Cairo Conferences (SEXTANT)

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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Marshal Stalin to President Roosevelt

Moscow, November 25, 1943


Personal and strictly secret from Premier Stalin to President Roosevelt.

Your message from Cairo received. I will be at your service in Teheran the evening of November twenty-eighth.

The Assistant Secretary of War to the President’s special assistant

Cairo, 25 November 1943

Memorandum for Mr. Harry Hopkins:

I did not get a chance to give you all the information I had gathered from the British Joint Secretaries on this matter of Civil Affairs. I did not think that I could or should talk very much at lunch in front of Lord Leathers.

Brigadier Redman told me this morning that the Prime Minister had been “strongly” briefed on the question and was going to take the matter up with the President at an early date and that the matter would not be referred to the Combined Chiefs of Staff until after the Prime Minister had his talk with the President. He also indicated that the Prime Minister’s line would be the foreign office approach, namely the introduction into the occupied area of civilians following the “forward zone” of military operations and the establishment in London of a Combined Civil Affairs Committee to do the operating from there rather than via the Combined Chiefs of Staff and Washington. The obvious implication was that the President should be briefed to prepare himself for the Prime Minister’s presentation.

The British Combined Chiefs of Staff, I find, likewise agree with us and so does Sir John Dill. I had dinner with Cunningham and Brooke last night and they gave every indication of their concurrence. I am seeing Eden in the morning and in the meantime I am giving you herewith two papers which I believe could serve as the basis for the briefing of the President. I have an idea that the Prime Minister is going to bring the matter up on the way north. Don’t allow any commitments to be made until the President understands all the implications. I hope that Eden, Winant and I can work out something. In the meantime, I will stick around and await further word from you as to what if any help I can be on this or any other subject.


[Attachment 1]

Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of War


There has been a very definite and noticeable effort in the past few months on the part of the British government to transfer to London all determinations of our occupational and post-hostility policy. It has been the policy of the American government to base considerations of civil administration in liberated or occupied territory primarily on military policy so long as the war continues. On the American side provision was made for obtaining the views of the political and economic side of the government but the machinery for this was lodged in the Combined Chiefs of Staff. The British were, of course, a part of this machinery and by means of the Combined Civil Affairs Committee a program was carried out with respect to Sicily and Italy, which was mutually satisfactory. As the program developed, however, and issues arose which had to be referred to London, a strong tendency on the part of London developed to limit the activities of the CCAC, ending in what amounted to a complete frustration of the committee. As to Western Europe, London took the position that no matters at all could be discussed, and even in respect to Italy methods were employed to avoid consideration of such matters by the Committee. Examples of this circumvention were the Norwegian Agreement and the comprehensive surrender terms for Italy.

Today we are at an impasse in getting work done because of this conflict and presumably some attempt will be made at the forthcoming conference to settle it.

There is more involved than the usual conflict of jurisdiction between agencies. It is, or may be a development that may affect the attitude of the U.S. toward all post-hostility policy. The introduction at Moscow of the plan for the Advisory Commission on European Affairs with its site in London is of large significance and it was particularly so as Eden first proposed the plan. There was no great enthusiasm for it on the part of the Soviet Union and certainly the U.S. representatives there had a very restricted view of its powers. However, as the thing is now developing, and the scope of the matters which appear to be on the verge of consideration by it increases, it seems inevitable that its conclusions will have gathered such momentum that it will be most difficult either to disregard them or to relegate them to minor importance.

It should always be recognized, however, that in the long run the prejudice of the American people to European conferences is profound; that there is a constant fear that the Atlantic theater of war will be weighted against the Pacific, and that the nature and extent of our participation in Europe and world politics have yet to be determined. As the war progresses toward a favorable conclusion two great tendencies will develop. One is the desire, stimulated on the part of our soldiers by their wish to get home, to liquidate the European involvement. The national reaction which followed the last war both in the U.S. and Canada will set in again though presumably with considerably less chance of success. The other great tendency will be the feeling on the part of other countries that now that the war is on its way to being won and the invader is no longer at the door, the dependence on the U.S. should promptly be liquidated except in matters of relief. The development of both tendencies is fatal to both British and American interests. The Prime Minister has written it down as one of the great achievements of his career that his policy was so guided as to make it clear to America that she must enter the war on the side of Britain – “But westward lo the sky is bright.” It may be more of an achievement and of more importance to Britain, in the long run, to convince America that she must enter the administration of the peace.

Twice within a generation Britain has had to have American aid in order to cope with a European attack. The resources on which she must draw are, in great quantity, located on the American continent and strong as Britain may feel herself to be after each successful war, other wars are coming and there is no certainty of either avoiding or winning them without the fullest communion with America. People on both sides give firm utterance to this sentiment, but it takes doing. One of the best ways to do it is to convince the United States, not only its leaders, but its citizens, that the United States has a major part in directing the war.

It is vitally necessary to indoctrinate the American people to a recognition of the national responsibility of the country in world affairs. It is essential that the people of America become used to decisions being made in the United States. On every cracker barrel in every country store in the U.S. there is someone sitting who is convinced that we get hornswoggled every time we attend a European conference. European deliberations must be made in the light of the concepts of the new continent because that continent has now, for better or for worse, become a determining factor in the struggles of the older one. What may be lost through not moving to London in the way of better and more accessible records or a greater familiarity with local conditions, will be made up in a readier assumption of responsibility on the part of the U.S. and perhaps in a greater objectivity of decision.

All this and more can be said against the spirit which motivates the London tendency. One cannot control the shift of power (if that is the heart of the matter) by such artificial devices in any event.

The immediate question, however, is what machinery to erect which will most satisfactorily take into account these imponderables and yet get the necessary work done in time to be of effect.

The British proposal to shift the Combined Committee to London is no solution as it merely accentuates the tendency. The British proposal would leave the American Committee to determine only matters of supply, which is no concession whatever as the U.S. will have to make by far the greater contribution of material in any event. In all other purposes the American Committee would become no more than a sort of amanuensis for the decisions of the London Committee. The proposal is basically objectionable. Moreover, there is no procedural or practical need for it.

The CCAC has operated efficiently. Even the British members have testified to the directness and highly satisfactory character of the decisions and the discussions which it produces. It affords a very simple method by which the attitude of the American Government on all occupational and cessation of hostility questions can be learned. In Mr. Dunn the Committee has a State Department representative very close to Mr. Hull and through the Chairman prompt definitions of American policy where needed can be cleared by the Secretary of War, Mr. Hopkins, or Admiral Leahy. General Hilldring enjoys the confidence and respect of General Marshall and has ready access to him. The Committee’s connections with the Treasury are excellent, and Treasury policy is always available.

The Committee is an adjunct of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. It is military in its aspect although the Chairman is the Assistant Secretary of War. In his absence General Hilldring or General MacCready [Macready] succeeds to the chair. The connection of the Committee with the Combined Chiefs of Staff and its military aspect are consistent with the American point of view that during the progress of the war the introduction to all political decisions should be based on military consideration.

In short, the existing Committee has functioned well in the past, has prompt means of clearing American policy, and is readily available to the Combined Chiefs of Staff as it should be.

It is readily recognized, however, that all decisions cannot be made from Washington and there must be set up in London a machinery whereby detailed plans can be made and on-the-spot questions settled.

It has never been the policy of the Washington Committee to do more than prescribe the bare outline of the policy to be followed in each country. The general directive, e.g., the HUSKY directive, does not purport to do anything more. For the day-to-day planning for civil affairs the people on the ground must have the responsibility. That planning, to be effectively tied into the operations, must take place in the particular headquarters involved, e.g., for France in COSSAC. It will become the duty of that headquarters to take the Combined Chiefs of Staff directive, put it in force with such additions as local circumstances require. It will thus be made available for use by the commanders of the operation and the chief civil affairs officer of the expedition.

In practice no need has developed for a London Combined Committee except at the detailed planning level. The overall policy will be established by the advisory council as it is cleared by the respective governments. That policy is communicable to the Combined Chiefs of Staff and the CCAC of that body can translate it into military directives as it has in the past. If the Washington Committee had been permitted to function no difficulty would have ensued and none will ensue if London permits the British members of it to operate. On the other hand to center in London the Advisory Council, the Combined Committee and the detailed planning centralizes too much authority on vital post-war questions in London for the interests of both the U.S. and Britain.

[Attachment 2]

Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of War

Cairo, 22 November 1943


At the Moscow Conference there was established the European Advisory Commission composed of representatives of the U.S., U.K., and Soviet Governments. The commission will sit in London as soon as possible to make recommendations with respect to matters connected with the cessation of hostilities in occupied and liberated countries. As the matters falling within the jurisdiction of the commission are closely connected with military considerations it becomes necessary to establish a procedure [by?] which the Combined Chiefs of Staff may be advised of and can act upon such policies as are recommended by such Council and are approved by the respective governments.


a. The European Advisory Commission will be called upon for recommendations as to the terms of surrender to be imposed upon each of the European enemy states and as to the machinery required to execute these terms. It will also deal with such policy questions relating to Axis-occupied friendly nations as are referred to it. It is indicated further that the Commission will study [such?] other questions connected with and flowing from the cessation of hostilities in Europe as are referred to it by agreement of the three governments.

b. With respect to all of its deliberations, the Commission has no executive power and is confined to the position of making recommendations within its field to the respective governments.

When the Commission starts operating, it is envisaged that each Government will examine and reconcile the recommendations of the Commission with its own national policies and transmit its views as so reconciled to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

It will become the responsibility of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to resolve these views into military directives for the appropriate Supreme Allied Commander. In conforming to this responsibility, it is contemplated that the Combined Civil Affairs Committee of the Combined Chiefs of Staff will combine to perform the function of preparing suggested forms of directives based upon the necessary political and military considerations and conforming to the reconciled views of the respective governments. It will also combine to act in an advisory and planning capacity to the Combined Chiefs of Staff on all matters relative to civil affairs. It has been suggested that the Combined Civil Affairs Committee be transferred to London or that a new committee performing substantially the same functions be set up in London.

This is objectionable from the U.S. point of view for the following reasons:

a. In order to perform its functions adequately and expeditiously it is necessary that the Committee should be near the Combined Chiefs of Staff which must remain in Washington.

b. The military aspect of the initial stages of civil affairs planning should continue to be emphasized as long as either the war against Germany or Japan lasts. To establish a Combined Committee on a ministerial level would be inconsistent with this policy. The existing committee is merely an adjunct of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

c. The existing committee is experienced and well known; it has facilities for promptly clearing U.S. national policy and has operated (until recently when its activities were restricted through the limitations imposed on the British representatives) efficiently and expeditiously.

As it is not the function or intention of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to do any more than prescribe to the broadest terms of the policies under which the commanders in the field are to be guided there is no force to the argument that all procedures be transferred to London as greater information and contacts are available there. The methods and details by which the policy is to be carried out and as to which the information contacts and skills will be most useful are matters for the Civil Affairs Division of the appropriate headquarters to work out. (In the case of France and the Low Countries, presumably COSSAC).


The existing arrangement whereby the Combined Chiefs of Staff operating from Washington and utilizing the services of the Combined Civil Affairs Committee furnish basic directives governing civil affairs and matters relating to the cessation of hostilities to the appropriate combined commanders should be continued.

The U.K. and U.S. Governments should state to the Combined Chiefs of Staff their views in matters relating to civil affairs and the cessation of hostilities; these matters may be referred to the Combined Chiefs of Staff either on their own initiative or as a result of the action taken of the European Advisory Commission.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff in any directives carried to the appropriate commanders shall follow the normal practice of confining such directives to basic matters, leaving to the commanders and their staff the duty of working out the methods and details by which the policies as stated in such directives shall be executed.


It is recommended that the two governments agree to the conclusions set forth above and that for this purpose the Combined Chiefs of Staff transmit to the two governments a letter in substantially the form attached hereto as Enclosure A.

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Roosevelt-Chiang meeting, 5:00 p.m.

United States China
President Roosevelt Generalissimo Chiang
Colonel Roosevelt Madame Chiang

Madame Chiang described her plans for future improvements in China, particularly in the matter of literacy. Roosevelt and Chiang again referred to the question of unity in China, “specifically as regarded the Chinese Communists,” according to Elliott Roosevelt.

Operations in the China-Burma-India Theater were also discussed and that Chiang “reversed himself on every point.” The points in question were those set forth in CCS 411/2, to which Chiang apparently had agreed in a meeting with Churchill and Mountbatten earlier the same day.

It was probably at this meeting that Roosevelt gave Chiang the promise “of a considerable amphibious operation across the Bay of Bengal within the next few months.”

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The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 25, 1943

For the President from the Secretary of State

Lisbon’s cable no. 2835 of November 23, 1943 announces the departure on the preceding day of the group of Army and Navy technicians from Horta for Terceira Island, and adds that the early departure of these American technicians was thanks to British cooperation in Horta.


The Director of the Civil Affairs Division, War Department to the Assistant Secretary of War

Washington, 25 November 1943



(Eyes only, for McCloy from Hilldring signed Marshall)

Conference with Secretary Hull and Mr. Dunn indicates State Department view that there is no preference between allocation on [of] northern or southern areas to United States under RANKIN (C). However, the State Department suggests that serious consideration be given organization of a combined U.K.-U.S. commission to deal with French political situation irrespective of allocation of primary obligation under RANKIN (C) for operations in French territory. This commission would have approximately the same representation as the Combined Civil Affairs Committee, but would be responsible to the SAC and its jurisdiction would be confined to civil affairs problems in France. The obvious advantage of such a commission would be to give Anglo-American sanction to all policies followed in French civil affairs, regardless of whether these policies were administered by the U.S. or the U.K. Aside from comments given above, Mr. Hull has no official comments to make with regard to RANKIN (C). However, in discussing the RANKIN (C) plan and your radio number 10013 on that subject Mr. Hull expressed some doubt as to the wisdom of allocating separate spheres of responsibility if, from a military point of view, this could be avoided. With respect to the spheres of responsibility, if assigned, it is Mr. Hull’s opinion that firm declarations should be made by the governments of the occupying forces to the effect that no advantage shall accrue to the U.S. or to any of our allies in the area in which the armed forces of any united nation are located. Generals McNarney and Hull are acquainted with the contents of this cable.

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The Soviet Foreign Commissar to the Ambassador to the Soviet Union

Moscow, 25 November 1943

Personal and secret from the Peoples Commissar of Foreign Affairs V. M. Molotov to the American Ambassador Mr. Harriman.

I thank you for your message from Cairo. General Connolly may address himself through the Soviet Chargé d’Affaires in Teheran to General Arkadiev with respect to questions which interest him regarding coordination of measures. I hope to meet with you soon. Most cordial greetings.

Uh… I think Stalin drank too much vodka… He is sending Ambassadors to his own country.

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No, that was a note to our Ambassador to the Soviet Union, not the Soviet Ambassador here. :joy:


Totally not confusing at all.


Roosevelt Thanksgiving dinner party, 8:00 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Foreign Secretary Eden
Admiral Leahy Lord Moran
Ambassador Winant Mr. Martin
Ambassador Steinhardt Commander Thompson
Ambassador Harriman Mrs. Oliver
Minister Kirk
Major General Watson
Rear Admiral Brown
Rear Admiral McIntire
Colonel Roosevelt
Major Boettiger
Mr. Robert Hopkins

The President was host at Thanksgiving dinner at his villa. He had brought his own turkeys from Washington (they were gifts to him from Under Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, and Mr. Joe Carter of Burnt Corn, Alabama). The dinner list included: The President, the Prime Minister, Mrs. Oliver, Sir [Mr.] Anthony Eden, Major Boettiger, Mr. John F. [M.] Martin, Commander Thompson, Lord Moran. Admiral Leahy, Ambassador Winant, Ambassador Harriman, Mr. Hopkins, Admiral McIntire, Admiral Brown, Elliott, Ambassador Kirk, General Watson, Robert Hopkins, and Ambassador Steinhardt. Music during the dinner was furnished by an orchestra from our Camp Huckstepp. The highlight of the dinner was the President’s toast to the Prime Minister. He told briefly the history and origin of the tradition of our annual Thanksgiving Day; of how our American soldiers are now spreading that custom all over the world; and how that he, personally, was delighted to share this one with the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister rose to respond at this stage, but the President told him that he had still another toast first. The President then went on to say that large families are usually closer united than are small families; and that, this year, with the United Kingdom in our family, we are a large family and more united than ever before. The Prime Minister responded in his usual masterful and inspiring manner.

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Combined Chiefs of Staff Thanksgiving dinner party, evening

United States United Kingdom
General Marshall General Brooke
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
General Arnold Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
Air Chief Marshal Tedder

President Roosevelt’s log of the trip

Thursday, November 25 (at Cairo)

Forenoon callers at the President’s villa included Ambassador Harriman and Sir Alexander Cadogan.
11:30 a.m. The President signed mail that had arrived earlier today by pouch from Washington. This mail included the Executive Order authorizing the Secretary of the Navy to take possession of and to operate part of the plant and facilities of the Remington Rand, Inc., Southport, County of Chemung, New York; a message vetoing HR 1155; and a message vetoing SJ Resolution 59.
12:00 The President, the Prime Minister, Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek, members of their respective military and naval staffs and various other delegates met in the garden of the President’s villa where they posed for moving pictures and still pictures for military photographers and accredited war correspondents of the three nations concerned.
1:30 p.m. The President had luncheon at his villa with Lord Leathers, Mr. L. W. Douglas, Ambassador Winant and Assistant Secretary of War John S. [J.] McCloy.
2:30 p.m. Mr. M. F. Reilly and Major Otis F. Bryan called on the President to report on their trip to Tehran, from which they had just returned. The President shortly afterwards announced his decision to fly to Tehran, instead of flying only to Basra and proceeding on from there by train. It was considered that the travel by train would be too uncertain in view of the urgent necessity that the President be in Tehran by November 28.
5:00 p.m. The Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek had tea with the President at his villa.
6:15 p.m. Major General Donald H. Connolly, Commanding General of our Persian Gulf Service Command, called on the President to discuss desired arrangements at Tehran.
8:00 p.m. The President was host at Thanksgiving dinner at his villa. He had brought his own turkeys from Washington (they were gifts to him from Under Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, and Mr. Joe Carter of Burnt Corn, Alabama). The dinner list included: The President, the Prime Minister, Mrs. Oliver, Sir [Mr.] Anthony Eden, Major Boettiger, Mr. John F. [M.] Martin, Commander Thompson, Lord Moran. Admiral Leahy, Ambassador Winant, Ambassador Harriman, Mr. Hopkins, Admiral McIntire, Admiral Brown, Elliot[t], Ambassador Kirk, General Watson, Robert Hopkins, and Ambassador Steinhardt. Music during the dinner was furnished by an orchestra from our Camp Huckstepp. The highlight of the dinner was the President’s toast to the Prime Minister. He told briefly the history and origin of the tradition of our annual Thanksgiving Day; of how our American soldiers are now spreading that custom all over the world; and how that he, personally, was delighted to share this one with the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister rose to respond at this stage, but the President told him that he had still another toast first. The President then went on to say that large families are usually closer united than are small families; and that, this year, with the United Kingdom in our family, we are a large family and more united than ever before. The Prime Minister responded in his usual masterful and inspiring manner.
10:30 p.m. Lt-General Stilwell called on the President.

U.S. State Department (November 26, 1943)

Roosevelt conversations with Mountbatten and Madame Chiang, forenoon

Presumably the principal subject of both conversations was the attitude of Chiang toward the proposed operations in the China-Burma-India Theater.