Casablanca Conference

U.S. State Department (January 14, 1943)

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 10:30 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
General Marshall General Brooke
Admiral King Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Lieutenant General Arnold Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General Somervell Field Marshal Dill
Rear Admiral Cooke Vice Admiral Mountbatten
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Lieutenant General Ismay
Brigadier Dykes
Brigadier General Deane

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

January 14, 1943, 10:30 a.m.


General Marshall outlined the broad problem facing the Combined Chiefs of Staff as the allocation of resources between the two major theaters of war – the Atlantic (which included for this purpose the Mediterranean) and the Pacific. He suggested as a concept on which to work that this broad allocation should consist of 70 percent in the Atlantic theater and 30 percent in the Pacific theater.

Admiral King said that according to his estimates we were at present engaging only 15 percent of our total resources against the Japanese in the Pacific theater, which for this purpose included the Indian Ocean and Burma. In his view this was not sufficient to prevent Japan consolidating herself and thereby presenting ultimately too difficult a problem. The Japanese were fighting a delaying action in the Solomon Islands and digging in along the whole line of the Netherlands East Indies and the Philippines. They were shipping back raw material into Japan as fast as they could. He felt that before the Combined Chiefs of Staff turned to the discussion of particular operations, they should first fix the general proportion of effort to be applied in the two main theaters.

Sir Alan Brooke suggested that in fixing this balance of effort between the two theaters, it would be wise first to try and weigh up the enemy situation as both the U.S. and British Chiefs of Staff saw it. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff would naturally know more of the situation in Japan than the British. He expressed the admiration of the British Chiefs of Staff on the magnificent work of the U.S. Forces during the last twelve months after the early disasters of the war against Japan. At one time it seemed as if nothing would stem the tide of the Japanese, but the position was now very different. The Japanese were definitely on a defensive basis and from intelligence received it appeared as if they were taking quite a different outlook on the war now from what they had been some months ago. They were worried about the situation of their European allies.

The security of the United States and the United Kingdom had always been basic factors in our strategy. The threat to the United Kingdom had been at one time serious, but as a result of our latest review of this danger it was felt that the forces in the United Kingdom could be reorientated from a defensive to an offensive basis. The greatest danger at the present time was to our communications. The shortage of shipping was a stranglehold on all offensive operations and unless we could effectively combat the U-boat menace, we might not be able to win the war.

Germany’s situation was undoubtedly developing favorably from our point of view. She was staggering under the failure of her second offensive against Russia, and feeling must be growing in that country that it was impossible for her to defeat Russia. Her successes in 1942 against Russia had been very much smaller in scale than in 1941. She had failed in her main object of the 1942 campaign, the capture of the Caucasus oil. By failing to capture even the port of Tuapse, she had failed in securing the facilities to export such oil as she had captured at Grozny. Her northern flank was in danger as also were the troops in the Caucasus salient.

The Russian offensive had been well carried out and had now reached within fifty miles of Rostov. Germany had only two courses open to her, either to push back the Russians into Stalingrad, which would be almost impossible during the winter, or to shorten her line. The latter, therefore, was the more probable course; and that would involve reverting to the 1941 line. The psychological effect of this withdrawal would be very serious in Germany.

Germany was thus on the defensive both in Russia and in North Africa. In the operations which had led to the defeat of the Germans in North Africa after the British defeat at Tobruk, very great assistance had been given by the timely arrival of American Sherman tanks and SP guns.

Germany was already having trouble among her allies. The Rumanians had suffered severely in the Crimea but had been forced to carry on, although greatly weakened in strength. The Italian troops on the Russian front had also suffered heavy losses and the Hungarian forces, which had never had much stomach for the fight, were also in bad shape. Italy was becoming more and more shaky; and if she collapsed, Germany would not only have to bolster up Italy by sending troops into the country but would also have to replace the numerous German [Italian?] divisions in Yugoslavia and in Greece. Alternatively, she would have to withdraw altogether from the Balkans and Italy, and leave it open to the Allies.

All indications showed that Germany’s manpower was failing and that some cannibalization of her divisions would have to be carried out. The latest estimate was that she would lose ten divisions in this way during the first quarter of 1943. Lack of oil was another of Germany’s major difficulties which would hit her particularly hard during the next six months.

Taking all these factors into account, it seemed at least possible that the precarious internal situation of Germany might make it possible to achieve a final victory in the European theater before the end of 1943. The immediate problem was how best to apply our available resources in order to take advantage of Germany’s present situation.

The means we had at our disposal were broadly three in number. First there was Russia, which constituted the largest land power; her efficiency was rising and the work of moving Russian manufacturing plants to the eastward away from the German invasion had been very well carried out. Russia’s oil situation was now more satisfactory than had seemed likely earlier in the year, but she was short of grain. In order to get the best value out of Russia, we must support her in every way we could. Our second main weapon was air bombardment, by U.S. and British forces. This we must exploit to the maximum. Our third means of striking at Germany was by amphibious operations which included invasion of the Continent. The possession of sea power enabled us to threaten the enemy at several points and thereby compel him to disperse his forces. Once committed to a point of entry, however, the enemy would be able to concentrate his forces against us, and it was therefore necessary to choose this point of entry with the greatest care at the place where the enemy was least able to concentrate large forces.

As a point of reentry to the Continent, France had great advantages. In the first place the sea-crossing was short, and we had better facilities for giving air support to our invasion. On the other hand, the German defenses in this area were most strong and Germany’s power of concentrating against us was greatest. A recent study had shown that the East-West communications across the Continent enabled Germany to move seven divisions simultaneously from the Russian front to the West in about twelve to fourteen days. The North-South communications on the Continent were not nearly so good. Not more than one division at a time could be moved from the North to the Mediterranean front. The Italian railways were close to the coast and vulnerable to interruption from the sea, and in the Balkans, there was only a single line of railway passing through Nish. From this point of view, therefore, the Southern front seemed to offer better prospects for amphibious operations.

Torch operations in North Africa had been an outstanding example of successful cooperation between U.S. and British forces, and the British Chiefs of Staff wished to express their admiration of the very able manner in which General Eisenhower had overcome the extremely difficult problems with which he had been faced. North Africa would provide a valuable base from which either to threaten Southern Europe or to undertake offensive operations. By this use we could compel the Germans to disperse their forces in order to reinforce threatened points. In this way we could probably give greater assistance to Russia than if we committed ourselves definitely to Northern France. Once we had captured Bizerte, we could pass merchant ship convoys through the Mediterranean. Their very passage would compel the Germans to fight in the air, since if they let them pass through unmolested the effect of their U-boat operations against our shipping would be largely nullified. These air battles against the German Air Force would be of the greatest importance. Already more than half the German Air Force was deployed on fronts other than the Russian.

In all Mediterranean operations Spain, of course, was a most important factor. There must be always some anxiety that Spain would close the door behind us, but all recent opinion tended to show that Spain was turning away from Germany and that it was at least highly improbable that she would ever grant free access to German forces. The more successes we had in the Mediterranean the more likely it was that this favorable tendency in Spain would continue. Spain knew that from the economic point of view she must depend primarily on the Allies. Against this there was, of course, the fear of Communism in Spain if the Allies were victorious and Russia overran Germany. Generally speaking, however, the feeling of the British Chiefs of Staff was that we had no cause for anxiety about Spain at the present time.

Another important factor in the Mediterranean was Turkey. That country no doubt would either try and keep out of the war altogether or at least join in on the side of the Allies only at the eleventh hour. There were, however, reasons to hope that if well handled, Turkey might be brought in earlier. As an inducement we should have to give her equipment, technical personnel and instructors. It did not seem wise to press Turkey to undertake an advance into the Balkans but rather to hold her position and afford us bases from which to attack Germany, in particular the Rumanian oil. We might also obtain a free passage to the Black Sea as another means of striking at Germany.

Summing up prospects in the European Theater, Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Chiefs of Staff felt that we should first expand the bomber offensive against the Axis to the maximum and that operations in the Mediterranean offered the best chance of compelling Germany to disperse her resources. With this end in view we should take as our immediate objective the knocking out of Italy. At the same time, we should try and bring in Turkey on our side. By this means we should give Germany no respite at all in 1943 and we should give the best aid to Russia, whom we must continue to supply with all the equipment which we could send. The difficulty, of course, was that many of these operations were mutually exclusive. For example, to send large supplies to Russia used up great quantities of available escort vessels. This naturally cut down our capacity to undertake amphibious operations. A balance would have to be struck between these various commitments, and we should have to face the necessity for accepting considerable losses in shipping, providing these paid a good dividend.

We must be in a position to take advantage of a crack in Germany in the late summer. There were already indications of considerable German withdrawals from France to the eastward. If Germany were compelled to withdraw considerable numbers of troops from France, the possibilities of an invasion across the Channel would be much greater. The estimate of the British Chiefs of Staff was that by August 1943 there would be available for cross-channel operations some 13 British and 9 U.S. divisions whether or not we undertook limited operations in the Mediterranean. Mediterranean operations, however, would produce other shortages, notably in Assault Shipping; and it might be difficult, if not impossible, to transfer landing craft from the Mediterranean to the United Kingdom or to the Burma front in time.

In all amphibious operations the provision of landing craft was the critical factor. Not only had the crews to be provided but the naval crews to man them had to be trained and the land forces had to be trained to work from them. This training was a slow process.

The British landing craft resources were being formed into two main forces, one earmarked for operations on the Continent and one for operations further afield, such as Burma. As regards operations in Burma, a limited offensive was now being undertaken with the object of capturing Akyab, on which the 14th Indian Division was now closing. Operations in the North of Burma presented very difficult logistical problems owing to the absence of roads.

The complete conquest of Burma was a much bigger problem, and naval supremacy in the Bay of Bengal would be required for it. It would be necessary to undertake simultaneous offensives against Rangoon and Moulmein since Rangoon could not be taken if the Moulmein airfields were in the hands of the Japs. Rail communications between Thailand and Burma were being improved and it might be necessary to extend the occupation of Burma by going some distance into Thailand as well. For this major operation seven divisions were being prepared in India; and two African divisions, one from the East and one from the West, could be found, both composed of seasoned native troops well adapted to jungle fighting. If the Germans were compelled to abandon their Caucasus offensive, troops could also be found from Iraq and Persia. There appeared, therefore, no particular difficulty in finding the land divisions; the difficulty lay rather in the provision of the necessary naval forces. It must be realized, however, that once started operations for the recapture of Burma would develop into a full-scale campaign.

Sir Dudley Pound stated that in the Atlantic the greatest concerns to the Home Fleet were: first, to prevent a breakout of the German naval forces; and, second, to provide protection for convoys to North Russia.

At first, the Russian convoys did not present any great difficulty. Their early success gave everyone a false sense of security. German interference, however, has been increasing constantly, culminating with the concentration of their surface vessels on the coast of Norway; namely, the Tirpitz, Lutzow, Hipper, Scharnhorst, and Prinz Eugen, all of which have now been completely repaired. A force of 20 U-boats was maintained in northern waters, as well as considerable air force. The security of Russian convoys is affected chiefly by the hours of darkness and the ice limit. For the next three months, the ice limit will only permit utilizing a channel about 220 miles in width which can be kept under close air reconnaissance by the Germans. The passage occupies about twelve days, and vessels are under attack all but two of them.

For the last convoy of 16 ships there were 12 escort vessels of the corvette type and 4 destroyers. Two six-inch cruisers were employed to give cover against surface attack; the Commander of the convoy had placed the cruisers between the vessels being escorted and the operational base of the German surface vessels. However, the Hipper and Lutzow attacked from the other side and came into contact with the 4 British destroyers. Until joined by the two cruisers, the destroyers prevented an attack on the convoy for some forty minutes and drove the enemy ships out of gun range of the convoy, although one of our destroyers and a minesweeper were sunk. As soon as the cruisers appeared, the Hipper and Lutzow withdrew. The Germans thus sacrificed a splendid opportunity to effect some serious damage on an inferior force.

It was first thought that the German Admiral commanding had made an error in judgment, but it was later learned that he had received orders from the German authorities ashore to expedite his withdrawal. This would seem to indicate that the Germans are following a policy of preventing their ships from receiving any damage. It can possibly be explained by their desire to keep them intact preliminary to a break-out into the Atlantic.

Sir Dudley Pound stated that before such a break-out into the Atlantic could be effected, the Germans must send out oilers which will enable them to refuel at sea, since he doubted if the Germans would again attempt to retire to Brest in view of their previous experience there.

During the months of long daylight, the danger of air attack precluded the use of cruisers with the Russian convoys; and their escorts consisted only of a powerful destroyer force. Convoys can then only be run every thirty-six to forty-two days. Twelve days are required for the journey, three days for refueling, twelve days for the return journey, and the remainder for boiler cleaning, etc. The Royal Navy does not have sufficient destroyers to operate two convoys simultaneously. If, therefore, it is necessary to send more than thirty ships to Russia every forty days, it will be necessary for the United States to furnish some assistance in escort vessels.

Sir Dudley Pound then stated that there was considerable traffic between Japan and Germany, Japan sending to Germany rubber and other raw materials obtained in the Far East in return for machinery and machine parts. It was important to stop this traffic at once. There are two places from which this can be best accomplished: first, in the Bay of Biscay by air and submarine action, and second, in the Atlantic narrows. For the latter a British task force was being built up on the east side and a U.S. task force was operating from the United States on the west side.

Sir Dudley Pound then discussed the situation in the Indian Ocean. It had at first been hoped to create a considerable Eastern Fleet, but this has been seriously reduced in size by Torch and other operations; and it now appears that its remaining carrier, the Illustrious, may be needed for future operations in the Mediterranean. If this is so, now would be an opportune time to withdraw it from the Indian Ocean for repairs and the installation of the most modern fighter direction devices. Without the protection of carrier aircraft, the Eastern Fleet is unable to operate in the eastern part of the Indian Ocean against Japanese naval forces accompanied by aircraft carriers.

In the Mediterranean area, Admiral Cunningham has a force of three battleships and two aircraft carriers. One of the duties of this Task Force consists in containing three modern Italian battleships which are at present unlocated. In the Eastern Mediterranean, British naval forces had been heavily engaged in the supply of the 8th Army in the Eastern North African ports. What the future redistribution of the Mediterranean naval forces will be must be based on the future strategy to be adopted.

Sir Dudley Pound then discussed the German U-boat situation. At the present time the Germans have one hundred and ten submarines in the Atlantic in addition to those in the Mediterranean and off the coast of Norway. It is anticipated that new production will go to the Atlantic.

The Germans are apparently concentrating their submarines into large groups, each of which is responsible for a certain area. One of these has been located off the coast of Newfoundland, one in the Central Atlantic, and one off Southwest Ireland. It is possible that a convoy may at any time blunder into a pack of German submarines if our intelligence is at fault.

Recently there were two convoys from the United States, each attacked by a considerable number of German submarines, one convoy losing two vessels and the other losing none. This was accomplished by providing air coverage for the convoys with Liberator airplanes which resulted in keeping the U-boats down during the day. While they were down, the convoys were able to alter their course and, by nightfall, leave the submarines behind.

Sir Dudley Pound then described an experiment which had been made owing to shortage of escorts due to Torch, in sending cargo vessels bound for Freetown out with a trans-Atlantic convoy, the vessels bound for Freetown breaking off from the convoy at a suitable moment and proceeding to their destination independently. The experiment was unsuccessful and the loss amounted to ten percent. Seventeen out of forty-four ships were lost in one convoy. The British have, therefore, found it necessary to résumé the Freetown convoys.

Sir Dudley Pound stated that escorts to convoys must be sufficiently large to deal with a heavy attack. He said our aim must be to get a long-range air protection and additional escort vessels. He added that it would be desirable to obtain more long-range aircraft protection to escorts from the United States.

Sir Dudley Pound indicated that we must make special efforts to provide adequate protection in the early part of 1943 in order that we may be able to meet the great demands in the build-up of Bolero in the latter part of the year.

Sir Charles Portal then discussed the air situation. He stated that our experience so far has been that the German operations are definitely tied up with the adequacy of their air power. He felt that this will be as true with regard to the German defensive operations as it has been in their offensive operations.

The present state of the German air force is critical. The stamina of the airplane crews is decreasing; the crews lack interest and are less determined, and their training is deteriorating. One explanation for this is that training units and personnel are being used for combat purposes because of a shortage of aircraft. He felt that there is no depth behind the German front line of aircraft. The British Intelligence Service is of the opinion that if the United Nations can keep Germany fighting with aircraft, they will suffer losses from which they cannot recover.

He felt certain that they are incapable of conducting large scale operations on two fronts and that if they are kept fighting through the winter and spring they will have in the summer a shortage of from seven hundred to two thousand first-line aircraft below what will be necessary for all fronts.

He stated that German production for next year will be about twenty-three thousand aircraft; Italy will produce three or four thousand; and Japan will produce about seven thousand. On the other hand, the lowest estimates for the United Nations’ aircraft production will be one hundred thousand combat airplanes or about four times that of the Axis powers.

Sir Charles Portal said that our greatest need is to force the Germans to extend the use of their aircraft to as many areas as possible and thus destroy and bleed them. The best ways to accomplish this are: (1) to engage them while they are in support of land operations (However this is only possible at present on the Russian front.); (2) to meet them while they are attempting to stop our amphibian operations; and (3) by directing operations directly at Germany.

He stated that one of the most pressing questions was how we should accomplish our air attack against Germany. The United Kingdom is the most advantageous base for such operations and one of the most important questions before the present conference is to decide on where the United States bombers are to be used.

He indicated that daylight attacks by United States bombers should be continued, as this has a serious effect on the German Air Force, on their industries, and on their morale. The question of whether to strike Italy from the United Kingdom or from North Africa is still an open question; but before deciding to build up a strong bomber force in North Africa, it is desirable to be certain that this action is more advantageous than concentrating them in the United Kingdom.

General Marshall stated that insofar as the estimates presented by the British Chiefs of Staff concerning Germany, Russia, and the occupied countries are concerned, the United States Chiefs of Staff are in full accord.

He also expressed concurrence in the idea that the U-boat menace is the paramount issue and that everything must be done to combat it by directing our attacks against it from the place of manufacture of submarines to the places where they are used.

He stated that the Japs are digging in, in an effort to build up a defensive front from the Solomons, through New Guinea and Timor, particularly with their air forces.

He pointed out that the United States Chiefs of Staff are anxious to find some method whereby they can strike in the rear and against the flank of the Japanese defenses. In this connection, they feel that operations in Burma will serve to weaken the Japs’ defensive front and that therefore, they are most anxious to undertake Operation Ravenous.

They feel that a reverse in this operation would not be a calamity but that a success would bring advantages all out of proportion to the risks involved. It would have an effect not only in the South Pacific area but would enable us to furnish strong support to China. A successful Operation Ravenous would result in an eventual economy of tonnage by relieving the Japanese pressure in the Southwest Pacific.

General Marshall then stated that the United States Chiefs of Staff are concerned as to whether operations in the Mediterranean area would bring advantages commensurate with the risks involved. He said that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are inclined to look favorably on an operation from the United Kingdom because of the strong air support that can be furnished from that base as well as the relative ease with which it can be supplied from the United States.

He repeated that our first concern must be the defeat of Germany’s submarine warfare.

Sir Charles Portal then said that the British Chiefs of Staff also felt that the defeat of the submarine menace must be given first priority in the use of air power, particularly in the protection of our line of communications.

For long range antisubmarine operations not only the provision of suitable aircraft had to be considered but also the bases from which they are to be used. The British are considering the advisability of establishing an air base in Greenland for this purpose. They were most grateful for the 21 Liberators provided by the U.S.A. for the Bay of Biscay. There are three possible methods of attack on submarines: (1) along the sea lanes; (2) against bases in the Bay of Biscay; and (3) against factories in which submarines are built. The British now propose making air attacks in sufficient force to destroy the entire port in which the submarines are based rather than confining their attacks to the submarine pens and surrounding installations. He pointed out that no one can be certain as to how much damage can be done in the port towns themselves and that the method proposed will be in the nature of an experiment, the results of which will not be known for five or six months.

Admiral King then asked whether the possibility of concentrating all air attacks on the building yards had been considered.

Sir Charles Portal replied that the building yards are not sufficiently large to be certain of hitting them at night.

Admiral King said that he felt the most favorable targets against the submarine menace were the yards at which they are assembled and at their bases. He said that he had the personal impression that there has not been a program undertaken there that has been consistently followed. He felt that the attacks had been sporadic. He thought that attacks should be aimed: first, against factories where component parts are made; secondly, at yards where the submarines are assembled; thirdly, at bases; and fourthly, at sea.

General Arnold said he felt we should attempt to find what component part or parts of submarines constitute a bottleneck and then strike at factories where they are made.

Sir Charles Portal stated that the greatest bottleneck was the ball bearings, but pointed out that it would be tactically impossible to destroy the factories.

General Arnold drew attention to the necessity for a decision as to where airplanes are to be utilized before they left the factory. This is so because different theaters require different equipment on aircraft.

General Marshall stated that the United States is now in the process of recasting its troop deployments. As an example, he indicated that it had become possible to reduce the size of the Caribbean garrison considerably. He stated that the United States is also considering reducing the size of the Iceland garrison and in that connection, he thought it would be desirable to have opinions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff on the hazards that now face Iceland. The purpose of this scaling down of forces wherever it can be accomplished is for saving shipping.


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

United States United Kingdom
General Marshall General Brooke
Admiral King Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Lieutenant General Arnold Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General Somervell Field Marshal Dill
Rear Admiral Cooke Vice Admiral Mountbatten
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Lieutenant General Ismay
Commander Libby
Brigadier Dykes
Brigadier General Deane

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

January 14, 1943, 2:30 p.m.


Combined Strategy

Sir Allen Brooke said that he would like to hear the views of the United States Chiefs of Staff regarding the situation in the Pacific.

Admiral King stated that of the nine fronts on which the United Nations are now engaged, four are in the Pacific. These include the Alaska-Aleutian area, the Hawaiian-Midway area, the South and Southwest Pacific areas, and the Burma-China area.

He said that when he took office as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Fleet on December 30, 1941, he immediately sent a dispatch to the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet stating that his mission was, first, to hold the Hawaiian-Midway line and the communications with the Pacific coast; and, secondly, to hold the remainder of the line of communications to Australia and New Zealand.

The Navy had already established a refueling point at Bora Bora which was sufficiently far to the rear to insure its being held. Marines had been sent to Samoa and there were also troops in the Fiji Islands. Steps had been taken to establish three strong points on the line of communications: Samoa, the Fiji Islands, and New Caledonia. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had then established a base for the Navy in Auckland with an advanced base at Tongatabu. As time went on, the United States forces went into the New Hebrides to Efate and Esperitu Santos.

Meanwhile, there had been engagements with the Japanese near the Marshall Islands, the Island of Wake, and in the Coral Sea.

The Japanese had advanced as far south as Tulagi with the apparent intent of using it as a base from which to operate against our line of communications.

Admiral King said that had we been set at the time of Midway, we could have made great progress in an attack on the Solomon Islands. The operation was in preparation in July and took place on August 7 but we did not have sufficient force even at that time to exploit our success beyond the occupation of Tulagi and Guadalcanal. The Japanese reaction there was more violent and sustained than had been anticipated. Another reason why we could not proceed further with the Solomon operations was that Operation Torch had been decided upon and much of our available means had to be diverted to it.

Admiral King stated, however, that we have attempted to go on with the Solomon operations. The Japanese reaction was, at first, probably designed to “save face” but eventually that became a minor consideration. The Japanese have a long line of communications, and it soon became apparent that they were fighting a delaying action to cover the Netherlands East Indies and the Philippines where the “treasures” are to be found.

He pointed out that we have had some success in the attrition of the Japanese forces but not as much as has been claimed. At present, the Tulagi area is pretty well stabilized and General Mac Arthur has driven the Japanese out of the Papuan Peninsula on New Guinea. The enemy is reinforcing Lae and Salamaua.

The main object of the operations has been the safety of the approaches to northeastern Australia, and the key to the situation is Rabaul.

The campaign in the Solomons was to be divided into three parts: (1) the capture of Tulagi, (2) securing the northeast coast of New Guinea, and (3) the capture of Rabaul. The process has been slow but the United States forces are going on with it. The immediate question is where to go when this campaign has been completed.

Admiral King stated that he felt the Philippines should be our objective rather than the Netherlands East Indies. The Philippines could be captured by a flank action whereas the capture of the Netherlands East Indies must of necessity be the result of a frontal attack. The most likely intermediate objective, once Rabaul is captured, is Truk and thence to the Marianas.

Prior to the war, every class at the Naval War College was required to play the game of the Pacific Islands involving the recapture of the Philippines. There are three ways in which the Philippines may be taken: first, the direct route which would constitute a frontal attack; second, the southern route which is outflanked by the enemy along much of its course; and third, the northern route through the Aleutians to the northern tip of the Island of Luzon. The northern route would include establishing a base in the northwestern Marshall Islands and then proceeding to Truk and the Marianas. The Marianas are the key of the situation because of their location on the Japanese line of communications. Any line of action decided upon requires considerable force, especially air strength. All of the necessary operations are amphibious.

Admiral King said that Mr. Stalin had been good enough to say that the Solomons operations have been of considerable assistance to Russia.

He pointed out the importance to the Japanese of occupying the Maritime Provinces in order to secure the Japanese Islands. He felt that such action would be necessary and that the Japanese should attach more importance to them than holding the Netherlands East Indies.

Admiral King stated that the Japanese are now replenishing Japan with raw materials and also fortifying an inner defense ring along the line of the Netherlands East Indies and the Philippines. For these reasons, he believed that it was necessary for the United Nations to prevent the Japanese having time to consolidate their gains. He compared this situation with the present desire of the United Nations to avoid giving Germany a respite during the winter months.

Admiral King then said that the idea of utilizing 30 percent of the United Nations war effort against Japan was a concept rather than an arithmetical computation. He had caused studies to be made of how much of the total war effort is now being applied to Japan and found it to be approximately 15 percent. He said that this is not sufficient to do more than hold; it is not enough to permit maintaining pressure on the Japanese.

Admiral King stated that we are continuously exploring possibilities of an attack against Japan by the northern route and called attention to the fact that the United States forces had just captured Amchitka. All operations in the Pacific are limited by the amount of available shipping.

Admiral King pointed out that the Japanese route for a naval effort against Siberia is secure. He said that he had recently had a survey made of Paramushir Island, the northernmost of the Kurile Islands. This revealed that it would be unsatisfactory as a base for operating against Japan.

It would be desirable to have the cooperation of the Russians in this respect but there has been difficulty in obtaining any information from them. The best means of obtaining information so far has been by direct correspondence between the President and Mr. Stalin.

General Marshall then reviewed the deployment of the United States troops in all of the islands of the Pacific, giving the strength of each in ground and air troops and in aircraft. He pointed out the logistical difficulties of supplying these forces.

Admiral King then gave the disposition of the Marine forces which amount to approximately 60,000 men in the area from Midway to the South Pacific Islands.

General Marshall said that in the light of the logistical requirements in the Pacific, the United States’ interest in undertaking an operation to open the Burma Road could be well understood. General Stilwell and Field Marshal Wavell would have to determine the logistical requirements of such an operation but, in any event, they would be minor in comparison to the requirements in the Operation Torch. Any success in the Operation Ravenous would have a tremendous effect in the Pacific chiefly by making it necessary for the Japanese to divert forces to the Burma operations, thus lessening the pressure in the South Pacific and the consequent demands on our available shipping.

General Marshall stated that the peace of mind of the United States Chiefs of Staff was greater now than it had been a year ago. The Japanese are now on the defensive and must be careful of a surprise move from us. However, he pointed out that we must still worry about the locations of the Japanese aircraft carriers because they constitute a constant threat against our line of communications and for raiding purposes against our west coast.

We must not allow the Japanese any pause. They fight with no idea of surrendering and they will continue to be aggressive until attrition has defeated them. To accomplish this, we must maintain the initiative and force them to meet us.

General Arnold then discussed the United States efforts to obtain information concerning Russia. He stated that when the Germans threatened to capture the Caucasus, the Russians began to be fearful that the supply of airplanes from the United States via the southern route would be eliminated. They, therefore, requested the United States to start delivery of airplanes from Alaska at once. The United States agreed to this, providing the Russians would demonstrate that there were sufficient facilities available to make possible the delivery of one hundred and fifty planes a month. The Russians did not have these facilities at the time but built them rapidly. At the present time, both the southern route and the Alaskan route are in use. In the coming year, the delivery to Russia amounts to four hundred airplanes a month. These will be divided over the two routes. Bombers are flown to Basra but the flight is so long that the Russians refuse to accept the engines and this necessitates replacing them. The northern route will be used for this purpose as much as possible inasmuch as it eliminates fifty hours of flying time on the journey.

General Arnold then stated that the U.S. Chiefs of Staff were desirous of knowing what facilities were available in southern Siberia and Vladivostok in order to see if they could be of assistance to Russia in case Russia was attacked by the Japanese.

General Marshall stated that Mr. Stalin had finally given General Bradley permission to make a survey. General Bradley, however, considered that it would be better to present the Russians with a specific proposal. He returned to the United States, and it was decided to offer Russia one hundred heavy bombers seventy-two days after the outbreak of war between Russia and Japan. Mr. Stalin had rejected this offer and said he would like 100 aircraft at once for use against Germany.

General Marshall also stated that the Russians object to the presence of “gossipy” people from the United Nations and that they were afraid that the United Nations personnel could not put up with the conditions which are imposed on Russian troops.

Sir Charles Portal stated that the British had operated successfully with the Russian navy in the Murmansk area but that they had the same experiences with the Russian army as the U.S. had.

General Marshall then described the difficulties which the United States Chiefs of Staff had had concerning sending air units to the Caucasus. The Russians had stated definitely that they did not desire units but airplanes only. There had been some sentiment among the United States authorities to furnish sufficient airplanes for the purpose of placating Mr. Stalin. However, to do so, especially in the case of heavy bombers, would necessitate immobilizing these airplanes for as much as six months while the Russians were learning to operate them and establishing ground crews for their maintenance. General Marshall stated that in his opinion it was unwise to withhold this striking power against the enemy for so long a period.

Admiral King then asked the British Chiefs of Staff if they had the impression that the Russians were unwilling to help themselves. The Germans were successfully operating air forces out of the northern part of Norway and the Russians had apparently made no effort to stop them although they were well within range.

Sir Dudley Pound stated that the Russians do send destroyers out to meet convoys. They invariably state, however, that they have run out of fuel before completing their task and then leave the convoy for home at a rate of 28 knots, which is hardly consistent with a shortage of fuel. Their Air Force has not furnished much protection.

Sir Charles Portal stated that he felt the reason for this was that their air personnel is not properly trained. The Russians had made some attempts to strike at the German forces but had been unsuccessful.

General Marshall asked why the Russians were willing to risk whole divisions but not their naval forces.

Sir Dudley Pound replied that they are continental people who do not understand naval action. Their submarines have been the only effective units of their navy.

Sir Alan Brooke agreed with this statement and added that while they do not know what dangers are involved in escorting convoys, they are very free to offer silly advice as to how security should be attained.

General Marshall then described the development of troops of the United States, which was proceeding very well. He added that United States troops, both in this and the last war, appeared to “veteranize” quickly in the field. The young officers and non-commissioned officers had exhibited a remarkable facility for eliminating errors rapidly. We may expect their effectiveness to increase enormously in a short time.

He thought we were particularly fortunate in the deadly character of the Pacific fight, since our forces which have been engaged in the Pacific have become imbued with the idea that it is “kill or be killed”; and this attitude gives promise of tremendous power for future operations. The staffs are sound and the engineers are particularly effective. He recalled a remark that had been made in the War Department, when Field Marshal Wavell questioned the possibility of building a road which could support the Burma operations, to the effect that “Wavell does not know General Wheeler,” the United States engineer in this theater.

Sir Alan Brooke inquired how far forward the U.S. Chiefs of Staff envisaged it would be necessary to go in order to prevent the Japanese from digging themselves in. He feared that if operations were too extended it would inevitably lead to an all-out war against Japan and it was certain that we had not sufficient resources to undertake this at the same time as a major effort against Germany. Would it be possible for the forces at present in the Pacific to hold the Japanese without incurring the additional drain on our resources which would result from pushing forward our present defensive positions?

General Marshall explained that it had been essential to act offensively in order to stop the Japanese advancing. For example, in New Guinea it had been necessary to push the Japanese back to prevent them capturing Port Moresby. In order to do this, every device for reinforcing the troops on the island had had to be employed. The same considerations applied in Guadalcanal. It had been essential to take offensive action to seize the island. Short of offensive action of this nature, the only way of stopping the Japanese was by complete exhaustion through attrition. It was very difficult to pause: the process of whittling away Japan had to be continuous.

Sir Charles Portal asked whether it was not possible to stand on a line and inflict heavy losses on the Japanese when they tried to break through it. From the very fact that the Japanese continued to attack, it was clear that they had already been pushed back further than they cared to go. We [He?] also inquired whether the U.S. Chiefs of Staff thought it would be possible to gain a decision by air bombardment of Japan alone.

General Arnold pointed out that the Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific were now operating from the tips of two narrow salients. The Japanese had greater width in their line and could therefore operate on a larger scale than the forces which we could bring to bear.

General Marshall said that in Papua it would be possible to gain additional airfields alongside our present position, but this was not the case in Guadalcanal where only a small strip of suitable territory was available. To broaden our base there, we should have to have New Britain and New Ireland. As regards air bombardment of Japan, the U.S. view was that Japanese industries were so vulnerable to the air that heavy attack would ultimately destroy her capacity to maintain her war effort.

Sir Charles Portal suggested that it should be possible to determine what it was that we had to prevent the Japanese from doing, and what forces we should require for the purpose. We should then see what forces remained for use elsewhere in the world.

Admiral King observed that unless some effort was made to assist Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese might pull out of the war. The 30 percent effort to which he had referred would, of course, include operations in Burma.

Sir Alan Brooke agreed that operation Ravenous might be successful but when we had reached the objective we should still have to defend our line of communication against Japanese attack from the flank. It was calculated that the route would only suffice to maintain two Divisions, and this would leave little if any capacity for the supply air forces operating in China.

Admiral King pointed out that in addition to opening the supply route to China, Ravenous would gain the territory necessary to secure the air supply route from India to China.

Sir Alan Brooke agreed that it would be well worth while taking a risk on Ravenous since it would not cut across the main effort against Germany, whereas Anakim would.

General Marshall pointed out that the Chinese only required about half the maintenance tonnage required by white troops. In any event, even a small residual tonnage for supplies to China would probably be far greater than could be transported by air. Twelve bombers in China under General Chennault had done wonderful work; and if he had even 50, the results they might achieve would be very great. For this reason, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff thought that Ravenous was a gamble well worthwhile. It should also be remembered that any help given to China which would threaten Japan might have a most favorable effect on Stalin.

General Arnold said that General Chennault claimed he could drive the Japanese Air Force out of China if he had 175 aircraft. This might be an exaggerated claim, but there was no doubt additional air forces in China would have a very great effect. By December it was hoped to have 150 transports working from India to China, with a maximum delivery estimated at 10,000 tons per month.

Admiral King asked on whom would fall the principal burden of beating Japan once Germany had been knocked out.

Sir Alan Brooke said that once Germany was defeated, practically all the British naval forces would be released for the war against Japan. Forces destined for the recapture of Burma and Malaya were already forming in India. He did not think it wise, however, to embark on Operation Anakim unless we were quite prepared for a full-scale campaign.

Sir Charles Portal said that India had already been asked to provide airfields for double the number of air forces we were ever likely to have available before the defeat of Germany. These were intended for the campaign against Japan. He had no doubt that as soon as Germany was defeated the British Government would turn the whole of their resources against Japan.

General Marshall pointed out that to depend on sea operations alone against Japan was hazardous, owing to the rapidity with which the balance of sea power could change in the event of a reverse. For example, in the Midway battle the U.S. Forces had been able to get all their aircraft into the air before the Japanese attack developed. In consequence, the Japanese had lost four carriers as against one American. With a little ill-fortune the reverse might have taken place; and in that case, the whole of the west coast of America would have been open to Japanese carrier-borne attack. The Japanese territories were not nearly so vulnerable in this respect.

Admiral King said that the Japanese might well strike again at Midway. They were on interior lines, and it was easier for them to take the initiative against us. At the present time it looked as if their carriers were being prepared for another attack somewhere, perhaps on Midway or Samoa. It was essential, therefore, to maintain the initiative against the Japanese and not wait for them to come against us.

General Marshall explained the difficulties with which he had been faced in finding even the small forces required by General Stilwell to support Ravenous. Shipping could not be spared for them in the absence of some definite assurance from Chiang Kai-shek and agreement with Field Marshal Wavell on the operations to be undertaken. By the time these had been obtained much time had been lost and shipping had to be found by drawing it away from other commitments in the Pacific such as Alaska and Hawaii. General MacArthur was some 20,000 men short of his requirements, and provision of these reinforcements had had to be deferred. By the most rigid economy sufficient shipping had at last been found to move 6,000 men to General Stilwell. In order to cut down numbers to the minimum, units had been stripped to the bone of all personnel which were not absolutely essential. It was certainly fortunate that losses sustained in the Pacific from submarines had been so small.

Admiral King said he was puzzled to know why these losses had been so small and what the Japanese were keeping their submarines for.

Sir Dudley Pound said that, in British experience, Japanese submarines were much less of a menace than the German. They were less efficiently operated, and quite small escorts were sufficient to drive them away. He pointed out that it was in a way to our advantage to allow the Japanese to dig in well in places which we did not mean to attack as this dispersed their forces. To recapture the Philippines before the defeat of Germany was impossible; and it was, therefore, all to the good if the Japanese locked up troops in these Islands. The quickest way of recapturing the Philippines would be to defeat Germany. It seemed to him that the correct strategy was to establish a line where we had better air facilities than the Japanese and then to allow them to wear out their air forces by attacking us on that line. Would it be of any advantage to go as far forward as Truk in the immediate future rather than just before the main attack on the Philippines? Even if we had Truk he questioned whether we could operate surface forces against the Japanese lines of communication at the present time.

Admiral King agreed that the recapture of the Philippines must probably await the defeat of Germany. On the other hand, he would be in favor of seizing Truk and going forward to the Marianas in order to dominate the Japanese sea routes to the eastward thus freeing our submarines for the more covered Japanese supply route to the westward. He felt it was necessary to soften up the Japanese before making our main effort and not simply to allow them to do what they wanted, while we held a static position. The 30 percent allocation of resources which he had suggested would certainly suffice for the recapture of Rabaul.

After some further discussion,

The Committee:
Agreed to direct the Combined Staff Planners to report, on the basis that Germany is the primary enemy, what situation do we wish to establish in the Eastern Theater (i.e., the Pacific and Burma) in 1943, and what forces will be necessary to establish that situation.


Roosevelt-Churchill conversation, about 7 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill

Roosevelt-Churchill dinner meeting, about 8 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins General Brooke
Mr. Harriman Admiral of the Fleet Pound
General Marshall Air Chief Marshal Portal
Admiral King Vice Admiral Mountbatten
Lieutenant General Arnold
Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt
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Log of the President’s trip

Thursday 14 January

The President’s plane landed at Medouina Airport, Casablanca, at 6:20 local time, where the President and the passengers in his plane were met by Mr. Michael Reilly of the White House Secret Service. The President proceeded by automobile to his villa adjoining the Anfa Hotel on the outskirts of the city. Here the American Army authorities had taken over a medium-sized modern hotel and 14 nearby villas. The entire area had been surrounded with barbed wire together with a heavy guard of troops, planes, and artillery. The hotel and the adjoining villas had been organized to provide temporary headquarters for the President, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and their respective staffs.

The President was installed in Villa No. 2, “Dar es Saada,” by 7:00 p.m., and a few minutes later Mr. Hopkins left for Villa No. 3, “Mirador,” to escort Prime Minister Churchill across to the President’s villa. The President and Mr. Churchill conferred for an hour and then went in to dinner. In addition to Mr. Churchill, the following persons dined with the President:

General Sir Alan F. Brooke Gen. George C. Marshall
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound Admiral E. J. King
Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal Lt. Gen. H. H. Arnold
Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten Lt. Col. Elliott Roosevelt
Mr. Harry L. Hopkins
Mr. Averell Harriman

After dinner, the President’s guests stayed late, renewing old acquaintances and “talking shop.” It was not until almost three hours after midnight that the President retired.

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U.S. State Department (January 15, 1943)

Meeting of Roosevelt with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 10 a.m.

President Roosevelt
Mr. Hopkins
Mr. Harriman
General Marshall
Admiral King
Lieutenant General Arnold
Brigadier General Deane

Joint Chiefs of Staff Minutes

January 15, 1943, 10 a.m.

  1. Visit of General Noguès and the Sultan of Morocco with the President

The President asked as to the advisability of his seeing General Noguès and possibly the Sultan of Morocco. General Marshall and Admiral King both stated they felt that General Eisenhower was in a better position to advise the President on this subject and he would no doubt do so when he arrived at Anfa Camp. Admiral King, however, questioned whether or not General Noguès merited the honor of visiting the President of the United States.

  1. The President’s Program

General Marshall explained that it had at first been thought the President would stay here for about four or five days; then leave by motor for Rabat and Lyauty [Port Lyautey] where he would visit three divisions and interview certain selected officers and men; then proceed by air to Oran, observe the troops there and also visit a hopital. From Oran, it was planned that he should go to Marrakech, change planes at the airfield there and then return to the United States. He stated that in view of the fact that the conference would probably last about ten days, these plans would of necessity have to undergo some change. He said that it is not desirable for the President to visit Marrakech and he should refuse any invitation of the Prime Minister to do so.

General Marshall explained that Marrakech is inland, that its airfield is entirely open. No one knows how many Axis agents may be included in the civilian populations. He also said that it would be unwise to have the President of the United States in a city that contained about one and one-half French divisions which have recently been hostile to us and only one regiment of American troops.

General Marshall suggested that if the Prime Minister desired to visit Marrakech, he might do so with Mr. Hopkins and this would furnish good cover for the real location of the President.

It was decided that the President would remain here and that if there was any indication that his presence here had become known, he would immediately start on the inspection tour which had been previously planned to start at the conclusion of his stay in Africa, except that when he returned to the Marrakech airport, he would change planes and leave the Marrakech airport as though returning to the United States. Actually he would return to the Anfa Camp in time to be here to finish up such business as might be necessary in connection with the conference.

In discussing the protection available at Anfa Camp, General Arnold brought out the fact that there was a French squadron equipped with our P-40 airplanes and at the request of the President, he explained something of our program for equipping French air units.

  1. The British Strategic Concept

General Marshall gave the President a brief summary of the British Chiefs of Staff concept regarding the prospects in the European theatre. They believed that we should first expand the bombing effort against the Axis and that operations in the Mediterranean offer the best chance of compelling Germany to disperse her air resources. He explained that the British are now in favor of an attack against Sicily rather than Sardinia and that this change of attitude was probably inspired by the Prime Minister.

At the same time, the United Nations should try to bring Turkey in on our side. Continued aid should be given to the Russians. A balance will have to be struck between these various commitments because they are mutually conflicting.

They also feel that we must be in a position to take advantage of any weakness developing in Germany by being prepared for operations across the English Channel.

General Marshall said that both Lord Mountbatten and General Clark agreed that there must be a long period of training before any attempt is made to land against determined resistance. General Clark had pointed out many of the mishaps that occurred in the landing in North Africa which would have been fatal had the resistance been more determined. General Clark was also apprehensive about our ability to maintain a surprise because of the necessity of locating landing craft along the northern coast of Africa prior to initiating operations. General Marshall stated that General Clark felt that while this presented some difficulties, they could be overcome.

General Marshall stated that the British are extremely fearful of any direct action against the continent until a decided crack in the German efficiency and morale has become apparent. The British point out that the rail net in Europe would permit the movement of seven divisions a day from east to west which would enable them to reinforce their defenses of the northern coast of France rapidly. On the other hand, they can only move one division from north to south each day in order to reinforce their defense of southern Europe.

General Marshall said that General Clark had expressed the opinion that operations in the Mediterranean could be mounted more efficiently from North Africa. His reasons are that the lines of communication would be shorter there, that the troops in North Africa have had experience in landing operations, and that there will be an excess number of troops available for the operation once the Axis has been forced out of Tunisia, and finally that training will be more effective if undertaken in close contact with the enemy.

General Marshall stated that while the British wish to build up a strong force in the United Kingdom for possible operations against Germany in case a weakness develops, it must be understood that any operation in the Mediterranean will definitely retard Bolero.

Admiral King pointed out that the line of communication is the bottle neck in any operations in the Mediterranean.

Mr. Hopkins asked if the British Chiefs of Staff felt that the lines of communication are sufficient. General Marshall said that the two critical factors in the decision as to whether the operation is to be in the north or the south were: (1) the safety of the line of communications and (2) the fact that there will be an excess of veteran soldiers available in North Africa to mount an operation.

In discussing Turkey, General Marshall said that the British Eighth Army would be prepared to send a considerable force there or near there. The aim of the United Nations should be to have Turkey resist Axis aggression and at the same time permit and protect our use of their airfields.

The President said that the question of bringing Turkey into the war is one for the diplomats to settle. In conducting negotiations, he stated that he and the Prime Minister should be given information as to how much military support the United Nations should be prepared to offer Turkey in order to accomplish what is desired. He stated that he did not want to be in the position of over-promising anything to the Turkish government. (The Joint Staff Planners have been directed to investigate how much aid it would be necessary for us to furnish Turkey in order to enable them to provide effective resistance to an Axis invasion.)

It was agreed that regardless of whether Turkey came into the war on the side of the United Nations, we should assemble sufficient force to the east of the Turkish boundary to enable the United Nations to reinforce Turkey as soon as she did become involved in the war. This can probably be accomplished by using part of the British Eighth Army.

  1. Anti-Submarine Warfare

General Marshall then pointed out that both the American and the British Chiefs of Staff agreed that effective measures must be taken against the Axis submarines. He said that Admiral King had pointed out that the most effective targets would be at the places where the submarines are assembled. He agreed with the statement, which he attributed to Sir Charles Portal, that we must keep hammering on one link in the chain, whether it be the factories which manufacture component parts, the submarine assembly yards, submarine bases, or submarines along the sea lanes.

  1. Operation Ravenous

General Marshall informed the President of the British attitude concerning the operation Ravenous.

Admiral King stated that he had the impression that the British were coming around to the idea that it would be [a] profitable gamble.

General Marshall explained that there were hazards, particularly from Japanese action against the southern flank, but that if the operation was successful it would secure favorable results far out of proportion to the risks involved. The most important benefit to be hoped for would be a decrease in the Japanese pressure in the southern Pacific by forcing the Japanese to divert their attention to the Burma theatre and even in the event of failure it would almost certainly result in a junction of the Chinese forces now in Burma with those from Yunnan and if a retirement became necessary, a trained Chinese army would withdraw into China.

General Marshall then spoke of the Generalissimo’s refusal to mount the operation. One reason given by the Generalissimo is the failure to secure British cooperation in assembling naval forces in the Bay of Bengal which he felt was a definite British commitment.

It was agreed that an effort should be made to obtain firm British support for the operation before requesting the President to discuss the matter further with the Generalissimo.

The President added that for psychological reasons he thought it would be advisable to double General Chennault’s force in China and also to bomb Japan proper. General Arnold replied that he agreed that it would be wise to increase General Chennault’s force and expressed great confidence in his ability to effectively operate against the Japanese. He stated, however, that the difficulty of supplying gasoline, spare parts, and other maintenance necessities prevented doing this at this time. He indicated that this was one of the most urgent reasons for opening the Burma road.

Mr. Hopkins asked General Marshall what he thought the prospects of success in Operation Ravenous were.

General Marshall replied that he thought they were better than fifty-fifty. He said the British presented all sorts of difficulties which must be overcome but that he personally did not feel any of them were insurmountable. The tactical operations involved would not be of long duration but it would be necessary to build an improved road rapidly before the rainy season set in. He felt that our engineers could do this but the British were inclined to doubt it. The British also feared the effects of Malaria but General Marshall pointed out that their malaria preventative methods did not approach the effectiveness of ours.

Admiral King stated that he thought it was most essential to undertake Operation Ravenous, particularly for its effect on the Japanese in the South Pacific. He stated that they are operating on interior lines and it was difficult to understand why they did not make some serious thrusts at Midway or other points on our line of communications.

  1. Command Situation in Europe

General Marshall stated that he had learned that the Prime Minister was concerned over the effectiveness of our bombing operations in Europe. The utilization of our bombing force is tied up with the question of command. At the present time General Eisenhower controls the Air Force, both in North Africa and in England. We are cooperating with the British in selecting the bombing objectives but we are not subject to their orders. General Marshall said that he felt the time had come when we should establish a separate United Kingdom theatre. He stated that he had sent General Andrews to Cairo to give him some experience in an active theatre of operations and that he now proposed to put him in command of the American troops in the United Kingdom.

General Marshall stated that so far as operational direction of bombing, i.e. time and mission, our bombers in England should be subject to British command. So far as technique, etc. they should not be permitted to dictate our procedure.

  1. Operations in Tunisia

General Marshall indicated that there may be a change in the British command in the operations in Tunisia. He said that Admiral Cunningham agreed that the command had not been well handled. Instances occurred in which trained United States combat teams loaned to the British were broken up, thus reducing their effectiveness. There had also been instances of the misuse of British parachute troops. This situation is now being corrected.


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

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Commander Thompson
Mr. Harriman
Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt

I showed this to the P.M., Casablanca, Jan. 15, 1943.


851R.20/49: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom to the Secretary of State

London, January 8, 1943 — 6 p.m.
[Received 10:05 p.m.]


As instructed in your telegram No. 146, January 7, 2 p.m., I left with Mr. Eden this morning paraphrases of that telegram and of your telegram No. 104, January 5, 10 [11] p.m., and went over the North African situation with him. I gained the impression that he had not previously been fully impressed with the seriousness with which you view the situation or that he considered the attitude of the British press as particularly harmful. He took some exception to the statement that “British leaders” were approving de Gaulle’s broadcast or the present Fighting French propaganda campaign. He referred to his attempt to dissuade General de Gaulle from issuing his January 2 statement and of de Gaulle’s refusal to grant his request. He added “de Gaulle has caused me more trouble than all the other Allies put together”. He said that he had been faced with the alternative of issuing a dead censorship stop which six hundred correspondents would have known about, or of letting him go ahead. I said that since the British had largely built up de Gaulle and he was obtaining all his financial support from the British Government, and since the British have turned over to him control over Madagascar and Djibouti that it seemed to us in the United States that there must be means of bringing about a more reasonable attitude on de Gaulle’s part. His reply was that due in large part, he thought, to the Darlan arrangements, de Gaulle had become a sort of public hero in Britain; that he, Eden, had had great difficulties with the House of Commons on the question, and that any attempt to exercise financial or other pressure would inevitably bring a serious backfire in the House of Commons. He added:

I can’t censor him any more than you can censor the statements of the Willkies and Luces.

He asked me to tell you: First, that the British had a lot of troops fighting in Tunisia and they are just as anxious for a military success as we are. Secondly, that de Gaulle is not like “a quantity of gin that can be put in a bottle”, but is very difficult to handle and that we must remember he has a large following in metropolitan France. Thirdly, he feels that it is important that all French be brought together and that they would work better under a single organization than under separate ones. I said that it did not seem to me that de Gaulle’s present tactics were calculated to bring them together, and he agreed. He said specifically that he did not care whether Giraud or de Gaulle headed such unified group. I said that de Gaulle’s allegations of “increasing confusion” in North Africa did not seem likely either to help our military operations or to bring about unity, and that I wondered whether the British had suggested to de Gaulle that he might simply offer his military support to General Giraud. Eden replied that he did not think that the Fighting French would agree to it. He added that he understood that de Gaulle was planning to send military emissaries as suggested by Giraud and that this seemed to be a step in the right direction. I said that my reading of de Gaulle’s reply (my telegram 174, January 7, 8 p.m.) did not seem to indicate any clear acceptance of the suggestion, and we found out later that he had based his statement on an earlier indication to Charles Peake by de Gaulle that he would send military representatives to Algiers, a tentative decision apparently reversed by the General later. Your statement that de Gaulle’s political aspirations were forcing General Eisenhower to take time out from essential military duties elicited Mr. Eden’s comment that he understood that:

Eisenhower had returned from the front because of Darlan’s assassination and not because of General de Gaulle’s activities.

Although our conversation was friendly throughout, I left with the impression that Mr. Eden had not fully realized the seriousness with which you view the situation, that he did not accept the view that the British are in any way responsible for the propaganda and intrigues of de Gaulle and his advisers, and that he does wish a single de facto political organization set up in Algiers which will provide for the elimination of what he considers unreliable elements. Incidentally he is inclined to feel that a visit by de Gaulle to Washington at this time would not be wise, a view with which I concur. (Most secret. I understand that the Prime Minister in private conversation with an American has expressed bluntly the view that the “Americans should not have one Frenchman, Giraud, while the British have another, de Gaulle”. When it was suggested to him that one solution might be that de Gaulle assume a secondary role, he replied: “No, you can’t do that. De Gaulle is more than a man. He is a movement and a symbol”.)

To sum up, I feel that, quite aside from de Gaulle propaganda and the question of British responsibility for not restraining it, there are certain divergencies of viewpoint between us: (1) the British place more emphasis on setting up some political entity which will have most of the attributes of a transitional government though not calling itself so by name, whereas we consider the military aspect of French support be more important; (2) the British Government lays great store on the strength of de Gaulle’s followers and his public support in France with a corollary emphasis on the need to get rid of all taint of Vichy and Pétain supporters in North Africa, while we, not having based our policy for the last 2 years on support of de Gaulle and vilification of Vichy, see the problem in truer perspective; (3) our policy is that of letting the French people freely choose their own government after the war, whereas the British would prefer, the transitional period which they envisage, to see a regime which owes its existence to them; (4) they are perhaps jealous of our leading role in North Africa.

I believe that a public statement of our policy is the best way to clarify the present confusion. Your telegrams Nos. 104 and 146 have been most helpful. If in addition you could give me (if a public statement seems inadvisable) a full statement of your policy – such as that mentioned in your telegram No. 6662, December 30, 9 p.m. – it would be, I think, useful.



Thank you for sharing this post Norman, you’re a tremendous asset to this forum.

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

United States United Kingdom
General Marshall General Brooke
Admiral King Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Lieutenant General Arnold Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General Somervell Field Marshal Dill
Lieutentant General Eisenhower Vice Admiral Mountbatten
Rear Admiral Cooke Captain Lambe, RN
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Lieutenant General Ismay
Brigadier Stewart
Air Commodore Elliot
Brigadier Dykes
Brigadier General Deane

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

January 15, 1943, 2:30 p.m.

  1. Antisubmarine Warfare

Sir Dudley Pound said that the four points at which the U-boats could be attacked were the factories and building yards, the operating bases, the routes to their hunting grounds, and the hunting grounds themselves. He had sent for detailed information concerning the construction bottlenecks. As regards the operating bases, the British Government had agreed to intensify air attacks on French ports which were used as bases. The only question now at issue was that of giving some warning to the French inhabitants.

Attacks on the U-boats on passage to the hunting grounds had been successful for a time and considerable damage and delay had been inflicted on them as long as the U-boats did not know when the aircraft were detecting them with their A.S.V. equipment. This equipment was used in conjunction with the Leigh light at night. Now, however, U-boats were fitted with listening devices which detected the A.S.V. outside the range of the light. Ten-centimeter A.S.V.’s were now being introduced, but no doubt in time the Germans would find a counter to them. Nevertheless, if we were successful even in compelling them to remain submerged in darkness, it would have the effect of making them surface in daylight to recharge batteries.

For dealing with the submarines on the hunting grounds, the two requirements were first: as much air cover as possible, and second: adequate escorts. A rough rule of thumb for the number of escorts was to have three ships with every convoy plus one for every ten ships in the convoy. A convoy of forty ships would thus have seven escorts. In practice, however, we were never able to supply this number of escorts, and as a general rule we never had more than six with any convoy. When escorting vessels had to be withdrawn for operations, there was no pool from which to replace them. We had now new commitments in the Sierra Leone convoys which had had to be restarted, and the convoys bringing oil from the Dutch West Indies to the United Kingdom and to North Africa. As a minimum sixty-five more escort vessels were required in the Atlantic alone. Before any decisions were taken on our strategy for 1943, it seemed essential to weigh carefully the requirements in escort vessels for any operations to be undertaken. Once an operation was launched and escorts were withdrawn from convoys, they could not be returned usually for four or five months, during which an acute shortage was felt. The only relief during such a period would be the intake from new construction.

Sir Charles Portal said that the air had proved the most effective weapon against the U-boat. The estimated German output of U-boats was twenty a month. He gave the following figures for attacks on U-boats during the last two months:

November December
U-Boats sunk by aircraft 8 2
U-Boats damaged 24 9
U-Boats sunk by other means 8 6
U-Boats damaged 7 6

Air patrols over the U-boat routes to the hunting grounds were very costly in aircraft since it was calculated that there was only one sighting for 250 hours flying time. Nevertheless, even if a large number of U-boats were not actually destroyed by this means, aircraft patrols had a good effect in compelling U–boats to remain submerged and thereby reducing their time on the hunting grounds. A further method of attack on U-boats was the laying of mines from the air at the exits of the U-boat bases and construction yards.

General Arnold inquired whether it was not possible to use flying boats for anti-submarine work, both over the hunting grounds and on the routes to them. This would avoid the use of valuable long-range bombers.

Sir Charles Portal said that the long-range bomber was essential for work over the convoys, since flying boats, owing to their slow speed, took too long to reach them after a call for assistance. Moreover, the load of the flying boat in bombs and depth charges was less than that of the Liberator. In addition they were not processed for the 10 centimeter A.S.V. A considerable number of Catalinas were being used in spite of these disadvantages. It was estimated that the minimum requirements for the whole of the Atlantic and British Home Waters was between 120 and 135 long-range bombers. New devices were being developed to combat the German listening apparatus which detected the presence of A.S.V. aircraft.

Admiral King asked whether economy in long-range bombers could not be effected by using Catalinas for patrol work and reserving long-range bombers for emergency calls when convoys were actually attacked. The Catalina had a very long endurance and could be kept in the air for twenty-four hours if the crew was large enough to provide two watches. One advantage of the flying boat was that any sheltered water could be used for a base instead of airfields.

Sir Charles Portal said that Catalinas were being used to the maximum. A survey had been made of the West African coast and it was found that two depot ships for Catalinas would suffice on the northern part, but this did not cover the requirements of the Indian Ocean or the South Atlantic.

Sir Dudley Pound said that anti-submarine aircraft were essential in the area north of Freetown. The requirements in long range bombers which had been stated were an absolute minimum, even allowing for the maximum use of flying boats.

Sir Charles Portal asked whether the aircraft in the Pacific, details of which had been given at a meeting on the previous day, were available for anti-submarine work as well as local defense of the Islands themselves.

Admiral King said that fortunately the Japanese had not yet made any great use of submarines in the Pacific, and it was, therefore, possible to work with only small escorts. If the Japanese submarines became more active, aircraft would have to be used against them. The total resources available, however, were insufficient for security everywhere. When Alaska was threatened, forces had to be sent up from all quarters. The acute shortage of escort vessels was of course fully recognized.

Sir Dudley Pound pointed out that where long range shore based aircraft could not be employed to cover the whole passage, as for example in the direct convoys from the Dutch West Indies to the United Kingdom, auxiliary aircraft carriers had to be used with the convoys themselves. On the northern route it was hoped to establish bases for long range aircraft in Newfoundland to join up with aircraft working from the United Kingdom.

General Arnold said that Greenland would be of little use for this purpose owing to the long hours of darkness and the very bad weather.

Admiral Cooke asked whether full use was being made of direction finding apparatus to pick up the short range inter-communication radio of U-boats working in packs. The Japanese had developed this technique to a high degree.

Sir Dudley Pound said that all destroyers and most corvettes, were fitted with the necessary apparatus for this purpose. This use was being developed to the maximum.

Sir Charles Portal suggested that it would be desirable to have an assessment made of the total resources required in escort vessels and aircraft to combat the submarine menace, in order that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should have a picture of what would be left over for offensive operations during the coming year.

The Committee.
Agreed to direct the Combined Staff Planners to examine and report the minimum requirements of escorts (including aircraft carriers) and aircraft which should be devoted to the security of the sea communications of the United Nations during 1943.

(General Eisenhower entered the Meeting at this point.)

  1. Situation in North Africa

General Eisenhower gave a résumé of the situation in North Africa at the present time. Operations in December had been held up by bad weather and mud which restricted the use of vehicles entirely to the roads. Since this check every effort had been made to build up for an attack in the North by increasing our air power, improving the communications to the front and re-equipping the 6th Armored Division with Sherman Tanks. By the end of December, however, it was clear that the weather conditions would compel postponement of any attack for a considerable time. Attention had then been directed to the possibility of an attack further to the south where ground conditions were better. For this purpose forces composed of the 1st U.S. Armored Division and two U.S. Regimental Combat teams with Anti-Aircraft and Anti-Tank Units were being concentrated. At first operations on the right flank had been looked upon primarily as a diversion, but it now seemed probable that it would be possible to advance on Sfax and hold it with infantry while withdrawing the 1st Armored Division as a mobile reserve further to the rear, where it could be maintained more easily. This mobile reserve would be available to deal with a threat either from the North or from Rommel’s forces retiring from the direction of Tripoli. The plan was to launch the attack on Sfax on January 24. Although the road to Gabes was better, the time factor made it necessary to go direct for Sfax. There seemed, however, every reason to hope that Sfax could be successfully taken.

Sir Alan Brooke pointed out the need for careful coordination of the attack on Sfax with General Anderson’s operations in the North and those of the 8th Army in the South. If weather conditions made it impossible for General Anderson to move forward, except on the roads, before March 15 there seemed to be a danger that the Germans would thin out in the North and defeat the Sfax forces in detail. It would take some time before the 8th Army could bring pressure to bear from the southward in support of this force, since even at the best General Montgomery did not expect to reach Tripoli before the middle of February; and before he could advance from there the port would have to be cleared in order to supply his forces with petrol for a further advance.

General Eisenhower agreed that it was improbable that any movement off the roads would be possible in the North before March 15, though General Anderson had seven days’ reserves built up which would be kept intact for an attack whenever conditions permitted. He hoped that General Montgomery would push on through Tripoli as fast as possible. By the end of January the 46th Division would be concentrated forward under General Anderson and the 18th Regimental Combat Team would be withdrawn into reserve. As long as the 1st U.S. Armored Division was kept for counterattack, he felt that he could deal with any threat to the Sfax force. He hoped, however, to be able to discuss the whole problem with General Alexander and to make any necessary adjustments in the plan on the latter’s arrival.

Sir Alan Brooke pointed out that after two months of “an active defensive,” the 78th Division would not be in very good condition for the attack in the North and suggested that it would be better to let a fresh division form the spearhead.

General Eisenhower said that he was faced with the dilemma of either allowing the troops in the North to deteriorate by remaining inactive in the mud or suffering some losses to them through keeping them more active. In his opinion the latter was the lesser of two evils. Also that active patrolling would reveal any thinning out of the Axis force in the North.

The latest intelligence reports place the Axis strength in North Africa at about 65,000. Every effort had been made to retard their buildup but the appalling conditions of the airfields and the bad weather had largely closed down air operations against them recently. At the present time it was calculated that the Axis were getting in about 750 men a day with the necessary supplies for them, in addition to a certain amount of supplies for Rommel.

The French forces in the middle of the front were playing a most important part since they were holding the line between the British in the North and the American forces in the South. Unless they held firm, a serious situation would develop. Moreover, he was completely dependent on them for the working of his long line of communication and the ports. These considerations necessitated careful handling of the French. The French units themselves were badly equipped and some of them were poorly trained. The French troops from Tunisia were somewhat unreliable since their families were now in the German area. In one battalion there had been 132 desertions. The French Generals Barré and Juin were cooperating excellently with General Anderson and General Fredendall. Unfortunately, General Juin was not being given very much scope by General Giraud. The latter might be a good Division Commander but he had no political sense and no idea of administration. He was dictatorial by nature and seemed to suffer from megalomania. In addition he was very sensitive and always ready to take offense. He did not seem to be a big enough man to carry the burden of civil government in any way. It had been far easier to deal with Admiral Darlan.

Civil affairs, which included economic as well as political matters, had of course, given a great deal of anxiety. There were many agencies involved but the necessary organization to deal with all these problems was being improved.

Rail communications forward were very limited in capacity at present. East of Algiers the daily tonnage which could be carried amounted to about 2,200 tons but with additional rolling stock and locomotives which were being sent from the United States, it was hoped to increase this to 4,400. From Casablanca to Oran the daily tonnage was only about 900. Port clearance was improving. At Oran it averaged 5,000 tons a day. At Algiers the daily clearance was not so great and initially it had been much reduced by the presence of French ships lying at many of the berths. Losses of shipping had been sustained by air attack at Bougie and BĂ´ne. Air defense of the ports was being steadily improved. All available French antiaircraft weapons had been brought into action and night fighters had been sent from the United Kingdom. Radar had been installed to cover the stretch from BĂ´ne to Algiers and some had also been provided at Oran and Casablanca. Passive air defense measures in the ports were being improved and assistance had been given by an expert sent from the United Kingdom who had done very good work at Algiers. One difficulty was that there was no rigid control over the French civil population.

Sir Charles Portal said that the Radar cover between Bond [BĂ´ne?] and Algiers was not yet effective below 10,000 feet. He had made arrangements for additional equipment to be provided to make good this deficiency. He inquired what air defense could be provided for Sfax.

General Eisenhower said that there was good natural cover for the troops in Sfax. One airfield there was practically complete and there was another at Gabes. The improvement of airfields had been one of the greatest problems. Approximately 2,000 tons of steel matting were required for a single runway and this quantity used up the complete capacity of railroads in the forward areas for a whole day. Every possible expedient had been tried to use local material but broken stone merely sank into the mud. Once the weather improved all these difficulties would vanish since there were large areas in the forward zone which could be used as airfields with little or no preparation at all.

(General Eisenhower withdrew at this point.)

  1. Strategy in the European Theater

Sir Alan Brooke outlined two broad policies which should be followed in the European Theater during 1943. The first was to close down in the Mediterranean as soon as the North African coast had been cleared and the sea route through the Mediterranean had been opened, and to devote every effort to building up in the United Kingdom for an invasion of the North of France at the earliest possible moment. The British Chiefs of Staff had examined the possibilities and calculated that 21 to 23 divisions could be made available for this purpose by September 15th. It had at first been thought that port and railway capacity would be the limiting factor on the build-up of American troops’ expansion but it looked as if these difficulties could be overcome if the expansion of receiving depots for supplies were pushed ahead. As a basis of calculation, a monthly movement of 120 merchant vessels from the U.K. to the U.S.A. had been taken, the corresponding troop lift being 120,000. This would allow 9 to 12 U.S. divisions to be transported to the U.K. by September 1st. The number of troops which could be put into France was severely limited, however, by the availability of landing craft and of administrative facilities in France.

Three possible areas for invasion had been considered:

a) The Calais-Boulogne area which, although heavily defended, was within fighter cover of the United Kingdom;

b) Cherbourg Peninsula, which could be seized by a comparatively small force;

c) Brest Peninsula, which was a more worth while objective, would require a much larger force, say, at least 15 divisions to hold the 150 kilometers of front.

One of the objections to operations against the North of France was the excellent railway connections across Europe which would enable the Germans rapidly to reinforce the invaded area. Moreover, it would not be possible to begin the operation until the early autumn and no support would therefore be given to Russia throughout the summer. This last factor seemed to be the principal objection. A land invasion on a small scale would have little more than a local effect except for the air fighting which would inevitably ensue from it.

The other broad possibility was to maintain activity in the Mediterranean while building up the maximum air offensive against Germany from the U.K. and putting in as many troops as could be spared with a view to undertaking a comparatively small operation such as seizing Cherbourg Peninsula.

The Mediterranean offered many choices: Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, and the Dodecanese. Our amphibious power enabled us to threaten all these points simultaneously and thereby cause the Germans to disperse their forces. Unless they were to risk the loss of these islands, they would be compelled to reinforce them as well as the coasts of Italy, Greece, and France. If Italy could be knocked out, Germany would be involved in large new commitments in an attempt to bolster her up and replacing Italian troops in the Balkans. Other German satellites might also fall out. The British Chiefs of Staff considered that our best policy would be to threaten Germany everywhere in the Mediterranean, to try to knock out Italy, and to bring in Turkey on our side. It was not, of course, certain that we could bring Turkey in but by a combination of inducements and pressure we might be successful. With Turkey as a base, we could attack the Rumanian oil fields and open up the Black Sea Route to Russia.

If this policy was adopted, we shall have to make a careful choice of our objective. The main choice seemed to lie between the capture of Sardinia and Corsica and the capture of Sicily. Sicily would be the bigger prize but would be a bigger undertaking and the operation could not be staged until late in the summer. The threat, however, would compel dispersion on Germany long before the operation itself was launched. As for Sardinia and Corsica, these increased the possibilities of air attack against Italy by providing bases for fighter escorted bombers. The operation might be combined with operations from the Middle East against the Dodecanese.

One of the great advantages of adopting the Mediterranean policy was that a larger force of heavy bombers could be built up in the United Kingdom for the attack on Germany than if we concentrated for an invasion of France. For the latter purpose, a much larger proportion of the lighter type of bomber and ground support planes would be needed and the number of heavy bombers would suffer accordingly.

Admiral King pointed out that the more troops that we concentrated in the Mediterranean, the more likely Germany was to move into Spain in order to cut our line of communications through the straits of Gibraltar. An invasion of Northern France such as the seizure of the Brest Peninsula would not nearly so likely precipitate such an event. He doubted whether the Spaniards could be relied upon to offer anything more than guerilla resistance to a German invasion.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Chiefs of Staff did not consider it was at all probable that Spain would permit free passage to the German forces. It was calculated that some 20 divisions would be necessary to occupy the country if the Spaniards resisted at all. This would be a very large commitment for Germany. In any event, we would be able to secure the south side of the Straits of Gibraltar by occupying Spanish Morocco and this would prevent the complete closure of the sea route. He did not think it would be possible for Germany to seize the Spanish airfields in the South by parachute troops. The problem of supplying them by air would be extremely difficult.

Sir Charles Portal pointed out that if the Spaniards allowed the Germans free passage we should declare war on Spain which was depending on us for many of the necessities of life. Even if the Germans did go in, we should be better able to afford aircraft for the protection of shipping through the Straits of Gibraltar than could the Germans for its attack. It would be much more advantageous for the Germans if we built up against France and left the Mediterranean alone. They would then be able to withdraw large numbers of air forces from the Mediterranean and reinforce the Russian Front, relying on the strong defenses of Northern France to resist an invasion. On the other hand if we kept the Mediterranean active, they would be compelled to keep large air forces there the whole time. This was of the greatest importance since Germany’s main shortages were air forces and oil.

Considerable discussion followed on the details and timings of operations against Sicily and Sardinia in which the following were the principal points made:

a) If the capture of Sicily was mounted from the United Kingdom and the United States, it could be carried out early in August, but would require some 190 escort vessels. If it was mounted from North Africa some 65 escorts would be saved, but its launching would be delayed about one month. This delay was due to the time required for amphibious training in North Africa where facilities were extremely limited.

b) The capture of Sardinia could be undertaken in about May, i.e., three months earlier than Sicily. Air cover for the Sardinia operation, however, would be more difficult owing to its greater distance from North Africa.

c) The total coastline of Sicily was about 500 miles and it was anticipated that some 7 to 8 enemy divisions would be defending the island. This compared very favorably with the coastline of Northern France which was the same length, more strongly fortified and would be defended, by 15 divisions.

d) Part of the air cover for operations against Sicily could be provided from Malta from which about 300 fighters could be operated. Additional fighter protection could be given if Pantellaria was seized in a preliminary operation. The troops required for the operation amounted to some 9 divisions, 10 to 12 brigade groups being employed as assaulting troops.

e) It was doubtful whether the whole operation against Sicily could be undertaken by troops already in the Mediterranean owing to the difficulties of training them in time in North Africa. Assembly and repair of landing craft was another bottleneck.

Sir Dudley Pound estimated that once the North African Coast had been cleared, even without having Sicily in our possession, it would be possible to run a convoy of thirty ships once every ten days through the Mediterranean, in substitution for the present shipping to the Middle East, Persian Gulf and India, which moved via the Cape. This would effect a saving of some 225 ships. The average losses per month on the Cape route are at present about 15 ships. The estimated losses if the Mediterranean route were used should only be about 9 a month even allowing a higher percentage of loss. He understood, however, that the United States estimate was 18.

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Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff with Roosevelt and Churchill, 5:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Admiral of the Fleet Pound
General Marshall Field Marshal Dill
Admiral King General Brooke
Lieutenant General Arnold Air Chief Marshal Tedder
Lieutenant General Eisenhower Vice Admiral Mountbatten
Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt Lieutenant General Ismay
Lieutenant Roosevelt, USNR
Brigadier General Deane
Brigadier Jacob

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

January 15, 1943, 5:30 p.m.


The Situation in North Africa

General Eisenhower gave a review of the situation on his front. He explained that the Allied forces which landed in French North Africa were equipped to capture three ports. They were not a mobile army and had little strength for offensive operations. This arrangement had been necessary since the attitude of the French was an unknown quantity. General Anderson had advanced with great boldness and rapidity taking every kind of risk in an attempt to get into Tunis and Bizerte in the first rush. He had finally been stopped by dive bombing when he got into the open country near Tunis, and by wet weather which hampered movement off the roads. Every effort had then been made to reinforce the forward troops, units being moved from Oran and from Casablanca. It was hoped to launch an offensive on December 22 to capture Tunis, making use of superior gun power. The weather had turned against us and it had proved necessary to call off the offensive. A means of carrying out operations in the drier country in the south had then been sought and an operation had now been planned for the capture of Sfax which would begin on January 24. He had been waiting, however, for a chance of coordinating action with General Alexander, as it was important that the timing should fit in with the movements of the 8th Army.

General Eisenhower then gave details of how it was proposed to conduct the forthcoming operation and of the forces to be employed. It was intended to use the American First Armored Division (less one light battalion), a regimental combat team and additional units of artillery, and also to use the airfields in the Gafsa and Tebessa areas for supporting aircraft. The Germans had disposed their armor northeast of Pont du Fahs, and it would be necessary to guard against a counter stroke towards the rear of the forces attacking Sfax. It was hoped to put supplies into Sfax by sea from the eastward to ease the maintenace problem. It was hoped that this operation would be of real assistance to the 8th Army because the Germans were sending supplies by rail to Sfax whence they were sending small coasting vessels to Rommel. The Sfax force would be separated by 75 miles of rough country from the British 1st Army, in which there were two critical points: Pont du Fahs and Foudouk, which were held by the French. Apart from one regiment in Algiers, and part of a division in Oran, there was virtually nothing between the troops in the front line and Morocco. Troops in the latter place were too far away to move up over the long and difficult line of communications. The 1st Army had 7 to 10 days’ supplies of all kinds, and so if an opening were offered by the Germans they could launch an attack. In the whole theater of war there were now about 320,000 troops. Supplies were ample in the Casablanca area, but again difficulty of transportation prevented much being moved forward.

General Eisenhower then gave a description of the various airfields being used by the Allied Air Forces, and of the difficulties of keeping them serviceable. He then referred to the political situation and pointed out that it was very closely related to the military situation in view of the very vulnerable nature of the line of communications for the guarding of which French troops were responsible. Returning to the air situation he said that Air Chief Marshal Tedder had twice visited Algiers and detailed plans had been worked out to insure the coordinated action of the Air Forces from the Middle East, Malta and French North Africa. Medium bombers based on Philippeville were now being used with effect against shipping.

General Alexander then gave an account of the operations of the 8th Army. He said that the El Alamein position was about 40 miles long and was occupied by the German 15th Panzer, 21st Panzer, 90th Light and 164th Infantry Divisions which were at full strength in men and equipment, and by 10 Italian Divisions. The position had no open flank so the problem was one of punching a hole through which the armor could be launched. The attack went in under a very heavy barrage of 500 guns on October 24th. Infantry advanced through deep minefields for 4,000 to 6,000 yards. For the next ten days there was severe fighting designed to eat up the enemy’s reserves and prepare the way for the final breakthrough. On November 4th, the front was broken and the opportunity came for the fine American Sherman tanks to pour through. In two weeks Tobruk was reached and by the end of a month the army was at Agheila. They had the satisfaction of advancing twice as fast as Rommel had been able to move during our retreat. The Germans had not enough transport to go round and so they had made certain that what there was was used for the German units. Our casualties in twelve days were 16,000; the enemy’s must have totalled between 60,000 and 70,000 and Rommel must have lost nearly 5,000 vehicles. None of this would have been possible had it not been for the air superiority gained by the Air Forces who had throughout done magnificent work.

For the further advance beyond Agheila everything depended upon the use of Benghazi. The harbor was left by the Germans in a terrible mess. However by dint of fine work on the part of the Navy, a flow of 3,000 tons per day was reached. A severe gale which again breached the mole and sank several ships interrupted the flow, but it was now back again to 2,000 tons per day. Sirte was useless but there was a small place near Agheila where 400 tons per day had been unloaded.

The plan of the operations which had now begun was an attack by the 7th Armored Division, the New Zealand Division and the 51st Highland Division who were carrying with them 10 days’ supplies and 500 miles of petrol. It was hoped to reach Tripoli by January 26th.

The enemy’s fighting value was hard to assess but he was believed to have at his disposal the following forces:

15th Panzer Division with 30 tanks ) 50 additional tanks were believed to be ready in Tunisia.
21st Panzer Division with about 27 tanks
90th Light Division } both weak in strength and short of artillery.
164th Division
About 9 Italian Divisions.

The total strength might be assessed at 50,000 Germans and 30,000 Italians, though only about 20,000 of the former were strictly fighting troops. The enemy’s organization was much broken up and he was very short of artillery. Furthermore, his army had retreated 1,000 miles, which must have had its effect on morale. Our superiority rested in tanks and guns, of which we had ample. General LeClerc’s advance through Fezzan had been a fine piece of work but would not exercise an influence on the present battle.

If we got to Tripoli according to plan the 8th Army would be quite immobilized until the port was open. This would take probably seven or ten days, though in the worst case it might take three months. It was hoped to work up to 3,000 tons a day and if this was achieved it would be possible to attack the Mareth Line towards the middle of March with 2 Armored and 4 Infantry Divisions. We were getting photographs of the Mareth Line, which was certainly a prepared position, though lacking in depth. It should be realized that the distances involved were very great. From Buerat to Tripoli was 248 miles and from Tripoli to Gabes was 220 miles. It would, of course, be possible, if the enemy’s resistance proved weak, to advance to the Mareth Line with very light forces somewhat earlier.

Discussion then turned upon the coordination of the operations of the 8th Army and of those of General Eisenhower’s command. General Eisenhower inquired what Rommel’s position would be if the 8th Army captured Tripoli and if he captured Sfax. Could the 8th Army keep Rommel engaged so that the forces at Sfax could neglect its right flank and turn all its attention towards the North?

General Alexander said that Rommel was living very much from hand to mouth for supplies and if he lost all his ports he would certainly be trapped; nevertheless, it would be necessary to give very careful study to the Sfax operation. It should be realized that if a force advanced on Sfax, Rommel would react like lightning and his plan would be the best possible. Great care would be necessary to insure that undue risks were not taken.

Sir Alan Brooke said that a great deal depended upon the timing of the Sfax operation. It might be unfortunate if the force arrived at Sfax just at the time that the 8th Army had reached Tripoli and were immobilized for lack of supplies.

It was generally agreed that the coordination of the action of the two armies was a matter of the highest importance and the present opportunity should be utilized to the full.

Discussion then turned on the strength required to hold the North African shore when it had been completely cleared of the enemy. General Alexander said that he had calculated that two divisions with a mobile reserve would be sufficient for Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. General Eisenhower said that he considered four divisions should be held to watch Spanish Morocco and that one infantry and one armored division would certainly be necessary in Algeria and Tunisia. There were at present six U.S. divisions in French North Africa and three more were set up in the original plan to come. If these were shipped there would be three U.S. divisions over and above defensive requirements. He thought it would be unwise to hand over the defense of Tunisia too early to the French. The Prime Minister agreed. He said that it appeared that there would be some thirteen divisions in the whole North African theater available for future operations.

In reply to an inquiry Sir Arthur Tedder said that he was of the opinion that convoys could be passed through the Mediterranean when airfields had been established and when the Tunisian tip had been cleared. Sir Dudley Pound agreed. He reckoned that if thirty ships could be passed through every ten days the whole of the Cape traffic could be done away with and 225 ships would thus be released for other uses. It was hard to estimate the relative losses which might be incurred, but though the percentage of loss might be slightly higher through the Mediterranean the total would be less as fewer ships would be involved. The Mediterranean route would be more expensive in escorts, but there would be a saving in the time of voyages.

The Prime Minister said that the opening of the Mediterranean would have its effect on the attitude of Turkey; moreover, the British 10th Army, consisting of six divisions, which had been established in Persia with the object of meeting the threat through the Caucasus, was now available to encourage and support the Turks.

In discussion it was suggested that it might be worthwhile calculating what specialized units would be required to round out the Turkish Army. Sir Alan Brooke pointed out that up to the present the Turks had been supplied with technical material and arms, but although their Army consisted of first-rate material, as infantry, they tended to misuse technical equipment and allow it to deteriorate. He did not think their army would ever be fit to operate offensively outside Turkey. It might, however, serve to hold Turkey as a base from which our forces could operate.

Sir Arthur Tedder said that the Turks had a small air force to which we gave a limited number of aircraft; it would never be fit to fight. Our plan was to operate initially some twenty-five fighter and bomber squadrons from airfields in Turkey which had been prepared and stocked. Further airfields would be required if we were to operate offensively and plans were all drawn up for their preparation. It was intended to move antiaircraft defenses in with the squadrons.

Sir Arthur Tedder then gave an account of the part played by the Air Force in the recent victories in the Middle East. He emphasized that their task began during the British retreat from Gazala. Since that time the enemy air force had been beaten down and great efforts had been made to stop Rommel’s supplies. The action of an air force in operations of this kind was difficult to explain concisely, extending as it did over great areas and diverse tasks. The Middle East Air Forces had first struck at Rommel’s supplies and then at the supplies to Tunisia; for the latter purpose Malta had been reinforced to the utmost and aircraft had been transferred to Tunisia. The coordination of the Air Forces of the Middle East, Malta and Tunisia was a complicated problem and he was very glad to have the present opportunity of meeting General Eisenhower and discussing it.

General Eisenhower explained the difficulties under which the Air Forces in Tunisia were operating in support of the Army. There were only two airfields available for fighters and even these were 100 miles from the front line. The Germans, on the other hand, had two all weather airfields in Tunis. In the early stages U.S. units from the Western Zone had been moved up and placed under British command; Air Marshal Welch had disposed them in the Tebessa area. For the operation now contemplated the British fighter force would operate from Souk El Arba under Lawson and the U.S. fighters would operate in the South under General Crane. His own conception of the layout on this front was that the British Army Commander should control it all since there was no sound arrangement by which the front could be divided. The French, however, had refused to serve under British command. This had meant that he had had to establish a Command Post from which to direct operations. He hoped to overcome this kind of difficulty in the near future.

The Prime Minister inquired whether there was any danger of the Germans striking through General Anderson’s left flank rather in the manner adopted by the 8th Army at El Alamein. General Eisenhower said that the 1st Army had such superiority over the enemy in artillery that he did not think there was much fear of this. Though the enemy’s specialist and tank units were good, his infantry had not seemed to be up to the same standard.

In conclusion it was emphasized that events had reached a crucial stage in the North African Theater and that the events of the next two or three weeks would be of vital importance. The present was the time at which to consider what action should be taken when the North African shore had finally been cleared.

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Roosevelt-Leathers conversation, 7 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Lord Leathers
Mr. Harriman
Friday, 15 January

The day started with a long conference in the President’s bedroom. The following persons were present:

  • General Geo. C. Marshall
  • Admiral E. J. King
  • Lt. General H. H. Arnold
  • Brig. General J. R. Deane
  • Mr. Harry Hopkins
  • Mr. Averell Harriman

This conference had lasted from ten o’clock until 12:30. It was followed by a one-thirty luncheon in the President’s villa. Mr. Churchill, Mr. Harriman, Mr. Hopkins, Commander Thompson, and Lt. Colonel Elliott Roosevelt lunched with the President.

At 3:00 p.m. the Prime Minister and his personal aide, Commander Thompson, took their departure in company with Mr. Harriman.

At 3:55 p.m., Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower, USA, Commander U.S. Armed Forces in North Africa, called on the President. Shortly after five o’clock, Mr. Robert D. Murphy, Special Representative of the President on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, North African Forces visited the President and remained for ten minutes, departing at 5:30 p.m.

Preparatory to a conference of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., the Prime Minister arrived at the President’s villa and introduced to the President the following listed British officers:

  • General H.R.L.G. Alexander, Commander Middle East Forces
  • Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder
  • Lt. General Sir Hastings L. Ismay Office of the Minister of Defense

From 5: 30 until 7:00 p.m. the following listed persons conferred as a group with the President and Prime Minister Churchill in the President’s villa:

Field Marshal Sir John Dill General George C. Marshall
General H.R.L.G. Alexander Admiral E. J. King
General Sir Alan F. Brooke Lt. Gen. H. H. Arnold
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder Lt. Gen. D. D. Eisenhower
Adm. of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound Brig. Gen. John R. Deane
Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal
Lt. Gen. Sir Hastings L. Ismay
Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten
Brigadier E. I. C. Jacob

Following the departure of the above-listed conferees, Mr. Harriman and Lord Leathers called on the President and remained for half an hour, departing at 7:35 p.m.

During the afternoon, Lieutenant Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., USNR, had been informed of his father’s arrival at Casablanca and he accordingly took up quarters in “Dar es Saada,” thus making the household four persons – The President, Mr. Hopkins, Lt. Colonel Elliott Roosevelt, and Lieutenant Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. These four were joined at dinner in the President’s villa this evening by General Marshall, Lt. General Eisenhower, and Mr. Robert Murphy.

The President retired at 11:40.

U.S. State Department (January 16, 1943)

Roosevelt–Churchill conversation, 9:55 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Murphy Mr. Macmillan
Lieutenant General Eisenhower

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 10:30 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
General Marshall General Brooke
Admiral King Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Lieutenant General Arnold Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General Somervell Field Marshal Dill
Rear Admiral Cooke Vice Admiral Mountbatten
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Lieutenant General Ismay
Colonel Smart Major General Kennedy
Commander Libby Air Vice Marshal Slessor
Brigadier Dykes
Brigadier General Deane

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

January 16, 1943, 10:30 a.m.

  1. The North African Situation

Sir Alan Brooke gave an account of a conference between General Alexander and General Eisenhower regarding the coming operations in Tunisia and Libya. General Eisenhower had planned an offensive against Sfax to be launched on January 24th. The Plan presented some difficulties. The 1st Army cannot attack prior to March 15th. The British 8th Army expects to take Tripoli by January 24th. At that time they will be out of fuel for their vehicles and a certain amount of reorganizing will be necessary. It is probable that the 8th Army will not be able to attack Rommel’s forces on the Mareth line prior to February 15th. Thus they will be too late to take advantage of the favorable situation created by General Eisenhower’s attack on Sfax and consequently Rommel will be free for a period of time to operate against General Eisenhower’s southern forces and perhaps force him to withdraw from Sfax. This might be coupled with a German attack from the north which would place General Eisenhower’s southern forces in an extremely precarious position.

Sir Alan Brooke stated that it had been decided that the Sfax attack would be canceled. Instead, raids would be conducted against the German line of communications from Sfax but the bulk of General Eisenhower’s forces consisting of the 1st Armored Division, reinforced, would be held in the vicinity of Tebessa prepared to assist General Alexander in his attack on Rommel’s forces or to assist the 1st Army to the north. The Sfax attack might be accomplished later and, if so, it would be timed by agreement between General Alexander and General Eisenhower who will confer frequently.

  1. The Strategic Concept for 1943 in the European Theater

General Marshall stated that the United States Chiefs of Staff were anxious to learn the British concept as to how Germany is to be defeated. It has been the conception of the United States Chiefs of Staff that Germany must be defeated by a powerful effort on the continent, carrying out the Bolero-Roundup plans. Aid to Russia is regarded as being of paramount importance in order to assist the Russian Army to absorb the strength of the German ground and air forces.

He said we must devise means to enable Russia to continue aggressively through 1943 by providing them with supplies. The amount of such supplies and the methods of delivering them must be determined upon. The German air and ground forces brought to bear against Russia must be reduced. Any method of accomplishing this other than on the Continent is a deviation from the basic plan. The question is then to what extent must the United Nations adhere to the general concept and to what extent do they undertake diversions for the purpose of assisting Russia, improving the tonnage situation, and maintaining momentum.

In commenting on the British presentation of their plans for the Mediterranean, General Marshall stated that the United States Chiefs of Staff would like to have further information on the following points:

a) Were not the East-West communications in northern Europe, which the British consider capable of moving seven divisions every twelve days, subject to severe interference by heavy air attacks from England?

b) If the Mediterranean operations were undertaken and there were a break in the German strength, might it occur so rapidly that full advantage could not be taken of it? It was, therefore, desired that the British Chiefs of Staff expand on what the tonnage savings from the Mediterranean operations might be in order to determine if they were worth the costs involved?

c) What would be the effects of Mediterranean operations on the timing of the United Nations concentrations in England? In General Eisenhower’s opinion, it was unwise to count on further use of landing craft used in the initial landings for any other operation. A fifty or seventy-five percent loss should be anticipated. General Eisenhower also thought that operations on the Continent to establish a bridgehead would require more divisions than had originally been thought necessary.

d) What were the relative merits of undertaking an operation against Sicily or Sardinia, particularly in regard to the effects on tonnage, and the development of forces in the United Kingdom?

e) Was an operation against Sicily merely a means towards an end or an end in itself? Is it to be a part of an integrated plan to win the war or simply taking advantage of an opportunity?

General Marshall said the United States Chiefs of Staff agreed that every effort must be made to build up forces to support Turkey in order to be able to reinforce her for resistance against the Axis powers and to secure the use of her airfields for bombing operations by the United Nations.

He thought that if operations are to be undertaken in the Mediterranean, they should be financed by the troops now in North Africa. One of the strongest arguments for undertaking such an operation is that there will be an excess of troops in North Africa once Tunisia has been cleared of the Axis forces.

Admiral King stated that he thought it most important to determine how the war is to be conducted. The percentage of the war effort to be applied to Germany and to Japan must be determined as well as over-all plans for the defeat of each. He asked if Russia is to carry the burden as far as the ground forces are concerned; also, if the United Nations were to invade the Continent, and when. He said that since Europe is in the British area of strategic responsibility, he would like to hear their views on these questions. He thought it should be decided whether a planned step-by-step policy was to be pursued or whether we should rely on seizing opportunities.

General Arnold stated that he was interested to know whether an attack on Sicily was to be a means to an end or an end in itself and what relation such an attack would have to the whole strategic conception.

General Marshall said that, when planning for Gymnast, we were attempting to undertake an operation “on a shoestring.” He said we then changed to the Bolero-Roundup concept and had to prepare for Sledgehammer because of the strong possibility of a Russian collapse last autumn. Troop concentrations had been started and production programs rearranged for Bolero. This created difficult complications. The naval program was upset because of the necessity to undertake the construction of landing craft. It was then decided to undertake Operation Torch in which great risks were involved but in which we have been abnormally fortunate.

General Marshall described the difficulties with which the United States Chiefs of Staff were faced over questions of priorities in production. It was essential to fix our strategic policy as carefully as possible in order to avoid production difficulties.

General Marshall thought it important that we now reorient ourselves and decide what the “main plot” is to be. Every diversion or side issue from the main plot acts as a “suction pump.” He stated that the operations against Sicily appeared to be advantageous because of the excess number of troops in North Africa brought about by the splendid efforts of the British 8th Army. However, before deciding to undertake such an operation, he thought it necessary to determine just what part it would play in the over-all strategic plan.

Sir Alan Brooke said that on the Continent Russia is the only ally having large land forces in action. Any effort of the other allies must necessarily be so small as to be unimportant in the over-all picture. He felt that ground operations by the United States and the United Kingdom would not exert any great influence until there were definite signs that Germany was weakening.

General Marshall stated that it was desirable to force the enemy to meet us in air combat. He asked Sir Alan Brooke to discuss the effects of air superiority of the United Nations on the operations of ground troops of the Continent. He felt that if a bridgehead were established and Germany did not attempt to meet our air superiority, the bridgehead could be expanded. On the other hand, if they did meet our air superiority, it would necessitate withdrawing large air forces from the Russian front.

He referred to a suggestion by Mr. Molotov that we send a ground force to the Continent sufficient to divert forty German divisions from the Russian front. He said that this was out of the question and that our aim should be to weaken the German air power in the Russian theater rather than the ground forces.

Sir Alan Brooke stated that with limited ground forces, he did not believe that we could constitute sufficient threat in Northern France to the Germans to force them to withdraw much of their air power from the Russian front. The Germans have forty-four divisions in France, some of which have been moved south as a result of Operation Torch. However, the Germans still have sufficient strength to overwhelm us on the ground and perhaps hem us in with wire or concrete to such an extent that any expansion of the bridgehead would be extremely difficult. Moreover, we cannot undertake any operation in Northern France until very late in the summer of 1943. Since, therefore, we cannot go into the Continent in force until Germany weakens, we should try to make the Germans disperse their forces as much as possible. This can be accomplished by attacking the German allies, Italy in particular. This would result in a considerable shortage of German troops on the Russian front. An effort should be made to put Italy out of the war, largely by bombing attacks on the north from the United Kingdom and in the south from North Africa and Sicily.

Our policy should be to force Italy out of the war and bring Turkey in. If Italy were out of the war, Germany would be forced to occupy that country with a considerable number of divisions and also would be forced to replace Italian divisions in other Axis occupied countries such as Yugoslavia and Greece.

Preparations for an attack against Sicily would be known to the Germans and would necessitate the dispersing of their forces to meet any of the capabilities of our amphibious forces. They would have to be prepared to meet us in Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, Greece and the Dodecanese, and this would give great opportunity for deception plans. He felt that this would cause a much greater withdrawal of strength from the Russian front than any operations which we might undertake across the channel. The protection of the sea route alone would bring on a considerable air battle in the Mediterranean which will give relief to the Russian front. Airplanes which normally leave Russia during the winter months and participate in operations in the Mediterranean would be unable to return to the Russian front in the spring.

Sir Alan Brooke said that at the same time as operations against Sicily were being undertaken, there must be a continued build-up of the United Nations forces in the United Kingdom. These must be prepared to undertake the final action of the war as soon as Germany gives definite signs of weakness.

Sir Alan Brooke did not believe we could undertake any further operations in Italy from Sicily in 1943, unless Italy collapsed completely. We should be very careful of accepting any invitation to support an anti-Fascist insurrection. To do so might only immobilize a considerable force to no useful purpose.

Sir Alan Brooke did not feel that air operations against the German and French railway systems in the north would be particularly effective or do anything more than impose delay. There were so many alternative routes. On the other hand, operations against the north-south railway lines, particularly those in Italy, could be made effective because of the close proximity of the lines to the shore which makes them vulnerable to commando raids as well as to air action.

Sir Dudley Pound discussed the effects that taking Sardinia and Sicily would have on the passage of convoys. He said that securing either of these islands will not have as much effect as securing Tunisia. He anticipated that when Tunisia is gained, we shall be able to convoy thirty cargo ships through the Mediterranean every ten days which will result in the release of two hundred and twenty-five ships for other purposes. The route would not be safe for personnel ships or tankers. The capture of Sardinia would have little effect on the movements of shipping. On the other hand, the capture of Sicily would enable us to move troop convoys as well as cargo convoys through the Mediterranean with relative safety. The troop convoys, however, will, in the future, be limited almost entirely to replacement troops for the Middle East.

He stated that there will also be a saving in tankers because of the possibility of supplying the necessities for oil in the Mediterranean from Haifa rather than bringing oil from the United States.

Sir Alan Brooke recapitulated the comparative merits of an attack on Sardinia and Sicily as follows: The loss of Sicily would be a much heavier blow to Italy than Sardinia and would effectively secure the sea route through the Mediterranean. On the other hand, it was a much more ambitious operation and would have to be mounted later. Sardinia was a smaller undertaking, and could be mounted earlier. It would provide an excellent air base for attack on Industrial Italy, particularly if Corsica were taken as well.

Sir Charles Portal pointed out that if Sicily had to be taken later in the year and if the Germans in consequence were able to reinforce it more strongly, it would be a much tougher nut to crack. On the other hand, once in possession of the Sicilian airfields we could make it very difficult indeed for the Axis to reinforce the island. The railways along the Italian coasts in the two [toe?] were vulnerable to air attack and raiding; and there were narrow defiles leading from the port of Messina in the island itself.

Sir Charles Portal referred to the suggestion that we might be able to offset inferiority in land forces in Northern France by the greatly superior air forces which could be operated from the United Kingdom. So far as the Brest Peninsula was concerned, no fighter support could be given from the United Kingdom, since it was out of range. The Cherbourg Peninsula was better from this point of view and offered some possibilities as a preliminary operation. Nevertheless, with the limited air facilities in the Peninsula we should probably find ourselves pinned down at the neck of the Peninsula by ground forces whose superiority we should be unable to offset by the use of air. We should certainly be opposed by strong German air forces there. Once we were committed in Northern France the Germans would quickly bring up their air forces from the Mediterranean, realizing that we could not undertake amphibious operations on a considerable scale both across the channel and in the Mediterranean. On the other hand, by threatening in the Mediterranean we should cause a far greater dispersion of German air forces.

Sir Charles Portal said that in his view it was impossible to map out a detailed plan for winning the war, but Germany’s position, if we knocked out Italy, would undoubtedly be most serious. Her ability to continue the fight depended on (a) the possession of the necessary resources and (b) the will to fight on. As regards resources, her main shortages at present were oil and air power. We had no exact knowledge of her oil position, but if she had not succeeded in gaining the Caucasus oil, and if her synthetic oil plants were attacked by precision bombing in daylight, there could be little doubt that her forces would rapidly become immobilized from lack of oil.

As regards her air forces, calculations had been made by the British Air Intelligence Staffs of German deficiencies under the following hypotheses:

  • Case A – Italy fighting and Germany continuing the offensive in Caucasia.
  • Case B – As for A, but Italy knocked out.
  • Case C – Italy fighting and Germany holding a shortened line in Russia by withdrawing to Rostov.
  • Case D – As for C, but Italy not fighting.

German deficiencies in June 1943 were calculated as follows:

Case Deficiencies in First Line Aircraft Deficiencies in Divisions
A 1700 34
B 2250 54
C 700 9
D 1250 30

Germany’s will to fight depended largely on her confidence in ultimate success. If we and the Russians began to score continual successes against Germany, which she could not defeat owing to her lack of means, she would begin to realize that the prospects were hopeless. She might be faced with the dilemma of withdrawing all her troops from France and concentrating in the East against Russia. The way to defeat Germany, therefore, seemed to be to take every chance of attacking her oil supplies; to increase the air bombardment of Germany itself with its inevitable results on German morale, and on industrial capacity and its effect in producing heavy casualties in her population and great misery by the destruction of their dwellings. If we could achieve as well a series of successes, even though these might be comparatively small in extent, it seemed fairly certain that a point would be reached at which Germany would suddenly crack. No one, however, could say precisely when or how the collapse would come.

Admiral King said he understood the general concept of the British Chiefs of Staff was to make use of Russia’s geographical position and her reserves of manpower to make the main effort on land against Germany and to support Russia by diverting as many German forces as possible from the Eastern front. This raised the question as to whether we should not give Russia larger supplies of equipment.

Once the North African coast had been cleared it seemed that we should have a surplus of troops in North Africa and the Mediterranean whom we could not readily move elsewhere. It seemed therefore economical to use them in that area if possible. Sicily seemed undoubtedly to offer a greater dividend though its cost would be higher than Sardinia. The question was whether we could afford to delay so long before taking further offensive action against Germany and whether the Russians would be satisfied unless a “second front” was opened in France. The chief bottleneck seemed to be the provision of landing craft. Operations in Norway seemed to be worth examining though they would almost inevitably lead to a demand from Sweden for assistance and equipment.

As regards the Brest Peninsula, it was worth noting that once we were established there, U.S. troops could be moved in direct from America without the need for trans-shipment in the United Kingdom. The effect of capturing Brest on the U-boat war needed careful consideration.

Sir Charles Portal said that Brest was one of the four Biscay ports used by the Germans as U-boat bases, but he doubted whether the possession of the peninsula would greatly assist the proposed heavy bomber attacks on Lorient, La Pallice and Bordeaux. All these were within easy range of the United Kingdom and to operate against them from the Brest Peninsula would involve putting in additional facilities there. The airfields in the peninsula were likely to be fully employed in the air defense of the area and direct support of the army, leaving nothing to spare for fighter escorts for daylight bombing attacks on the Biscay ports.

The next point discussed was the effect of Mediterranean operations on Bolero. Sir Alan Brooke said that the number of divisions which the British Chiefs of Staff calculated could be made available by September 15th for operations from the United Kingdom into Northern France were:

  • 21-24 if the Mediterranean were closed down
  • 16-18 if Mediterranean operations were undertaken

If the capture of Sicily were undertaken, the number of landing craft left available for operations in Northern France would be less Sir Dudley Pound observed that all Calculations of the number of divisions available for operations in Northern France were based or the date of September 15th. In his view this was too late since the weather was liable to break in the third week in September and it was essential to have a port by then. The first assault should not be later than August 15th.

General Marshall inquired whether considerable numbers of landing craft would not be required for the maintenance of Sicily after it was taken.

Sir Charles Portal said that once Sicily had been occupied the air defense of the ports should present no particular difficulty. We were able to put large ships into Malta which was very exposed to ah attack. The number of enemy airfields in the toe of Italy was small and fighters on the Sicilian airdromes should be able to deal with dive bombers.

Lord Louis Mountbatten then reviewed the British landing craft situation. Available landing craft were being allocated broadly as follows:

a) A group in the United Kingdom of the smaller types of cross-channel craft sufficient to lift 4 brigade groups with their vehicles, of 7 brigade groups loaded for raids when very few motor vehicles would be taken.

b) A group in the Western Mediterranean sufficient to lift 1 brigade group complete.

c) A similar group in the Eastern Mediterranean.

d) A group in India sufficient to train 1 brigade group, but not enough to lift the brigade group if it had to undertake actual operations.

e) An oversea assault force, as a strategic reserve, sufficient to lift 6 brigade groups. The personnel would be carried in combat loaders but they could not all be put ashore in the first flight as the ships could not carry sufficient landing craft for the purpose.

Every attempt was being made to organize landing craft bases in the U.K. so as to give the maximum flexibility and thus allow for a change of plan. The switch over from Roundup to Torch had caused great difficulties owing to the fact that bases prepared for Roundup were in the South of England whereas Scottish bases had to be used for Torch.

Lord Louis Mountbatten observed that he was working on the assumption that any U S. troops would be carried in landing craft manned by the U.S. In the Torch landings the majority of U.S. forces at Oran and Algiers had been landed in British manned craft. He emphasized the need for working out allocations of landing craft well ahead owing to the long time involved in training the necessary crews.

General Somervell said that the introduction of the LST and the LCI necessitated considerable change in our ideas about landing craft; the former carried some 150 infantry as well as tanks, and the latter 250 infantry. He calculated that if all the available landing craft were concentrated in North Africa we should be able to lift a total of some 80,000 men by April. Allowing for the use of 105-foot and 50-foot craft as well, this lift would probably increase to about 90,000 in June. If this force of landing craft were used for a second and third ferrying flight, on a short sea crossing, their lift would probably be about 60,000 in the second flight and 45,000 in the third flight, allowing for inevitable casualties in craft. He considered the use of these landing craft, working to beaches, a sounder proposition than the risking of large ships under air attack. The latter should be reserved for the long ocean hauls.

To transfer landing craft from the Mediterranean to the United Kingdom for a subsequent operation later in the year presented considerable problems. It was certainly essential to have considerable numbers of landing craft in the United Kingdom well in advance for training purposes.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Joint Planners had calculated August as the earliest date for the attack on Sicily. If the whole operation were mounted from North Africa in order to save escorts, the date would be postponed until the end of August. His own view was that, even under the latter condition, the date might be advanced to July. Assuming that the attack be launched about July 20th, he expected that we might gain control of the Island within about six weeks.

General Marshall inquired when, on the above assumptions, there would be sufficient landing craft in the United Kingdom to take advantage of a crack in Germany.

Lord Louis Mountbatten said that three months would have to be allowed from the time when the landing craft could be dispensed with to the time when they would be ready for action again in the United Kingdom. The large types of sea-going landing vessels presented no difficulty but small 50-foot craft were essential for the assault landing. Both the United States and British Planners were agreed that it was not possible to use the large craft for the first flights. These small craft had to be collected from the site of operations, transported to Scotland, distributed for repair, reassembled and then again transported by ship to the South of England for a Continental operation.

There would be in England, however, at all times the assault force to which he had previously referred which could lift 4 Brigade Groups with their transport for an assault against heavy opposition. In addition, for the follow-up troops, a great number of landing barges and small coasting vessels were being prepared. The spearhead would not be affected at all by operations in the Mediterranean and would always be kept intact. Any landing craft recovered from the Mediterranean would therefore be in the nature of a bonus.

Admiral King said that the intended use of combat loaders for an assault on Sicily greatly disturbed him. He had hoped that it would be possible to use the larger types of landing craft instead. He feared that a large number of these valuable combat loaders would be lost in the operation.

Lord Louis Mountbatten said that in the Husky plan all available LST’s and LCI’s would be used, but in addition, 26 combat loaders were required for the assault troops. Of these, the British could provide half.

Admiral King pointed out that the two main factors in winning the war were manpower and munitions. In respect to military manpower, the British Commonwealth had presumably mobilized practically up to the limit. The United States at the present time had reached about 60% of their contemplated strength in military manpower though the position had not yet completely stabilized. His own guess at Russia’s position was that she had mobilized about 80% of available military manpower. China’s resources in manpower were still relatively untouched, and India likewise was scarcely tapped.

As regards munitions, the greatest potential lay in the United States. Next came Great Britain, but she could not supply the full needs of the British Commonwealth farces. Russia was more self-supporting than at first appeared likely but had to receive a considerable amount of assistance from the Allies. From the munitions point of view, China and India were liabilities since their available manpower enormously exceeded their industrial production.

In the European theater Russia was most advantageously placed for dealing with Germany in view of her geographical position and manpower; in the Pacific, China bore a similar relation to the Japanese. It should be our basic policy to provide the manpower resources of Russia and China with the necessary equipment to enable them to fight. With this in mind, the United States Chiefs of Staff set great store by Operation Ravenous. It seemed likely that one of the major British contributions to the defeat of Japan would be to complete the reconquest of Burma and the opening of the Burma Road.

General Marshall observed that, with regard to Operation Ravenous , Chiang Kai-shek had now withdrawn from his undertaking to move in from Yunnan on the grounds that Field Marshal Wavell could only provide very limited British forces and there would be no British naval strength in the Bay of Bengal to cut the Japanese reinforcements route to Rangoon. General Stilwell was certainly placed in a very difficult position at the present time.

Discussion then turned on the need for long-range planning in order that production policy could be coordinated with strategy.

General Arnold pointed out that if operations in the Mediterranean were undertaken, the seizure of Brest, in the British view, would not be possible this year. Further, that even if Cherbourg or Brest were taken, our forces would not be able to break out for a further invasion of the Continent. It looked very much as if no Continental operations on any scale were in prospect before the spring of 1944. We should have to decide not only what we were going to do in 1943 but also in 1944 since otherwise, owing to the time lag, our priorities in production might be wrongly decided.

Sir Alan Brooke expressed the view that we should definitely count on reentering the Continent in 1944 on a large scale.

Sir Charles Portal pointed out that production plans could never follow strategy precisely since the situation changed so frequently in war. The best that could be hoped for was to take broad decisions on major questions and these would always be in the nature of compromises. For example, when considering the possibility of reentering the Continent, it had been decided that we must treat it as a fortress and that heavy initial bombardment would be required to break into it. It had therefore been decided to give very high priority to the production of heavy bombers which would be used to soften up Germany before the invasion of the Continent.

Further discussion then followed on the possibility of a German crack in 1943.

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Sir John Dill felt that there was quite a possibility of beating Germany this year. We should therefore strain every nerve to effect this since the sooner we beat Germany the sooner we could turn on Japan. We must not let Japan consolidate her position for too long. Japan certainly could not be beaten this year, but Germany might.

Admiral King doubted whether Germany could be defeated before 1944. He felt that her defeat could only be effected by direct military action rather than by a failure in her morale. Was it necessary, however, to accept that we could do nothing in Northern France before April 1944?

Sir Charles Portal said that this depended entirely on Germany’s power of resistance. If we concentrated everything we could on Germany this year, it was possible that we might cause her to crumble and thus be able to move into Germany with comparatively small forces. Until this condition had been produced, however, some 20 divisions would get us nowhere on the Continent. A factor which must not be forgotten was the terrific latent power of the oppressed people which could only come into play when the crumbling process started. At that moment, however, their efforts might contribute greatly to the final collapse. He did not see Germany fighting on and on, completely surrounded by the armed forces of the Allies. A point would come at which the whole structure of Germany and the Nazi Party would collapse, and this moment might well come during the current year. It was essential therefore to have ready a plan and some resources in the United Kingdom to take advantage of a crack. In order to produce the crack, however, we must keep up the maximum pressure on Germany by land operations; air bombardment alone was not sufficient.

In further discussion the importance of deciding the requirements and availability of escort vessels was emphasized. These appeared to be one of the principal limiting factors.

Admiral King said that there was no reserve of escort vessels but if Operation Husky were decided upon, the United States and British Navies would have to find the escort vessels somehow just as they had in the case of Torch.

After some further discussion,

The Committee:
Agreed to direct the Combined Staff Planners to reexamine the British plan for Husky in the light of the American and British resources of all kinds that can be made available for it, and to calculate the earliest date by which the Operation could be mounted.

  1. Supplies to Russia

Sir Dudley Pound recapitulated the factors governing PQ convoys to North Russia. With the present resources of the Home Fleet not more than one 30-ship convoy could be run every 40 to 42 days. Each convoy had to contain two oilers, leaving a net total of 28 cargo ships. With more destroyers it would be possible to “double-end” the convoys, reducing cycle to 27 days instead of 40-42. For this purpose about 12 destroyers would be required from the U.S. Navy. He wished to emphasize, however, that if the Germans employed their surface ships boldly and kept up the same amount of air and U-boats as last year, it was within their power to stop the PQ convoys altogether.

General Somervell reviewed the general problem of supplying Russia. The northern route was at present the best since the turn-round was shortest. The turn-round on the Persian Gulf route was about five months. Some fifteen ships a month are now being used on this route but the flow was restricted by port and inland transportation deficiencies. Once the Mediterranean was opened some relief might be given by the use of Haifa and the overland route from there to Bagdad. For this purpose additional heavy trucks for the road haul would be needed. U.S. Technical troops were being dispatched to Persia to improve the trans-Persian transportation facilities, and it was hoped to increase these to about 10,000 tons per day. If this could be achieved, 40 ships a month instead of 15 could be sent into the Persian Gulf.

The sea route from Seattle to Vladivostok was also being used for non-military supplies and raw materials. Twelve ships manned by the Russians were now working this route, and it was hoped to add 10 ships a month in the future. The use of this route naturally depended on non-interference by the Japanese.

All these potential increases in shipping to Russia naturally would have to be found by cutting down elsewhere. If the opening of the Mediterranean saved some million and a half tons of shipping, this would provide a surplus for the purpose; but there appears to be no other sources. It should be possible for Great Britain and the United States to keep the pipeline full even if these potential increases were made. The maximum tonnage might be as high as 10 million tons per annum; the target for the current year was 4 million but it was doubtful if it would be reached. One million deadweight tons of supplies for Russia were awaiting shipment now in U.S. ports.

Sir Alan Brooke observed that one unsatisfactory feature of the whole business of supplying Russia was their refusal to put their cards on the table. It might well be that we were straining ourselves unduly and taking great risks when there was no real necessity to do so.

  1. Employment of French Forces in North Africa

General Marshall asked for the views of the British Chiefs of Staff on the employment of French divisions. The United States Chiefs of Staff felt that they can be effectively used and that their use will effect a considerable economy of force. The French divisions regarded as being the best must be reequipped as soon as practical. This, however, has political complications which must be resolved.

Sir Alan Brooke agreed that we should exploit the use of French troops in North Africa to the maximum, particularly for garrison work. We should have to provide them with a considerable quantity of antiaircraft weapons. Their usefulness would depend greatly on whether we could establish a satisfactory French government. Good leadership was required to rekindle in them the desire to fight. Too many of the French were only waiting for the end of the war.

General Marshall asked what the effect would be on Spain if French troops were stationed opposite the border of Spanish Morocco. There seemed no doubt that some very useful French divisions could be formed in North Africa.

Sir Alan Brooke thought that it would be wise to keep U.S. forces on the Spanish border as well as French troops. This would tend to allay Spanish suspicions of the French intentions and at the same time remove any temptation from the Spanish to cross the frontier if they thought the French troops of inferior quality.


Meeting of Roosevelt with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 5 p.m.

President Roosevelt
Mr. Hopkins
Mr. Harriman
General Marshall
Admiral King
Lieutenant General Arnold
Lieutenant General Somervell
Rear Admiral Cooke
Brigadier General Wedemeyer
Brigadier General Deane

Joint Chiefs of Staff Minutes

January 16, 1943, 5 p.m.


Admiral King informed the President that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been attempting to obtain the British Chiefs of Staff’s concept as to how the war should be won. He said that the British have definite ideas as to what the next operation should be but do not seem to have an overall plan for the conduct of the war.

General Marshall stated that the planners are making a study of what is required in the Pacific in order to maintain constant pressure on the Japanese and keep the initiative in that theatre. The Combined Chiefs of Staff have been particularly concerned with the strategic concept for 1943. They have had discussions on the Burma operations and also whether an immediate operation should be planned for the Mediterranean or for the Continent or both. He stated that the planners had been instructed to estimate the earliest possible date that an operation against Sicily could be mounted in order that the Chiefs of Staff could determine what residue of force would be available for operations on the Continent and if such operations would be advisable this year.

General Marshall stated that the most critical factors in the coming operations are the availability of landing craft, the time necessary for amphibious training, and the availability of escort vessels.

He stated that there will be excess troops available in North Africa when the Axis powers have been expelled from North Africa and that this is one of the chief reasons why Operation Husky appears to be attractive.

The British have estimated that the operations against Sicily cannot be mounted prior to August but feel that there is a possibility of moving this date up to sometime in July.

General Marshall said that the question being determined is whether we can undertake an operation against the continent together with Operation Husky or separately and at a later date. The British maintain a spearhead in the United Kingdom for an operation against the continent in the event of a crack in German morale. This includes enough landing craft to move four brigade groups and, additionally, the British are putting motors in approximately 1,000 barges which they will use, together with other small craft to bring in troops following the spearhead.

The President asked how many troops were in England at this time, to which General Marshall replied that there was one trained division and about 140,000 to 150,000 men. He said that by next summer we can have six to nine divisions in the United Kingdom, and the British will have thirteen.

General Marshall quoted Sir Charles Portal as saying a crack in Axis morale may come at any time because of the explosive elements existing in the populations of the occupied countries. Sir Charles Portal feels that if such an explosion comes, it will start in the interior of Germany but will finally reach the frontline troops who will desire to return to their families. In this case, an occupation of the continent would be comparatively simple.

General Marshall said that training for amphibious operations is the most critical factor which we have to face. The training must be of much higher quality than that given for Torch. He quoted General Eisenhower as saying that he believed that there must be an invasion on the continent but that it would require a minimum of 12 divisions, which is double previous estimates. General Eisenhower also feels that there is a need for more training. Other limiting factors to any proposed operation are the necessities of combating the submarine menace and for the delivery of supplies to Russia.

An operation against Sardinia can be accomplished about six weeks earlier than one against Sicily, but the results will have little effect in improving the shipping situation through the Mediterranean. The only positive result to be received from the capture of Sardinia would be the ability to bomb Italy and perhaps the southern coast of France.

General Arnold pointed out that there would be much better air coverage for Operation Husky than could be given to Operation Brimstone. The President asked where the Germans had the best defence.

General Marshall replied that their defence in Sicily was better than that in Sardinia and that by summer it might be expected that the Germans would have 6 to 8 divisions there. General Marshall said that the Combined Chiefs of Staff were all agreed on the necessity of placing adequate troops in rear of Turkey to be prepared to reinforce her for a resistance to Axis invasion.

The President remarked that Turkey’s entry into the war was a diplomatic question, to which General Marshall replied that he felt that the concentration should be made regardless of whether Turkey came into the war or not.

Admiral King said that in our endeavors to obtain a definite strategic concept from the British Chiefs of Staff it had become apparent that they intended using the geographic and manpower position of Russia to the maximum. This necessitates making every effort to maintain the flow of supplies to Russia and also to divert German air and ground troops from the Russian front. He added that the British make no mention of where or when a second front on the continent should be established. The President said that we now have a protocol with the Russians which involves a certain delivery of munitions to them and that this shall probably be continued on the same scale when the present protocol expires.

Admiral King stated that British convoys by the northern route are set up for 30 ships every 42 days. With an additional 12 destroyers this could be improved to a rate of 30 ships each 27 days. He stated that he did not believe we should base our plans too largely on a contemplated German crack-up. It now appeared that a real Round-Up operation is not feasible before April, 1944 because of British lack of enthusiasm.

General Marshall said that British would undertake an operation Sledgehammer if they saw signs of a break in German morale. This would be followed by a makeshift Round-Up operation. He said the British feel that they cannot gather the means for a real thrust against the continent in 1943, and that Admiral Pound states that no operation should be undertaken after August. It is apparent that British cooperation cannot be obtained unless there are indications of the Germans weakening.

Admiral King stated that if the operations on the Mediterranean and on the Russian front caused the Germans to withdraw their forces from France, the British would be willing to seize this opportunity to invade the continent.

General Marshall informed the President that the British were not interested in occupying Italy, inasmuch as this would add to our burdens without commensurate returns.

The President expressed his agreement with this view.

General Marshall stated that in his opinion we may be able to obtain a decision from the Combined Chiefs of Staff concerning the operations in the Pacific by January 17th and that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had come to the conclusion that Operation Husky should be undertaken, but they had not yet informed the British to this effect.

The President stated that from the political point of view he thought it would be extremely wise to send more airplanes to China. He felt that they could be used to great advantage there and if periodic bombing raids over Japan could be undertaken, they would have a tremendous morale effect on the Chinese people. General Arnold stated that he agreed with this view but wished to see for himself whether or not an increased air force in China could be supplied.

The President then stated that he thought it was desirable to set up additional transport planes to insure a supply of a larger air force in China.

General Marshall said that transport planes now allocated to China are sufficient and that we must be extremely careful about making additional allocations. He pointed out that, in addition to China, we would receive demands for transport planes from Russia. We would need a considerable number for the Operation Husky and also for General MacArthur’s forces in the Pacific.

The President suggested the possibility of preparing two or three plans and making all preparations to carry them out, but leaving the decision as to the objective until a later date.

Admiral Cooke pointed out that if planes [plans?] were made for Operation Husky the objective could readily be changed to either the Dodecanese, Crete or Sardinia.

The President said he would like to have some flexibility to the plans in case it became apparent that Turkey might enter the war. In that case we could then adopt the objective which would fit in best with this development.

General Marshall stated he did not feel that the Operation Husky would interfere with Turkey’s entering into the war, but rather that a success in Sicily might be an added inducement to her to join with us.

The President then directed the discussion to Russia. He said that he had received information that the Russians did not desire any of our personnel and also indicated that they would not welcome General Bradley’s mission to make a survey of the available air facilities in Siberia.

He asked General Somervell about the supply situation to Russia.

General Somervell replied that the Persian port is capable of handling 15 ships per month. The road and rail facilities are capable of handling about 10,000 tons per day which are sufficient to handle the freight from 40 ships per month, and efforts are now being made to expand the port facilities to make this possible. He then went on to describe to the President several overland routes to Russia, all of which are limited by the availability of truck transportation.

The President asked what might happen if Turkey remained neutral but permitted our transporting munitions and bombs through her territory.

General Somervell replied that certain routes could be made available by this means, but if they were used it would be necessary to establish a truck assembly plant in that area. He added that he thought this should be done, and that all available routes into Russia should be used.

The President asked General Somervell if truck bodies could be manufactured in the Near East, to which General Somervell replied that lumber would have to [be?] obtained from India.

Mr. Harriman stated that until a truck assembly plant could be constructed, the one now at Cairo could be used.

Admiral King stated that the last convoy to Murmansk arrived without loss of any of its 16 cargo ships, but that one destroyer had been sunk and another damaged. He stated that we could help Russia more if they would help us to do so.

The President asked if we were getting as much information from Southern Europe as are the British. General Marshall replied that he would have this investigated (A message was sent to G-2, Allied Force Headquarters, asking for a report as to the amount of intelligence received out of Southern Europe by U.S. Intelligence Agencies and how our efforts in this regard compared with those of the British).

General Marshall then informed the President that the British had agreed to transfer their Valentine tanks from the 6th Armored Division to the French as soon as the British had received our Sherman tanks. He also stated he thought it necessary to equip the best French divisions rapidly.

General Marshall then informed the President regarding a decision which had been made by General Eisenhower concerning the Tunisian operations. A drive towards Sfax which had been planned for January 24th has been called off. This was necessary because the British First Army on the north could not attack until March 15th and General Alexander could not attack Rommel’s forces on the south until February 15th. It was decided that the attack against Sfax might be premature and expose them to an attack from the north by German Tunisian forces and from the south by Rommel. Instead, General Eisenhower is to hold his First Armored Division in the vicinity of Tebessa prepared to assist either Alexander’s forces in the south or the First British Army in the north, and the attack against Sfax will be made by infantry units at a later date, to be coordinated by General Eisenhower and General Alexander.

The President then asked General Somervell about the general supply situation. General Somervell replied that the greatest shortages in North Africa were in road machinery and motor transportation. Both of these are now being sent to North Africa. The machinery is needed to improve the railroads and also for the construction and improvement of airfields. Efforts are also being made to bring in needed locomotives.

The President then asked about the civilian supply situation. General Somervell replied that it was being handled satisfactorily, except that valuable cargo space was being utilized by some of the civilian agencies in the United States in sending unnecessary and ridiculous items.

The President then informed the Chiefs of Staff that Admiral Robert in Martinique had received a message from Laval to sink his ships immediately upon receiving evidence that the United States intended action against Martinique. Laval required Robert to give him an answer at once. Robert informed Laval within four hours that he would comply with his orders. This definitely eliminates the possibility of our obtaining the use of French shipping now in Martinique.

Admiral Cooke then informed the President that the British were becoming conscious of the fact that the United States was engaged in a war in the Pacific and described his discussions with the British Staff Planners who recognized the necessity for adequate means being provided to handle the Pacific situation. He stated, however, that he did not feel that the British Chiefs of Staff were as yet convinced of this necessity. The Chiefs of Staff feel that we should maintain the status quo and simply hold, whereas the planners recognize that a constant pressure must be kept on the Japanese and that every effort must be made to keep China in the war. The Planners admit the possibility of the Chinese dropping out of the war.

The President then discussed the proposed operations in Burma. General Marshall informed him that just as he felt that we had convinced the British that Operation Ravenous should be undertaken, the Generalissimo had declined to participate. The reason given by the Generalissimo is that the British refuse to place a naval force in the Bay of Bengal to interrupt the Japanese line of communications. The Generalissimo feels that a definite commitment to this effect had been made by the Prime Minister in a talk last year before the Pacific Council. General Marshall said that the Prime Minister probably had the Anakim operation in mind.

Admiral Cooke stated that the British have no intention of undertaking an operation to recapture Burma in the present dry season.

General Marshall pointed out that the Chinese, particularly General Hsiung, had been loud in their complaints about failures to assist them, and now that we offer them assistance, they refuse our help.

Saturday, 16 January

During the morning, the President had a number of callers, and for the sake of brevity, they are indicated as follows:

Called Departed
9:55 The Prime Minister 11:25
10:45 The Rt. Hon. H. Macmillan (British Resident in N. Africa) 11:20
10:50 Mr. Robert Murphy 11:20
11:00 Lt. General Eisenhower 11:15

The President, Mr. Hopkins, Lt. Colonel Elliott Roosevelt, and Lt. Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. were joined at luncheon today by Captain George Durno, Air Transport Command, who for many years before entering the Army, had covered the White House for the International News Service. Following luncheon, Chief Photographer’s Mate, Black, took some moving pictures and a number of still photographs at the luncheon party.

From 5:00 until 7:00 p.m., the following listed persons conferred with the President:

  • General George C. Marshall
  • Admiral E. J. King
  • Lt. General H. H. Arnold
  • Lt. General B. B. Somervell
  • Rear Admiral C. M. Cooke, Jr.
  • Brigadier General A. W. Wedemeyer
  • Brigadier General John R. Deane
  • Mr. Averell Harriman

The evening dinner party was somewhat unusual. Five members of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs) had been invited to take dinner with the President, Mr. Hopkins, Lt. Col. Roosevelt, Lt. Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. and Captain George Durno of the Air Transport Command. Their names are listed below:

Captain Louise Anderson WAAC
Captain Ruth Briggs WAAC
Captain Mattie Pinette WAAC
Captain Martha Rogers WAAC
Captain Alene Drezmal WAAC

At 11:00 p.m., upon invitation of the President, the Prime Minister, General Alexander, Mr. Harriman, and Commander Thompson joined what was now an after-dinner party, departing at two o’clock the following morning.

No doubt, it may be safely said that not even by the wildest stretch of the imagination, could any of these Service ladies have foreseen that one evening, in a country far from their native land, they would be dining with the President of the United States, and later would be joined by the Prime Minister of Great Britain.

U.S. State Department (January 17, 1943)

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 10:30 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
General Marshall General Brooke
Admiral King Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Lieutenant General Arnold Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General Somervell Field Marshal Dill
Rear Admiral Cooke Vice Admiral Mountbatten
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Lieutenant General Ismay
Commander Libby Major General Kennedy
Air Chief Marshal Slessor
Brigadier Dykes
Brigadier General Deane

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

January 17, 1943, 10:30 a.m.

  1. The Eastern Theater

General Marshall proposed discussing a paper prepared by the United States Joint Staff Planners regarding the forces needed in the Pacific Theater in 1943.

The British Chiefs of Staff stated that they would like to have an opportunity to study the paper before discussing it in detail.

General Marshall pointed out that in their discussions with the British Planners, the United States Planners were told that the British did not feel that Anakim was possible of accomplishment during the dry season of 1943-1944. He said that the United States Chiefs of Staff are particularly concerned about the timing of this operation because of the seriousness of the situation regarding China.

Admiral King added that Operation Anakim was also of importance with regard to our strategy in defeating Japan.

Sir Alan Brooke said that there were two stumbling blocks to Operation Anakim in 1943. These are naval cover and the assemblage of landing craft in sufficient time to permit adequate training. He felt the land forces could be found but that it would be difficult to assemble the landing craft following Operation Husky.

Sir Dudley Pound said that in order to do Operation Torch, it had been necessary to withdraw a considerable force from the Eastern Fleet and that it was probable the same conditions would pertain in operations undertaken in other theaters in 1943.

Admiral King said that Anakim was at least ten months off. He added that to postpone the date would put us in a critical situation. It is absolutely essential that we utilize China’s geographical position and their manpower and Anakim is a step in this direction.

Admiral Cooke said that he felt the operation could be started in November or December of 1943 and the actual landings be made in January. He said that there would be considerable landing craft available from production between April of 1943 and January of 1944. Some of this additional landing craft will be available for Burma in October. Therefore, the requirements for landing craft could probably be met. As for the naval force, he considered that we would only need carriers, destroyers, and cruisers. He did not feel that battleships would be necessary if the Japanese were being contained by the United States Fleet in the Pacific. The real bottleneck is the availability of shipping.

Admiral King said that he definitely considered that Operation Anakim must be aimed at in 1943 and carried through if the situation permits.

Sir Dudley Pound considered in such an important operation that battleship cover would be necessary.

Admiral King again pointed out that the operation would not be undertaken for at least ten months. By this time the destroyer program should be well along, the submarine menace should be reduced, and the shipping situation much improved through increased production and the opening of the Mediterranean. To postpone the operation in 1943 would result in not undertaking it for almost two years.

General Marshall then informed the Chiefs of Staff of a message which Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had sent to the President in which he regretted that Chinese troops would not be able to participate in Operation Ravenous, the reasons being that the British ground forces are inadequate and that the British will not agree to engage the Eastern Fleet in the Bay of Bengal to interrupt the Japanese line of communications.

Lord Louis Mountbatten stated that the British Chiefs of Staff agree that the Burma Road must be opened and that the entire question is one of the availability of resources.

Admiral King said that the United States Chiefs of Staff recognize Germany is our prime enemy and that their strategy does not envisage a complete defeat of Japan before defeating Germany. He added, however, that every effort must be applied which will put us in a position of readiness from which we can operate against Japan after Germany has been defeated.

Sir Alan Brooke agreed to this unless the attainment of such positions of readiness would delay or jeopardize the defeat of Germany.

General Marshall said that he felt it was a question of creating more than positions of readiness as far as the Japanese are concerned. We must maintain the initiative against them by offensive moves on our part. The present operations in the South Pacific are tremendously expensive in merchant vessels, naval vessels, and escorts. The situation is also fraught with the possibility of a sudden reverse and the consequent loss of sea power. He said that he is most anxious to open the Burma Road, not so much for the morale effect on China as for the need to provide air support to China for operations against Japan and Japanese shipping. He said the expensive operations in which we are now engaged in the South Pacific react on everything else the United Nations attempt to do whether it be in the Mediterranean, the United Kingdom, or elsewhere. He discussed the situation in the Pacific as being so critical as to make it appear at one time that Operation Torch would have to be called off. He also stated that unless Operation Anakim could be undertaken, he felt that a situation might arise in the Pacific at any time that would necessitate the United States regretfully withdrawing from the commitments in the European theater.

General Marshall spoke of our commitments in the Pacific, of our responsibilities, with particular reference to the number of garrisons we have on small islands and the impossibility of letting any of them down. He insisted that the United States could not stand for another Bataan. He said that he is desirous of undertaking the Burma operation in order to reduce our hazards in the Pacific and thus undertake the campaign against Germany.

General Marshall spoke of other commitments in the Pacific that are serious but in which we have been willing to accept the hazards. In this connection he pointed to the Japanese operation in the Aleutians and the necessity of protecting the Hawaiian-Midway line of communications. In these instances, he felt that, while we were vulnerable to Japanese attack, support from the United States could be furnished quickly because of the relatively short distances involved.

General Marshall informed the Chiefs of Staff that the President is desirous of giving additional air support to China. This will be done because of the psychological results to be achieved despite the fact that it is a tremendously expensive operation.

Admiral King pointed out that the demands in the Pacific are enormous and continuous. Many of the demands are made by Australia, a Dominion of the British Commonwealth. Australia is in the area of the United States strategic responsibility and most of our efforts have been devoted to protecting its line of communications. He said, in this connection, that the political and military situations are interlocked and these factors must be considered together when deciding what operations are to be undertaken. He repeated that we must place ourselves in positions of readiness for the time when all the resources of the United Nations will be brought against Japan.

  1. Iceland

General Marshall asked for the views of the British Chiefs of Staff on the size of the garrison which should be maintained in Iceland. At the present time there were some 40,000 United States’ ground troops in the island and two squadrons of fighter aircraft, together with a squadron of naval patrol craft. He was anxious to cut down these numbers.

Sir Dudley Pound said that the British garrison had been about 22,000 men. In his view an invasion of Iceland by the Germans was quite out of the question. Taking into account the general attitude of the Germans and their unwillingness to risk their ships without heavy air cover in Northern waters, he did not think even a tip and run raid was at all likely. It was possible, of course, that they might change their policy, but the only object of a German attempt to seize the island would be to deny it to us as an air base. Our possession of it made our control of the Northern exit to the Atlantic more secure. It seemed much more likely that if the Germans wished to adopt a more active policy, they would use their surface ships against our convoys rather than for a hazardous expedition against Iceland. These were his first thoughts and he would like to have a more considered opinion prepared for the United States Chiefs of Staff.

Admiral King was in general agreement with the views of Sir Dudley Pound. He pointed out that the German situation had greatly changed during the last six months.

The Committee:
Took note that the British Chiefs of Staff would prepare for the information of the United States Chiefs of Staff a memorandum setting out their views on the defense of Iceland.

  1. Russian Air Assistance for PQ Convoys

Admiral King suggested that more should be done to induce the Russians to attack the German air forces in Northern Norway which were such a menace to the Murmansk convoys. The German air bases were out of range from the United Kingdom but the Russians could undoubtedly do something if they wished to. The Murmansk route was the most important of the four routes for Russian supplies, and he felt we ought to press the Russians to give us more assistance.

Sir Dudley Pound said that the British had pressed the Russians in 1942 to assist with escorts and with air attack. They did provide some assistance with escorts, but always found some reason for not sending their surface ships out as far as Bear Island where the danger was greatest. Whatever they might undertake to do, however, it would be quite unsafe to rely on their promises, and reduce the scale of our own protection.

As regards air, the British Mission had pressed the Russians hard for assistance, and the Prime Minister had also communicated with Mr. Stalin. In the end some Russian Army bombers had been sent North to attack the German airdromes. Such action, however, was only of very limited value. It would be no use asking them to attack the German ships since they were untrained in this work. Two British squadrons of Hampdens had been sent up to North Russia last year. At the beginning of the winter the British personnel had been withdrawn, and these were now maimed by the Russians. Recently, however, when the Lutzow and Hipper came out, the Russians failed to take any action against them with these aircraft, although asked to do so.

Sir Charles Portal said that the Germans had some seven airfields between Bodo and Petsamo, all well defended. The Russians had three airfields in the Murmansk-Archangel area. Bombing of airfields was very unprofitable. For example, Malta had only three airfields within 100 miles of Sicily but a very large force of German bombers had been quite unable to prevent us using them. Whatever they did, the Russians would not be able to stop the German air reconnaissance. Medium bombers and long-range fighters for their escorts would be required for the purpose; German fields were out of range of dive-bombing attack.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the possibility of amphibious operations to capture the German airfields had been most exhaustively examined by the British Staffs, but they had not been found practicable. The effect of Torch, however, had been very great in causing withdrawals of German aircraft from Norway. Their present strength was only about 53 aircraft all told, whereas they had had up to 300 previously.

Sir Dudley Pound pointed out that one of the greatest difficulties was that the convoys were open to attack for about ten days. This enabled the Germans to reinforce their airfields in Northern Norway from elsewhere before the convoy was out of the danger zone.

Roosevelt-Noguès conversation, noon

United States France
President Roosevelt General Noguès
Mr. Murphy
Major General Patton
Brigadier General Wilbur
Captain McCrea
Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt

McCrea Notes

Casablanca, January 17, 1943.

Memorandum for the President’s Files

At 1200 this date, the President received M. General Chas. A. Noguès, Resident General at Rabat. Also present were Major General G. S. Patton Jr., Commanding General, 1st Armored Corps; Brigadier General William H. Wilbur, 1st Armored Corps; Mr. Robert D. Murphy, Special Representative of the President on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, North African Forces; Captain John L. McCrea, Naval Aide to the President, and Lieutenant Colonel Elliott Roosevelt, Air Corps Reserve.

The President greeted General Noguès with the remark that:

I am very pleased to meet you, General, and I must say that you look exactly like your photograph.

The General stated that all of Morocco was very proud to have the President here and that the President’s presence in Morocco was a source of much surprise to the General.

The President stated that he did not speak very good French and so therefore thought that the conversation should be carried on with the aid of Brigadier General Wilbur, as interpreter. The conversation started out thus, but before long the President and General Noguès were conversing freely in French.

The President stated that he trusted that North Africa had seen the last of the Germans for some time, to which the General readily agreed. The President inquired as to the attitude of the Germans resident in North Africa during the period of the Armistice. General Noguès stated that at all times they were haughty and overbearing, and that everyone was glad to see them depart. He also stated that they were now being well cared for by the French in various concentration camps.

General Patton remarked that the fine cooperation existing between the French and ourselves was largely due to the splendid cooperation which General Noguès had given us. The President remarked that he felt that the newspapers had been making much out of a situation which did not exist, namely, that there was confusion and misunderstanding between the French, the Americans and the British in North Africa, and that the period for “name calling is now over.” General Noguès assured the President that everyone was most anxious to cooperate with the United States forces, looking towards the ultimate defeat of the enemy.

The President requested General Noguès’ advice as to whether or not, he, the President, should ask the Sultan of Morocco to call on him. Specifically, the President asked if it would be in order for him to entertain the Sultan at lunch or dinner. To this, both General Noguès and General Patton replied that it would be a most gracious thing for the President to do, and that it would definitely cement relations between the Arabs and ourselves. It was then explained that amongst the Arabs no higher compliment can be paid than to invite one to break bread. General Noguès stated that it was equivalent to becoming one’s blood brother or fighting a campaign with him. In other words, it cemented relations between the host and guest. The President stated that he would despatch an invitation to the Sultan which he trusted could be delivered in time for the Sultan to make preparations to come to Casablanca. At this point, General Patton stated that the letter should be delivered by no one less than a General officer, in company with General Noguès. The President stated that when the letter was ready to go, he would give it to his Naval Aide, as his personal representative, who would go in company with an Army general and General Noguès, and deliver the letter to the Sultan.

Discussion was had about the progress being made in repairing ships that were sunk in Casablanca harbor incident to the occupation. As to this, General Noguès could remark only generally, stating that he was not familiar with the details of such repairs. It was stated, however, by General Patton, that it would be most difficult to make repairs to these ships unless in some way they could be moved to American shipyards; that the conversion of the metric system plans to our units of measurement would be a job that would require at least a year’s work. Conversation along this line was further pursued in connection with our field pieces and small arms. It was remarked by General Patton that much of our field piece ammunition was interchangeable with the French, but that the small arms situation was another matter. It would be much the easier, the General stated, to equip the French troops with small arms of our manufacture.

The matter of political prisoners was then discussed. General Noguès stated that for the most part the Jews had now been released from the concentration camps. It was also stated that the Jews, especially those in Algeria, had raised the point that they wish restored to them at once the right of suffrage. The President stated that the answer to that was very simple, namely, that there just weren’t going to be any elections, so the Jews need not worry about the privilege of voting. Mr. Murphy remarked that the Jews in North Africa were very much disappointed that “the war for liberation” had not immediately resulted in their being given their complete freedom. The President stated that he felt the whole Jewish problem should be studied very carefully and that progress should be definitely planned. In other words, the number of Jews engaged in the practice of the professions (law, medicine, etc.) should be definitely limited to the percentage that the Jewish population in North Africa bears to the whole of the North African population. Such a plan would therefore permit the Jews to engage in the professions, at the same time would not permit them to overcrowd the professions, and would present an unanswerable argument that they were being given their full rights. To the foregoing, General Noguès agreed generally, stating at the same time that it would be a sad thing for the French to win the war merely to open the way for the Jews to control the professions and the business world of North Africa. The President stated that his plan would further eliminate the specific and understandable complaints which the Germans bore towards the Jews in Germany, namely, that while they represented a small part of the population, over fifty percent of the lawyers, doctors, school teachers, college professors, etc., in Germany, were Jews.

At 12:45 p.m., General Noguès, accompanied by General Patton and Brigadier General Wilbur, withdrew to proceed to the villa occupied by Prime Minister Churchill.

Note: Shortly after the above interview started, General Patton whispered to Captain McCrea that General Noguès was scheduled to see the Prime Minister at 12:15 p.m.; that he, General Patton, had been informed by the Secretary to the Chiefs of Staff, to this effect. General Patton asked whether or not he should make an announcement to the President at 12:15 about the scheduled conference with Mr. Churchill. To this, Captain McCrea replied that under no circumstances should he make such an announcement, and that the President would indicate when his conversation with General Noguès was at an end. About 12:30, General Patton again stated to Captain McCrea that he felt that he should indicate that the hour for the Prime Minister’s conference with General Noguès had passed, and that the party should proceed to the Prime Minister’s villa. Captain McCrea again told General Patton that under no circumstances should such an announcement be made. Upon the conclusion of General Noguès’ conference with the President, Captain McCrea informed the President as to what had taken place between General Patton and him.


Roosevelt-Churchill luncheon, 1:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins
Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt

Roosevelt-Giraud conversation, 4:20 p.m.

United States France
President Roosevelt General Giraud
Mr. Murphy
Major General Clark
Captain McCrea

McCrea Notes

Casablanca, January 17, 1943.

Memorandum for the President’s Files

At 4:20 p.m., January 17, 1943, the President received General Henri Giraud, Commander of the French Armies in North Africa. Present also were Lieutenant General Wayne M. [Mark W.] Clark, U.S. Army, Minister Robert D. Murphy and Captain John L. McCrea, U.S. Navy.

After pleasantries had been exchanged, the conversation got down to specific cases. General Giraud early stated that there was only one thing that mattered in all the activity of today and that was the future of France. He stated that in his judgment, all personal ambitions should be subordinated to this thought and that he for one was most willing to do this. He stated that he believed there should be no discussions on a political level and that the civil administrations of French possessions and protectorates in Africa should remain as they are now established. Here followed a discussion of sovereignty, the President pointing out that sovereignty in the United States and in the nation of France rested in the people; this in distinction to sovereignty in Great Britain, which rests in the King. The President pointed out that as a legalistic and constitutional matter it was quite correct to say that there could be no change in the French civil setup until such time as the people of France were able to exercise their inherent rights in this regard. The President stated that, for example, in his judgment M. Lebrun was still the President of France regardless of the fall of the French government and that he would remain the President of France until the French people had an opportunity to again exercise their political rights. To the foregoing, General Giraud agreed.

The President stated that the discussion could therefore be narrowed down to two items. First, the establishment of an army by the French to assist in throwing the enemy out of the French protectorates in Africa and out of the French home land, and second, a determination on the part of all concerned that there will be no political discussions until the country has been freed of the enemy. Enlarging on the first point, the President asked General Giraud if, in his judgment it would be possible for French North Africa to raise and support an Army of 400,000 men. To this, General Giraud replied in the negative, stating that while troops were available, equipment and white officers and white non-commissioned officers were not available. The President stated that he had been informed by General Noguès that many French officers and non-commissioned officers were surreptitiously leaving France and crossing the Pyrenees into Spain, and that the problem seemed to be to get them to North Africa. The President stated that Spain had set a very fine precedent in permitting the Roumanian King, Carol, and his mistress, Magda Lupescu, to “escape” into Portugal, from whence it was possible for them to proceed to the Western Hemisphere. In this regard, General Giraud remarked that Spain desperately needed phosphates from North Africa, and an agreement might be concluded whereby for every shipload of phosphates the Spaniards got, North Africa in return would receive a shipload of Army evacuees.

The President then remarked that he felt it would be a very splendid thing if Generals Giraud and de Gaulle could get together and handle the military situation for Africa, and together with a leading civilian, from a “Committee for the Liberation of France.” General Giraud met the suggestion with enthusiasm. He stated that he was very certain that he and General de Gaulle could work out some military arrangement. General Giraud asked if there were any objection to bringing Madagascar, Reunion, etc., into the African picture. The President stated that he felt that for the time being, all French territory outside the African continent should be excluded from the agreement. This, the President pointed out, would permit de Gaulle to continue in control of the territory over which he now exercises such control, it would permit Robert, as Vichy representative, to continue in control of the French possessions in the Western Hemisphere, etc., etc. “It just occurs to me that by so doing, a number of untoward situations may be thus avoided.” The President stated that with the inauguration of the “Committee for the Liberation of France,” the French Imperial Council should be disbanded. General Giraud remarked that he was already satisfied with the manner in which M. Boisson was administering Dakar and General Noguès was administering Rabat, but that Algeria represented a different situation; that there was no one at the moment whom he thought capable of administering that area.

The President asked General Giraud as to the Jewish situation in Algeria. This was discussed at some length and the President set forth to General Giraud his views as he had done in this connection to General Noguès. General Giraud did not think the Jewish problem an insurmountable one.

General Giraud then asked that he be permitted to express to the President his great admiration for the Atlantic Charter, adding that he felt that pronouncement held great hope for all occupied countries and small countries throughout the world.

General Giraud spoke at length about the continental campaign to crush Germany for once and for all. He stated that in his judgment, on the conclusion of this war, Germany should be occupied. He said that this had also been his conviction at the end of the last war. The President stated that it was well known that both General Foch and General Pershing wanted to occupy Germany, but that this was denied for political considerations, and that the unwisdom of this policy had long ago become apparent to all. General Giraud then dramatically stated that it would be observed that he wore no ribbons or decorations; that he had foresworn wearing them until he could march down Unter Den Linden at the head of the occupational forces of Germany.

At the President’s suggestion, General Giraud then told in detail of his escape from Germany and his subsequent escape from France to North Africa. The details of the General’s escape from Germany are fantastic and could hardly be conceived by a writer of fiction.

At 5:30 p.m., the interview terminated with much cordiality, and General Giraud, General Clark and Mr. Murphy withdrew to proceed to the villa occupied by the Prime Minister.