The Pittsburgh Press (September 17, 1944)
England promises to throw in full might into Pacific as soon as Germany falls
Québec, Canada (UP) –
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill today promised Anglo-American destruction of Japan as soon as Europe is wrested from Germany.
They agreed that massive new Pacific operations were planned at their week-long conference here.
The President, however, made a specific point that there is no prospect of creating an overall command to direct all Pacific operations. He said the overall command was not possible because of vast geographic and logistic considerations.
While the two leaders at a press conference in the Citadel accentuated the imminence of the new blows against Japan, the President explained that the new Pacific campaign had not been given a date because the conferees were not yet willing to set a date for the unconditional surrender of Germany.
Immediately after the press conference, a formal statement was issued saying that the two statesmen and their staffs reached decisions of all points concerning the completion of the war in Europe “now approaching its final stages,” and the destruction of Japan.
Land space lacking
The chief difficulty confronting the conferees, the statement added, was the lack of land space in the Pacific to marshal the war resources of the Allies.
Both leaders stressed the unanimity of their meeting here and said there was complete agreement on all matters but Mr. Churchill made the point that Great Britain had wanted a greater share in the forthcoming battle for Japan and that this small dispute had been cleared up.
Mr. Churchill, speaking with strong-voiced feeling as he and the President and Canadian Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King met reporters on a terrace overlooking the St. Lawrence, said the full might of the British Empire would be thrown into the Jap campaign.
Churchill promises action
Mr. Churchill explained that the large forces of all description involved in the Battle of Europe would, immediately upon the fall of Germany, be applied forcibly and speedily to reduce Japan and “bend that evil, barbarous nation to the will of those they’ve outraged.”
Mr. Churchill denied vehemently that Britain wanted to shirk her share in the Jap war, saying that on the contrary Britain had a “stern resolve to be in at the kill with forces proportionate to their national strength.”
Mr. Roosevelt explained that the conference covered a great manner of things, east and west, with a firm decision reached to do the job on Japan, with the British and Americans fighting side by side, as rapidly as possible.
Canada to help
Mr. Roosevelt also said that the Dominion of Canada would have an active part in the Pacific show.
We are going to see this thing through together, he said, nodding towards Mr. Churchill. Mr. Churchill nodded back and puffed on his cigar.
Then speaking of the task of making certain the end of barbarism in the Pacific, the President said the vast distances of the Pacific must never be forgotten. A Navy or an Army could not be ordered to any given point, he said, without making certain in advance that they could be supplied and fed when they reached their objective.
This tremendous problem of logistics and geography, he continued, means endless planning. Because of these factors, he said, one person cannot be appointed to run the whole show.
There are, he reminded, three major commands in the Pacific: the Mountbatten Command in Burma, the MacArthur Command in the Southwest Pacific and the Third, a Naval Command, the sea-fighting part of the operation, under Adm. Chester W. Nimitz with headquarters at Pearl Harbor.
While the President did not say so, it had been reported that Adm. Nimitz would move to headquarters nearer Japan and Adm. Ernest J. King, commander of the U.S. Fleet, would move into the Pearl Harbor base.
Enemy to learn soon
Mr. Churchill, after explaining the necessity for secrecy on decisions reached in a conference of this type, pointed out that decisions reached at the last Québec Conference – in August 1943 – were now “engraved on the monument of history.” These decisions, he said, led to the liberation of “dearly beloved France which was so long held under the corroding heel of the Hun.”
The enemy, Mr. Churchill added, would learn of these decisions soon enough and in a deadly fashion.
Victory may be achieved in the shortest limit of time, but none of us can tell exactly when.
Get honorary degrees
Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill met about 150 reporters on the King’s Bastion, a large terrace outside their Citadel quarters, shortly after receiving honorary doctor of laws degrees from McGill University, Montréal. The academic robes and caps were placed on them in a ceremony on the terrace.
Mr. Churchill permitted himself to be quoted directly in the press conference but the President followed his regular White House rule of not allowing direct quotation.
Mr. Churchill was frequently at his phrase-making best during the conference, raising his voice to cry out new damnation against the Axis and promise the complete obliteration of German and Jap military might.
He said, for instance, that Japan, that “guilty, greedy nation must be… forced to take a place where neither their virtues or their vices can inflict themselves on future man.”
With obvious levity, Mr. Churchill spoke several times of having to “insist” that Britain be given a much larger share in the job of defeating Japan.
“You can’t have all the good things to yourself,” he said with a sidewise glance at the President. “You must share.”
Mr. Churchill emphasized two other points:
That the conference was not in any way confined to military matters and this was to be expected because “the business of government in these times is all one.”
The great friendship and cooperation between the President and myself is a “firmly-established friendship which is of great aid to the fighting troops” because this close cooperation has led to the fighting of a successful war.
The conference, as Mr. Churchill put it, was “conducted in a blaze of friendship.” And then the Prime Minister bade the reporters farewell by saying, “I hope that should we meet here [in Québec] again in another year, I hope we’ll be able to tell you more about the plans we made there this time.”
Mr. Roosevelt himself dwelt at length on the friendship theme, saying this conference took less time and produced less argument than any before.
Mr. Churchill also forecast that the “same processes” which led the “great western democracies” from the “dark days of Dunkirk and Pearl Harbor” to the presently clearer skies would bring “the toiling millions of the world out of this period of trial.”