Québec Conference 1943 (QUADRANT)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 11, 1943)

Sixth meeting of Roosevelt, Churchill set

Prime Minister arrives in Canada for crucial strategy talks
By Robert W. Keyserlingk, United Press staff writer

Québec, Canada –
Strict military secrecy today surrounded plans for the sixth meeting of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill and it could only be assumed that it would occur “somewhere in America” within the next few days.

Mr. Churchill arrived yesterday from an East Coast port where he reached Canadian soil after a journey from London. The General Staffs of Great Britain, the United States and Canada were engaged in strategy talks here designed for a quick knockout of the Axis.

The Roosevelt-Churchill meeting will be a British-American affair, it was revealed. Mr. Roosevelt said in Washington yesterday afternoon, soon after Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King announced that Mr. Churchill was in Canada, that no representative of Soviet Russia would be present. Mr. Roosevelt indicated his disappointment. Nor will there be a Chinese representative.

To discuss strategy

Observers here and in Washington and London agreed that the two leaders would discuss strategy on the worldwide war front and believed their discussions and decisions would be conveyed to the two other big members of the United Nations – Russia and China.

The fall of Benito Mussolini, the expected invasion of Italy after Sicily finally falls into Allied hands, the internal situation in Germany, the prospects of opening an offensive to retake Burma this fall – all these were subjects they were expected to discuss.

The result of their conference was expected to be demonstrated by action on one or more war fronts soon. It was recalled that the invasion of French North Africa followed one of their talks; that the invasion of Sicily was planned at their conference at Casablanca.

Meets War Cabinet

Mr. Churchill met with the Canadian War Cabinet today, and it was immediately assumed that their talks revolved around greater use of Canadian forces in England, perhaps in a direct thrust against the continent.

Accompanying the Prime Minister was the Lord President of the Council, Sir John Anderson.

Meanwhile, parallel talks were proceeding between the Canadian and British Chiefs of Staff and were scheduled to continue all day, according to official announcement.

Have big force

Since Dunkirk, the Canadians have been building up a huge force in England, the bulk of which has not yet seen action. Their commander, Lt. Gen. A. G. L. McNaughton, has referred to his forces as “a dagger pointed at the heart of Berlin,” and the unofficial speculation was that now, at last, plans were being completed to plunge the dagger home.

The War Cabinet meeting took place in the Château Frontenac Hotel which has been taken over by the military and naval staff of the United States, Great Britain and Canada.

Mr. Mackenzie King accompanied Mr. Churchill on the drive down from the ivy-covered citadel atop Cape Diamond to the Château, and also attended the War Council meeting.

As Mr. Churchill’s ear entered the courtyard, he was greeted by a crowd which shouted:

We want Churchill!

Mr. Churchill, in black suit and derby with the usual uptilted cigar, drew applause when he gave the “V-for-Victory” sign while posing for photographers.

Accompanying Mr. Churchill from Britain were chiefs of the General Staff Gen. Sir Alan Brooke, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound and Air Chf Mshl. Sir Charles Portal, and the chief of the Commandos, VAdm. Lord Louis Mountbatten.

Also with him were Mrs. Churchill and their daughter, Mary Churchill, who is a subaltern in the British Auxiliary Territorial Service, and Wg. Cdr. G. P. Gibson, who led the British bombers which wrecked the Möhne and Eder Dams in the Ruhr Valley.

Pacific War Council, Roosevelt convene

Washington (UP) –
President Roosevelt discussed future strategy with the Pacific War Council today in preparation for his new and important conference with Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the near future.

Dutch Ambassador A. Loudon, who acted as spokesman for members of the council, told reporters that future strategy was discussed.

Others who attended the conference were Sir Ronald I. Campbell, British Minister, representing Lord Halifax; Canadian Minister Leighton McCarthy, and Australian Minister Sir Roland Dixon.

The Chinese, who are represented on the council, did not have anybody at today’s meeting.

Names of high U.S. officers who are here were not revealed, although an official statement said the “General Staffs of Great Britain and the United States” met with the Canadian War Cabinet yesterday.

Chiefs of Staff of the three Canadian Armed Forces were here – RAdm. Percy W. Nelles, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Stuart, and Air Mshl. L. S. Breadner, as were most members of the Canadian War Cabinet Committee, Defense Minister J. L. Ralston, Munitions Minister C. D. Howe, Navy Minister Angus MacDonald and Air Minister C. G. Power.

Mr. Churchill’s arrival – announced with customary dramatic suddenness shortly after 4 p.m. yesterday – occasioned no real surprise. For days, the imminence of another Roosevelt-Churchill conference had been discussed not only in Allied capitals but by the Axis radios as well. Cause for the speculation was the series of United Nations victories which brought with them a number of pressing problems.

Problems listed

These included:

  1. The fall of the Mussolini government and the possibility of Italy seeking peace.

  2. The successful Russian summer offensive and continued Soviet dissatisfaction with the Allied failure to open a front on the continent of Europe.

  3. The reported widening breach in Germany between Nazi and military elements and sagging morale on the German home front.

  4. The necessity for drastically shortening the time between planning and operations.

Soviet plans cited

In addition were Russian post-war plans for Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia and possibly others whose unofficial committees in Moscow either rival national governments in London, or, like the German committee, have no counterpart or other recognition in other Allied capitals.

Mr. Churchill and his party arrived in six special railroad cars from the East Coast port, where they were met by high officials of both the United States and Canada. Mr. Mackenzie King boarded the train some distance from Québec City.

Later, Mr. Mackenzie King escorted the party to the famous Citadel, the summer home of the Canadian Governor General Lord Athlone, where the Churchills will stay.

Dines with Churchills

Mr. and Mrs. Churchill and Mr. Mackenzie King dined privately and during the evening, Messrs. Churchill and Mackenzie King discussed the international situation and plans for the conference.

A week ago, guests of the Chateau Frontenac were told their rooms would have to be vacated by Sunday night. Then large contingents of U.S. Signal Corps personnel, clerical staffs and WACs and WAVES began arriving. Them it became known that Mr. Roosevelt and his close advisers had been fishing in Canadian waters and shortly there were guarded references to “Mr. Bull Finch.”

As the preparations proceeded, rumors ran the gamut from an Anglo-American-Soviet meeting to the arrival of the Pope and even to an arraignment of Mussolini for his war crimes in the Château Frontenac.


Churchill visit called help to Mackenzie King

Canadian Premier suffer second reverse on political front
By John A. Reichmann, United Press staff writer

Québec, Canada –
Canadian political observers today appraised the arrival of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as of timely political assistance to his host, Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King.

Mr. Churchill’s arrival by coincidence came just after Mr. Mackenzie King’s second recent political reverse. On Monday, his Liberal Party lost three by-elections to groups to the left and one to the right. A fortnight ago, he lost over 60–90 seats in the Ontario Legislature.

Has supported war

Mr. Mackenzie King, as head of the Liberal Party, has steadfastly supported the war policies of Messrs. Roosevelt and Churchill. He has collaborated closely with Mr. Roosevelt and many observers believe Mr. Churchill strongly supports his policies from a sentimental standpoint despite certain prohibitions which would preclude his taking part in Canadian politics.

There are many currents in Canadian policies which serve as explanations for Mr. Mackenzie King’s reversals, but the fact most emphasized here is that he has suffered them and faces even more serious ones.

In the case of Ontario, his Liberal Party had held more than 60 out of 90 seats in the provincial Legislature. The elections reduced this strength to 14 while the Conservatives and Socialists almost evenly divided the remaining seats with an apparent balance of power in the hands of Mitchell Hepburn, his prime opponent.

Communists gain

On Monday, in the federal by-elections, the Communists for the first time in Canadian history apparently gained one seat. The winner was Fred Rose, only recently released from a concentration camp, and running on a Labor ticket in the Cartier division of Montréal. The Communist Party is outlawed in Canada.

On this picture, Mr. Churchill’s presence can only have a beneficial effect as far as Mr. Mackenzie King’s political future is concerned. The visit of the two leaders and Mr. Churchill’s praise of the Canadian Army’s exploits in Sicily can readily give the impression that Mr. Churchill endorses Mr. Mackenzie King’s conduct of the war.

Only future developments can determine whether this will be sufficient to maintain Mr. Mackenzie King in authority.


Salisbury: Allied ultimatum to Italy may result from parley

Roosevelt and Churchill are also expected to fix timetable for invasions of Europe
By Harrison Salisbury, United Press staff writer

London, England –
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill will probably fix a timetable for Allied invasions of Europe and frame a surrender ultimatum to Italian Premier Marshal Pietro Badoglio, London observers speculated today.

The quickest possible method of defeating Germany will keynote the conference, these quarters said, and it is possible that a supreme commander will be named for the final offensive. Gen. George C. Marshall, U.S. Chief of Staff, and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander in the Mediterranean, have been mentioned most frequently for such a post.

Previous indications have been that the main Allied invasion of Europe would be launched after heavy bombing of German industry, but Germany’s jittery reaction to the present Allied air offensive pointed to a possible revision in the timetable and plans as a whole.

Allied strategy, militarily and politically, in the event of Adolf Hitler’s sudden deposal may also be decided, though it was certain that the Allied terms to Germany – as to Italy – would remain “unconditional surrender.”

Messrs. Roosevelt and Churchill are expected to advise Badoglio that unless he capitulates at once, the Allies will invade the Italian mainland as quickly as possible.

This ultimatum, it was believed, will emphasize that failure of Italy to surrender will mean an Allied refusal to deal with any government under Badoglio in the future.

Though it has never been officially confirmed, best evidence indicated that Italy has forwarded at least two peace proposals to the Allies.

The initial one was understood to have reached Gen. Eisenhower through a neutral source a few days after Badoglio succeeded Benito Mussolini as Premier. It asked that Italy be permitted to revert to neutral status, thus denying the Allies the use of the Italian mainland for an assault on Germany. It was rejected or merely ignored.

A second proposal was reported to have been sent several days ago, also through neutrals. No details of its provisions were known. Lack of response indicated it was equally unacceptable.

Messrs. Roosevelt and Churchill will probably make known their attitude to Italy through a joint statement or through a third party.

Russia to be discussed

The two chiefs of state are also expected to assess the situation on the Russian front, particularly as to whether the German retreat was due solely to Russian pressure or a desire to shorten the defensive front to permit large-scale transfers of troops to Western Europe.

There is a general impression in London that they will take special measure to increase Anglo-American collaboration with Russia, especially in view of the fact that the Soviets have no top diplomatic representatives in either London or Washington at the moment.

Maxim Litvinov, Ambassador to Washington, is still in Moscow, and Ivan Maisky, Ambassador to London, has been made an assistant foreign commissar in Moscow.

Messrs. Roosevelt and Churchill must also carefully assess the temperature of the German satellites, particularly Finland, which is believed ready to jump out of the war at the first moment.

Strategy likewise must be devised to cope with the likelihood that the forthcoming months will see the overturn of pro-Axis governments in the Balkans.


I don’t doubt that FDR and Churchill being on the scene was a help to Mackenzie King, but the UP writer clearly doesn’t understand the Canadian Parliamentary system … provincial elections can be used as a kind of straw poll for federal issues, but the composition of any given provincial legislature has no direct impact on the federal government or the PM personally. Provincial political parties are not the same as federal ones, even if they bear the same name. So it’s incorrect to say that Mackenzie King “lost over 60-90 seats”, as it wasn’t even his party contesting the election. True, it was a party largely in agreement with his own, but division of powers between the Dominion government and the individual provincial governments were still much more clearly drawn at that time.


Völkischer Beobachter (August 12, 1943)

Zusammentreffen mit Roosevelt –
Churchill in Kanada

dnb. Berlin, 11. August –
Der britische Premierminister Churchill ist nach Meldungen des britischen Reuter-Büros in Begleitung von Familienangehörigen und einigen Beamten in Kanada angekommen, um mit dem USA.-Präsidenten Roosevelt zusammenzutreffen.

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The Pittsburgh Press (August 12, 1943)

Québec talks arranged for Allied chiefs

Roosevelt, Churchill will confer; Premier visits Niagara Falls
By John A. Reichmann, United Press staff writer

Screenshot 2022-08-12 053213
Québec, historic Canadian city on the St. Lawrence and port of call for oceangoing vessels, is the scene of initial conferences between Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Canada’s Prime Minister Mackenzie King. Map shows location of Québec in relation to Ottawa, capital of Canada, and Washington, DC.

Québec, Canada –
Military staffs of the United States, Great Britain and Canada today prepared the groundwork for the sixth meeting of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill which will be held in Québec’s ancient and historic Citadel at an undisclosed time in the immediate future.

Mr. Churchill, accompanied by his daughter Mary, left Québec late yesterday by special train and arrived today at Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Visits U.S. soil

Their train passed through Montréal last night and was in the station there for 10 minutes. During that stop, Mr. Churchill and his daughter left the train and strolled on the platform.

It was understood that Mr. Churchill went to Niagara Falls to rest and to show the falls to Miss Churchill who is making her first visit to the New World. The length of his visit was not known.

Mr. Churchill and Mary crossed into the United States during their sightseeing tour. Traveling by auto from Niagara Falls, Ontario, the party crossed the Rapids Bridge to Niagara Falls, New York, and immediately went to the Suspension Bridge railroad station where his train was waiting.

Paris with cigars

As the train was pulling out, Eddie Brady, Negro baggage handler, ran after it shouting:

Mr. Churchill, please, one of your cigars.

Mr. Churchill took the cigar he was smoking from his mouth, looked at it regretfully and then, apparently changing his mind, reached in his pocket and threw his cigar case to the baggage hauler.

Mr. Churchill’s destination after he left the American side of the falls was not revealed.

Staffs at work

The official announcement issued yesterday afternoon that Mr. Roosevelt would go to Québec, did not indicate when he would arrive.

Huge military staffs, headed by the chiefs of staff of the United States, Great Britain and Canada, were at work in the Château Frontenac, which is at the base of the 332-foot hill surrounded by the Citadel.

The military leaders were known, but lesser-known military men whose special abilities serve the most important purposes were there and they will remain anonymous because their presence might tip off the enemy to the “how” of future military operations.

As far as could be learned, Russian and Chinese military and naval experts are not among those at work in the Château.

War Cabinet meets

Mr. Churchill with Sir John Anderson attended a three-hour meeting of the Canadian War Cabinet yesterday. The announcement of this meeting, which was termed a joint meeting of the Canadian and British War Cabinets, said another would be held. It was believed to have dealt with the future uses of Canadian troops.

It will be Mr. Roosevelt’s second trip to Canada recently. It was revealed Monday that he had spent a few days fishing and resting in Ontario.

An historic city

Québec’s Citadel, chosen as site for the sixth conference of the Allied war leaders, is one of the most historic places on the North American continent. Built on high cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence River, its first walls were erected by the French against the menace of Indians in the 16th century. Nearby are the Plains of Abraham, scene of the decisive battle between the British and French which resulted in Canada becoming British. It is now the summer home of the Canadian Governor General.

Premier Marshal Joseph Stalin received the U.S. and British Ambassadors to Russia at the Kremlin yesterday, Radio Moscow reported today.

Soviet Foreign Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov was present and it was presumed that the Québec conference of Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill was discussed.


The Pittsburgh Press (August 13, 1943)

Roosevelt-Churchill talks may turn to Pacific plans

Disclosure Russia was not invited sets off new speculation on Anglo-U.S. conference

Washington (UP) –
Speculation that the Roosevelt-Churchill conference in Québec will concern the next Allied step after the fall of Sicily was being discounted here today on the theory that it, and possibly the next series of blows in Europe, have already been planned.

However, the official Soviet TASS News Agency’s statement last night that the Soviet Union was not invited to the Québec meeting “because of the nature of the conference” sent the guessers off on another whole series of speculations about what President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill will discuss.

Factors cited

The most logical guess, in view of the Soviet statement, was that the Canadian conference would deal with the Pacific situation. These factors are cited to support that theory:

  1. The Soviet Union is not at war with Japan and thus, as TASS said, could not expect to participate in such a conference.

  2. Canada, the locale of the latest Churchill-Roosevelt meeting, is as vitally interested as the United States and Great Britain in the outcome of the Pacific War. It has a long Pacific coastline.

  3. Earlier this week, President Roosevelt met with the Pacific War Council. The time of the Roosevelt-Churchill meeting has not been announced, but he presumably discussed the forthcoming conference in general terms with the council members, especially if it is to deal with the Japanese war.

Would welcome aid

Logical as that speculation seemed to be, one major flaw in it was President Roosevelt’s press and radio conference remarks of last Tuesday, he admitted then that no Soviet representative would attend the conference, but that that did not mean he wouldn’t be awfully glad to have them present.

Those who argue that the conference will deal with the Pacific War, contend that the President’s remake is not inconsistent with their speculation. They say that it has been no secret that Great Britain and the United States would welcome the assistance of Soviet Siberian air bases to the Jap homeland. Thus, they say, Mr. Roosevelt would be awfully glad if the Russians attended the conference, especially if it is to plan offensives against Japan.

The discounting of reports that the conference in Québec was for the purpose of planning something new and big in the way of an Allied offensive in Europe this year – maybe a knockout punch – was based on the fact that such offensives are not planned or prepared on such short notice.

There is always the possibility that an internal collapse in Germany might hurry things along, but in general there was little basis for belief that the conference would be planning operations for the immediate future, although plans previously formulated would be reviewed.

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Canada may request French recognition

Québec, Canada (UP) –
Canadian observers predicted today that Canada might take advantage of the coming Roosevelt-Churchill meeting to urge the U.S. President and British Prime Minister to give early recognition to the French Committee of National Liberation.

All preparations for the conference of President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill were completed and all that remained was the arrival of the participants. Mr. Churchill, accompanied by his daughter Mary, visited Niagara Falls yesterday. They left Niagara Falls, New York, shortly after noon yesterday for an undisclosed destination.

While Washington has been reluctant to rush recognition, Canada, with her large French-speaking population centering around this conference city, is believed eager to have it done. Some reports say that her wishes in the matter have already been put before the other two powers.

Britain has been withholding recognition presumably so it will have a united front in the political field with the United States, thus avoiding the confusion that resulted when London was backing Gen. Charles de Gaulle’s Fighting French movement and Washington was dealing with Vichy.

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Stoneman: Russians welcome at parley

By William H. Stoneman

London, England –
Last night’s Moscow radio announcement that the Soviet government had not been invited to be represented at the Québec Conference does not mean that the Soviet government was in any way cold-shouldered by Washington or London, or that Soviet representatives would not have been welcomed if the Russians had evinced any desire to participate.

It had been hoped earlier in the summer to have leaders of the United States, England and Russia meet personally and it was only because Joseph V. Stalin insisted upon his inability to leave Russia for such a meeting that it did not occur.

In the meantime, so many questions for discussion have developed between the two great Western powers that it is probably desirable to discuss and settle them before moving on to the higher plane of a three-power pow-wow.

The most obvious feature of the relationship between Russia, the United States and Britain is that the latter two cannot possibly hope to reach full agreement with Russia unless they understand one another completely and are able to present their position on various matters to Stalin clearly and convincingly.

It would be futile, for example, to try to talk grand strategy to Stalin unless American and British leaders have agreed between themselves on their time-schedule for operations in Europe and the degree of attention and power to be devoted during the next six months to the Oriental theater.

In the absence of a Russian representative at the Québec talks, the Russians can content themselves with the knowledge that their own position is being given paramount consideration at every turn of the discussions.

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

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

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
General Arnold Field Marshal Dill
Lieutenant General Somervell Vice Admiral Mountbatten
Vice Admiral Willson Lieutenant General Ismay
Rear Admiral Cooke General Riddell-Webster
Rear Admiral Badger Admiral Noble
Major General Handy Lieutenant General Macready
Major General Fairchild Air Marshal Welsh
Brigadier General Kuter Captain Lambe
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Brigadier Porter
Commander Freseman Air Commodore Elliot
Commander Long Brigadier Macleod
Brigadier General Deane Brigadier Redman
Captain Royal Commander Coleridge

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

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


Conduct of the Conference

With reference to the Conduct of the Conference,

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed:
a. That the meetings should be daily at 1430.

b. That there should be morning meetings when necessary.

c. That the numbers attending should be limited to about 12 on each side. Closed sessions will be held as may be found desirable.

d. That it should be understood that attendance of the Planners is not mandatory as they would often have other work demanding their attention, in which case they might be represented by one of their members.

e. That in general the procedure should follow the lines of the TRIDENT Conference, with specific reference to recording of decisions, approval of minutes, reports to the President and Prime Minister and the form of the Final Report.

f. That they would meet tomorrow.

Sections I, II and III, CCS 242/6

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Took note:
That Sections I, II and III of CCS 242/6 (TRIDENT Conference Report to the President and Prime Minister) had been accepted for the QUADRANT Conference, it being understood that courses of action were not thereby excluded from consideration which might appear likely to facilitate or accelerate the attainment of the overall objectives. The Sections to be reaffirmed at the conclusion of the QUADRANT Conference.


The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Accepted the sequence put forth in the suggested agenda presented by the British Chiefs of Staff and directed the Secretaries to incorporate those items proposed by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff and to issue a revised agenda (subsequently published as CCS 288/3).

The European Theater

Sir Alan Brooke gave a résumé of the present situation in the European Theater. He proposed to start with the situation in Russia since it was on that front that the main land forces in Europe were concentrated. Earlier in the year German forces had massed for an attack on this front but had delayed the attack largely, he believed, due to the situation in the Mediterranean. They launched their offensive against Kursk with the object of straightening their line and possibly exploiting their success, as well as producing the required political results in Germany. The Russians had succeeded in holding them by defense in depth. Some 16 Panzer divisions had been used, in addition to infantry. The Russians had waited until they were sure they were holding this offensive and had then themselves attacked, not only pushing back the Germans on the Kursk salient and capturing Orel, but also threatening Briansk. The attack in the neighborhood of Kharkov seemed to be succeeding and it was to be hoped that the fate of that town was now sealed. Further offensives had now started in the Smolensk area.

Though the number of German divisions remained almost constant, it was believed that their strength, both in personnel and equipment, was only some 60 percent of their authorized strength. The manpower of Germany was now stretched to its limit. The Germans had been further weakened by the withdrawal of Italians and certain other satellite forces from the Eastern Front, and this tendency for the satellites to withdraw would increase with the present situation in Italy. Further, the Italians had some 30 divisions in the Balkans and five in Southern France. Some of the former had already made overtures with a view to surrender, and Germany would be faced with the necessity for replacing all these troops.

It seemed probable that while the Italians had wished the Germans to defend Southern Italy, the latter had refused and would concentrate on the defense of the northern plains where the vital airdromes threatening Southern Germany were situated and which provided doorways to the east and west. At present Germany had approximately five divisions in Italy though there were signs that she was reinforcing in the North.

In France there were signs of German divisions being moved to the South of France to replace Italians and to the Russian Front, though it was not known if these would be replaced by training divisions from Germany.

In the British view there was at present no German threat to Spain. The necessary forces were not available, nor could they be made available unless Germany shortened her line in the East. In this connection, there were two possible lines to which the German forces might withdraw, one to the East and one to the West of the Pripet marshes. It was estimated that withdrawal to these lines might save the Germans some 30 and 70 divisions, respectively. There was a further possibility that Germany might decide to withdraw from France to the Rhine-Siegfried line. Whether Germany would decide to withdraw in the East or the West was a matter for conjecture. A withdrawal from the East would bring Eastern Germany and the Rumanian oilfields within easy bombing range and a withdrawal from the West would help us to intensify our air attacks on Germany. Since if the U-boat campaign failed completely Germany would have no further use for French bases, and since the Germans were likely to fear a Russian land advance into the country more than one carried out by Anglo-American forces, it seemed probable that, on balance, Germany would be more likely to choose a withdrawal from the West.

Sir Charles Portal said that he had read the U.S. Chiefs of Staff appreciation of the war in Europe which, from the air point of view, accorded very largely with his own views.

The German air force was now completely on the defensive. Their bomber force had deteriorated greatly in the last year, largely from lack of training and a proper training organization. They had relied on a series of victorious land campaigns to be supported by the air and between which the air forces could rest and reorganize. The situation was now very different.

Their fighter forces, on the other hand, were growing fast and had achieved the remarkable increase of 22 percent during the year 1943. All this increase had been absorbed on the Western Front. In spite of this they still did not consider themselves strong enough to combat the daylight operations of the 8th Air Force and had withdrawn units both from the Russian and the Mediterranean Fronts, in spite of the defeats they were suffering in these areas.

The United Nations Air Forces, on the other hand, were everywhere on the strategic offensive. The shorter-range aircraft were being used for attacks on communications, transport centers, locomotives and airfields. The night offensive was steadily increasing. Radio aids to navigation had proved immensely effective. Certain steps were now being taken to baffle the defenses which had resulted in a decrease in casualties from five to six percent to only three percent.

Finally, the daylight bombing – the most important phase of all – was being extraordinarily effective. The first object of POINTBLANK was to knock out the fighter factories and to destroy fighter planes in the air in order to achieve complete mastery in the air over Germany. The forces available to the 8th Air Force had done remarkable work but the program was behind schedule for reasons, however, which were quite understandable. The targets were being hit, the enemy aircraft were being shot down and a high percentage of the aircraft were returning safely, but it was a great battle which hung in the balance and it was vitally important to sustain and give every support to our forces in order that they could achieve superiority over the enemy.

In the Mediterranean the mixed U.S. Army Air Force and RAF units were working as one team and were giving a wonderfully good account of themselves.

The key to the situation from the air point of view, would be the placing of strong offensive air forces in Northern Italy. From there all South Germany would be within comfortable range and above all two of the largest German aircraft factories which between them produced nearly 60 percent of the German fighters. The bombing of Ploești, in his opinion perhaps the most brilliant and outstanding single air operation of the war, had shown what could be achieved even at a range of 1,000 miles. This target could be attacked at much shorter range from the heel of Italy, but to get a decisive effect against the German Air Force it would be necessary to go to the North. If we could base a strong force of Heavy and Medium Bombers there in the near future, Germany would be faced with a problem that seemed insoluble. It was estimated that to protect their Southern Front against a similar scale of attack to that being made from the U.K. they would require half the fighter forces now on the Western Front. The Alps would render the German radio warning system relatively ineffective. He regarded the position of North Italy as the key to the situation.

On the Russian front some 2,000 German aircraft; were opposed to 4,000 Russians. The Russian training was, however, bad, and until recently the Germans had held their own. Now, however, the tide was turning and the withdrawal of German forces to the west and particularly the withdrawal of experienced leaders was making itself felt.

Sir Dudley Pound briefly discussed certain aspects of the war at sea. At Casablanca it had been agreed that Russian convoys should not be run if the loss was likely to be prohibitive. Since German forces were concentrated in the north of Norway, this route was still closed. There was no sign at present that the German surface forces intended to break out into the Atlantic, and he believed that this was now less likely, since it would probably only be considered worthwhile if by so doing the Germans could achieve the final coup de grâce terminating a successful U-boat campaign in the North Atlantic.

The battle of the convoys had been fought in May, and since then the U-boats had suffered heavy losses, whilst on the other hand there had been no sinkings in the North Atlantic. It was essential, however, to be ready for a return of the U-boat concentrations to that area, and our dispositions of escorting forces must be designed to meet this menace. Thus it was impossible to send additional escorts to the Azores or the Cape, though hunting groups were being used to reinforce the aerial bay offensive. The bay offensive, with additional United States help in the air, was proving very effective. Groups of submarines were now endeavoring to fight their way in and out of the bay on the surface, and it had become a battle of the U-boat versus the aircraft. Recently, fewer German submarines had come out of the Baltic, and this was believed to be because many of them were refitting with additional radar aids and anti-aircraft guns.

The bombing of the Biscay submarine bases had proved disappointing since the Germans had taken very adequate steps to protect their submarines in these ports. It was now felt that continuous bombing of these ports did not justify a great diversion from the essential bombing offensive against German fighter factories. German submarines were at present disposed largely in the outer seas, where they were achieving some successes, but only in the North Atlantic could they find sufficient targets to render their campaign a real success.

In the Mediterranean the Commander in Chief was anxious to retain his six battleships until after the Italian fleet had been eliminated. Our ability to reinforce the Indian Ocean was dependent therefore on the collapse of Italy. The loan of the aircraft carrier RANGER to the Home Fleet was much appreciated, and enabled sufficient aircraft carriers to be provided for Mediterranean operations.

General Marshall asked for the views of the British Chiefs of Staff with regard to the occupation of Sardinia and Corsica.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he was in agreement with the United States paper on this point. It would not pay us to attack these islands at this stage. There were indications, as yet inconclusive, of German withdrawals from Sardinia, and he did not believe that if Italy collapsed Germany would continue to defend these islands which were largely garrisoned by Italian troops.

General Marshall pointed out that prior to the occupation of Sicily, it had been considered inadvisable to filter agents into the island. If, however, immediate attacks on Sardinia and Corsica were unlikely, it might be advisable to send agents to those islands.

In reply to a question from General Marshall as to the value of France as an air base in the event of the Germans withdrawing, Sir Charles Portal said that the basing of heavy bombers in France would prove a lengthy and difficult logistic problem. He therefore considered that while the heavy bombers should continue to operate from the United Kingdom, medium and light bombers as well as fighters would use advance bases in France. They would then be within easy range of the Ruhr and the Upper Rhine towns. In addition, the fighter cover which could be provided from advance bases in France would be of immense value to the daylight bombing operations.

General Arnold said that it was difficult to confine a discussion on the war in the air to Europe since available resources must be spread between all theaters. Early estimates, based on British experience, of the replacements of men and machines had proved too low in the case of the operations of the 8th Air Force. In addition, there was the problem of the “war-weary” crews. General Eaker at present had some 800 aircraft, but only 400 crews. No new units would be sent until September, but 200 aircraft would be sent in July and 239 in August. By January 1944 it was hoped to have 1,900 aircraft, with two crews for each aircraft. Finally, he questioned the possibility of obtaining the maximum use of heavy bombers in England during the winter months. In this connection North Italian bases would prove valuable.

Sir Charles Portal said that he appreciated the difficulty which General Arnold had mentioned in foreseeing exactly replacement requirements. He agreed with General Arnold’s view as to the importance of Northern Italy. Heavy bombers based in England could use Northern Italy, if the necessary ground crews and facilities were provided, as an alternative taking-off point during bad weather in the United Kingdom.

The battle against the German fighter forces was a vital battle. It must be watched, not only with hope and enthusiasm, but with the determination of providing reinforcements from wherever possible. If German fighter strength was not checked in the next three months, the battle might be lost, since it was impossible to judge the strength which the German fighter forces might attain by next spring if our attack was not pressed home.

Admiral King said that a possible German move to Spain would be aimed at cutting our vital lines of communication through the Straits of Gibraltar. The Germans might be held back until the United Nations were further committed in the Mediterranean and then they would flood the approaches to the Straits of Gibraltar with U-boats. The value of this line of communication was second only to the North Atlantic route and its value would increase as our commitments in the Mediterranean grew.

The naval situation must be considered globally, and any forces which could be spared from the European theater were urgently required in the war against Japan.

He was surprised to learn that the bombing of U-boat bases in France had been stopped or slowed down. He was convinced that a large number of U-boats were being refitted with a view to renewing the offensive and that the U-boat campaign had not yet been won, though it was now under control, as he had predicted.

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Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff

Québec, 14 August 1943.

Most secret

Artificial Harbors for Combined Operations (CCS 307)

  1. The enemy has realized that we can only maintain a large invasion force by using ports and he has, therefore, heavily defended the existing ports and their neighboring beaches from sea and land attack. He has also made arrangements to render them unserviceable if they should be captured.

  2. It is, therefore, of vital importance that we should be able to improvise port facilities at an early date. Supplies could then be maintained during unfavorable weather conditions and before we have been able to capture and recondition ports. The British Chiefs of Staff have appointed a Committee to study the whole problem and to make recommendations as a matter of urgency.

  3. The basic requirements for an improvised port are:
    a. Breakwaters.
    b. Unloading facilities.


a. Natural Topographical Features
The best use must be made of natural features such as promontories and shallow banks. A study of the area, however, shows that there is only one position where such natural facilities exist.

b. Ships Sunk To Form a Breakwater
Ships were used to make breakwaters in the last war, but only in nontidal waters. The objections to this method off the coast of France are:
i) The large range of tide precludes their use except in very shallow water.
ii) The scour effect of the strong tidal stream may cause the ships to become unstable.
iii) The large number which would be required.

c. New Scientific Devices
i) Bubble Breakwater. In principle this consists of a curtain of air bubbles rising from a submerged pipe. The constant upward flow of bubbles destroys the rotary movement of water particles which is associated with waves, thus damping out the waves. Air compressors are necessary to feed the pipe. This method has been used in Russia and full-scale experiment is shortly to be carried out in England by the Admiralty.

ii) Lilo Breakwater. It has been found that a quilted canvas bag, inflated by air at a low pressure and ballasted to float so that the greater portion is below the surface, damps out waves. A model breakwater constructed on these principles has been designed and has given promising results. It is hoped to overcome the practical difficulties of mooring, and full-scale trials are being progressed at high priority by the Admiralty.

Unloading Facilities

a. Methods in Previous Use
The process of beaching LST and LCT and of drying out coasters and barges can be continued with additional safety within the breakwaters. To save wear and tear and to speed up discharge of cargoes, these methods must be supplemented by other facilities.

b. Piers
Piers and pierheads which are capable of being towed across the Channel have been designed and are being put into production. These piers are capable of being moored so that they will stand up to a strong wind, but unloading under all weather conditions will only be possible when they are placed inside breakwaters. These piers are being designed to enable LST and LCT to “beach” against semi-submerged pontoons which enable them to discharge over their ramps. Simultaneously the upper deck of LST can discharge their vehicles direct on to an “upper deck” built on the pierhead.

c. Pierships
In the Annexure to Appendix “X” of the OVERLORD plan (COS (43) 416 (O)), COSSAC has suggested the construction of specially modified 500 feet pierships, which could be sunk in position and which could be connected to the shore by some form of pontoon equipment or two-way pier. He has also suggested the construction of some form of quay on rocks. These and other suggestions are being examined.

d. Hards
If beaches of slope 1 in 40 or steeper can be found within the breakwater, the construction of unloading hards similar to those used for loading in U.K. will simplify the unloading of LST.

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Memorandum by the COSSAC Designate

Offices of the War Cabinet, SW1, 14 August, 1943.

Most secret
Enclosure to CCS 320

Digest of Operation RANKIN

Recommendations for the Courses of Action to be followed in North-West Europe in the event of substantial weakening of German resistance, or withdrawal from Occupied Countries or unconditional surrender occurring between the 1st November, 1943, and the 1st May 1944.


  1. The latest review (JIC (43) 324 of 3 August 1943) by the JIC of the enemy’s present situation and his possible plans and intentions during the remainder of 1943 shows that the recent reverses on the Russian front, the breach developing in Italy and the Balkans, the setback suffered by the U-boat campaign and the ever-increasing Allied air offensive, all combine to create a position which (in the opinion of the JIC) must appear to the German leaders as verging on the desperate. The limiting factor for the enemy being availability of forces, the gathering threat in Italy and the Balkans may well lead him to find reserves at the expense of the ground and air forces now located in Norway, Denmark, the Low Countries and France. Nor is it beyond the bounds of possibility that an imminent threat of complete disaster on the Russian front might induce him to abandon altogether his occupation of Western and probably Southern Europe, in order to concentrate all available forces against the Russian menace, postpone the hour of final defeat and insure the ultimate occupation of Germany by Anglo-American rather than by Russian forces.

Conditions of a return to North-West Europe during the winter 1943-44

  1. It follows from the above that it has become a matter of urgent necessity to prepare for a return to the Continent during the winter 1943-44. The possible alternative conditions of return are:
  • CASE A. Such substantial weakening of the strength and morale of the German armed forces as will permit successful assault with the Anglo-American forces prior to the target date of OVERLORD.
  • CASE B. German withdrawal from the occupied countries.
  • CASE C. German unconditional surrender and cessation of organized resistance in North-West Europe.

In CASES A and B our object is to effect a lodgment on the Continent from which we can complete the defeat of Germany; our object in CASE C is to occupy as rapidly as possible appropriate areas from which we can take steps to enforce the terms of unconditional surrender laid down by the Allied Governments. Inherent in all cases will be the rehabilitation of liberated countries. The three cases are considered in succession below.

CASE A. Courses of action for a return to the continent in the event of substantial weakening of German resistance in France and the Low Countries

  1. Excluding airborne troops and tank brigades, it is calculated that the number of Allied Divisions operationally and administratively ready on the 1st November, 1943, will be eight, on the 1st January, 1944, seventeen, and on the 1st March, 1944, twenty-three. The approximate Naval Assault Forces available on these dates will be respectively one, two-three, and five. The Metropolitan Air Force will be available for cover and support and one composite group of the Tactical Air Force should be available by the end of 1943. It is considered that with these resources the following operations would be practicable. During November and December 1943 an assault could only be undertaken on a narrow front against a weakly-held sector of the coastline, provided that there are clear indications that France and the Low Countries have been almost entirely denuded of reserves, and that German resistance is on the point of collapse. During January and February 1944 an assault could be undertaken against weak opposition to secure a strictly limited objective. From March 1944 onwards an assault with a more ambitious role might be undertaken, provided the strength and morale of the German troops and, in particular, of German reserves, are markedly below the maximum acceptable strength for Operation OVERLORD. Clearly in all three cases the overriding condition of adequate reduction in the present fighting value of the GAF on the Western front, and an inability of the German Command to bring up important reserves, must pertain.

  2. As for the area of assault, the choice in Operation OVERLORD was narrowed down to the alternatives of the Pas de Calais and the Cotentin-Caen sectors. The Pas de Calais is the pivot of the whole German defensive system, and it may be expected that the defenses there will remain strong to the end; it is therefore concluded that the assault area in the present case should be the same as for OVERLORD, i.e., Cotentin-Caen. As maintenance over beaches and the construction of artificial ports would prove too hazardous in winter, it will be essential to capture the port of Cherbourg and as many minor ports as possible within 48 hours. The plan for OVERLORD would therefore have to be modified to meet this special requirement. There are obvious advantages in having the same area for either operation; for in the early months of 1944 our preparations for OVERLORD will be well advanced, and it would be difficult at that stage to change the area of assault to some different part of the coast.

  3. The strategic recommendations for CASE A may accordingly be summarized as follows:

a. No assault against organized resistance will be feasible before the 1st January, 1944, unless there are clear indications that German resistance in the West is on the point of collapse, and measures are taken in time to make the Naval Assault Forces available for operations by recourse to special manning expedients.

b. Subsequent to that date, an assault elsewhere than in the area selected for OVERLORD is unlikely to be feasible or advisable.

c. If a sufficiently drastic reduction in the morale and strength of the German armed forces takes place, operations against organized opposition could be undertaken in January or February 1944 to capture the Cotentin Peninsula, or in March or April 1944 to put up a modified OVERLORD plan into effect. In either case the plan must provide for the capture of the port of Cherbourg within the first 48 hours.

d. As in the case of OVERLORD, diversionary operations in the Pas de Calais area, and from the Mediterranean against the South of France will probably be essential.

CASE B. Courses of action for a return to the continent in the event of a German withdrawal from the occupied countries

  1. It is probable that if the enemy is obliged to make withdrawals from Western Europe, he will first withdraw his forces from his extremities, i.e., from Norway in the North and from South-Western and Western France in the South. If this occurs, we should require, for political as well as strategic reasons, to send some forces to occupy the areas so liberated; but it would be important that we should not tie up our main forces far from the eventual center of action.

  2. In Norway, establishment of certain bases for Coastal Command Aircraft and Naval Forces is likely to be most desirable. It is probable that requirements can be limited to the establishment of bases in Northern Norway for aircraft of Coastal Command for the anti-submarine protection of shipping on passage round the North Cape; the development of Stavanger and Bergen as bases for aircraft of Coastal Command and light Naval Forces to blockade the entrance to the Baltic, and for the conduct of small offensive operations; and the establishment of surface warning sets (Radar) on the South coast of Norway. It is considered that forces of the order of one brigade group would be required for Northern Norway, and one division for Southern Norway, to secure the naval and air bases and support the Norwegian contingent in its task of rehabilitation.

  3. In France, it is probable that the first point of withdrawal would be Bordeaux, followed in succession by the other ports on the Western coast; the Channel coast and in particular the Pas de Calais would remain the last areas to be uncovered. Once withdrawal begins it is likely that it will eventually continue as far as the Siegfried Line, owing to the difficulty of holding any intermediate position with an economical force.

  4. The governing condition of our return is that we must have ports, since maintenance over beaches in winter is not practicable. If the enemy withdraw from South-Western and Western France, it is proposed that we should send a brigade group each, together with minimum necessary covering air forces, to occupy Bordeaux, Nantes and Brest. The purpose of occupation of Bordeaux would be the rehabilitation of South-West France; the purpose of occupation of Brest and Nantes would also be partly the rehabilitation of France, but mainly the preparation, as a long-term policy, for the entry and maintenance of United States Forces direct from the United States. Demands to commit larger forces to these areas should be firmly resisted, and the first point of entry for our main forces should not be West of Cherbourg. The Northern extension of the German defensive position on the Siegfried Line would probably prevent our use of Antwerp, in which case the major ports available for our return would be Cherbourg, Havre and Rouen. It is impossible to forecast the turn that operations would take, since our advance would be dependent on the enemy’s withdrawal policy. It must be assumed that the enemy’s demolitions will be thorough, and, therefore, it cannot be expected that our rate of advance will be swift. Moreover, rapid airfield construction, as proposed in OVERLORD, is impracticable in winter, and a more permanent and lengthy type of construction will be required. The capture of existing airfields is, therefore, of increased importance. A likely course of events is that an initial landing might be made at Cherbourg, followed by later landings at Havre and Rouen, and not long afterwards by the introduction of reinforcements and stores through the Pas de Calais ports. Our general intention should be to press Eastwards as fast as possible, opening up additional ports as we go, with the further object of establishing airfields in the Pas de Calais and in Belgium, from which the Tactical Air Force can complete the destruction of the German Air Force and the strategic bomber force can intensify their attack on Germany at closer range when the advance Eastwards has gone sufficiently far to make this profitable. Under the condition of German withdrawal, deficiencies in the strength of the Tactical Air Force can be made good at the expense of the static fighter defense system of the United Kingdom. In this way enough squadrons could be made available to take full advantage of airfields prepared by the Army on the Continent, while additional air support could still be provided from bases in the United Kingdom.

  5. The strategic recommendations for CASE B may accordingly be summarized as follows:

a. That the port of Cherbourg be the first place of entry for our main forces.

b. That as the German withdrawal proceeds, our main forces be based on Cherbourg, Havre and Rouen, supplemented as necessary by the smaller ports further East.

c. That the port of Bordeaux be occupied in the first instance by a small force only for the sole purpose of rehabilitation of South-West France.

d. That the ports of Brest and Nantes be similarly occupied by small forces only, partly to assist in the rehabilitation of France, but mainly to prepare, as a long-term policy, for the entry and maintenance of United States Forces direct from the United States.

e. That as large forces as possible from the Mediterranean be dispatched to occupy the ports of Marseilles and Toulon, and subsequently to move Northwards on Lyons and Vichy, and thereafter as required.

CASE C. Courses of action for a return to the continent in the event of German unconditional surrender and the cessation of organized armed resistance in North-West Europe

  1. The object is to occupy, as rapidly as possible, appropriate areas from which we can take steps to enforce the terms of unconditional surrender imposed by the Allied Governments on Germany; and in addition to carry out the rehabilitation of the Occupied Countries.

  2. A consideration of the areas of strategic importance leads to the conclusion that the best use of our limited land forces lies in the speedy occupation in adequate force of the Jutland Peninsula, the adjacent great ports of Bremen, Hamburg and Kiel, and the large towns in the valleys of the Ruhr and the Rhine. It is considered that the forces required for occupation of these areas would amount to seven divisions for Denmark and North-West Germany, six Divisions for the Ruhr, eleven Divisions for the valley of the Rhine; making a total in all of twenty-four Divisions.

  3. In addition to the forces required for occupation of Germany, further forces will be required for rehabilitation of the Liberated Territories and to assist in the disarmament of Germany. It is considered that the following forces will be required in support of the contingents of the Nations concerned, or in the case of Denmark supplementary to the field force formations given in paragraph 12 above; one division and one brigade for Norway, one brigade for Denmark, two brigades for Holland, four brigades for Belgium; and in the case of France, two field force divisions for Paris and Northern France, two field force divisions for the Mediterranean ports and South France, and six brigades for the Atlantic and Channel ports. Except where it is explicitly stated that field force divisions will be required, full use should be made of non-field force formations in the above role.

  4. Both in the case of Germany and in the case of liberated territories, it will be necessary for adequate air forces to form part of the occupying force. In Germany, their role will be to take immediate action to overcome any resistance to our terms, to take punitive action against local disorder and to be a reminder to the German people of the main strategic bomber force which will remain based in the United Kingdom. Adequate air forces for occupation of areas near key points in Germany and liberated territories are available in the United Kingdom and the whole resources of the Metropolitan. Air Force will be available for reinforcement.

  5. The use of large forces in the dual task of rehabilitating the liberated territories and occupying strategic areas in Germany is a problem of such complexity that the greatest simplicity in plan is required if mistakes of far-reaching consequence are to be avoided. It is considered that the best plan will be to keep to the alignment proposed for OVERLORD, i.e., to dispose the American forces on the right of the front and the British forces on the left. It is thus contemplated that the American sphere of responsibility will extend from the Rhine at the Swiss Border to Düsseldorf, and will also include France and Belgium; while the British sphere of responsibility will include the Ruhr and North-West Germany, Holland, Denmark and Norway. In the liberated countries there should be representative forces of both nations.

  6. It is clear that for both political and military reasons speed of entry will be of the first importance. It may be possible to use air transport to a limited extent, but the bulk of our forces will have to be carried by sea. In the case of reentry through Copenhagen, Bremen and Hamburg, minesweeping is likely to impose short delays. The most suitable port of entry for the formations to occupy the Ruhr appears to be Rotterdam, while that for the forces for the Rhine Valley will be Antwerp.

  7. The comparison of requirements against availability of forces at different dates is as follows, providing the BOLERO program is maintained and the forces earmarked to return from the Mediterranean are received. The requirement is constant at 26 divisions and the availability of divisions shown excludes airborne troops and tank brigades:

a. March 1944.

23 divisions administratively ready for mobile operations
4 divisions administratively incomplete
Total 27 divisions

b. January 1944.

17 divisions administratively ready for mobile operations
7 divisions administratively incomplete
Total 24 divisions

c. November 1943.

8 divisions administratively ready for mobile operations
8 divisions administratively incomplete
Total 16 divisions

In view of the non-operational and semi-mobile nature of the tasks, the total figure shown in each case may be taken as the availability. The deficits therefore are two divisions in January 1944, and ten divisions in November 1943. It is proposed that these deficits should be made good when emergency arises by the dispatch of Allied forces in the Mediterranean and of the United States divisions earmarked for Operation OVERLORD. Apart from these forces it is proposed that Allied forces in the Mediterranean should supply one United States and one British division to accompany the forces of the French Committee of National Liberation, for employment in Southern France.

  1. It is emphasized that the forces given in paragraph 12 above are the minimum land forces which will be required initially to obtain control in the Rhine Valley, the Ruhr, the entrance to the Baltic and in North-Western Germany. The ultimate size of forces of occupation will depend on the requirements and terms of occupation laid down by the Allied Governments.

  2. The strategic recommendations for CASE C may accordingly be summarized as follows:

a. That the sphere of the Supreme Allied Commander include the whole of France, Luxemburg, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway and such portion of enemy territory as the Allied Governments may decide. It is assumed that this will include at least the Rhine Valley, the Ruhr and North-West Germany.

b. That, as soon as the situation permits at the time of German unconditional surrender, Allied Forces based in the United Kingdom be dispatched:
i) To occupy and control the Valley of the Rhine from the Swiss to the Dutch frontiers, together with the area of the Ruhr, and insure disarmament of German armed forces returning from occupied territory.

ii) To occupy and control Denmark, Schleswig, Holstein, the Kiel Canal, and the cities of Hamburg and Bremen, and insure disarmament of German armed forces in those areas.

iii) To open selected ports in the West coast of France and the Low Countries to establish control in the capitals of those countries, to institute measures of rehabilitation, and to assist as may be required in the disarmament of German armed forces.

iv) To establish control in Norway, to rehabilitate the country, and insure disarmament of German armed forces.

c. That, simultaneously, Allied contingents from the forces based in the Mediterranean be dispatched to open selected ports on the Mediterranean coast of France, to establish control at Vichy, to institute measures for the rehabilitation of Southern France, and to assist as may be required in the disarmament of German armed forces. These Allied forces to come under operational control of the Supreme Allied Commander on arrival in France.

d. That, under the general direction of the Supreme Allied Commander, France, Belgium and the Rhine Valley from the Swiss frontier to inclusive Düsseldorf be regarded as a sphere under the control of the United States forces, with British representation in the liberated countries.

e. That, under the general direction of the Supreme Allied Commander, Holland, Denmark, Norway and North-West Germany from inclusive the Ruhr Valley to Lübeck be regarded as a sphere under the control of British forces, with United States representation in the liberated countries.

Concluding recommendations

  1. Certain general recommendations emerge from the above study of RANKIN:

a. The forces allotted for OVERLORD should be considered as equally available for RANKIN, if the occasion should arise.

b. The appointment of the Allied Air Commander-in-Chief and Staff, and the provision in the United Kingdom of the Commanding General, Staff and headquarters of the United States Army Group are of urgent importance and should be undertaken forthwith.

c. If the strategic recommendations in this paper are accepted in principle, the British and United States Governments should be invited, as a matter of urgency, to lay down a policy to govern the conduct of the Civil Affairs Staff in the establishment of military governments in enemy territory to be occupied by our troops, and a policy to govern the establishment of indigenous administrations in the liberated Allied territories.

d. That no time be lost in setting up nucleus combined American/British Civil Affairs Staffs in London for Germany and for each Allied country and friendly country, and such other countries as may be decided to lie within the sphere of the Supreme Allied Commander, to study in detail the problems involved and to make, without delay, detailed plans for the organization of civil administration therein.

e. That plans be made forthwith, complete in every detail, for the rapid recruitment in reserve units on a paramilitary basis of British civil resources in technical personnel, labor and equipment for employment on the Continent, especially for airfield construction. In order to avoid any interference with the progress of current vital work, such as the BOLERO and airfield construction programs, these plans only to be put into effect when the emergency arises.

f. It will be desirable to undertake a campaign of propaganda among our own people to bring to their notice the necessity for widespread participation in the campaign in prospect. Our Service resources will be stretched to the uttermost, and will need every sort of civilian administrative support if they are to develop their full force at the decisive point or points. Provision of this support may well entail sacrifices on the part of all classes of the community.

g. Close attention should be devoted to the question of collaboration with the USSR.

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Note by the Secretaries of the Combined Chiefs of Staff

Québec, 14 August 1943.

CCS 306

Rome an open city

Press reports have been received that Rome has been declared an open city by the Italian Government. General Eisenhower has indicated that he may make an attack against Rome tomorrow, 15 August.

Pending clarification of the situation, it is suggested that the following FAN message might be sent to General Eisenhower:

Press reports this date indicate Italian Government has declared Rome an open city. Pending clarification and further instructions it is desired that you make no further attacks on Rome nor make any statements from your headquarters regarding the attitude of the United Nations with respect to the action taken by the Italian Government.


Combined Secretariat

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Luncheon, 1:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom Canada
Admiral Leahy Mrs. Churchill Lieutenant General Stuart
General Brooke
Lieutenant General Ismay
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The Pittsburgh Press (August 14, 1943)

Staff chiefs reach Québec

Roosevelt is expected to follow for conference
By John A. Reichmann, United Press staff writer

Québec, Canada –
The arrival here of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff was accepted today as indicating that President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill would soon follow for the sixth meeting.

Reliable sources in London said Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden was “likely” to come here to attend the Roosevelt-Churchill conferences. They thought the President and Prime Minister might take “special measures” to increase Anglo-American collaboration with Russia but were not certain whether Mr. Eden would later go to Moscow.

The time of arrival of the principals was a closely-guarded secret.

Leahy heads staff

Adm. William D. Leahy, who has officers in the White House and is in constant communication with Mr. Roosevelt on all military matters as chief of staff to the Commander-in-Chief, headed the U.S. military personages arriving for the conference.

The others were U.S. Army Gen. George C. Marshall (Chief of Staff), Adm. Ernest J. King (Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet), Gen. H. H. Arnold (commanding the Army Air Forces) and Gen. Brehon B. Somervell (Chief of Service of Supplies).

The announcement of their arrival said Brig. Gen. John F. Dean, Secretary to the U.S. Army Chiefs of Staff, and Capt. Forrest Royal (USN), Deputy Secretary, are also here.

It was assumed that the chiefs of staff would at once settle down to working out the master military strategy with the British experts who arrived with Mr. Churchill which it is hoped, may knock the European Axis out of the war this year.

They were also expected to study plans whereby the war may be carried to Japan, while not relenting the offensive on the European front.

Won’t neglect politics

While the arrival of the officers brought home to many correspondents the fact that the Roosevelt-Churchill discussion will be primarily of a military nature – rather than on political subjects and post-war planning – it was also made clear that the latter factor will not be neglected entirely.

This is because political subjects may of themselves be of the utmost importance in winning the war. This has been made clear in the North African campaign, where lack of a clearly-defined political policy at times, at least, threatened the military venture. It also happened in Italy when the resignation of Benito Mussolini caught the Allies unprepared.

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

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 4:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
General Arnold Field Marshal Dill
Lieutenant General Somervell Vice Admiral Mountbatten
Vice Admiral Willson Lieutenant General Ismay
Rear Admiral Cooke General Riddell-Webster
Rear Admiral Badger Admiral Noble
Major General Handy Lieutenant General Macready
Major General Fairchild Air Marshal Welsh
Brigadier General Kuter Captain Lambe
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Brigadier Porter
Commander Freseman Air Commodore Elliot
Commander Long Brigadier Macleod
Brigadier General Deane Brigadier Redman
Captain Royal Commander Coleridge
Colonel Cornwall-Jones

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

August 14, 1943, 4:30 p.m.


The War Against Japan

Admiral King said the principal operations against Japan at present taking place were those directed on Rabaul. These were being delayed by lack of means. Tie had said at Casablanca, and he must now repeat, that lack of means was in his opinion caused by failure to consider the war against all three Axis Powers as a whole. If some 15 per cent of resources of the United Nations were now deployed against Japan, then an increase of only five per cent would increase by one-third the resources available whereas a decrease of five per cent of the forces deployed against the Axis in Europe would only mean a reduction of six per cent. Air power was lacking, and at present all naval air forces not required for the U-boat campaign were being sent to the Pacific. Consequent on the TRIDENT decisions, operations against the Mandates had been planned and would begin on 15 November against the Gilberts. This particular line of advance had certain disadvantages, but had been necessary, firstly, since it would protect Samoa, the weak spot on the line of communications to Australia; secondly, there were air facilities available in the Ellice Islands; and, thirdly, the relative proximity of this line of advance toward the operations in Rabaul would enable forces to be shifted from one to the other. The United States Chiefs of Staff memorandum set out their proposals for the war against Japan in the relatively near future. In general, these envisaged an advance headed on Luzon by two routes, one from New Guinea, and the other through the Mandates. This plan would have the advantage of obviating the necessity for fighting for the Dutch East Indies which, if the Philippines were captured, would automatically fall to us.

In the North Pacific the attack on Kiska was planned for tomorrow. There were indications that at least a partial evacuation might already have taken place there, but the operation had been planned on the supposition that the original scale of defense still existed. There was a third possible line of approach which was through the Kuriles via Paramushiru.

It was, in his opinion, most important to plan how best the preponderance of forces now employed against the Axis in Europe could be transferred and brought to bear against Japan. It would appear that the air power which would be available could not be fully used in an advance through the Islands and therefore the use of China as a base for air action against Japan became very important.

Admiral Leahy stressed that the campaigns in Alaska, against Rabaul, in the Central Pacific, and in Burma all formed part of the complete campaign against Japan. The defeat of Japan must be accomplished at the earliest possible date by the use of the maximum possible effort. The requirements for the plan, the forces which could be made available, both immediately and on the defeat of Germany, and the method by which those forces now employed against Germany could be diverted to Japan must all be studied. Every effort was now being made with the insufficient forces available to wear down Japanese resources, and her resistance was becoming less effective, but an immediate assessment of the availability of resources as soon as Germany had collapsed must be made.

General Marshall said it was important to decide on the bases required to exploit our available means. In the Pacific, adequate shipping had proved a bottleneck since heavy demands were made on account of the necessity for transferring troops to recuperate after long service in difficult and unhealthy country. Every effort was being made to render bases, particularly air bases, more healthy. The same problem of transferring troops, owing to bad climate, existed in the Aleutians.

An interesting factor in the present campaign against Japan was the heavy air losses which she was sustaining, not only in the air but in cargo and troop-carrying vessels. All operations in the Pacific were related to those in Burma. There were two matters on which differences of opinion existed – firstly, the importance of China as a base, and, secondly, the possibilities with regard to the use of Chinese manpower. General Stilwell’s view, which he shared, was that properly led, the Chinese troops were an important military factor.

General Marshall then read out a telegram he had received from General Stilwell, giving the details of the equipment and efficiency of the Chinese troops now in Ramgarh and Yunnan and outlining possible employment for these forces. General Stilwell stressed the importance of an early campaign to reopen the Burma Road.

There was an alternative route to China via Sumatra, Singapore and Camranh Bay, though this would entail a heavy shipping commitment. There was a project, which will be further explained by General Somervell, to lay a pipeline for gasoline from Calcutta into China. There seemed to be four issues which must be decided. Firstly, what was the value of Chinese troops; secondly, could we afford to take so little action with regard to China that the present government would fall; thirdly, if we employed only air forces from China, would not the Japanese reactions be so strong as to cut the line of communication to them, and, fourthly, in an operation through China was it essential to capture a port for heavy build-up of supplies and thus link up with the naval operations across the Pacific.

He regretted immensely that there was no air communication between Australia and Ceylon. The interests of the two commands were mutual, and the psychological factor of a gap of 10,000 miles, which was not bridged, was serious. In his view it was important to find the speediest method of bringing pressure to bear on Japan itself and it might well be that operations through China would produce the result faster than fighting our way through the Islands.

It was essential to link Pacific and European strategy. Movements of ships from the Mediterranean must take place in the next few days if operations from India were not to be delayed, and a decision must be taken. It was important that no time should be lost in agreeing on a general plan for the defeat of Japan since the collapse of Germany would impose the problem of partial demobilization and a growing impatience would ensue throughout the United States for the rapid defeat of Japan.

General Arnold said that in the early days of the war with Japan a holding policy had been adopted. Now superiority was being achieved. In the air, over the last six months, the Japanese known losses had been four times the combat and operational losses of the U.S. Air Forces opposed to them.

In the Pacific, airfields would not be available in which to base the air forces which would be released after the defeat of Germany. Only China provided the necessary facilities. At present the number of units which could be deployed depended directly on the capacity of the air-route. This route had achieved 4,000 tons in July and this would, he felt sure, increase, but a 4,000-ton capacity was sufficient only to enable General Chennault’s 223 aircraft to undertake 10 operations each per month. The heavy bomber group now operating in China against Hanoi, Hong Kong and Shanghai was forced to do three trips into Assam for every one operational sortie. In order to release tonnage on the air route a plan had been worked out to run a pipeline capable of taking six million gallons per month (approximately 20,000 tons) into China. Even this amount would only enable five hundred heavy bombers to undertake 10 missions per month, and an additional one thousand tons of gasoline would be required to provide for the necessary fighter protection.

The opening of the Burma Road was, from the air point of view, essential, together, if possible, with a port on the east coast of China through which the air forces could be adequately supplied.

The northern air line of approach to Japan via the Kuriles was hampered by the worst weather in the world and lack of bases. At a maximum, only one or two groups could be employed from this area. Island facilities now available could only accommodate some 20 groups, whereas if Germany were defeated some 50 groups of heavy bombers would be released from the U.K. alone, in addition to those from the Mediterranean area. The situation, however, was hopeful. Japanese aircraft production was estimated at only 600 aircraft per month, He was convinced that heavy bombing of their homeland would defeat the Japanese, “who could not take it.”

At the request of General Arnold, General Somervell outlined the plan for the pipeline into China. It would lead from Calcutta to Ledo and between these places would be a six-inch line in order to take the load off the bad communications from Assam. From there on it would be a three-inch line running through Fort Hertz to Kunming. The building of the line was not dependent on further operations in Burma though this would probably be necessary to insure its security. The line could be completed in seven months and would require only 15,000 tons of supplies. The necessary piping and installations were already available in the United States and all the necessary plans had been prepared.

Sir Alan Brooke asked that a paper giving a brief outline of the plan might be submitted for study by the British Chiefs of Staff. He was in entire agreement as to the necessity for the earliest possible completion of a general plan for the war with Japan.

It was essential to decide on a policy for the employment of our forces and to allocate tasks to be undertaken either separately or jointly. The British were faced with the problem of partial demobilization after the defeat of Germany. Many of the British troops had been abroad for over seven years and a scheme was being worked out to insure that those troops who were best trained were retained, without inflicting unnecessary individual hardships. If major operations were to be undertaken from India, that country must be developed as a base. Its capabilities were at present small and its communications bad. Airfields, ports and communications must all be developed, and the extent of this development was dependent on the plan decided on.

The relative advantages of the opening of the original Burma Road or the seizure of a port in China must be examined, together with the time factor, in relation to the working of the Burma Road at its maximum capacity. Plans had been worked out for advances from Imphal, Ledo and Yunnan into Burma, together with landings on the Arakan Coast. The British Chiefs of Staff had considered proposals put forward by Brigadier Wingate for the increased employment of long-range penetration groups in conjunction with the main advances. These groups relied on the Japanese out-flanking tactics but whereas the Japanese outflanking movements consisted of four- or five-mile sweeps, Wingate’s method used 40- or 50-mile sweeps and used units of the size of a brigade group. These groups took pack transport and wireless and could, when necessary, be maintained from the air. They would reach far into the area of the Japanese lines of communication in conjunction with the main advances. A second brigade group was already being formed and it was hoped to form a third, one of which could operate with the Chinese forces from Yunnan by cutting Japanese communications with Mandalay. Another would operate between the Ledo and Imphal advances, and a third to the west of the Imphal Road. He felt that the United States Chiefs of Staff might wish to hear from Brigadier Wingate his views on the use of long-range penetration groups.

The British Chiefs of Staff had only recently learned, however, of the very serious results of the floods in Assam, which would have very serious effects on future operations in Burma, These results had not yet been assessed and he suggested that a small committee consisting of General Somervell, General Riddell-Webster and an officer from the Commander in Chief’s Staff in India should examine and report to the Combined Chiefs of Staff the effects of the floods in Assam on future operations in Burma.

In addition to the plans for Burma a study had been made of an alternative operation on the northern tip of Sumatra. This might either be an operation in itself, aimed at forming a base from which Japanese forces and lines of communication could be attacked, or it might be the first step to an attack on the Malaya Peninsula in the neighborhood of Penang with an advance on Singapore. In the former case some two to four divisions would be required, but in the latter case the forces required would render the operation impossible of achievement until after the defeat of Germany. If, however, only the tip of Sumatra was attacked, though it would result in the diversion of important Japanese forces in reaction to it, it would have the disadvantage of giving prior warning to the Japanese that an attack on Malaya was possible and they would therefore increase their defense in that area. Before, however, further examining the Sumatra plan he suggested that operations in Burma should be examined, possibly based on a later date than originally envisaged.

Sir Charles Portal said that he strongly endorsed the view that an early decision on the plan for the defeat of Japan must be taken. Air forces would be piling up as soon as Germany was defeated. British production of heavy bombers alone would amount to some five to six hundred a month, with four hundred crews. He was interested in the statement that adequate island bases could not be found in the Pacific to deploy large air forces since in Malta, which was a very small island, some 500 aircraft had been operating. After the defeat of Germany sufficient shipping should be available to maintain these island air bases.

General Arnold explained that most of the islands in the Mandated area were atolls, with very limited land area available and complicated topographical features.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed that a small committee should be formed which would include General Riddell-Webster, Major General Mallaby, General Somervell, and Admiral Badger, to examine and report on the effect of the recent floods in India on the projected Burma campaign.

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White House Press Release

Washington, August 14, 1943.

The President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, after consultation with the British Admiralty, the United States Navy Department and the Canadian Department of National Defence for Naval Services, have issued the following monthly statement on the progress of the anti-U-Boat war:

During the month of July very poor results were obtained by the U-Boats from their widespread effort against the shipping of the Allies. The steady flow of trans-Atlantic supplies on the greatest scale has continued unmolested, and such sinkings as have taken place in distant areas have had but an insignificant effect on the conduct of the war by the Allies. In fact, July is probably our most successful month, because the imports have been high, shipping losses moderate and U-boat sinkings heavy.

Before the descent upon Sicily an armada of warships, troop transports, supply ships and landing craft proceeded through Atlantic and Mediterranean waters with scarcely any interference from U-boats. Large reinforcements have also been landed in that Island. Over 2,500 vessels were involved in these operations and the losses are only about 80,000 tons. On the other hand, the U-boats which attempted to interfere with these operations suffered severe losses.

Our offensive operations against Axis submarines continue to progress most favourably in all areas, and during May, June and July we have sunk at sea a total of over 90 U-boats, which represents an average loss of nearly one U-boat a day over the period.

The decline in the effectiveness of the U-boats is illustrated by the following figures:

In the first six months of 1943, the number of ships sunk per U-boat operating was only half that in the last six months of 1942 and only a quarter that in the first half of 1942.

The tonnage of shipping in the service of the United Nations continues to show a considerable net increase. During 1943 new ships completed by the Allies exceed all sinkings from all causes by upwards of three million tons.

In spite of this very favourable progress in the battle against the U-boat, it must be remembered that the enemy still has large U-boat reserves, completed and under construction. It is necessary, therefore, to prepare for intensification of the battle both at sea and in the shipyards and to use our shipping with utmost economy to strengthen and speed the general offensive of the United Nations. But we can expect continued success only if we do not relax our efforts in any way.


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Roosevelt-Churchill dinner meeting

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mrs. Roosevelt
Mr. Harriman
Mr. Gray
Mrs. Gray

From an informal memorandum dictated by Harriman at Québec:

Gray was telling the Prime Minister (in the presence of the President) all about Ireland and how it should be dealt with. The Prime Minister seemed unimpressed.

At dinner the Prime Minister sat on Mrs. Roosevelt’s right and I was on her left.

The Prime Minister described the kind of ‘fraternal relationship’ that he would like to see accomplished between the U.S. and the British after the war. This loose concept of ‘fraternal relationship’ he feels is much better than any attempt at more definite association or understanding as more definite arrangements are subject to misunderstandings whereas loose concepts become realities in the public mind and, if flexible enough, can be adjusted to historic developments.

Mrs. Roosevelt seemed fearful that this might be misunderstood by the other nations and weaken the United Nations concept, to which the Prime Minister did not agree as any hope of the United Nations would be in the leadership given by the intimacy of the United States and British in working out understandings with the Russians – and the Chinese too, he conceded, if they become a nation…

The President told me he wanted me to see that Lew Douglas was given information and fully consulted on all shipping matters as he considered that shipping was the key to strategic agreement.

He said that he wanted to have a quiet dinner on the night of his arrival, Tuesday, with Admiral Leahy, Harry and myself to get a report on where the discussions stood…


The Pittsburgh Press (August 15, 1943)

Ship losses to subs cut by one-half

Joint Roosevelt-Churchill statement indicates they have met
By H. O. Thompson, United Press staff writer

Washington – (Aug. 14)
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, in a joint statement suggesting that they may have met already, revealed tonight that the Allies sank more than 90 Axis submarines in May, June and July.

The statement – signed simply “Roosevelt, Churchill” – was issued by the White House as the two leaders were preparing for momentous conferences in Québec. It was released shortly after the President, observing the second anniversary of the signing of the Atlantic Charter, declared that the United Nations, “stand upon the threshold of major developments in this war.”

One a day sunk

The joint statement showed that:

  1. The Axis lost an average of one U-boat a day during the last three months.

  2. Recent sinkings by U-boats have had “but an insignificant effect on the conflict of the war by the Allies.”

  3. Although more than 2,500 vessels were used in the Sicilian campaign, Allied losses were only about 80,000 tons.

  4. During the first six months of 1943, the number of ships sunk per U-boat operating was only half that in the last six months of 1942 and only one-quarter that in the first half of 1942.

  5. United Nations shipping continues to show a considerable net increase with new ships completed in 1943 exceeding all sinkings from all causes by upwards of 3 million tons.

  6. Continued success against the U-boats will come only with unrelaxed efforts.

May have met

The White House announcement said Mr. Roosevelt and the Prime Minister issued the statement after consultation with the British Admiralty, the U.S. Navy Department, and the Canadian Department of National Defense for Naval Services.

The joint nature of the statement started immediate speculation that the two leaders had been in consultation preliminary to the formal conferences on war strategy to be held in Québec. Mr. Churchill visited Niagara Falls, New York, earlier this week, and it was believed that any meeting must have been held in this country.

July results hailed

The statement said:

Our offensive operations against Axis submarines continue to progress most favorably in all areas, and during May, June and July we have sunk at sea a total of over 90 U-boats, which represents an average loss of nearly one U-boat a day over the period.

Describing July as “probably our most successful month because the imports have been high, shipping losses moderate and U-boat sinkings heavy,” the statement said a steady flow of transatlantic supplies has continued unmolested on the greatest scale ever attempted.

Has large reserves

The few sinkings which have occurred were in distant areas and had little effect on Allied conduct of the war, the two men said. Their statement added that a tremendous armada of warships, trop transports, supply ships, and landing craft proceeded through Atlantic and Mediterranean waters in preparation for the Sicilian campaign “with scarcely any interference from U-boats.” Submarines attempting to interfere with the Sicilian operations “suffered severe losses,” it said.

The statement said:

In spite of this very favorable progress in the battle against the U-boat, it must be remembered that the enemy still has large U-boat reserves, completed and under construction.

See bigger battle

It is necessary, therefore, to prepare for intensification of the battle both at sea and in the shipyards and to use our shipping with utmost economy to strengthen and speed the general offensive of the United Nations.

But we can expect continued success only if we do not relax our efforts in any way.

In his statement commemorating the birth of the Atlantic Charter at a meeting between himself and Mr. Churchill on a British warship off the Newfoundland coast. President Roosevelt asserted that the “forces of liberation” are already making “a living reality” of the Charter’s principle of self-determination of peoples.

All subscribe

The President emphasized that all the United Nations have subscribed to the charter. He stressed two of its eight objectives:

First – respect for the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live.

When the Atlantic Charter was first signed, there were those who said that this was impossible of achievement.

And yet, today, as the forces of liberation march on, the right of self-determination is becoming once more a living reality.

Collaboration needed

Second – worldwide collaboration with the object of security, for all; of improved labor standards, economic adjustment, and social security.

Mr. Roosevelt said the United Nations were determined to win total victory not only over Germany, Japan and Italy, but also over:

…all the forces of oppression, intolerance, insecurity, and injustice which have impeded the forward march of civilization.

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

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

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
General Arnold Field Marshal Dill
Lieutenant General Somervell Vice Admiral Mountbatten
Vice Admiral Willson Lieutenant General Ismay
Rear Admiral Cooke General Riddell-Webster
Rear Admiral Badger Admiral Noble
Major General Handy Lieutenant General Macready
Major General Fairchild Air Marshal Welsh
Major General Barker Captain Lambe
Brigadier General Kuter Brigadier Porter
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Air Commodore Elliot
Commander Freseman Brigadier Macleod
Commander Long Brigadier MacLean
Brigadier General Deane Brigadier Redman
Captain Royal Commander Coleridge

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

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


Conclusions of the Previous Meetings

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Accepted the conclusions of the 106th and 107th meetings. The detailed record of the meetings was also accepted, subject to minor amendments.

Rome – An Open City (CCS 306)

Sir Alan Brooke referred to the FAN message which had been sent to General Eisenhower yesterday telling him to make no further attacks on Rome nor any statements from Allied Force Headquarters pending clarification and further instructions regarding the Press reports indicating that the Italian Government had declared Rome an open city. He felt it was now necessary for the Combined Chiefs of Staff to take a new decision in the matter.

Admiral Leahy said that he felt that it would be impossible to reach a decision until the matter had been discussed with the President and suggested that no action should be taken until his views had been obtained.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he felt it the duty of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to express the military point of view to the Chiefs of Government for them to make whatever decisions might be necessary politically.

Sir Charles Portal said that it appeared that Rome had unilaterally been declared an open city by the Italians. He felt that General Eisenhower should be allowed to retain his freedom of decision until the Combined Chiefs of Staff were restrained from this by political action. He said that the British Chiefs of Staff had advised their Government that acceptance of open city status for Rome was fraught with much difficulty for the Allies in the future. It might be preferable that we had Rome in our possession to use its communications and to risk German bombing.

Admiral Leahy suggested that no disadvantage would be suffered by refraining from bombing.

Sir Alan Brooke pointed out that it might be desirable from the military point of view to bomb and that a signal should be sent to General Eisenhower from the Combined Chiefs of Staff revoking yesterday’s decision and giving him a free hand.

Sir Charles Portal said that the only reports that he had received regarding the latest bombing effort on Rome were that it had achieved success against its targets and that there had been little or no damage caused to non-military targets.

Admiral King referred to the French declaration of Paris as an open city at the time of their collapse. Then the Germans moved into Paris and used it as a base. Did this establish a precedent for the Allies in relation to Rome?

Sir Alan Brooke drew attention to the danger of political pressure later if the Allies were to agree indeed to Rome being considered an open city.

Admiral King agreed that if we were in any way a party now to its being declared an open city our hands would be tied.

Sir Charles Portal said that he understood that the U.S. and British Governments had agreed to take no action regarding any request for Rome to be made an open city.

Admiral King suggested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should encourage the two Governments to make no reply and that this would leave us free to bomb. He also referred to the possibility of the danger of political capital being made regarding this whole question in the future.

General Marshall affirmed that the political complications in the U.S. would tend to be so serious that clearance from the President must be obtained before yesterday’s message was cancelled. He agreed that it should be reaffirmed that the Allies should in no way commit themselves to agreeing regarding the reported declaration of Rome as an open city and that an early recommendation to this effect should be made to the two Governments.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed that the President and Prime Minister should be informed at once:
a. Of yesterday’s “stand still” order regarding the bombing of Rome and that they should be advised that from the military point of view the recommendation of the Combined Chiefs of Staff was that the order should be revoked;

b. That the Combined Chiefs of Staff considered that the two Governments should in no way commit themselves on the subject of Rome being declared an open city.

Strategic Concept for the Defeat of the Axis in Europe (CCS 303)

Sir Alan Brooke said that he would first like to say, on behalf of the British Chiefs of Staff, that after reading CCS 303 they believed that there was a great similarity of outlook between themselves and the U.S. Chiefs of Staff on the strategic concept for the defeat of the Axis in Europe. Such divergencies as there were did not appear to be fundamental. The British Chiefs of Staff were in entire agreement that Overlord should constitute the major offensive for 1944 and that Italian operations should be planned with this conception as a background.

The plan for OVERLORD was based on three main conditions being created in order to give it reasonable prospect of success. Firstly, reduction in German fighter strength; secondly, German strength in France and the Low Countries and her ability to reinforce during the first two months must be kept at specified limits; and thirdly, the problem of beach maintenance must be solved. He believed that the OVERLORD plan envisaged too rapid a rate of advance and too small a margin of superiority, bearing in mind our experience in fighting German forces. It was essential, therefore, to insure that the Germans had available to them the minimum possible number of divisions in France and that their rate of reinforcement should be as slow as possible.

Operations in Italy, therefore, must have as their main object the creation of a situation favorable to a successful OVERLORD. This could be achieved by holding German reserves and by reducing German fighter strength by bombing fighter factories in Southern Germany from Italian airdromes.

He considered, therefore, that the statement (CCS 303, para. 4b (3)) in the U.S. Chiefs of Staff memorandum that as between OVERLORD and operations in the Mediterranean, when there is a shortage of resources, OVERLORD will have an overriding priority, was too binding. Sufficient forces must be used in Italy in order to make OVERLORD a possibility.

There were two further points in the U.S. Chiefs of Staff paper which he would like elucidated. How far north was it proposed our forces in Italy should go, and what strength was it estimated would be required to hold that line? He understood that the line proposed was the “Apennine” line across the neck of Italy. He believed that this should be regarded as the first stage only, and that if possible, the northwestern plains should also be seized. Fighter factories in Southern Germany could be bombed from Central Italy but far greater results could be achieved by the use of those airdromes in the Milan-Turin area. Whether or not this area could be seized would depend on the amount of resistance met and could not be decided now, since the number of German divisions which would be deployed against us could not, at this stage, be assessed. Some 20 divisions might be required to hold the neck of Italy which might entail retaining three of the seven divisions earmarked for OVERLORD. If the Milan-Turin area were taken, then all seven might be required, but a decision should be deferred until it could be seen what forces were required to attain the desired result, i.e., the production of the situation requisite for a successful OVERLORD.

He agreed, however, that trained “battle experienced” troops were required for OVERLORD and therefore it would be necessary to exchange those of the extra divisions required with others from the U.S. or the U.K.

Sir Alan Brooke then explained, with the aid of a map, the possible lines which might be held in Italy. He pointed out that the occupation of the northwestern part of Italy would afford a gateway into Southern France through which troops, possibly French, might attack in conjunction with the amphibious operations suggested by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff. He asked finally that certain details of the Appendices might be revised by the Combined Staff Planners.

General Arnold pointed out that the desired targets in Germany could be reached by heavy bombers based in the Florence area, which would lie within the line across the neck of Italy. He felt that the advantage of having these northern fields was outweighed by the disadvantage of the additional forces required to gain and hold them.

Sir Charles Portal said that the advantages of the Turin-Milan area were considerable. There were many excellent airfields in the Turin-Milan area, capable of operating within a reasonably short period a thousand heavy and a thousand medium bombers, whereas fields in the south would have to be extended and improved and the rate of buildup would therefore be slower. Further, the Germans would make good use of the northern airfields and would not have the barrier of the Alps between them and our bases.

Admiral King said that as he understood it, the British Chiefs of Staff had serious doubts as to the possibility of accomplishing OVERLORD.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the British view was that OVERLORD would be a success if the three conditions laid down in General Morgan’s paper were brought about, and it was essential to take the necessary steps to insure the achievement of these conditions.

Admiral King said he did not believe that the achievement of the necessary conditions was dependent solely on operations in Italy. The necessary conditions might be produced by many other factors, such as, operations in Russia, the result of those already taking place in Sicily, and the air offensive from the United Kingdom.

General Marshall said that it seemed to him that the essence of the problem was whether or not the required conditions for a successful Overlord could only be made possible by an increase in the strength in the Mediterranean. Only by giving an operation overriding priority could success be insured. TORCH was a perfect example of this concept. He agreed that if resistance was weak, we should seize as much of Italy as possible. It would be better if we, and not the Germans, held the northern airfields, though almost as much could be achieved from the Florence area. On the other hand, unless a decision were taken to remove the seven divisions from the Mediterranean, and unless overriding priority was given to OVERLORD, he believed that OVERLORD would become only a subsidiary operation. A delay in the decision would have serious repercussions on our ability to build up for OVERLORD and any exchange of troops, as had been suggested would absorb shipping and complicate logistic considerations of ‘supply as far back as the Mississippi River. Recently in North Africa an additional unexpected requirement for 60,000 service troops had arisen. This requirement had been met but with very serious results for planned expansion and movement to other theatres. Not only would the OVERLORD buildup be hampered, but operations in the Pacific would also suffer.

If OVERLORD was not given overriding priority, then in his opinion the operation was doomed and our whole strategic concept would have to be recast and the United States forces in Britain might well be reduced to the reinforced army corps necessary for an opportunist cross-Channel operation.

General Barker had submitted a paper with regard to the required conditions. This note (the main points of which General Marshall read to the Combined Chiefs of Staff) pointed out that in the view of the Combined COSSAC Staff, the required condition[s] concerning the German buildup did not imply that the operation became impracticable if the conditions were not achieved but rather that more extensive use would have to be made of available means to reduce the enemy’s ability to concentrate his forces.

To sum up, he felt that unless OVERLORD were given overriding priority it would become a minor operation, in which case we should be depending for the defeat of Germany on air bombing alone. This had achieved great results, but its final result was still speculative. We must make a plan and bring our strength against Germany in such a way as to force Germany to feel it. An “opportunist” operation would be cheaper in lives but was speculative. If we relied on this, we were opening a new concept which in his view weakened our chances of an early victory and rendered necessary a reexamination of our basic strategy, with a possible readjustment towards the Pacific.

In the course of discussion, the following points were made:
a. In the British view, successful operations in France necessitated a preponderance of force. It was essential to achieve this preponderance in order to avoid a catastrophe, which might seriously delay our ultimate victory. Success depended not on the absolute strength of the United [Allied?] forces available for OVERLORD, but on the relative strength of those forces vis-à-vis the Germans opposed to them. This relative strength could best be achieved by operations in Italy, aimed at containing the maximum German forces, and by air action from the best possible Italian bases to reduce the German fighter forces. By agreeing now to the withdrawal of seven divisions from the Mediterranean, risks might be run in that theatre which would not only prejudice the success of OVERLORD, but might make it impossible of successful achievement.

In the British view OVERLORD was the main operation and all operations in Italy must be aimed at assisting OVERLORD.

b. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff felt that unless overriding priority were given to OVERLORD the operation would never materialize. In every previous operation, requirements had arisen additional to those originally envisaged. These requirements might also arise in Italy and must not be met by unilateral action. The Combined Chiefs of Staff should now take a decision that Operation OVERLORD should have overriding priority and maintain this decision in order that the success of the operation could be insured. Any departure from this concept must entail a reconsideration of our basic strategy.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Agreed to give further consideration to CCS 303 at their next meeting;
b. Instructed the Combined Staff Planners to examine the Appendices and amend as necessary.

Operation OVERLORD – Outline Plan (CCS 304), “Synthetic” Harbors (CCS 307)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff discussed a note (CCS 304) by the British Chiefs of Staff on the outline plan for Operation OVERLORD.

In reply to a question by Admiral Leahy, Lord Louis Mountbatten outlined the various methods by which the problem of beach maintenance could be overcome.

General Barker and Brigadier MacLean of the COSSAC Staff explained the main features of the outline plan for Operation OVERLORD.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Approved the outline plan of General Morgan for Operation OVERLORD, as set out in British Chiefs of Staff paper, COS (43) 416 (O), and endorsed the action taken by the British Chiefs of Staff in authorizing him to proceed with the detailed planning and with full preparations.

Air and Naval Command – Operation OVERLORD

Sir Charles Portal said that he would like to have an opportunity to discuss with General Arnold the question of an Air Commander for OVERLORD. At present Air Marshal Leigh-Mallory was giving the necessary decisions but the Air Commander should be selected as soon as possible.

Sir Dudley Pound said that consideration had been given to the problem of naval command for OVERLORD. The majority of the forces to be employed would be trained, organized and operate under the Commander in Chief, Portsmouth. He had been given a special Chief of Staff to assist him in this matter. The Commander in Chief, Portsmouth, could be given control over adjacent commands as might be necessary. He asked that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should endorse the appointment of the Commander in Chief, Portsmouth, as Naval Commander in Chief.

Admiral King said he would like to consider this suggestion.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Took note:
a. That the British Chief of the Air Staff and General Arnold would examine the question of the appointment of an Air Commander for OVERLORD and would put up their recommendations to the Combined Chiefs of Staff before the end of QUADRANT.

b. Of the proposals by the British Admiralty that the Commander in Chief, Portsmouth, should carry out the duties of Naval Commander for OVERLORD, with authority over the Naval Commanders, Plymouth and Dover, for this purpose; and deferred a decision on this matter.

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