Cairo Conferences (SEXTANT)

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decision is in fact accorded to the Supreme Commander, the work of the Combined Chiefs of the Staff would be virtually superseded and very great stresses would immediately arise between the Governments and the Supreme Commander.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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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.”

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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.

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.

Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff

Cairo, 26 November 1943

CCS 408/1

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

The British Chiefs of Staff have given careful consideration to the proposal put forward by the United States Chiefs of Staff in CCS 408 that “a Supreme Commander be designated at once to command all United Nations operations against Germany from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.” This proposal has immense political implications and is clearly a matter for the most earnest consideration of the U.S. and British Governments. Nevertheless, the British Chiefs of Staff must say at once that, from the military point of view, they profoundly disagree with the proposal. Their reasons are set out in the paragraphs that follow.

Total war is not an affair of military forces alone, using the word “military” in the widest sense of the term. There are political, economic, industrial, and domestic implications in almost every big war problem. Thus, it seems clear that the Supreme Commander for the war against Germany will have to consult both the U.S. and the British Governments on almost every important question. In fact, it boils down to this, that he will only be able to make a decision without reference to high authority on comparatively minor and strictly military questions, such as the transfer of one or two divisions, or a few squadrons of aircraft, or a few scores of landing craft, from one of his many fronts to another. He will thus be an extra and unnecessary link in the chain of command.

There is no real analogy between the position of Marshal Foch in the last war and the position now contemplated for the Supreme Commander against Germany. Marshal Foch was responsible only for the Western Front and the Italian Front. His authority did not extend to the Salonika Front, the Palestine Front, or the Mesopotamian Front. Under the arrangements now contemplated, the Supreme Commander will have not only OVERLORD and the Italian Front under his authority, but also the Balkan Front and the Turkish Front (if this is opened). There must be some limit to the responsibilities which Allied Governments can delegate to a single soldier and the sphere now proposed seems to exceed these limits considerably.

The United States Chiefs of Staff propose (see paragraph 8c) that the decisions of the Supreme Commander should “be subject to reversal by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.” If the main object of this new arrangement is to insure rapid decisions, it looks as though the above proviso will lead to deplorable consequences. Instances will occur in which the Supreme Commander has issued orders and the troops have marched in accordance with these orders, only to be followed by a reversal of the order by the Combined Chiefs of Staff and consequent confusion. Again, it may happen that the British Chiefs of Staff agree with a decision taken by the Supreme Commander, while the United States Chiefs of Staff totally disagree with it. What happens then? Or again, the Combined Chiefs of Staff may wholeheartedly support on military grounds a decision taken by the Supreme Commander, only to find that one or other of the Governments concerned is not prepared to ratify it. Then what happens?

If the Supreme Commander is going to exercise real control, he will need to assemble the whole paraphernalia of Intelligence, Planning and Administration on an unprecedented scale. This staff will merely be a great pad between the theater commanders and the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

Finally, it is not admitted either that the existing machinery for the higher direction of the war has failed, or that the situation which now confronts us is so inherently different as to demand a revolutionary change.

The conclusion to be drawn from the above arguments is that the Supreme Commander of the war against Germany will never have, under the system of government which now obtains in the USA and U.K., authority to deal with anything but strictly military, and comparatively minor, problems. He will be boosted by the Press and public opinion as a superman who is going to lead the two nations to victory. This is a mere delusion. His position will be a sham. In important matters, he will not be able to do anything more than is now done by the theater commanders.

If the well-tried machinery that has led us safely through the last two years has failed in the smaller problems, it would be better to examine that machinery and see how it could be speeded up and adjusted, rather than to embark upon an entirely novel experiment, which merely makes a cumbrous and unnecessary link in the chain of command, and which will surely lead to disillusionment and disappointment.

1 Like

American-British conversations on civil affairs, afternoon and evening

United States United Kingdom
Mr. Winant Foreign Secretary Eden
Mr. McCloy Mr. Jebb
Major Morton

Memorandum of conversation

November 26, 1943

Mr. Winant started out by stating our concern, from the point of view of progressing with our planning, over the extent of the jurisdiction of the European Advisory Commission and the early introduction of the political aspect into the cessation of hostility planning. I then outlined to Eden the inadvisability, from the point of view of U.S. participation in the peace and the reconstruction of Europe, of concentrating too much post hostility planning and decision making in London or of removing the military aspect of such planning, at least while the war was going on. Mr. Eden asked whether it was our desire or intention to play down the Moscow Conference agreements in respect to the EAC. I told him that I thought too much had been referred to it as a practical matter for it to absorb at the start and the result might well be a serious lack of progress.

When I touched on the necessity of avoiding even the suggestion of moving all these decisions to London and spoke of the need for indulging American sensitivities on these matters if the U.S. was to be a real participant in the peace, he rather strongly reacted. It was clear that he considered the setting up of the London Commission as an achievement of some proportions; that it had Mr. Hull’s accord and thus the accord of the U. S. government; that whether for better or worse the entire kit and kiboodle had been referred and it would not do to indicate to the Soviets that any attempt was being made to derogate from the jurisdiction of the Commission now. I told him that the U.S., of course, intended to go ahead with the decisions made in Moscow and to bring the Soviets into our councils. This was recognized on all sides as desirable and necessary. The question was a matter of getting on with work that must be done. Already due to the attitude of some agencies in London, the British side of the CCAC, who in themselves were able and reasonable men if given some authority, were completely tongue-tied. The thing to do was to avoid playing up the EAC as the great decider of all post hostility questions; to have the EAC prior to submitting their proposed recommendations to the governments, obtain the comments of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. From there on the recommendations of the EAC can be transmitted to the governments for approval and thence to the Combined Chiefs of Staff as a basis for directives to the commanders in the field. Mr. Eden expressed agreement with this procedure and Mr. Jebb, who was with him, also seemed in favor of this arrangement but indicated to Mr. Eden that “London” would be much opposed, i.e., they wanted to shift the CCAC to London. Although no arrangements were confirmed, Mr. Eden indicated he favored this arrangement and would endeavor to carry it into effect. He also said that he thought it wise that no further pressure be exerted toward shifting the functions of the Combined Committee to London.

Winant spoke of the need for a good staff in London to help him out and Mr. Eden said this was most important. He urged that a good military man be sent over immediately (and a good State Department man). He said that if we would agree to treat the EAC seriously he would see that the tongues and minds of the British representatives on the CCAC would be loosened and that he thought that further pressure to set up a CCAC in London would be removed. We touched on many other related things which led up to this tentative conclusion. The discussion was animated at times, but frank.

In the evening Mr. Jebb came to dinner as did Major Morton who briefs the Prime Minister on these matters. Jebb, who was going farther north and east, said that after talking with Eden further and consulting Redman and others, the general view among them, again subject to “London” (whatever that means) was that an arrangement would be worked out whereby the tentative recommendations of the EAC would be submitted to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for their comment and suggestions before being submitted to the governments; that the Combined Chiefs of Staff could refer the matter to the CCAC for advice and the comments could then be returned to the EAC for final submission to the governments which by that time would have been for all practical purposes already in agreement. Thereafter the translation of the policy into the terms of a directive can be made by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. He urged that when the recommendations were submitted to the Combined Chiefs of Staff that we would not take them apart and start all over again. I assured him that we only wanted to make progress and that I could guarantee we would act expeditiously and reasonably.

I told him that though it might not be advisable to suggest to the Soviet member at the outset that certain matters be carved out of the jurisdiction of the Commission, I did feel as a matter of practice they would find that the Advisory Commission would have enough to do to concentrate on broad matters of policy rather than on details of planning which had better be done at COSSAC Headquarters than either in the EAC or Washington. He agreed. Finally, I told Mr. Jebb that I thought that unless we could make such an arrangement as that outlined we would reach a further impasse and nothing of any substance would result from the London Commission. I indicated to Mr. Eden that Mr. Hull had suggested a Combined Committee to deal with French matters and this immediately produced a favorable reaction. He asked that study be given to the question of how and where it should be set up.

The conference ended with the understanding that on the return of Jebb from the East we should work on an agreement on the respective functions of the EAC, the Combined Committee and COSSAC.

1 Like

Chiang meeting with certain American generals, 11:30 a.m.

United States China
General Arnold Generalissimo Chiang
Lieutenant General Stilwell General Shang
Lieutenant General Somervell Lieutenant General Lin
Major General Stratemeyer Lieutenant General Chou
Major General Wheeler Major General Chu
Brigadier General Merrill Colonel Liu

Memorandum of conversation

Cairo, 26 November 1943

The Conference began with a demand from the Generalissimo to maintain a fixed tonnage of 10,000 tons per month over the hump regardless of any demands which might be made on the equipment to support necessary operations in the South East Asia Command. It was explained to the Generalissimo (1) that all C-46 airplanes are being assigned to this service, (2) that an increase in the efficiency of the service is expected, (3) that efforts are being made to secure 25 C-47 airplanes for Lord [Louis] Mountbatten, and that with these arrangements, the estimated tonnage over the hump would probably not only reach but exceed in due course the 10,000 tons target figure, (4) that the difference between the figure proposed by Lord Mountbatten for the next 7 months, 8,900 tons, and the figures estimated by the Generalissimo would be only 1,100 tons. It was explained that under these circumstances it was possible, even with the diversions asked by Lord Mountbatten, that there might still be 10,000 tons for delivery in China.

The Generalissimo stated that he felt that his requirements and those of Lord Mountbatten in the South East Asia Theater should be divorced and that they should be handled as separate items. It was explained that owing to the nature of the operation and the fact that the operations themselves were designed to push the Japanese back and thus provide for greater safety of the air route that this could not be done. It was also explained that all concerned had the increase in tonnage over the hump very much at heart and that though only 8,900 tons could be promised, that every effort would be made to increase this figure not only to 10,000 tons but to exceed 10,000 tons.

The Generalissimo concluded the conference by saying that he hoped that Lord Mountbatten and his demands could be separated but that he would accept the figures given to him with the understanding that the ATC would devote its best endeavors to securing the greatest possible increase in the tonnage.


1 Like