized with the land campaign; secondly, that the Indaw and Imphal advances should continue as far as Mandalay; thirdly, that the Yunnan force should advance to Lashio; and lastly, that the needs of the Chinese Air Force should be met.

General Chennault outlined the present and projected strengths of the 14th Air Force and the Chinese Air Force, together with the additional monthly tonnages required to maintain these forces. The present role of the Chinese Air Force was to defend the Szechwan basin, but the Generalissimo considered it must be equipped and trained to undertake an offensive role. The tonnages required by this plan for the two air forces in China amounted to some 10,000 tons per month.

General Arnold asked how it was proposed to use this 10,000 tons which, if all diverted to the air, would leave no lift for the ground forces.

General Chennault said that it was proposed to build up the Chinese and United States Air Forces equally. The figures he had given were the requirements to meet the plan. He was not putting forward any recommendations.

General Marshall suggested that the Chinese Representatives should arrange for Admiral Mountbatten to wait on the Generalissimo to explain his operations and the considerations with regard to the airlift to China.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he had believed that the Generalissimo earnestly desired that the Burma Road should be opened. This could only be done if the airlift to China was reduced.

General Shang undertook to arrange a meeting between Admiral Mountbatten and the Generalissimo.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Took note with interest of the discussion between the Chinese military representatives and Admiral Mountbatten on the subject of the operations planned in Burma in the Southeast Asia Command.

b. Noted that the Chinese military representatives undertook to arrange a meeting between Admiral Mountbatten and the Generalissimo at which details of the plan, the reasons underlying it, and the considerable effort involved, could be explained to the Generalissimo as well as the implications on the airlift to China.

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Roosevelt conversations with various callers, afternoon

The following foreign persons called on the President:

EGYPTIAN: Cabinet Chief Hassanayn and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nahas.

GREEK: King George II, Prince Paul, and Prime Minister Tsouderos.

BRITISH: Ambassador to Egypt Killearn, Generals Wilson and Stone, Admiral Willis, and Air Chief Marshal Douglas.

YUGOSLAV: King Peter II and Prime Minister Purić.

The President also had brief talks on the same afternoon with Turkish Prime Minister Saraçoğlu, British Ambassador to Turkey Knatchbull-Hugessen, and Egyptian heir apparent Mohammad Ali.

The calls were apparently of brief duration and were primarily of a courtesy nature. There was possible discussion of a trusteeship for Indochina with the Turks and the Egyptians in the course of this trip. In the President’s conversation with King Peter, the subjects discussed included the reconciling of Commander Tito and General Mihailović, the advisability of Allied landings on the Dalmatian or the French coast and the development of a joint Allied offensive against Germany on a fixed date.

President Roosevelt’s log of the trip

Wednesday, November 24 (at Cairo)

Callers at the President’s villa during the forenoon included Ambassadors Kirk and Harriman and Major Otis Bryan, USA.
11:00 a.m. The President held a conference with General Marshall, Admiral Leahy, Admiral King, General Arnold, Lt-General Somervell, Captain Royal, Air Chief Marshal Portal, Admiral Cunningham, the Prime Minister, General Sir Alan Brooke, Field Marshal Sir John Dill, Lt-General Ismay, General Laycock, Brigadier Hollis and Mr. Hopkins. This conference adjourned at 12:40 p.m.
Major John Boettiger, USA, joined the President’s party this morning. Major Boettiger is on duty with the Fifth Army in Italy (with the Allied Military Government organization.)
p.m. During the afternoon the President kept appointments with the following personages at his villa: Sir Ahmad Mohammed Hassenein Pacha, Chief of the Egyptian Royal Cabinet; His Excellency Moustafa El-Nahas Pacha, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Royal Egyptian Cabinet. (NOTE: King Farouk I had recently been injured in an automobile accident and was unable to call on the President during the time he was in Cairo.); His Majesty King George II of the Hellenes (Greece); His Excellency Mr. Emmanuel Tsouderos, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs (Greece); Lord Killearn, British Ambassador to Egypt; His Majesty King Peter of Yugoslavia; His Excellency Dr. Božidar Pouritch, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs (Yugoslavia); His Royal Highness Prince Paul, Crown Prince of Greece; General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, Commander-in-Chief British Forces in the Middle East. General Wilson was accompanied by General Royce; Air Chief Marshal Sir Sholto Douglas, Officer Commanding Royal Air Force in the Middle East; Admiral Sir Algernon Willis, Commander-in-Chief, Levant; General R. G. W. Stone, Commander-in-Chief, British troops in Egypt. (The above are listed in the order in which they called.)
5:15 p.m. Ambassador Steinhardt, accompanied by Mr. George Allen, called on the President. Ambassador Steinhardt and Mr. Allen had just arrived in Cairo from Ankara, Turkey.
8:30 p.m. President had dinner at his villa. His guests included Ambassador Harriman, Mr. Hopkins, Admiral Leahy, Admiral Brown, Admiral McIntire, and General Watson. The guests remained after dinner until 12:40 a.m., chatting and playing cards.

The Pittsburgh Press (November 24, 1943)

Yank-British invasion plans in last stages

‘Big Three’ meeting will deal with peace terms, say London observers
By Ned Russell

London, England –
Competent observers said today that Anglo-American plans for an invasion of Western Europe were in the final stages with little prospect that any Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin conference will alter or speed them.

The date for the opening of a second front was fixed long ago and at that time Premier Stalin accepted it was the earliest possible moment at which the Allies can move across the English Channel or North Sea, these sources said.

Meanwhile, troops, arms, food and other supplies are pouring across the Atlantic in a steady stream for the “zero hour,” they said.

Military informants believed that the prospective conference – which Axis broadcasts have said may take place this week – of President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Stalin will concentrate on peace terms for the Axis and post-war collaborator.

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U.S. State Department (November 25, 1943)

U.S. draft of the communiqué, with amendments by the President’s special assistant

November 25, 1943

Draft of communiqué

President Roosevelt, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and Prime Minister Churchill, and their respective military leaders, have completed a conference somewhere in Africa. The several military missions have agreed upon future military operations directed against Japan from China and Southeast Asia. The plans, the details of which cannot be disclosed, provide for vigorous offensives against the Japanese. We are determined to bring unrelenting pressure against our brutal enemy by sea, land, and air. This pressure is already underway. The time, place, and scope of our joint offensives in this area cannot now be disclosed, but Japan will know of their power.

We are determined that the islands in the Pacific which have been occupied by the Japanese, many of them made powerful bases contrary to Japan’s specific and definite pledge not to so militarize them, will be taken from Japan forever, and the territory [all conquered, violence & greed] they have [occupied belonging to the Dutch] so treacherously stolen from the [Dutch and the] Chinese, such as Manchuria and Formosa, will of course be returned to the Republic of China. We are mindful of the treacherous enslavement of the people of Korea by Japan, and are determined that that country, at the earliest possible moment after the downfall of Japan, shall become a free and independent country.

We know full well that the defeat of Japan is going to require fierce and determined fighting. Our three countries are pledged to fight together until we have received the unconditional surrender of Japan.

The Generalissimo was accompanied by his wife, Madam Chiang Kai-shek, who took part with the Generalissimo in several of the conferences with our military leaders.

The conference was attended on behalf of the United States by: Admiral William D. Leahy; General George C. Marshall; Admiral Ernest J. King; General H. H. Arnold; Lt. General B. B. Somervell; Major General Edwin M. Watson; Rear Admiral Wilson Brown; Rear Admiral Ross McIntire; Mr. Harry Hopkins; Ambassador W. Averell Harriman; Ambassador J. G. Winant; [Steinhardt] Mr. L. Douglas; Mr. J. J. McCloy.

British representatives were: General Sir Alan Brooke; Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal; Admiral Sir A. Cunningham; Lord Leathers; Lt. General Sir Hastings Ismay.

The Chinese mission include [among others]: General Shang Chen; Dr. Wang Chung-hui; Vice Admiral Yang Hsuan-chen [Hsuan-ch’eng]; and Lt. General Chow [Chou] Chih-jou.

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Revised U.S. draft of the communiqué

November 25, 1943

Draft of communiqué

President Roosevelt, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and Prime Minister Churchill, and their respective military leaders, have completed a conference somewhere in Africa. They issued the following joint statement:

The several military missions have agreed upon future military operations directed against Japan from China and Southeast Asia. The plans, the details of which cannot be disclosed, provide for continuous and increasingly vigorous offensives against the Japanese. We are determined to bring unrelenting pressure against our brutal enemy by sea, land, and air. This pressure is already underway. Japan will know of its power.

We are determined that the islands in the Pacific which have been occupied by the Japanese, many of them made powerful bases contrary to Japan’s specific and definite pledge not to militarize them, will be taken from Japan forever.

The territory that Japan has so treacherously stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria and Formosa, will of course be returned to the Republic of China. All of the conquered territory taken by violence and greed by the Japanese will be freed from their clutches.

We are mindful of the treacherous enslavement of the people of Korea by Japan, and are determined that that country, at the proper moment after the downfall of Japan, shall become a free and independent country.

We know full well that the defeat of Japan is going to require fierce and determined fighting. Our countries are pledged to fight together until we have received the unconditional surrender of Japan.

The Generalissimo was accompanied by his wife, Madam Chiang Kai-shek.

The conference was attended on behalf of the United States by Admiral William D. Leahy; General George C. Marshall; Admiral Ernest J. King; General H. H. Arnold; Lt. General B. B. Somervell; Major General Edwin M. Watson; Rear Admiral Wilson Brown; Rear Admiral Ross McIntire; Mr. Harry Hopkins; Ambassador W. Averell Harriman; Ambassador J. G. Winant; Ambassador Steinhardt; Mr. L. Douglas; Mr. J. J. McCloy.

British representatives were General Sir Alan Brooke; Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal; Admiral Sir A. Cunningham; Lord Leathers; Lt. General Sir Hastings Ismay.

The Chinese mission included, among others, General Shang Chen; Dr. Wang Chung-hui; Vice Admiral Yang Hsuan-chen [Hsuan-ch’eng]; and Lt. General Chow [Chou] Chih-jou.

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British draft of the communiqué

November 25, 1943
10 Downing Street

Press communiqué

President Roosevelt, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and Prime Minister Churchill, together with their respective military and diplomatic advisers, have completed a conference in North Africa. The following general statement was issued:

The several military missions have agreed upon future military operations against Japan. The three great Allies expressed their resolve to bring unrelenting pressure against their brutal enemies by sea, land and air. This pressure is already rising.

It is their purpose that Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the First World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria Formosa, [?] shall be restored to the Republic of China. Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence ad greed. The aforesaid three Great Powers, mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea, are determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent.

With these objects in views the three Allies, in harmony with [?] the United Nations, will continue to persevere in the serious and prolonged operations necessary to procure the unconditional surrender of Japan.

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Roosevelt-Cadogan conversation, forenoon

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

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Lord Leathers
Mr. Douglas
Ambassador Winant
Assistant Secretary of War McCloy

According to Elliott Roosevelt, the principal subject of conversation was supply.

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

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Air Chief Marshal Portal
Admiral King Field Marshall Dill
General Arnold Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
Admiral Mountbatten (for item 1 only)
Brigadier Redman
Captain Royal

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 25, 1943, 2:30 p.m.

Operations in the Southeast Asia Command

At the request of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mountbatten gave an account of his meeting with the Generalissimo the day before on the subject of the plan of operations in the Burma campaign. At this meeting the Generalissimo insisted that the alternative plan of campaign should be carried out, the plan for which, in fact, the resources were not available and which demanded an additional 535 transport aircraft.

When Admiral Mountbatten expressed his opinion that these aircraft could not be found and insisted that in this event it would be necessary for the Generalissimo to give his enthusiastic and personal support to the less extensive plan being put into effect, the Generalissimo acceded but said that first the Combined Chiefs of Staff must be asked formally to provide the aircraft necessary for the more extensive plan.

The Generalissimo also insisted that an amphibious operation should be carried out at the same time as the land operation in North Burma.

The Prime Minister gave the Generalissimo the details of the British Fleet to be available at which the Generalissimo expressed great pleasure.

Also, the Prime Minister informed him that the amphibious operation would not affect the land battle.

The Generalissimo made the point that it would, in that it would draw off part of the enemy air forces available.

Sir Charles Portal then made it clear that this would act both ways and that for an amphibious operation to be carried out at the same time as a land operation would mean that the whole air force would not be made available for the land operation.

General Arnold said that possibly 25 aircraft could be made available but that the figure of 535 might be impossible to find without taking aircraft away from other operations to which they had already been allotted.

In regard to the amphibious operation, Sir Alan Brooke said that the Generalissimo must be told that he must wait for the answer as it depends upon progress at SEXTANT. The question of air lift to China was then discussed.

Admiral Mountbatten said that the Generalissimo had been told that the average air lift over the “hump” for a period of six months during the course of the operation would be 8,900 tons per month.

The Generalissimo had demanded that the full 10,000 tons per month should be made available.

Admiral Mountbatten had made it clear that this was only a target figure which, indeed, had not been reached hitherto.

The Generalissimo had then said that he would deal direct with General Somervell in the matter.

General Arnold said that he would like the Combined Chiefs of Staff to decide that support should not be given to the Chinese Air Force over and above that which had already been agreed upon.

Admiral Mountbatten asked that it should be accepted as a principle that if there should be an increase in the transport available over the “hump,” the right to use that additional transport should be reserved to the Southeast Asia Command.

General Marshall said this acceptance could not be given without reference to the President.

Admiral Mountbatten said that in view of the important issues involved, it was necessary to get a written agreement from the Generalissimo regarding the Burma campaign to be carried out before the monsoon in 1944. He understood that the Generalissimo would give the campaign his enthusiastic support and had accepted the implication of reduced air lift.

After further discussion, the Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Agreed that it would not be possible to find the additional 535 aircraft that would be required for the more ambitious plan of campaign in North Burma to be adopted, and for the increased tonnage over the “hump.”

b. Took note that Admiral Mountbatten would draw up a paper for submission to the Generalissimo with a view to getting the latter’s written agreement to the Burma operations now contemplated; this paper to be submitted for approval to the Combined Chiefs of Staff as soon as possible in view of the impending departure of the Generalissimo from SEXTANT.

c. Agreed that it would be very desirable if Admiral Mountbatten would get a clearance to this paper in view of the dealings he had already had with the Generalissimo in the matter.

Approval of decisions of CCS 129th Meeting

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Accepted the conclusions of the 129th Meeting. The detailed report of the meeting was also accepted, subject to minor amendments.

Overall Plan for the Defeat of Japan

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed that instructions should be issued to the Combined Staff Planners to have the Overall Plan for the Defeat of Japan, now under study by them, completed prior to the return of the Combined Chiefs of Staff from Jerusalem. This date should be assumed to be about 1 December.

OVERLORD and the Mediterranean

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Discussed the subject of “OVERLORD and the Mediterranean” in closed session.

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Memorandum by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff

Cairo, 25 November 1943

CCS 408

Command of British and U.S. forces operating against Germany

  1. Current operations in the war against Germany and those approved for the immediate future are grouped geographically and functionally into three categories:

a. Operations in the Mediterranean area involving combined forces with land, sea, and air components.

b. Operations in the northwestern part of Europe, also involving combined forces with land, sea, and air components.

c. Operations against interior Germany involving combined strategic air forces based both in the Mediterranean area and in northwestern Europe.

  1. Each of these operations is an entity requiring unity of command over the forces which are engaged.

  2. These operations are all intimately related to each other, with a common, overall objective – Defeat of Germany. Events in the Mediterranean area attract enemy forces and affect enemy capabilities, which in turn have an important bearing upon our capabilities in northwestern Europe, and vice versa. Strategic air operations against interior Germany strongly affect our capabilities in both areas. Furthermore, the flexibility of the strategic air forces permits their employment in varying degree to assist the Allied forces in either area.

  3. The United States Chiefs of Staff now consider that the war in Europe has reached a stage where the necessity for command direction over all these forces, in conformity with general directives of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, is clearly indicated. This command should be vested in a single commander, and he should exercise command over the Allied force commanders in the Mediterranean, in northwest Europe, and of the strategic air forces. The immediate appointment of this commander is, in our opinion, most urgently necessary. Even if he is appointed now, it is improbable that he will be able to organize his staff and begin to function before the end of January 1944. The situation which may develop in Europe by that time requires a more positive overall command arrangement than that now functioning under the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Any delay in setting up such a command may lead to confusion and indecision at a critical time, thus delaying the attainment of early victory in Europe.

  4. In matters pertaining to strategic bombing, it is imperative that unified Allied command be established. The rapidity with which decisions regarding air operations must be made demands command control, as opposed to general directives or occasional direct action by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. We cannot escape the responsibility for adopting every means known to us to save the lives of our men and the planes they fly. The one effective method is to insure the rapid coordinated employment, on a day-to-day operational basis, of the United States Air Forces in both the U.K. and Mediterranean by day and RAF bomber units by night in order to obtain the maximum dispersion of enemy air and anti-aircraft defense, and to take the greatest possible advantage of weather conditions in both theaters. This unified command must, therefore, be established without delay and must embrace all the strategic air forces engaged against Germany, including the United States Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces and the British Bomber Command.

  5. The British Chiefs of Staff have proposed the establishment of unified command in the Mediterranean area. We are in accord with this proposal, with the proviso that the U.S. Fifteenth Air Force should be specifically excepted and commanded as in paragraph 5 above.

  6. The United States Chiefs of Staff propose to the British Chiefs of Staff:

a. That a Supreme Commander be designated at once to command all United Nations operations against Germany from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic under direction from the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

b. That an overall commander for northwestern European operations be appointed, under the Supreme Commander.

c. That a strategic air force commander be appointed, under the Supreme Commander, to exercise command over the U.S. Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces and the British Bomber Command.

d. That the Commander of the Allied Forces in the Mediterranean shall come under the Supreme Commander.

  1. The United States Chiefs of Staff further propose that the Supreme Commander be directed to carry out the agreed European strategy, and

a. Be charged with the location and timing of operations;

b. Be charged with the allocation of the forces and materiel made available to him by the Combined Chiefs of Staff; and

c. That his decisions on the above questions be subject to reversal by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

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Memorandum by Prime Minister Churchill

Cairo, 25 November 1943
Most secret
  1. The difficulties and short-comings in our conduct of the war since the Battle of Salerno have arisen from divergencies of view between our two Staffs and Governments. It is not seen how these divergencies would be removed by the appointment of a Supreme Commander working under the Combined Chiefs of the Staff and liable to have his decisions reversed by them. The divergencies, which are political as much as military, would still have to be adjusted by the present methods of consultation between the Combined Staffs and the Heads of the two Governments. Thus, the Supreme Commander, after being acclaimed as the world war-winner, would in practice find his functions restricted to the narrow ground between the main decisions of policy and strategy which can only be dealt with by the present methods, and the spheres of the two chief regional Commanders.

  2. This would certainly not be sufficient to justify arousing all the expectations and setting up all the apparatus inseparable from the announcement of a “Supreme Commander for the defeat of Germany.”

  3. On the other hand, if the power of decision is in fact accorded to the Supreme Commander, the work of the Combined Chiefs of the Staff would be virtually superseded and very great stresses would immediately arise between the Governments and the Supreme Commander. Without going into personalities, it is greatly to be doubted whether any single officer exists who would be capable of giving decisions over the vast range of problems now dealt with by the Heads of Government assisted by the Combined Chiefs of the Staff.

  4. The principle which should be followed as far as possible between Allies of equal status is that the Command in any theatre should go to the Ally who has the largest forces deployed or about to be deployed there. On this it would be natural that the Command in the Mediterranean should be British and that the Command of OVERLORD should be American. Such Commands would also correspond with the outlook of the two Governments, the Americans regarding OVERLORD of overwhelming importance, while the British believe that the greatest and most immediate results can be obtained in the Mediterranean and that OVERLORD is a knock-out blow, the timing of which must be settled in relation to the condition and dispositions of the enemy.

  5. If the two Commands are merged under a Supreme Commander, the British would have available against Germany in May decidedly larger forces than the United States. It would therefore appear that the Supreme Command should go to a British officer. I should be very reluctant, as Head of His Majesty’s Government, to place such an invidious responsibility upon a British officer. I have very little doubt that he would concentrate his main effort on the Mediterranean and treat the OVERLORD sphere as a highly important but none the less residuary legatee. This point of view would certainly not be accepted by the Government or Staff of the United States. If, on the other hand, disregarding the preponderance of forces involved, the Supreme Command was given to a United States officer and he pronounced in favour of concentrating on OVERLORD irrespective of the injury done to our affairs in the Mediterranean, His Majesty’s Government could not possibly agree. The Supreme Commander, British or American, would therefore be placed in an impossible position. Having assumed before the whole world the responsibility of pronouncing and being overruled by one Government or the other, he would have little choice but to resign. This might bring about a most serious crisis in the harmonious and happy relations hitherto maintained between our two Governments.

  6. It is not seen why the present arrangement should not continue, subject to any minor improvements that can be suggested. Under this arrangement, an American Commander would conduct the immense Operation OVERLORD and a British Commander would conduct the war in the Mediterranean, their action being concerted and forces assigned by the Combined Chiefs of the Staff working under the Heads of the two Governments. Regular periodic conferences should be held at Gibraltar between the two Commanders, at which they could adjust minor differences about the movement of units, landing-craft etc., so as to help each other as much as possible, and they should also prepare together the timing and concert of their respective operations. More frequent meetings of the Combined Chiefs of Staff should also be arranged, and possibly visits of one weeks’ duration by the Chairman of each Chiefs of Staff Committee alternately to London and Washington.

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Note by the British Chiefs of Staff

Cairo, 25 November 1943

CCS 409

OVERLORD and the Mediterranean

For some time past it has been clear to us, and doubtless also to the United States Chiefs of Staff, that disagreement exists between us as to what we should do now in the Mediterranean, with particular reference to the effect of future action on OVERLORD. The point at issue is how far what might be termed the “sanctity of OVERLORD” is to be preserved in its entirety, irrespective of developments in the Mediterranean Theater. This issue is clouding the whole of our future strategic outlook, and must be resolved at SEXTANT.

At the outset we must point out that, since the decisions taken at QUADRANT, there have been major developments in the situation. The Russian campaign has succeeded beyond all hope or expectations and their victorious advance continues. Italy has been knocked out of the war; and it is certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility that Turkey will come in on our side before the New Year. In these changed conditions, we feel that consideration of adjustments of, if not actual departures from, the decisions taken at TRIDENT and QUADRANT are not only fully justified but positively essential.

Nevertheless, we emphasize that we do not in any way recoil from, or wish to sidetrack, our agreed intention to attack the Germans across the Channel in the late spring or early summer of 1944, or even earlier if RANKIN conditions were to obtain. We must not, however, regard OVERLORD on a fixed date as the pivot of our whole strategy on which all else turns. In actual fact, the German strength in France next spring may, at one end of the scale, be something which makes OVERLORD completely impossible and, at the other end, something which makes RANKIN not only practicable, but essential. Consequently, to assume that the achievement of a certain strength by a certain date will remove all our difficulties and result in shortening the duration of the war is entirely illusory. This policy, if literally interpreted, will inevitably paralyze action in other theaters without any guarantee of action across the Channel.

With the Germans in their present plight, the surest way to win the war in the shortest time is to attack them remorselessly and continuously in any and every area where we can do so with superiority. The number of places at which we can thus attack them depends mainly on the extent to which they are stretched. Our policy is therefore clear; we should stretch the German forces to the utmost by threatening as many of their vital interests and areas as possible and, holding them thus, we should attack wherever we can do so in superior force.

If we pursue the above policy, we firmly believe that OVERLORD (perhaps in the form of RANKIN) will take place next summer. We do not, however, attach vital importance to any particular date or to any particular number of divisions in the assault and followup, though naturally the latter should be made as large as possible consistent with the policy stated above. It is, of course, valuable to have a target date to which all may work, but we are firmly opposed to allowing this date to become our master, and to prevent us from taking full advantage of all opportunities that occur to us to follow what we believe to be the correct strategy.

In the light of the above argument, we submit the following proposals for action in the Mediterranean:

Unification of Command
Unification of Command in the Mediterranean, as outlined in COS (W) 919 is an essential and urgent measure which should be put into effect irrespective of any other decisions taken about this theater.

The Italian Campaign
The Offensive in Italy should be nourished and maintained until we have secured the Pisa-Rimini line.

Yugoslavia, Greece, and Albania
Our policy should be to place on a regular military basis and to intensify our measures to nourish the Partisan and irregular forces in these countries.

We should bring Turkey into the war this year.

The Dardanelles
We should aim to open the Dardanelles as soon as possible.

The Balkans
We should undermine resistance in the Balkan States and do everything possible to promote a state of chaos and disruption in the satellite Balkan countries.

If the above measures necessitate putting back the date upon which the forces agreed to be necessary for OVERLORD will be available in the United Kingdom, this should be accepted since it does not by any means follow that the date of the invasion of France will be put back to the same extent.

To sum up, our policy is to fight and bomb the Germans as hard as possible all through the winter and spring; to build up our forces in the United Kingdom as rapidly as possible consistent with this; and finally to invade the Continent as soon as the German strength in France and the general war situation gives us a good prospect of success.

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Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff

Cairo, 25 November 1943

CCS 410

The effect of weather on Operation OVERLORD

The following examination has been made regarding the limitations imposed by weather conditions on the postponement of Operation OVERLORD.

Suitable weather conditions are required for two phases of the operation, firstly, the assault for which a four-day fine weather period is required; secondly, the maintenance and buildup period for which suitable weather for a decreasing degree of beach maintenance is required for about three months.

The assault
In order to launch the assault a quiet spell of four days with winds of force 3 or less is desirable. Over ten consecutive years there were quiet spells for four or more consecutive days on the following number of occasions:

April 18 times
May 21 times
June 19 times
July 16 times
August 23 times
September 17 times
October 14 times

It will be seen that there is no serious deterioration in the chances of launching the assault between the months of May and September with the exception of July, where the incidence of a fine spell is only slightly less than in the month of June. It is therefore considered that, purely from the assault aspect, the operation could be postponed up to the month of September.

For tidal reasons the assault is limited in each lunar month to two periods of five or six days, which occur at times of full and new moon. The air lift can only be carried out in the full moon period. It therefore follows that if the full moon period is missed on account of the weather conditions being unsuitable, the assault must be postponed for 24 days. By sacrificing the air lift this postponement could be reduced to 10 days.

Air factors affecting the assault
a. For fully effective operation of air forces the following conditions must be satisfied:

Night Day
Minimum horizontal visibility 5 miles 5 miles
Minimum cloud base above ground level 3,000 feet 11,500 feet
Maximum cloud 6/10 10/10
Maximum wind at ground level 20 mph 20 mph (if airborne forces are used by day)
Minimum moon 5 days each side of full.
Moon 20° above horizon.

b. If high level bombing is abandoned, the cloud conditions by day are then limited by the requirements of the fighter cover over shipping and beaches. These are 10/10 at not less than 5,000 feet.

c. The chances of obtaining these conditions are not yet available, but it is evident that they will lengthen the odds against launching the assault to some extent, although settled summer weather suitable for the landing will most probably be suitable for the air operations.

Maintenance and buildup period
COSSAC has stated that, making full use of every captured port, large and small, 18 divisions must be maintained over the beaches during the first month of the operations, 12 divisions during the second month, and a number rapidly diminishing to nil during the third month. It is believed that the use of MULBERRIES will approximately halve this commitment for beach maintenance. Therefore, during this period there will be at first a considerable, and later a gradually dwindling dependence on fine weather conditions. In assessing suitable weather for carrying out beach maintenance any day with wind of not more than Force 3 on shore and not more than Force 4 off shore has been accepted. In the OVERLORD area the average number of suitable days per month is as follows:

April 21
May 23
June 25
July 25
August 24½
September 23½
October 18½
November 20
December 20

It is apparent from the above figures that a marked deterioration does not occur until October. Although the months of October, November, and December appear to provide a reasonable number of quiet days, it is considered that this proportion cannot be fully relied on owing to the severe weather which may occur during unsuitable days, thereby producing conditions of sea or swell which will render beach maintenance impracticable on the subsequent quiet day or days.

It is impossible to calculate what loss in expectation of suitable maintenance days can be accepted by COSSAC during the second and third months of the beach maintenance period without a very intimate knowledge of his maintenance and build-up plan; but it would appear that weather should be suitable for sufficient beach maintenance at least up to the end of September and possibly, in view of the dwindling commitment in this respect, up to the middle or end of October.

It is not possible to submit a firm recommendation on this subject, but from the limited facts available for this brief examination, there does not appear to be any overriding reason why the assault could not be carried out up to about the middle of July.

This means that the target date should be in the middle of June to allow for a postponement of 24 days in case weather conditions are unsuitable.

Thus if the target date is mid-June and the air lift is not sacrificed, only two periods of four or five days when Moon and Tide conditions are suitable will occur in 1944; and these must coincide with a four-day spell of fine weather.

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The President’s Chief of Staff to the President

Cairo, 25 November 1943

Memorandum for: The President

The Effect of North Burma Operations on Cargo Delivery to China

The following data pertains to the current discussion between Lord Mountbatten and the Generalissimo, concerning the conflicting requirements between tonnage over the Hump and projected operations in North Burma.

General Stilwell maintains that the minimum tonnages which must be delivered over the Hump to maintain the Yunnan Force, the 14th Air Force, and the Chinese-American Composite Wing, is as follows:

Total For 14th Air Force & China-US Comp Wg For Yunnan Force
November 9,700 6,500 3,200
December 9,700 6,500 3,200
January 8,050 7,900 4,700 3,200
February 8,050 7,900 4,700 3,200
March 9,000 9,200 6,000 3,200
April 9,500 9,200 6,000 3,200
May 9,700 9,200 6,000 3,200
June 10,000

Lord Mountbatten considers that these above tonnages should be accepted only as target amounts rather than guaranteed minimums. He must employ portions of the Air Transport planes to support the Operation TARZAN.

The Generalissimo demands that 10,000 tons be delivered over the Hump each month, regardless of the logistics requirements of the Burma Campaign.

An optimistic estimate of the Air Transport Command’s ability to transport supplies over the Hump during the period of the North Burma operations, and with no diversion for these operations, is as follows:

November 9,000
December 9,000
January 9,444
February 11,000
March 12,000
April 12,000
May 12,000

Furthermore, Lord Mountbatten has indicated a positive requirement for an additional 25 operating C-46 aircraft to make possible the Burma operations’ logistic requirements.

There is a project in the China-Burma-India Theater to build a 4-inch pipe line from Assam to Kunming. The project has 16 C-47s and 40 C-46s allocated to it. In view of changes in the original plans for the pipe line, it may later be found possible to divert the 16 C-47s to Lord Mountbatten.

It is suggested that in your discussions with the Prime Minister and the Generalissimo on this subject, you establish the following:
a. First priority in the use of U.S. Army transports on the India-China Wing to be assigned to the delivery of the minimum tonnages recommended by General Stilwell for the 14th Air Force, the Yunnan Forces and the composite Chinese-American Wing (Air).

b. All Air Transport Command capacities or facilities in the China-Burma-India Theater, beyond those required to meet the guaranteed minimum tonnages, are to be available to Lord Mountbatten for the support of the Burma Campaign.

c. No additional transports can be promised for over the Hump activities or the Burma Campaign, beyond the 16 additional referred to in paragraph 6 above.

Admiral, USN

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