Québec Conference 1944 (OCTAGON)

Memorandum by Prime Minister Churchill

Quebec, 16 September 1944
Top secret

Note by the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence

His Majesty’s Government are in full accord with the directive to Admiral Mountbatten which makes him responsible for executing the stages of Operation CAPITAL necessary to the security of the air route and the attainment of overland communications with China. Having regard however to the immense losses by sickness (288,000 in six months) which have attended the Burma campaign this year, they are most anxious to limit this class of operation, the burden of which falls almost wholly upon the Imperial armies, to the minimum necessary to achieve the aforesaid indispensable object. For this purpose, they are resolved to strain every nerve to bring on the Operation DRACULA by March 15, as by cutting the Japanese communications the enemy will be forced to divide their forces. Decisive results may be obtained in a battle north of Rangoon, and the pursuit by light forces from the north may be continued without serious cost.

It is essential to provide five or six divisions for DRACULA. The 6th Airborne Division from England and a British-Indian division from Italy will start at the earliest moment irrespective of the state of the European war. It will not however be possible to withdraw any further forces from Europe before the end of organized and coherent German resistance. Admiral Mountbatten hopes by certain adjustments of his reserve divisions to withdraw two or even three divisions from the forces now facing the Japanese on the Burma front, for use in DRACULA. It would be of very great assistance to His Majesty’s Government if the United States could place at their disposal for Operation DRACULA two United States light or ordinary divisions. Whether these divisions should come into action on the northern Burma front or whether they should go straight to the Operation DRACULA is a matter for study in time and logistics, observing that we have six months in hand before DRACULA D-day.

If such a provision were made, we should feel certain of being able to achieve DRACULA in time to limit the wastage to the British Imperial armies in the north and to clean up the Burma situation before the next monsoon. The destruction of the Japanese in Burma would liberate a considerable army, which could immediately attack Japanese objectives across the Bay of Bengal at whatever point or points may be considered to be most beneficial to the common cause and most likely to lead to the rapid wearing-down of Japanese troops and above all air forces.

If on the other hand we are not able to carry out Operation DRACULA, His Majesty’s Government would feel they had been exposed to unnecessary sacrifices through persisting in operations ravaged by disease, and also their whole further deployment from India and Burma against the Japanese in the Malay Peninsula, et cetera, will be set back until 1946. Thus, the averting of a double disaster depends upon the certainty that we can execute DRACULA by March 15 and, having regard to the very heavy losses we have sustained and are liable to sustain, we feel fully entitled to ask for a measure of United States assistance.

Prime Minister Churchill to President Roosevelt

Quebec, September 16, 1944
Top secret

Mr. President. I return the Memorandum you gave me about Italian Colonies.

The Foreign Office would like to treat this as an official communication if you would allow us to keep a copy of it.

It seems that the usual broad and substantial measure of agreement exists between us, but we should like to look into the details more closely.


740.0011 EW/9-1644: Telegram

The Chargé near the Polish Government-in-Exile to the Secretary of State

London, September 16, 1944
US urgent

Poles 102. Premier Mikołajczyk has requested me to transmit the following appeal of the Council of National Unity in Warsaw addressed to the President, Mr. Churchill and Marshal Stalin, dated September 15th and received in London today:

On the forty-fifth day of the struggle of the people of Warsaw for the freedom of the capital and of Poland, witnessing the first signs of effective assistance in the form of air cover and dropping of arms and food, the Council of National Unity affirm that this has brought great relief to Warsaw.

The Council of National Unity stress the inflexible will of the people of Warsaw and of Poland to fight the Germans unto the end for the freedom and independence of Poland. To carry on this fight it is indispensable to supply the soldiers of the home army. The Council of National Unity therefore fervently appeal for continuous dropping of arms, ammunition and food, for permanent air cover to be organized and for the bombing of German concentrations and military objectives. The enemy is attacking the city with continuously reinforced formations. The lack of quick and effective succor may cause a catastrophe.

Mr. Mikołajczyk indicated that he was conscious that the arrangements made for lending assistance to Warsaw through the American shuttle service and through British planes from Italy had been impeded by weather conditions recently but felt he must underline the continued urgency of assistance as reflected in the foregoing message.

President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to Marshal Stalin

Quebec, September 16, 1944
Top secret

Number 66, top secret and personal to Marshal Stalin from the United States Government and His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom.

In our Conference at Quebec just concluded we have arrived at the following decisions as to military operations.

Operations in North West Europe
It is our intention to press on with all speed to destroy the German armed forces and penetrate into the heart of Germany. The best opportunity to defeat the enemy in the west lies in striking at the Ruhr and Saar since it is there that the enemy will concentrate the remainder of his available forces in the defence of these essential areas. The northern line of approach clearly has advantages over the southern and it is essential that we should open up the northwest ports, particularly Antwerp and Rotterdam, before bad weather sets in. Our main effort will therefore be on the left.

Operations in Italy
As a result of our present operations in Italy
a) Either Kesselring’s forces will be routed, in which case it should be possible to undertake a rapid regrouping and a pursuit towards the Ljubljana gap; or

b) Kesselring’s army will succeed in effecting an orderly withdrawal, in which event we may have to be content with clearing the Lombardy Plains this year.

Our future action depends on the progress of the battle. Plans are being prepared for an amphibious operation on the Istrian Peninsula to be carried out if the situation so demands.

Operations in the Balkans
Operations of our air forces and Commando type operations will continue.

Operations against Japan
We have agreed on further operations to intensify the offensive against the Japanese in all theaters, with the ultimate objective of invading the Japanese homeland.

Plans for the prompt transfer of power to the Pacific theater after the collapse of Germany were agreed upon.


President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to Generalissimo Chiang

Quebec, September 16, 1944
Top secret

Number 68, from Admiral Leahy, Chief of Staff to the President. Top secret and personal to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek from President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill.

We have just concluded our conference in Quebec during which we discussed ways and means to bring about the earliest possible defeat of Germany so that we can reorient the entire weight of our forces and resources against Japan. We hasten to inform you of plans for our mutual effort, particularly in Southeast Asia.

  • First: We are determined fully to employ all available resources toward the earliest practicable invasion of the Japanese homeland. To this end we have devised courses of action and are taking vigorous steps to expedite the redeployment of forces to the war against Japan following the defeat of Germany.

  • Second: To continue and extend present operations under Admiral Mountbatten in north Burma to provide additional security for intermediate air ferry bases in the Myitkyina area, and at the beginning of favorable weather to launch a determined campaign to open overland communications between India and China. These operations will require continued effective cooperation of the Chinese troops who have already so distinguished themselves in Burma, as well as of your armies that are now engaged west of the Salween. All these operations will be fully supported by our preponderant air strength, and by adequate air supply. Small-scale amphibious operations on the Arakan coast, and activities by long range penetration groups will contribute to our success. We feel that the vigorous prosecution of these operations should result in securing an area by next spring which will permit the extension of the Ledo Road with accompanying pipelines in order to support the heroic effort of your forces.

  • Third: Admiral Mountbatten has been further directed to prepare a large-scale amphibious operation in the Bay of Bengal to be undertaken as soon as developments in the European Theater will allow the necessary resources to be made available.

  • Fourth: We have agreed on further operations to intensify the offensive against the Japanese in the Pacific Theater, including the opening of a seaway into China.


President Roosevelt to Generalissimo Chiang

Quebec, 16 September 1944
Top secret

WH Number 64, from the President for Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

After reading the last reports on the situation in China my Chiefs of Staff and I are convinced that you are faced in the near future with the disaster I have feared. The men of your “Y” forces crossing the Salween have fought with great courage and rendered invaluable assistance to the campaign in North Burma. But we feel that unless they are reinforced and supported with your every capacity you cannot expect to reap any fruits from their sacrifices, which will be valueless unless they go on to assist in opening the Burma Road. Furthermore, any pause in your attack across the Salween or suggestion of withdrawal is exactly what the Jap has been striving to cause you to do by his operations in Eastern China. He knows that if you continue to attack, cooperating with Mountbatten’s coming offensive, the land line to China will be opened in early 1945 and the continued resistance of China and maintenance of your control will be assured. On the other hand, if you do not provide manpower for your Divisions in North Burma and, if you fail to send reinforcements to the Salween forces and withdraw these armies, we will lose all chance of opening land communications with China and immediately jeopardize the air route over the hump. For this you must yourself be prepared to accept the consequences and assume the personal responsibility.

I have urged time and again in recent months that you take drastic action to resist the disaster which has been moving closer to China and to you. Now, when you have not yet placed General Stilwell in command of all forces in China, we are faced with the loss of a critical area in East China with possible catastrophic consequences. The Japanese capture of Kweilin will place the Kunming air terminal under the menace of constant air attack, reducing the hump tonnage and possibly severing the air route.

Even though we are rolling the enemy back in defeat all over the world this will not help the situation in China for a considerable time. The advance of our forces across the Pacific is swift. But this advance will be too late for China unless you act now and vigorously. Only drastic and immediate action on your part alone can be in time to preserve the fruits of your long years of struggle and the efforts we have been able to make to support you. Otherwise, political and military considerations alike are going to be swallowed in military disaster.

The Prime Minister and I have just decided at Quebec to press vigorously the operations to open the land line to China on the assumption that you would continue an unremitting attack from the Salween side. I am certain that the only thing you can now do in an attempt to prevent the Jap from achieving his objectives in China is to reinforce jour Salween armies immediately and press their offensive, while at once placing General Stilwell in unrestricted command of all your forces. The action I am asking you to take will fortify us in our decision and in the continued efforts the United States proposes to take to maintain and increase our aid to you. This we are doing when we are fighting two other great campaigns in Europe and across the Pacific. I trust that your far-sighted vision, which has guided and inspired your people in this war, will realize the necessity for immediate action. In this message I have expressed my thoughts with complete frankness because it appears plainly evident to all of us here that all your and our efforts to save China are to be lost by further delays.


Tripartite luncheon meeting, 1:45 p.m.

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

Mackenzie King’s notes indicate that he had a conversation at lunch with Roosevelt, Churchill, and Eden, concerning the advisability of convening the proposed international conference on world organization on October 30, just a week before the presidential elections in the United States. Mackenzie King spoke of the opposition there would be from small countries, including Canada, to any appearance that the great powers were “seeking to control the world in the organization of its affairs.” Churchill referred to the disagreement with Stalin on the duties and powers of the Council of the proposed organization in settling disputes, especially with regard to a Soviet right to a veto even in disputes to which the Soviet Union was a party. Eden records that Churchill explained to Roosevelt at this meeting why Eden could not accept the President’s invitation to visit Hyde Park.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 16, 1944)

Québec’s plan to speed war to be revealed

Roosevelt, Churchill to continue sessions

Québec, Canada (UP) –
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill today will reveal some of the decisions made in their momentous Second Quebec Conference on Pacific war plans and the Allied program for a Europe entirely freed of Nazi influences.

After announcing as much as military security and fluctuating international politics will permit, the President and the Prime Minister – according to hints by official spokesmen – will go to an undisclosed place to continue their discussions on a more intimate basis.

The new talks were certain to involve questions of a world peace organization, the future of Germany, and Anglo-American dealings with Russia.

In between military planning for the destruction of Japan, these other topics were touched upon during the week’s conference here.

Evidence of these political angles was found in the hasty trips here of British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, and his No. 1 assistant, Sit Alexander Cadogan, who has been heading the British delegation at the Dumbarton Oaks world security conference in Washington.

It seemed equally evident that Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill had not finished their business although the Québec phase of their conferences ended today.

U.S. State Department (September 16, 1944)

Tripartite press conference, 3:45 p.m.

United States United Kingdom Canada
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill Prime Minister Mackenzie King

Roosevelt first reviewed in very general terms the work of the Second Quebec Conference, expressed hope for the surrender of Germany, and discussed joint action against Japan and logistic problems in the Pacific. He stated specifically that questions of command in the Pacific War had not been discussed, and he described the division of responsibility among Mountbatten, MacArthur, and Nimitz. Churchill then commented on the results of the Conference and on British and Canadian participation in the war against Japan. Mackenzie King made brief closing remarks.

Roosevelt-Eden conversation, afternoon

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Foreign Secretary Eden

Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden said goodbye to Roosevelt alone after the press conference. The President told Eden that he would visit England at the end of November whether he won or lost the election.

Lot 60–D 224, Box 55: DO/PR/23

Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State to the Secretary of State

Washington, September 16, 1944


Because of Sir Alexander Cadogan’s continued absence in Quebec (he did not return until late this afternoon) no official meetings were held today.

However, there were, as you are aware, a number of conferences both this morning and this afternoon with you at the Department and in my office at Dumbarton Oaks, in which various members of the American group participated, on the latest developments relating to the important question of voting procedure in cases of disputes involving a great power.

In addition, I met Sir Alexander Cadogan and Lord Halifax at the British Embassy just after Sir Alexander’s plane arrived late this afternoon.

As you know, the crux of these discussions revolved around the President’s wire on the voting question and consideration of the British position of non-acceptance of the possible compromise. When Sir Alexander told Ambassador Gromyko of the British position, the Ambassador told him that that was likewise the position of his Government, although he did not make it completely clear to Sir Alexander whether or not he had final official instructions on the matter.

Log of the President’s Visit to Canada

Saturday, September 16

The Governor-General and Princess Alice returned to the Citadel this morning from their inspection trip to Arvida.

At 12 o’clock Noon the second plenary meeting of the conference was held at the Citadel with the President, the Prime Minister and the British and American Chiefs of Staffs attending. This meeting marked the close of the 1944 Quebec Conference (OCTAGON). The plenary meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m., when the President, the Prime Minister and the British and American Chiefs of Staff adjourned to the “sundeck” of the Citadel where they posed for pictures by news and service photographers.

The President lunched at the Citadel at 1:45 p.m. in company with the Prime Minister, Mrs. Churchill and Mr. Eden with and as guests of the Governor-General and Princess Alice.

Admiral Brown returned to Washington this afternoon by air, traveling in the “Executive Plane” with General Marshall. Mr. Early and Mrs. Rumelt also returned by air.

At 3:15 p.m., at a very colorful ceremony on the “sundeck” of the Citadel, Chancellor Morris W. Wilson and a party from the faculty of McGill University, Montreal, conferred honorary LL.D. degrees on the President and Prime Minister Churchill. Members of the Press and news and service photographers were present.

At 3:45 p.m., the President, Prime Minister Churchill and Prime Minister King held a joint press conference on the “sundeck” of the Citadel for the more than 150 press correspondents gathered in Quebec from all over the world to cover the Quebec Conference. Prime Minister King presided and spoke first; the President spoke next; and finally the Prime Minister of Great Britain. A prepared communiqué concerning the results and purpose of the conference, issued jointly by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, was handed to the press at this time. A copy of this communiqué is appended, marked “A.”

After the completion of the press conference the President returned to his quarters in the Citadel. Later during the afternoon Princess Alice, Prime Minister Churchill and Mrs. Churchill came to his quarters to bid the President goodbye.

The President left the Citadel at 5:30 p.m., together with Admiral Leahy, for his train which had now been moved from the Quebec railroad station back to Wolfe’s Cove. He was accompanied to the train by the Governor-General and Prime Minister King who remained at the station to see him off.

Our train departed Quebec (Wolfe’s Cove) at 6:00 p.m., for the return trip to Hyde Park and Washington. We traveled over the lines of the Canadian National Railway, crossing the St. Lawrence just below Quebec and coming via the Provincial towns of Cadorna, Val Alain, St. Leonard Junction, St. Hyacinthe and Southward East to Rouse’s Point.

Except for one day (Wednesday) when it rained most of the day, the weather at Quebec during our stay was most pleasant. However, his attendance at the numerous conferences and other engagements prevented the President from leaving the Citadel even once during his six days stay at Quebec.

Völkischer Beobachter (September 17, 1944)

Wer wird Erster sein?

h. b. Lissabon, 16. September –
Die gesamte amerikanische Presse spricht in ihrer Berichterstattung über die Quebecer Konferenz offen von den Wünschen der Amerikaner, die Engländer zu einer hundertprozentigen Beteiligung am Kriege gegen Japan zu gewinnen. Der Korrespondent der Baltimore Sun meldet, Morgenthau mit seinem großen Einfluß auf die englischen Finanzkreise wäre von Roosevelt eingespannt worden, um die Briten zu überzeugen, daß sie es sich auf keinen Fall erlauben dürfen, nur in geringem Umfange am Krieg gegen Japan teilzunehmen.

Aus militärischen und Marinekreisen will der Korrespondent erfahren haben, daß die militärischen Führer Amerikas die Leitung des Krieges gegen Japan allein behalten möchten. Sie gehen sogar so weit, daß sie die englischen Hilfskräfte, sowohl die englische Armee wie die Flotte, vor dem Einsatz im Pazifikkrieg nach amerikanischen Methoden ausbilden wollen.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 17, 1944)

U.S. and Britain to push Jap war but decide against one command

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.

Problems stressed

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.

He said:

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.”

Message sent to Pontiff

Vatican City (UP) –
Authoritative Vatican City quarters indicated today that Cardinal Rodrique Villeneuve of Canada, who arrived in Rome by airplane, has an important message for Pope Pius XII containing the points of view of the U.S. and British governments regarding a number of problems which the Pope and Prime Minister Winston Churchill discussed during the latter’s recent trip to Rome.

These Vatican City quarters said it was understood that during the Québec conversations, Mr. Churchill called to Mr. Roosevelt’s attention the Pope’s ideas on a number of important international questions principally concerning Italy and Poland.

On Sept. 12, Myron C. Taylor, Mr. Roosevelt’s special envoy to the Vatican City, and d’Arcy Osborne, British Minister to the Holy See, during a visit to the Papal Secretariat were understood to have given assurances that the Pope’s suggestions would be given every consideration possible by Mr. Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt.

Editorial: Will Russia fight Japan?

Will Russia help us lick Japan when the time comes? The question pops up again because of Marshal Stalin’s failure to attend the Québec Conference. His letter, explaining that he was busy with the offensives against Germany, is interpreted by some as needlessly abrupt and lacking in any cordial greeting to the conference.

If there is a cooling off in the relations of the Big Three, that is big news. It is important not only to Tokyo but also to Berlin, which still hopes somehow to wangle a separate peace and thus divide the grand alliance. But we have no knowledge of a serious rift, or of any reason strong enough to cause Marshal Stalin to boycott the Québec meeting if he were free to attend.

On the contrary, Marshal Stalin should set a higher value on Allied cooperation now than ever before. It is paying off for Russia. He would have to be stupid indeed to upset it.

What he wanted most was a “second front,” by which he meant a Western European invasion. For a long time, he – or at least his propaganda agencies – seemed to doubt the often-repeated promises of the Western Allies, particularly because the invasion was not launched as early as he understood from the Molotov meeting in Washington. But since the Moscow and Tehran conferences last fall, there has been a clear agreement on the time and coordination of the western and eastern offensives. Now that the agreement is being carried out so successfully, and with such mutual profit, there is less excuse for misunderstanding.

Likewise, Marshal Stalin has received in abundant measure the American supplies and equipment needed for his summer and fall campaigns. He has spoken enthusiastically of this.

There is difference of policy between Moscow and Washington regarding Eastern Europe. The United States objects to Russia dictating territorial and governmental changes. We have the same objection to a British sphere of influence in Western Europe. Our government and people believe that such a British-Russian domination of Europe would play into the hands of defeated Germany and Fascism, and that it would produce another war. But there is nothing new about this American policy, and it has restrained neither Marshal Stalin nor Mr. Churchill.

This does not change Russia’s stake in the Far East, which is even greater than our own. Japan is a closer and worse menace to Russia than to the United States. Marshal Stalin knows that our Pacific offensive saved him from attack by Japan and allowed him to concentrate on defeating the Nazi invader. Marshal Stalin also knows that Russia, unless she joins in the defeat of Japan, will have Jess voice in the Far Eastern settlement so vital to her.

On the basis of self-interest, which has determined Marshal Stalin’s foreign policy hitherto, it is highly probable that he will join in the war against Jap aggression when Germany is defeated. For him to do so before that time would prolong the European war and sacrifice the best Siberian bases to Japan. That would help the Axis, not the Allies.

U.S. State Department (September 17, 1944)


The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, September 17, 1944
Top secret

Memorandum for the President

I note from your record of conversation with the Prime Minister on September 14, 1944 that lend-lease aid during the war with Japan will exceed, in food, shipping, et cetera, the strategic needs of Great Britain in carrying on that war and will, to that extent, be devoted to maintaining British economy. Would it not be well to make clear to the Prime Minister at this time that one of the primary considerations of the Committee, in determining the extent to which lend-lease might exceed direct strategic needs, would be the soundness of the course adopted by the British Government with a view to restoring its own economy, particularly with regard to measures taken to restore the flow of international trade? My thought on this, which applies to financial assistance through lend-lease or in other forms, is developed in the last enclosure, of which a copy is attached, to my memorandum to you of September 8, 1944.


The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, September 17, 1944
Top secret


In my opinion the time has come to give serious consideration to the question of announcing this Government’s recognition of the de facto French authority as the Provisional Government of France. Of course, the word “provisional” would not be dropped until after general elections are held in France.

I believe that this step is not inconsistent with the policy which we have carefully followed, namely, to refrain from any action which might have the effect of impairing the opportunity of the French people freely to exercise their will in the choice of their leaders.

The following factors suggest the advisability of taking this step at this time.

  1. There is every indication that General de Gaulle has been accepted for the initial period as the national leader in liberated France. This is fully corroborated by reports from our military authorities, who have been in touch with the local population in many parts of France. It likewise does away with the possibility of this Government ever being charged with imposing General de Gaulle on the French people.

  2. There are increasing indications that the resistance groups and others in France have no intention of permitting the establishment of a personal dictatorship under General de Gaulle. The base of the governing authority has already been broadened by the inclusion of numerous representatives of metropolitan resistance. General de Gaulle’s desire to maintain the thread of legal continuity and to work with democratic elements is likewise shown by the appointment of M. Jeanneney, President of the Senate.

  3. The Political Advisor on General Eisenhower’s staff (Eeber) reports that the Committee, with possible occasional changes of individual Commissioners, should be able to maintain control in France until such time as elections can be held.

  4. It will probably be many months before elections can take place owing to the absence of over a million prisoners-of-war and deportees in Germany.

  5. Lack of recognition will make it more difficult for the Committee to maintain the internal stability necessary for the prosecution of the war and orderly rehabilitation of the country.

  6. Our present popularity in France is high. It will suffer if we delay recognition unduly. Many Frenchmen undoubtedly understand and sympathize with our refusal to recognize the Committee when it was established in Algiers, but they will not understand this refusal now that France is largely liberated.

  7. General Eisenhower’s headquarters agree that there is no reason to delay a further degree of recognition from a military point of view.

  8. Recognition would greatly simplify the solution of a number of practical problems of an economic and financial nature.

  9. A number of Governments have already extended recognition to the Committee as the Provisional Government of France and there are indications that the British and Canadians may shortly take this action even if we do not. American prestige would suffer severely if we were to be the only major power withholding recognition.

If you agree to the desirability of taking this step, either of the following two possibilities would present a suitable occasion for the extension of recognition, after consultation and agreement with Great Britain and the Soviet Union.

  1. The passage of a vote of confidence in General de Gaulle, and the de facto French authority as presently constituted, by the Provisional Consultative Assembly, established in Paris and broadened to include at least fifty percent of resistance membership.

  2. The setting up, with the approval of the Supreme Allied Commander, of zones of the interior, thereby emphasizing the change from a strictly military to a predominantly civilian administration.


Draft of a suggested telegram to be sent by the President and the Prime Minister to Marshal Stalin

In the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers before Tehran, the Prime Minister of Great Britain submitted a draft proposing the local punishment of war criminals in the countries and, if possible, at the scenes where their atrocities had been committed. With some small amendments this document was approved and has been published to the world with general acceptance and approval. This document however did not attempt to deal with the cases of the major war criminals “whose offences have no particular geographical localization.” This matter was touched on in conversation at Tehran without any definite conclusion being reached. It has now become important for us to reach agreement about the treatment of these major criminals. Would you consider whether a list could not be prepared of say 50 to 100 persons whose responsibilities for directing or impelling the whole process of crime and atrocity is established by the fact of their holding certain high offices? Such a list would not of course be exhaustive. New names could be added at any time. It is proposed that these persons should be declared, on the authority of the United Nations, to be world outlaws and that upon any of them falling into Allied hands the Allies will “decide how they are to be disposed of and the execution of this decision will be carried out immediately.” Or alternatively, “the nearest General Officer will convene a Court for the sole purpose of establishing their identity, and when this has been done will have them shot within one hour without reference to higher authority.”

It would seem that the method of trial, conviction and judicial sentence is quite inappropriate for notorious ringleaders such as Hitler, Himmler, Goering, Goebbels and Ribbentrop. Apart from the formidable difficulties of constituting the Court, formulating the charge and assembling the evidence, the question of their fate is a political and not a judicial one. It could not rest with judges however eminent or learned to decide finally a matter like this which is of the widest and most vital public policy. The decision must be “the joint decision of the Governments of the Allies.” This in fact was expressed in the Moscow Declaration.

There would seem to be advantages in publishing a list of names. At the present time, Hitler and his leading associates know that their fate will be sealed when the German Army and people cease to resist. It therefore costs them nothing to go on giving orders to fight to the last man, die in the last ditch, etc. As long as they can persuade the German people to do this, they continue to live on the fat of the land and have exalted employments. They represent themselves and the German people as sharing the same rights and fate. Once however their names are published and they are isolated, the mass of the German people will infer rightly that there is a difference between these major criminals and themselves. A divergence of interests between the notorious leaders and their dupes will become apparent. This may lead to undermining the authority of the doomed leaders and to setting their own people against them, and thus may help the breakup of Germany.

We should be very glad to have your views upon this proposal at your earliest convenience. It is of course without prejudice to the great mass of German war criminals who will be handed over for the judgment of the countries where their crimes have been committed.


Log of the President’s Visit to Canada

Sunday, September 17

We crossed the International Border at Rouse’s Point, NY, at 12:15 a.m. At Rouse’s Point we dropped off our Royal Canadian Mounted Police escort, and also transferred over to the lines and facilities of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad for the continuation of our journey to Hyde Park.

We arrived in Albany, NY, at 6:45 a.m., where our train was turned over to the New York Central Railroad (West Shore Division).

We arrived at Highland, NY, at 9:15 a.m. Mrs. Roosevelt met the President on his arrival here. The President detrained at 9:20 a.m. and motored to Hyde Park. He was accompanied to Hyde Park by Mrs. Roosevelt, Admiral Leahy, Lieutenant Commander H. G. Bruenn, Medical Corps, U.S. Naval Reserve – who had joined our party at Quebec – Miss Tully and Mrs. Brady. Prime Minister and Mrs. Churchill were to join the President and Mrs. Roosevelt at Hyde Park on Monday, September 18, for a brief visit.

Admiral Mclntire, General Watson, Lieutenant Rigdon, Chief Yeoman Hoying, Mr. Jack Romagna and Mr. Dan L. Moorman proceeded on to Jersey City with the President’s train. The others of the party remained at Poughkeepsie. At Jersey City one car of the special train was detached and hitched on to the Baltimore and Ohio’s “Capitol Limited,” so that Admiral Mclntire, General Watson, Lieutenant Rigdon, Chief Yeoman Hoying, Mr. Romagna and Mr. Moorman arrived in Washington at 5:10 p.m.

The President, Admiral Leahy, Lieutenant Commander Bruenn, Miss Tully, Mrs. Brady and all other members of the party stopping off at Poughkeepsie and Hyde Park returned to Washington at 8:00 a.m., Thursday, September 21.