Québec Conference 1944 (OCTAGON)

U.S. State Department (September 11, 1944)

Tripartite luncheon meeting, 1:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom Canada
President Roosevelt The Earl of Athlone Prime Minister Mackenzie King
Mrs. Roosevelt Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone
Prime Minister Churchill
Mrs. Churchill

According to Mackenzie King’s notes, the conversation “turned largely on discussion of personalities,” including General de Gaulle, Madame Chiang, and Marshal Stalin. The same source indicates that the conversation also touched upon the feelings of Roosevelt as head of the strongest military power in the world, on what might have happened if Hitler “had got into Britain,” on Roosevelt’s chances of reelection, and on the length of Mackenzie King’s prime ministership.

Leahy-Churchill conversation

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy Prime Minister Churchill

Churchill, on the day of his arrival at Québec, spoke to Leahy about the participation of the British fleet in the Pacific war and “was told that its offer had been accepted.”

Roosevelt-Churchill meeting, early afternoon

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill

The Log indicates that Churchill joined Roosevelt in the latter’s map room at the Citadel “for a review of the latest war news.” The discussion also included naval problems in the Pacific and the difficulties of supply there.

As far as I am aware British fleet was used in the retaking of Rangoon. Is there any other place it was used?

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The Pittsburgh Press (September 11, 1944)

Stalin unable to attend ‘victory conference’

President and Prime Minister to stress speeding defeat of Japan

Québec, Canada (UP) –
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill began a momentous “victory conference” in Québec today and announced that Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin had been invited to the meeting but could not come while the Soviet armies are “developing their offensives against Germany increasingly.”

Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill arrived here this morning, expressing their pleasure over the rapid and favorable development of the war on the Allied side.

They were hardly established in the historic fortress citadel of Québec when it was announced that Stalin likewise had been asked to attend this meeting but had been unable to do so.

Text of message

Mr. Roosevelt’s press secretary, Stephen T. Early, released the following message from Stalin to the President and Prime Minister:

At the present time when the Soviet armies are fighting battles on such a broad front, developing their offensives increasingly, I am deprived of the possibility of traveling out of the Soviet Union and of leaving the direction of the army for the shortest period. All my colleagues agree that this is quite impossible.

Mr. Early said Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill fully understood why Stalin could not leave Russia at this time.

To cover wide field

The invitation to Stalin reflected the fact that the Roosevelt-Churchill discussions will cover a wide field, including post-surrender plans for Germany, although it was made plain that the conference’s major military endeavors will be pointed toward speeding victory over Japan.

The meeting has been called the “victory conference” and Mr. Churchill emphasized that theme in almost his first words of greeting to the President.

“Victory is everywhere,” he said when they met at the obscure Wolfe’s Cove railroad siding before settling down in the Citadel fortress for the duration of the meeting.

“When everything you touch turns to gold,” Mr. Churchill said of the recent continuing Allied war successes, “there is no need crying out about Providence.”

After meeting at Wolfe’s Cove where their trains were parked side by side, the Roosevelt and Churchill parties proceeded by motor to the Citadel, the historic fortress where they met in August 1943. After receiving formal military honors on the parade ground, they adjourned to their respective quarters in the Citadel.

News may be scarce

The military nature of the conference was stressed by Mr. Early, who told a news conference:

The recent inspection tour of the Pacific by the President, his conferences with Adm. Nimitz, Gen. MacArthur and the commanding general of the Alaska and Aleutians area, were but a preliminary, a very necessary one, to the conference beginning today.

As you all very well know, this is largely, if not exclusively, a military conference. There may be a disappointing volume of news. If there is, it will be for that reason. This is made necessary for security.

Mr. Roosevelt’s train arrived at Wolfe’s Cove at 9:00 a.m., an hour ahead of schedule, and he remained aboard his private car until Mr. Churchill arrived more than an hour later.

Mr. Churchill walked across four railroad tracks to where the President waited for him in a large open touring car.

“Well, hello,” the President greeted the Prime Minister, “I’m glad to see you.”

“Eleanor’s here,” the President added, referring to his wife.

Mrs. Churchill, who was with the Prime Minister, was on the opposite side of the car, spied Mrs. Roosevelt and shouted, “Hello, there.”

‘Frightfully sick’

“Did you have a nice trip?” the President asked Mr. Churchill, who replied by telling him that although there were three days of “beautiful weather,” he was “frightfully sick” part of the time aboard ship.

Traveling with the President were Adm. William D. Leahy (his chief of staff), VAdm. Ross T. McIntire (his physician and Surgeon of the Navy), and his military and naval aides, Maj. Gen. Edwin M. Watson and RAdm. Wilson Brown.

Top U.S. military men here included Gen. George C. Marshall (Army Chief of Staff), Adm Ernest J. King (commander-in-chief of the U.S. Fleet) and Gen. H. H. Arnold (Army Air Forces chief).

Roosevelt loses weight

Similar top British staffs came from London and Washington for the important talks – which are expected to cover a wide field, but with emphasis on Allied post-surrender plans for Germany and a speedier victory over Japan.

Mr. Roosevelt confessed to Mr. Churchill that he’d lost a little weight, and the Prime Minister in turn said he, himself, had lost some color recently.

Canadian Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King and the Earl of Athlone, Governor-General of Canada, welcomed Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill.

The sunshine of a bright autumn morning bathed the river and the citadel as the President and Prime Minister drove in the open autos under close escort to the citadel.

This conference, their tenth, enters a more difficult sphere than some of the previous sessions because the wars both in Europe and Asia have reached critical stages in which military planning becomes more involved with semi-political matters.

Russia big factor

While the meeting will be predominantly military, the military decisions must be keyed to top-level designs that only Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill can make.

Thus, on the European front, the decisions that must be made on military occupation and enforcement of peace terms are bound up with the questions of how much power Russia is to have over how much of Eastern Europe.

And the war against Japan has advanced so far ahead of schedule that urgent decisions must be made now for better integration of the British and American efforts.

Indian question up

That involves delicate matters of American dissatisfaction with the British effort from their Indian bases and the need for a top overall command such as Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower holds in Europe. Undoubtedly such a post would go to an American.

Neither Russia, China nor France will be represented here, but it was expected that many of the Roosevelt-Churchill recommendations will be submitted to them for approval.

The possibility of an agreement between Mr. Roosevelt and the Prime Minister for an American-British-Soviet administration of the post-surrender Reich was seen here.

Russia, however, might be averse to such a commission since it is interested in territorial revision and the importation of millions of Germans to rebuild devastated areas of the Soviet Union.

May partition Germany

Another suggestion heard was that Germany might be partitioned into two administrative zones – one to be under the joint jurisdiction of the United States and Great Britain and the other under Russia. Whatever decision is made here concerning Germany, Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill will have to bear in mind Russia’s interests despite the latter absence from the gathering.

The presence of top British military leaders and their opposite numbers in the U.S. High Command who were assumed to be coming with Mr. Roosevelt, indicated that military decisions of the utmost importance would be made.

Of special significance was the inclusion in the Churchill entourage of Maj. Gen. R. E. Laycock, chief of the British combined Operations Command. This pointed to great amphibious undertakings.

Since the need for such operations no longer exists in Europe, British participation with the United States in seaborne assaults on the Jap Empire was suggested.

With Mr. Churchill were his wife and Lord Moran, his physician.

U.S. State Department (September 11, 1944)

Log of the President’s Visit to Canada

Monday, September 11

The trip north was uneventful. We crossed the International Border into Canada at Rouse’s Point at 12:30 a.m. An hour later, at Delson, Quebec, we were joined by a detail of four Royal Canadian Mounted Police who were to accompany us to Quebec and later accompany us from Quebec back to the Canadian Border at Rouse’s Point. These Mounties were Inspector Savoi, Corporal Hudon and Constables Bradley and McArthur.

Our train arrived at Quebec – at the Wolfe’s Cove station which is on the banks of the St. Lawrence River just below the Plains of Abraham – at 9:00 a.m. Our train was placed in position for our detraining at once but our arrival was not immediately announced as the President desired to wait here until the arrival of the Prime Minister’s train.

The weather at Quebec, as described by the local press, was “typically fall sunny weather” – clear, cool and most invigorating.

The Governor-General of Canada (the Earl of Athlone), Her Royal Highness Princess Alice (the Countess of Athlone) and the Right Honorable Mackenzie King (the Prime Minister of Canada) called on the President on his train at 9:45 a.m. to welcome him and Mrs. Roosevelt to Canada and Quebec.

The President had left his train at 9:50 a.m. and was seated in his automobile, with the Governor-General, Princess Alice and Prime Minister King standing nearby, when Prime Minister Churchill’s train pulled up alongside our train at Wolfe’s Cove at exactly 10:00 a.m. Prime Minister King went aboard the train to welcome Prime Minister Churchill and a few minutes later, at 10:05 a.m., Prime Minister Churchill and his party left their train, and together with Mr. King, walked over to the President’s automobile where most enthusiastic greetings were exchanged and the cheers of the crowd gathered at the station acknowledged in their typical manners. By now the official welcoming committee had been swelled by the arrival of Major General Sir Eugene Fiset, the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, and Lady Fiset; the Honorable Maurice Duplessis, the Premier of Quebec; the Honorable C. G. Power, Canadian Minister of Air; Mr. St. Laurent, Minister of Justice for the Province of Quebec; Mr. Borne, Mayor of the City of Quebec; and Lieutenant General J. C. Murchie, Chief of Canadian General Staff.

In the Prime Minister’s party were Mrs. Churchill; Lord Moran, the Prime Minister’s Private Physician; Lord Leathers, British Minister of [War] Transport; Lord Cherwell, British Paymaster General; Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew B. Cunningham, First Sea Lord; Field Marshal Sir Alan F. Brooke, Chief of Imperial General Staff; Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Charles Portal, Chief of Air Staff; General Sir Hastings L. Ismay, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister as Minister of Defense; and Major General R. E. Laycock, Chief of Combined Operations. The Prime Minister was wearing a blue uniform – the uniform of an Elder Brother of Trinity House, ancient London pilotage corporation.

After the exchange of greetings at the train, the combined groups motored to the Citadel. The President and the Governor-General were in the first automobile; Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, Mrs. Roosevelt and Mrs. Churchill in the second; and Prime Ministers Churchill and King were riding in the third car. Their parties followed in a long procession that wound up the steep hill to and across the Plains of Abraham above Wolfe’s Cove and on to the Citadel.

The President and Prime Minister Churchill arrived at the Citadel at 10:25 a.m. Here the President was officially received in Canada. A composite guard of honor of approximately one hundred and fifty men, made up of equal detachments of Royal Canadian Navy, Army and Air Force personnel, was drawn up on the parade ground. This guard was under the command of Lieutenant J. C. Eastman, RCNVR, of the HMCS Montcalm. On the President’s arrival on the parade ground, the Royal Twenty-Second Regiment Band, under the direction of Lieutenant Edwin Belanger, played our national anthem, the guard of honor presented arms and our colors were hoisted at the Citadel alongside the British and Canadian colors. No honors were rendered the Prime Minister at this time. On completion of honors for the President, the Prime Minister got out of his car, walked over to the President’s car and the officer in charge of the guard – Lieutenant Eastman – was called up and presented to the President and to the Prime Minister. News photographers and members of the press – some one hundred strong – were present for the ceremonies at the Citadel.

From the parade ground the President went directly to the Governor-General’s summer residence within the Citadel grounds. Here he left his automobile and entered the house. The Prime Minister, Mrs. Churchill, Mrs. Roosevelt, and various other members of the official groups who were remaining at the Citadel left their cars at the parade ground and walked to the nearby residence of the Governor-General. Other members of the combined party left the Citadel at this time for the Chateau Frontenac Hotel where they were quartered during our visit to Quebec.

The President, Mrs. Roosevelt and Admiral Leahy were guests of the Governor-General and Princess Alice at their summer home within the Citadel during our stay at Quebec. The same quarters occupied last year were again assigned the President’s party. The Prime Minister and Mrs. Churchill were likewise guests of the Governor-General and Princess Alice. The Citadel was guarded by its regular garrison augmented by Royal Canadian Mounted Police and our Secret Service men. The special anti-aircraft protection afforded last year was not provided as it was not considered necessary this year.

The President had been preceded to Quebec by the other members of our Joint Chiefs of Staff – General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the Army; Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations; General Henry H. Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air Forces; Brigadier General Andrew J. McFarland, Secretary; and Captain Edwin D. Graves, Jr., USN, Deputy Secretary – and their staffs of planners.

On our arrival at the Citadel, we found Colonel Richard Park Jr., USA, Captain Boyce Price, USA, and Lieutenant Ogden S. Collins Jr., USNR, who had come to Quebec in advance of us and had set up a map room for the President at the Citadel. The same room was used as was used for this purpose during the 1943 Quebec Conference. The Prime Minister had his own map room at the Citadel, with Captain Pim, RNVR, in charge and assisted by Lieutenant Colonel Hughes-Reckett, Lieutenant Commander Murray, RNVR, and Flight Officer Lyttleton.

Major DeWitt Greer’s Signal Corps crew had the communications set-up functioning on our arrival at the Citadel, so that the President was never out of instantaneous touch with the White House. War and governmental reports for the President had come to him by radio while on the train en route from Washington to Quebec. At the Citadel we had our own telephone exchange, called “Amco.” At the Château the U.S. Army maintained a private telephone exchange, called “Victor.” Both exchanges had direct wire service to Washington and the White House. Direct telegraph wire service was also available between the Citadel and the White House.

The Chateau Frontenac Hotel had been requisitioned by the Canadian Government for the duration of the conference, as it was in 1943, and all conference representatives of the three nations – Canada, Great Britain and the United States – were quartered and subsisted there as guests of the Canadian Government. The hotel was closed to the general public and was policed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A part of the hotel opening on the Terrace was closed off from the remainder of the hotel and was used as Conference Press Headquarters and telegraph room.

The Official Conference Headquarters and conference rooms were in the Chateau Frontenac and it was there that the various Staffs met daily for conferences. Plenary reports by the Combined British and U.S. Chiefs of Staff were made to the President and the Prime Minister at the Citadel.

Secretary Early, Mr. A. D. Dunton, of the Canadian Press Bureau, and Mr. R. J. Cruikshank of the British Ministry of Information held a joint press conference at Conference Press Headquarters at 11:30 a.m. More than 150 newsmen, representing the world’s press, were present. Daily press conferences were held here by these spokesmen of the Canadian, British and United States governments.

The President, the Prime Minister, Mrs. Roosevelt, Mrs. Churchill and Prime Minister Mackenzie King were luncheon guests of the Governor-General and Princess Alice at the Citadel at 1:30 p.m.

After lunch the President visited his map room in the Citadel. He was joined there by Prime Minister Churchill for a review of the latest war news. Before leaving Washington, the President had directed the map room to prepare charts, organization tables and graphs in order to demonstrate quickly the tremendous size of our naval force now stationed in the Western Pacific, with statistics giving an outline of the enormity of the logistics problem. This preparation was made in order that from the very beginning of discussions at Quebec there should be a common understanding of the naval problems and the difficulties of supply. With the help of the charts the President outlined the problem to the Prime Minister.

During the afternoon the Honorable Ray Atherton, United States Ambassador to Canada, called on the President.

At 8:30 p.m., the President and Mrs. Roosevelt attended a viceregal dinner at the Citadel as guests of the Governor-General and Her Royal Highness Princess Alice. The guest list also included Prime Minister and Mrs. Churchill; Prime Minister Mackenzie King; Cardinal Villeneuve; Right Reverend Philip Carrington, Anglican Archbishop [Bishop] of Quebec; Premier Duplessis of Quebec; Honorable Ray Atherton and Mrs. Atherton; Admiral William D. Leahy; Admiral E. J. King; General George C. Marshall; General H. H. Arnold; Honorable Stephen T. Early; Lieutenant General B. B. Somervell, Commanding General, Army Service Forces; Rear Admiral Wilson Brown; Vice Admiral Ross T. McIntire; Major General Edwin M. Watson; Miss Malvina Thompson; Right Honorable Malcolm Mac-Donald, United Kingdom High Commissioner to Canada; Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew B. Cunningham; Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke; Marshal of the Royal Air [Force] Sir Charles Portal; Major General R. Laycock; General Sir Hastings L. Ismay; Field Marshal Sir John Dill, Chief of the British Joint Staff Mission to the United States; Admiral Sir Percy Noble; Lieutenant General G. N. Macready; Air Marshal Sir William Welsh; Lord Cher well; Commander C. R. Thompson, Naval Aide to the Prime Minister; Mr. John Martin, Secretary to the Prime Minister; Sir Eugene Fiset, Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, and Lady Fiset; Dr. E. H. Coleman, Canadian Under-Secretary of State; the Canadian Chiefs of Staff Air Marshal R. Leckie, Lieutenant General J. C. Murchie, and Vice Admiral G. C. Jones; Major General Maurice Pope, Military Aide to Prime Minister King; and Colonel D. B. Papineau, Aide to Prime Minister King.

After the dinner the President turned in.

U.S. State Department (September 12, 1944)

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, noon

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy Field Marshal Brooke
General Marshall Marshal of the Royal Air Force Portal
Admiral King Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
General Arnold Field Marshal Dill
Lieutenant General Somervell General Ismay
Vice Admiral Willson Admiral Noble
Rear Admiral Cooke Lieutenant General Macready
Rear Admiral McCormick Air Marshal Welsh
Major General Handy Major General Laycock
Major General Fairchild
Major General Kuter
Brigadier General McFarland Major General Hollis
Captain Graves Brigadier Cornwall-Jones
Commander Coleridge

Combined Chiefs of Staff minutes

September 12, 1944, noon
Top secret

Chairmanship of the Combined Chiefs of Staff

Admiral Leahy said that the United States Chiefs of Staff would be glad if Sir Alan Brooke would take the Chair at the forthcoming series of meetings.

Sir Alan Brooke thanked Admiral Leahy for this proposal which he would be glad to accept.

Personnel shipping

Sir Alan Brooke said that he felt that the problem of the use of personnel shipping after the defeat of Germany should be examined during the Conference. There would be heavy calls for personnel shipping both for the transfer of U.S. troops other than occupational troops from Europe to the United States or the Pacific, as well as for the reorientation of British forces to the Far East. In addition, the New Zealand and South African divisions and certain Canadian forces now in Europe would have to be returned to their homelands. He suggested that the experts should be instructed to examine this problem to see how best it could be met.

Admiral Leahy said that he could see no objection to this review but it would be impossible to reach any decisions during the Conference.

Sir Charles Portal, in agreeing with Admiral Leahy, said that he felt that the scope of the problem should be examined.

General Somervell stated that he had only one shipping expert at present at OCTAGON but agreed with a proposal made by Sir Alan Brooke that he should discuss this matter with Lord Leathers.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Invited General Somervell to confer with Lord Leathers on this matter.

Agenda and hour of meeting

At the suggestion of Admiral Leahy, the Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Agreed to meet daily from 1000 to 1300.

b. Approved the program for the Conference as set out in CCS 654/6, subject to the transfer of the items for Saturday, 16 September, to Tuesday, 12 September. (Approved program subsequently circulated as CCS 654/7.)

Situation report from SCAEF (Scaf 78)

Sir Alan Brooke said that, while agreeing in general with General Eisenhower’s appreciation (Scaf 78), the British Chiefs of Staff felt that sufficient emphasis had not been laid on two points: firstly, the importance of securing sea communications and the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam, and secondly, the importance of a strong attack being launched on the northern flank. General Eisenhower in his telegram had spoken of three possible routes of advance into Germany. In his (Sir Alan Brooke’s) view the most important was the northern route of attack which should be strengthened as much as possible, the remaining two routes being retained as alternatives. The most energetic efforts should be made to secure and open the port of Antwerp as a valuable base for future operations on the northern flank. In order to open the sea approaches to Antwerp, it seemed desirable to stage an airborne operation to capture the islands at the mouth of the Schelde.

General Marshall said that in view of the apparent massing of German forces on the islands guarding the port of Antwerp, and the lack of cover which existed on the ground, it appeared that a more profitable operation would be the bombing of enemy positions rather than an airborne operation.

Sir Alan Brooke felt that bombing alone would not achieve the required results and occupying forces would have to be introduced.

Sir Alan Brooke presented a draft reply to Scaf 78 approving General Eisenhower’s proposals and pointing out the advantages of the northern line of approach into Germany as opposed to the southern and the necessity for opening up the northwest ports, particularly Antwerp and Rotterdam.

After further discussion, the Combined Chiefs of Staff: Approved the dispatch to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force of the draft telegram proposed by the British Chiefs of Staff. (Subsequently dispatched as Facs 78).

Situation report from the Mediterranean (Medcos 181 and Naf 774)

Admiral Leahy presented a statement of the views of the United States Chiefs of Staff with reference to the future role of the Fifth Army and of the Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Forces (CCS 677).

General Marshall said that a message had just been received from the U.S. Military Attaché in Switzerland to the effect that a German withdrawal of forces in northern Italy had already begun. If this was so, it would seem that, of the two situations envisaged by General Wilson in Part II of Naf 774, situation “a” would be ruled out unless the Allied armies could drive ahead with great speed, and situation “b” would exist, that is, there would be no possibility of another major offensive till the spring.

Sir Alan Brooke said that as he visualized it, if the Allied armies could break through to the Plains the enemy forces remaining in northwest Italy would be badly placed. A threat to Verona would cut off these forces and might result in their retirement to the westward and later the retirement of the German forces in northeast Italy back to the Alps. It was to be hoped that a large number of these eastern forces could be broken up. The attack by the Fifth Army was planned to take place on 13 September and a successful advance north of Florence might well result in driving the enemy forces back to the Po and Piave.

The indications were that the enemy was attempting to withdraw forces from Greece and Yugoslavia, though there was some doubt whether he could succeed in getting them out through bad lines of communications threatened by the Bulgarians, Marshal Tito’s army and the Greeks. The enemy might, however, get some forces out and it appeared that he was likely to endeavor to hold a line running through Yugoslavia. In such an event the enemy might be reduced to covering the Ljubljana Gap and endeavoring to hold a line through Yugoslavia and Istria. In these circumstances any withdrawal of forces from the Fifth Army would be most regrettable.

General Marshall said that it was not the intention to weaken the Fifth Army at the present time.

Continuing, Sir Alan Brooke said that the forces to be maintained in Italy might later be limited by logistics and terrain, He saw, however, great advantages in a right swing at Trieste and an advance from there to Vienna. However, if German resistance was strong, he did not visualize the possibility of our forces getting through to Vienna during the winter. Even so, the seizure of the Istrian Peninsula would be valuable as a base for the spring campaign or as a base from which our forces could be introduced into Austria in the event of Germany crumbling. It had not only a military value but also political value in view of the Russian advances in the Balkans.

In view of the possibility of amphibious thrusts on the Istrian Peninsula, Sir Alan Brooke asked the United States Chiefs of Staff their intention with regard to the U.S. landing craft now operating in support of DRAGOON.

Admiral King said that these craft were earmarked for other operations but no orders had been issued for their withdrawal. He too had in mind the possibility of amphibious operations in Istria. Naval forces on the other hand were in course of withdrawal for rehabilitation.

Unless a decision to mount an amphibious operation were taken soon the landing craft would lie idle, though required for operations in other parts of the world, for instance, against Rangoon.

In reply to a question by General Marshall, Sir Alan Brooke said that General Wilson was planning now for an amphibious operation and the picture should be much clearer in a short time, particularly if the German forces withdrew from north Italy.

There was general agreement that a decision with regard to the launching of an amphibious operation should be made by 15 October.

General Marshall said that if operations in the Alps were undertaken in winter there was available the PLOUGH Force now in south France and the necessary sleds are obtainable.

Referring to the views of the United States Chiefs of Staff on the future role of the Fifth Army, Sir Charles Portal said that he felt that primary emphasis should be laid on the securing of a victory in Italy. As he saw it, the possible withdrawal of units of the Fifth Army to France would be dependent on the successful outcome of the campaign in Italy.

Admiral Leahy asked if it was Sir Charles Portal’s thought that these forces should be retained in Italy if General Eisenhower was in need of them in France.

Sir Charles Portal pointed out that it was a question of short-term as opposed to long-term advantages. The important point as he saw it was to prevent the German troops getting away in north Italy if it could be avoided.

Admiral Leahy said it was not the intention to withdraw troops from the Fifth Army unless the German troops withdrew.

Sir Charles Portal said that he would point out that the withdrawal of forces from an army had a greater effect on that army than the actual number of formations withdrawn, since such withdrawals had a discouraging effect on the morale of the command and of the army itself.

Admiral Leahy reemphasized that the United States proposal was contingent on the destruction or withdrawal of a large part of the German Army.

General Marshall said that there was no intention in the mind of the United States Chiefs of Staff to effect the withdrawal of forces from Italy at the present time.

Admiral King confirmed that an option on the U.S. landing craft now in the Mediterranean could be retained provided a decision was reached by 15 October.

In reply to a question by Sir Alan Brooke, General Marshall confirmed that while there was no intention of moving major units of the Fifth Army at the present time, small individual units (i.e., the Japanese battalion) might be withdrawn.

After further discussion, the Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Agreed that no forces should be withdrawn from Italy until the outcome of General Alexander’s present offensive is known.

b. Agreed that the desirability of withdrawing formations of the United States Fifth Army should be reconsidered in the light of the results of General Alexander’s present offensive and of a German withdrawal in northern Italy and in the light of the views of General Eisenhower.

c. Agreed to inform General Wilson that if he wishes to retain for use in the Istrian Peninsula the amphibious lift at present in the Mediterranean, he should submit his plan therefor to the Combined Chiefs of Staff as soon as possible, and not later than 15 October; and took note that the British Chiefs of Staff would prepare a suitable message for consideration.

Combined intelligence report on the situation in Europe (CCS 660/1)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Took note of the estimate contained in CCS 660/1.

Command of DRAGOON forces (CCS 674)

Admiral Leahy presented a draft telegram to General Eisenhower approving his proposals in Scaf 77 (CCS 674/1).

Sir Charles Portal drew attention to a telegram (FX 28818) from General Wilson to General Devers, inquiring as to how soon General Devers’ communications with General Eisenhower would be sufficient to permit General Eisenhower to assume command.

It was generally agreed that this matter must be left to the commanders concerned and that General Eisenhower’s proposal to assume command of DRAGOON forces on 15 September would have taken account of this factor.

General Marshall said that while General Eisenhower had been anxious that General Devers should set up his headquarters and be able to take over the lines of communications, logistic problems and civil affairs, he also wished General Patch to continue in charge of the present battle. Undoubtedly additional U.S. troops would be transferred at a later date to General Patch from the center group of armies and further American divisions would join him through the port of Marseilles. At that time the 6th Army Group could be conveniently split, General Patch assuming command of the United States forces and the French forces forming an army of their own.

Sir Alan Brooke said that there was one point he would like to make. He hoped the setting up of a large headquarters by General Devers would not unduly deplete General Clark’s staff organization.

General Marshall reassured Sir Alan Brooke on this point. General Devers’ staff had been formed for some time in Corsica and General Clark’s forces would not be affected.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed to dispatch to General Eisenhower and General Wilson the message proposed by the United States Chiefs of Staff in CCS 674/1. (Subsequently dispatched as Facs 76 and Fan 413, respectively.)

At this point the Combined Chiefs of Staff recessed until 1430.

The Chief of Staff, U.S. Army to the Chief of the Military Mission in the Soviet Union

OCTAGON, 12 September 1944

Top secret

For Deane from Marshall information War Department TopSec.

Condition of Polish patriots in Warsaw so critical that urgent action essential. In order to take advantage of Soviet agreement for aid desire that you in conference with representatives from Spaatz’ headquarters and from RAF prepare plan without delay and secure coordination of Soviet authorities as to arrangements and details of operation.

Plan must take into consideration present location of patriots so as to insure maximum amount of supplies being dropped to patriots rather than to Germans. Risk to airmen must be kept to minimum while endeavoring to secure maximum relief of patriots. Spaatz and Portal have been given copy of this message and will send names of representatives to you. Spaatz has been instructed to contact you re clearance for plane into Russia, details as to destination and other operational information. Present condition of Polish patriots in Warsaw such that delivery of supplies must be accomplished at earliest possible date.

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union

Washington, 12 September 1944

Top secret

Top secret for Ambassador Harriman from Secretary Hull. WH Number 63.

The President has directed General Marshall to send immediate instructions to Deane to explore with the appropriate Soviet military authorities in conjunction with his British military colleagues the urgent possibility of utilizing the Soviet offer to cooperate in assistance to Warsaw. (Your 3413, September 10.) The President likewise desires that you lend every support to Deane’s efforts and you should inform Molotov that this Government is prepared to do its utmost towards working out jointly with the British and the Russians the question of immediate aid to the Warsaw garrison. While it is of course possible that this Soviet decision comes too late if the physical situation of the garrison in Warsaw has been so reduced as to make the dropping of supplies impractical, that is a factual question which will emerge in the negotiations for the actual despatch of aid.

From the political point of view, we feel that it is of the highest importance that there should be no hesitation on our part in initiating the implementation of the Soviet promise, in order to avoid any possibility of our being blamed in the event that the aid does not arrive in time. This is particularly important since the President today received a further urgent appeal from Premier Mikołajczyk for assistance to the Warsaw garrison.


740.0011 EW/9–1244

JCS to the Secretary of State

Quebec, 12 September 1944
Top secret

My Dear Mr. Secretary: With reference to your letter of 9 September regarding Norway, it will be noted from the enclosed copies of messages to General Deane that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have instructed him as indicated in the third paragraph of your letter.

Sincerely yours, For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Brigadier General, USA

[Enclosure 1 — Telegram]

CCS to the Chiefs of the United States and British Military Missions to the Soviet Union, temporarily at London

Washington, 30 August 1944
Top secret

Occupation of Norway under RANKIN conditions is subject. (TopSec to Generals Deane and Brocas Burrows for action personally on return, repeated to ETOUSA for British Chiefs of Staff for information, from the Combined Chiefs of Staff.)

Combined Chiefs of Staff consider it advisable to open early military conversations with Soviet General Staff through you.

You should bear in mind that our object is to re-establish the legal Norwegian Government in full control as early as possible after the German withdrawal.

Plans for occupying Norway under RANKIN “B” and “C” conditions are as follows:

  1. RANKIN “B” (Organized German withdrawal from Norway). To occupy in initial stages any two of following:
    (a) Finnmark (Hammerfest and Kirkenes).
    (b) Tromsö or Narvik.
    (c) Trondheim.

Subsequently Stiavanger and Bergen, Christiansand (S) and Oslo would be occupied as forces became available.

  1. RANKIN “C” (German unconditional surrender and cessation of organized resistance in northwest Europe). To occupy first southern Norway and then send, if required, a force with a Norwegian detachment to eastern Finnmark. Norwegians however, are anxious for Finnmark to be reoccupied as soon as possible. It might therefore be desirable to send to Finnmark area Norwegian warship with some Norwegian troops immediately after RANKIN “C” conditions arise. SCAEF is being instructed to consider the possibility of this.

It should be made clear to Soviets that since above plans for RANKIN “B” depend on the method of German withdrawal they are provisional. Soviets should be informed that we appreciate that they may already have plans for following up a German withdrawal through Finnmark. You should therefore invite Soviets to concert their plans with ours using the following points as basis:
(a) Necessity for harassing enemy during his withdrawal;

(b) Advantages of stimulating Norwegian resistance by sending in Norwegian forces as early as possible;

(c) Desirability of establishing a naval base in northern Norway for escorts protecting convoys to Russia.

You should ask the Soviets if they have any objection to participation by Norwegian Military Attaché in your conversations.

[Enclosure 2 — Telegram]

CCS to the Chiefs of the United States and British Military Missions to the Soviet Union, temporarily at London

Washington, 30 August 1944
Top secret

In connection with our immediately preceding signal, following is background for your personal information only. (TopSec to Generals Deane and Brocas Burrows for action personally on return, repeated to ETOUSA for British Chiefs of Staff for information, from the Combined Chiefs of Staff.)

No agreement exists with the Russians acknowledging that Norway is a British/American sphere of operations. Although it is to our advantage for the Russians to harass a German withdrawal as we have insufficient forces to do this ourselves our long-term requirement is to ensure that they should not permanently occupy Norwegian territory in view of potential threat to North Atlantic trade routes, Iceland and the northern approaches to the North Sea. Our purpose must be therefore to avoid any clash with the Russians in Norway and yet to safeguard our long-term interests.

Combined Chiefs of Staff have no evidence that the Russians intend to establish themselves in Finnmark but it is felt that it would be desirable to arrange as far as possible for a joint occupation by Russian, Norwegian and British forces rather than by a purely Russian force. Nevertheless, if the Russians enter Norway during the course of operations against the Germans it is considered undesirable for us to intervene since a Russian/Norwegian civil affairs agreement has been concluded which covers this contingency.

[Enclosure 3 — Telegram]

JCS to the Chief of the Military Mission in the Soviet Union

Quebec, 12 September 1944
Top secret

British Chiefs of Staff agree that it is undesirable to postpone any longer the discussion of the occupation of Norway under RANKIN conditions and the Foreign Office has sent Ambassador a political background to explain to Brinckman. You should now open conversations outlined in War 89077 of 30 August.

It is important that you communicate to the Soviets the fact that the plans for occupying Norway under RANKIN were prepared some time ago, that you may dispel any possible Soviet suspicion that they have been recently improvised to counter possible entry of Soviet forces into northern Norway.

Note by the Secretaries of CCS

Quebec, 12 September 1944
Top secret
CCS 654/7

Program for the OCTAGON Conference

Reference: CCS 172nd Meeting, Item 3

In their 172nd Meeting the Combined Chiefs of Staff approved the following program for the OCTAGON Conference:

I. Tuesday, 12 September
(a) Control of Strategic Bomber Force.
(b) Zones of occupation – provision of forces.
(c) Machinery for Inter-Allied coordination in Moscow.
(d) Situation report from SHAEF and SACMed.
(e) CIC report on the enemy situation in Europe.
(f) General Eisenhower’s future plan of campaign.
(g) General Wilson’s plan of campaign.

II. Wednesday, 13 September
(h) Prospect of redeployment of forces from European Theater for war against Japan.
(i) CIC report on enemy situation in the Pacific.
(j) Situation report on the Pacific and from SACSEA.
(k) Strategy for the defeat of Japan.

III. Thursday, 14 September
(l) British participation in the Pacific in the war against Japan.
(m) Future operations in Southeast Asia.

IV. Friday, 15 September
(n) Continuation of discussion of items listed in III above.
(o) Further consideration of the redeployment of forces from the European Theater for the war against Japan.
(p) Possible Russian participation [in] the war against Japan.

Combined Secretariat

Memorandum by the USCS

Quebec, 12 September 1944
Top secret
CCS 674/1

Assumption of command of “DRAGOON” forces by SCAEF

The United States Chiefs of Staff recommend that the following message be sent to SCAEF and SACMed at once:

Effective 15 September SCAEF will assume command of DRAGOON forces according to plan recommended in Scaf 77.


Quebec, 12 September 1944

Top secret

TopSec to SHAEF France for Eisenhower, Facs 78 from the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff approve the proposals set out in Scaf 78.

In transmitting this approval, the Combined Chiefs of Staff draw your attention:
a. To the advantages of the northern line of approach into Germany, as opposed to the southern. They note with satisfaction that you appear to be of the same mind.

b. To the necessity for opening up the northwest ports, and particularly Antwerp and Rotterdam, before the bad weather sets in.

Memorandum by the USCS

Quebec, 13 September 1944
Top secret
CCS 677/1

Future operations in the Mediterranean

Reference: CCS 172nd Meeting, Item 5c.

The United States Chiefs of Staff have considered the draft message to General Wilson proposed by the British Chiefs of Staff (Enclosure “A”) in connection with item 5c, CCS 172nd Meeting, and recommend that the Combined Chiefs of Staff dispatch the message attached as Enclosure “B” to SACMed in lieu of Enclosure “A.”

Enclosure “A”

Draft telegram to General Wilson proposed by the British CS pursuant to Item 5c, CCS 172nd Meeting

The Combined Chiefs of Staff took note of your Naf 774 this morning.

The following decisions are sent for your information and guidance in future planning:
a) There will be no withdrawals from the Fifth U.S. Army, at any rate until the success of General Alexander’s operations is ensured.

b) For the capture of the Istrian Peninsula you may count on having the amphibious lift now in the Mediterranean. You should prepare plans for carrying out this operation as soon as possible. You should submit this plan to Combined Chiefs of Staff at the earliest date, and, in any event, not later than 15 October.

Enclosure “B”

Draft telegram to General Wilson proposed by the USCS in connection with Item 5c, CCS 172nd Meeting

The Combined Chiefs of Staff took note of your Naf 774 this morning.

The following decisions are sent for your information and guidance in future planning:
(a) There will be no withdrawals of major units from the Fifth U.S. Army until the outcome of the present Italian offensive is known.

(b) For planning the capture of the Istrian Peninsula, you may count on having the amphibious lift now in the Mediterranean. You should submit this plan to Combined Chiefs of Staff at the earliest date, and, in any event, not later than 10 October.

Note by the Secretaries of CCS

Quebec, 12 September 1944
Top secret
CCS 654/8

Basic policies for the OCTAGON Conference

The Combined Chiefs of Staff have agreed on all the basic policies for inclusion in the final OCTAGON report to the President and the Prime Minister, with one exception.

This exception is as follows:
a. The British Chiefs of Staff have proposed the following as paragraph 6(i) of CCS 654:

Reorient forces from the European Theater to the Pacific and Far East as a matter of highest priority, having regard to other inescapable commitments, as soon as the German situation allows.

b. The United States Chiefs of Staff have proposed that this paragraph should read as follows:

Reorient forces from the European Theater to the Pacific and Far East, as a matter of highest priority, having regard to other agreed commitments, as soon as the German situation allows.

The decision of the Combined Chiefs of Staff on this wording is requested.

Combined Secretariat

Memorandum by the British CS

Quebec, 12 September 1944
Top secret
CCS 675

Priorities for personnel shipping subsequent to termination of hostilities in Europe

It is clear that the global personnel movement problems which will arise immediately before and following on the termination of hostilities in Europe will be of considerable magnitude and complexity, and that decisions will be necessary as to the priorities to be afforded to the various movements involved.

In order that consideration may be given to this matter, it is recommended that the Combined Chiefs of Staff instruct the representatives of the United States Service Departments and the British Service Departments to undertake immediately, in conjunction with the appropriate shipping authorities, an examination of the scope of the movement problems involved and of the availability of shipping resources with which to meet the requirements.

Memorandum by the USCS

Quebec, 12 September 1944
Top secret
CCS 676

General progress report on recent operations in the Pacific

The enclosure, compiled from reports of the area commanders in the Pacific, is presented for the information of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

Top secret

Progress of Pacific and Southwest Pacific operations, 15 November 1943-15 September 1944

North Pacific
Operations in the North Pacific have been limited to periodic air raids and surface ship bombardment of Paramushiru and Shimushu and other islands in the northern Kuriles. Concurrently the establishment of bases to support future operations in the North Pacific is being carried to completion.

Central Pacific
In furtherance of the approved strategic concept of the war against Japan, the amphibious forces of the Pacific Ocean Areas, supported tactically and strategically by combatant units of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, have successively occupied principal objectives in the Gilbert, Marshall and Marianas Islands.

The Gilbert Islands operations were initiated on 17 November 1943, and resulted in the occupation of Tarawa, Makin, and Apamama. Tarawa was well defended. In particular the beach defenses were extensive and difficult to overcome.

The Marshall Islands operations were initiated the 31st of January and resulted in the occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls. This was followed by the occupation in mid-February of Eniwetok.

Operations for the seizure of Saipan were initiated on the 15th of June. This was followed by the occupation of Tinian and Guam in late July.

The next operation scheduled in this area is the occupation of the Palaus. The target date is 15 September 1944.

From bases established in the Marshalls and Gilberts continuous air raids have been conducted against isolated Japanese held islands. Particular attention has been given to neutralization of Truk. These operations have been coordinated with similar operations conducted from bases in the Southwest Pacific.

During the operations for the occupation of the Marianas strong units of the Japanese Fleet were engaged by air action from our carriers in the Philippine Seas. Severe damage was inflicted on the Japanese in this engagement.

The submarine campaign in the Western Pacific has been prosecuted with vigor and the results attained have been most gratifying. Heavy toll has been taken of Japanese shipping as well as of escorting forces.

The occupation of the Marianas has presented the opportunity for development of bases for VLR bombers for operations against Japan proper. Preparations for conducting these operations are underway with all speed.

South Pacific
Operations in the South Pacific have been principally harassing operations against the isolated Japanese garrisons by air forces. The Royal New Zealand Air Force participated in combat missions with U.S. Army and Navy air units from bases in the South Pacific. The South Pacific area is being progressively “rolled-up.” Bases developed in that area are currently being used for rehabilitation of troops for further operations in the Western Pacific. The naval base at Espiritu Santo has proved very useful in repairing battle damage. Repairs have been successfully accomplished on all classes of ships.

On 15 February, the 3rd New Zealand Division (less one brigade) seized Green Island.

Southwest Pacific
A U.S. task force landed in the Arawe area of New Britain on 15 December 1943 and terminated organized enemy resistance on 16 January 1944.

One U.S. marine division, supported by Allied air and naval forces, landed in the Gloucester area on 26 December 1943 and succeeded in capturing the airfields by 30 December. Japanese killed were 3,686 as against our losses of 326. As a result of the Arawe and Cape Gloucester operations, western New Britain was secured by the middle of March.

Preceded by heavy naval and air bombardment, a successful, unopposed landing was made near Saidor on 2 January 1944. The airstrip was captured and ready for landing of transport aircraft by 7 January. Commencing 16 January, the remainder of the U.S. division employed reinforced the original landing. In expanding the beachhead, only weak resistance was encountered.

One U.S. cavalry division, supported by naval and air force units, made initial landings in the Admiralty Islands on 29 February 1944. The landing was made in Hayne Harbor, Los Negros Island, against little resistance and Momote airdrome was seized on D-Day. Several enemy counterattacks were repulsed resulting in large Japanese casualties and by 23 March enemy forces on Los Negros were completely surrounded. Adjacent islands in the group were reduced and occupied and by the middle of April complete control of the Admiralty Islands had been obtained.

Two independent task forces, under the command of the Sixth Army, made simultaneous landings at Aitape and Hollandia on 22 April 1944. Landings were preceded by heavy naval bombardment and air strafing attacks.

a. The Hollandia Task Force made landings in the Humboldt Bay and Tanahmerah Bay areas respectively and formed a pincers movement in attacking the three airstrips. Only slight enemy resistance was encountered and by 1 May control of the area had been definitely established.

b. The Aitape Task Force established landings against practically no opposition and the airdrome was reported operational by 25 April.

c. The element of surprise played an important part in the success of both operations resulting in an estimated 54,000 troops to the eastward being cut off.

A U.S. task force, supported by air and naval forces, made unopposed landings on Wakde Island and near Arara on 17 May 1944. All enemy resistance on Wakde was overcome by 18 May. The Arara perimeter was extended between the Tementoe River and the Tor River on 17 May with increasing enemy resistance west of the Tor River. Strong enemy attacks failed to penetrate the perimeter and were repulsed. The task force perimeter was extended and by 3 July included the Maffin airdrome. Casualties suffered by the Japanese are 3,650 killed and 70 prisoners. Active patrolling is continuing.

On 27 May 1944 one U.S. infantry division, with the support of air and naval forces, made landings in the Biak Island areas and encountered little opposition initially. Enemy strength developed on 5 June and the Mokmer airstrip was crossed on 7 June under artillery, mortar and machine gun fire. Artillery fire prevented work on the Mokmer airdrome until 11 June and the enemy launched several unsuccessful counterattacks in an effort to regain the field. Boroke, Sorido and Mokmer dromes were entirely cleared of enemy artillery and small arms fire by 22 June. General patrolling and mopping up operations continue.

One U.S. regimental combat team, closely supported by air and naval forces, landed unopposed near the Kamiri drome on Noemfoor Island on 2 July 1944. On 3 July and 4 July three U.S. parachute battalions were dropped on the Kamiri strip, assisting the infantry. By 6 July enemy resistance had been overcome and the Kamiri, Koransoren and Namber dromes were firmly held.

A U.S. infantry task force made an unopposed landing near Cape Opmarai in the Cape Sansapor area on 30 July 1944. No opposition other than patrol skirmishes has been encountered and active patrolling continues. Japanese dead for the period 30 July to 10 August numbered 92.

Air operations conducted in the Southwest Pacific Area have been especially effective in neutralizing Japanese forces and enabling the Allies to conduct further offensive actions aimed at gaining complete control. In all advances, their mission in each case called for securing airfields and other bases from which to conduct further operations. Air supremacy has been achieved to such an extent that only in isolated instances are the Japanese offering any determined air resistance.

Australian land force activity in the Southwest Pacific Area consisted primarily of participation in the Finschhafen and Kaiapit-Dumpu operations and the occupation of the Madang-Sepik River coast line. The 9th Australian Division captured Finschhafen on 2 October 1943 and drove the remaining Jap troops to Satelberg. Satelberg fell on 29 November. Elements of the 9th Australian Division, utilizing armor to great advantage, then advanced up Huon Peninsula coast line to contact U.S. Saidor Task Force at Yaut River, southeast of Saidor, to complete occupation of Huon Peninsula on 10 February.

Simultaneously, the 7th Australian Division was deployed into the Ramu Valley to reinforce independent Australian units and to stop the threatened Jap drive overland through the Ramu-Markham Valley from Madang. The 11th Australian Division relieved the 7th Australian Division 8 January and continued the Australian advance to a final juncture with U.S. troops near Yalua on 13 April. Subsequently, U.S. troops were withdrawn and the Australian units continued pressure on the Jap forces which withdrew up the New Guinea coast toward Wewak. By 6 June Australian troops had reached Hansa Bay and are now in contact along the Sepik River.

During this period, the RAAF carried on continued attacks from the Darwin area. Australian fighter units attached to U.S. task forces were used in each of the landings along the New Guinea coast as the initial occupation forces with their light P-40s.

They operated in the advance airdromes before the airdromes were suitable for the operation of U.S. units equipped with heavier aircraft.

The Netherlands East Indies Air Forces operating in the Southwest Pacific Area consist of the 18th Medium Bomber Squadron and the 120th Fighter Squadron. Elements of these forces participated in daily bombing and strafing strikes against enemy shipping and installations in the Aroe-Tanimbar-Kai and Timor areas.

Future operations in this area will advance our forces into the southern and central Philippines via Morotai, Talaud, Sarangani and the Leyte-Samar area, with a target date of 20 December for Leyte-Samar.

Tripartite luncheon meeting, 1:00 p.m.

United States United Kingdom Canada
President Roosevelt The Earl of Athlone Prime Minister Mackenzie King
Mrs. Roosevelt Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone
Prime Minister Churchill
Mrs. Churchill

According to Mackenzie King’s notes, the topics of discussion included the Soviet position vis-à-vis Japan after the end of the war in Europe, conditions in India, Japan, the instability of French governments, the United States Constitution, the negro problem in the Union of South Africa, entry of troops into Berlin and Vienna, de Gaulle, the possibility of civil war in France, and China.

The Log states that the party assembled after luncheon in the conference room at the Citadel, where Churchill demonstrated some models of ships and equipment used to form artificial harbors for the invasion of France.

The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, September 12, 1944

Memorandum for the President


It is no exaggeration to say that effective implementation of our Argentine policy depends on British cooperation in economic matters. Up to the present we have received only tentative and highly qualified promises from London to investigate the possibility of such cooperation.

As you know, we have considered that it is of the greatest importance that if the British ultimately find it necessary to sign a meat contract rather than to purchase on a month-to-month or spot basis, such contract should be for the shortest possible term. However, the rumor has persisted that the British intend to sign a four-year contract and Mr. Eden has now written to Ambassador Winant stating among other things that:

We have no desire to conclude a contract running for a longer period than is strictly necessary. … But our paramount duty both to our people and to [certain of] our Allies is to ensure that, during the acutely difficult post-war years, they shall be adequately fed; and the case made out by our Ministry of Food that only a longer-term contract will ensure this as regards meat is entirely convincing.

In view of the situation developing on food surpluses as pointed out in Judge Byrnes’ report to you of September 7, it would appear that longer term commitments with the Argentine could be avoided. As Judge Byrnes has indicated, “Production in the areas under Allied control with the exception of Russia is approximately one third above normal production. War reserves have been established. When peace comes the reserves in the military theatres will become surplus.”

With respect to meat specifically, which the Combined Food Board may consider in relatively short supply, although it has not as yet analyzed or allocated the supply for the period November [1944] to November 1945, it appears that with the overall ample food situation, that some provision could be made for supplying additional meat to the United Kingdom from the United States, Canada, Australia and South American countries other than Argentina. I understand that there is a surplus of utility beef in the United States and with the current prospects of slaughter this fall that the surplus undoubtedly will be increased. It is also my understanding that there may be some surplus of commercial grades of beef. It may be possible for us to arrange to increase lend-lease of certain quantities of utility and commercial grades of beef to the United Kingdom provided a similar reduction of British purchases of beef in the Argentine is obtained.

I therefore suggest that you urge upon the Prime Minister that:

  1. British purchases of meat in the Argentine be continued on a spot basis and that no agreement for a period of four, or even two, years be concluded.

  2. The British Ministry of Food reduce its meat purchases in Argentina by resorting to the above-mentioned possible alternative sources of supply and by giving due weight to the promising food supply situation in Europe and elsewhere. I have been informed that our Army has terminated all purchases of Argentine canned beef through the British Ministry of Food, which, as you know, purchases meat in Latin America for us under an arrangement of the Combined Food Board.


865.48/9-1244: Telegram

The Representative on the Advisory Council for Italy to the Secretary of State

Caserta, September 12, 1944

General Wilson has received word from London that the War-Cabinet has requested British Service of Supplies to submit data on existing arrangements for administration of relief in Italy, expenditures thereon up to present time and has inquired as to what steps are being taken to get agricultural and industrial production restarted in Italy. This message adds that General O’Dwyer has apparently taken a full report to Washington which will undoubtedly become available to British in due course but that the War Office would be grateful if General Wilson in the meantime could transmit a copy of this report with his comments urgently so that it might be available to the War Cabinet. War Office also requested any additional pertinent information on this subject.