Tehran Conference (EUREKA)

U.S. State Department (November 27, 1943)

The Supervising Agent, U.S. Secret Service to the White House

Tehran, 27 November 1943

Mike Reilly to Chief Wilson and Agent Lowery

The President arrived Tehran today. He is well and we feel confident we have done everything possible to insure his protection. Stalin and Churchill are here also and we are working in close cooperation with their security officers. We are at the American Embassy [Legation]. Plans for the return are most indefinite, however we will return to Cairo when this conference is over. I am making every effort to have the party return via Khartoum, Kano and then Dakar where we would meet Capt. McCrea. We will probably arrive in the United States about December 12.


Brown-Maximov meeting, about 3:30 p.m.

United States Soviet Union
Admiral Brown Mr. Maximov
Mr. Dreyfus

Brown was sent to the Soviet Embassy to explain to Maximov why the President had decided to live at the American Legation and why he could not accept the Russian invitation.

Roosevelt had indicated a willingness to stay at the Soviet Embassy if invited to do so by Stalin, and Dreyfus had communicated this fact to Maximov, but no indication of Stalin’s reaction had been received. Brown went to the Soviet Embassy, accompanied by Dreyfus, to see about a reply. Maximov told Brown and Dreyfus that he himself had not yet received a reply from Stalin, but that inasmuch as Stalin had already arrived at Tehran, the matter would be taken up with him there.


The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 27, 1943

For the President from Secretary Hull

As you know, the British have named Strang and the Russians Gusev as their principal representatives on the tripartite European Advisory Commission agreed upon at the Moscow Conference. While we of course have no intention of playing up the importance of this body, it would seem advisable to have a representative fully capable of taking care of our interests and feel that it will be a full-time job. I therefore venture to suggest the following names of possible American representative for your consideration: Joseph Grew, Jefferson Caffery, and Herschel Johnson. I have some doubts, however, whether Caffery can be spared from Rio at this time. May I have your instructions?


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Roosevelt-Maximov meeting, 4:30 p.m.

The visit of the Soviet Chargé d’Affaires lasted at most 20 minutes and was presumably in the nature of a courtesy call.

Harriman-Clark Kerr-Molotov meeting, midnight

United States United Kingdom Soviet Union
Mr. Harriman Sir Archibald Clark Kerr Foreign Commissar Molotov

Molotov asked Harriman and Sir Archibald Clark Kerr to call on him. He told Harriman and Clark Kerr, on the basis of information which had reached him, that Roosevelt’s presence at Tehran was known to German agents there, that these agents were planning a “demonstration,” that this might involve an attempt at assassination, and that Stalin therefore urged Roosevelt to move to either the British Legation or the Soviet Embassy. A house in the Soviet Embassy compound was being made ready for Roosevelt’s occupancy. Harriman, on returning to the American Legation, discussed the matter with Connolly and Reilly and the three of them agreed to recommend to Roosevelt that he should move to the proffered residence in the Soviet Embassy compound. Roosevelt agreed, and the move took place on the afternoon of the following day.

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Stalin got control over the Americans enviroment. In a time in witch there was no airbase east of Crete to support anything to attack annybody in Persia.

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President Roosevelt’s log of the trip

Saturday, November 27 (Cairo; en route Cairo to Tehran; and at Tehran)

5:58 a.m. The President and members of his party left his villa for the airport. All hands were up and ready for a 4:30 a.m. departure for the airport but word had been received that our takeoff would have to be delayed temporarily due to fog over the field.
6:35 a.m. The President and his party arrived at Cairo West Airport. A light fog still persisted over the field so the President and members of his party embarked in their planes to await the lifting of the fog.
7:07 a.m. The fog had lifted by now and the President’s plane took off for Tehran, Iran, where the President was to confer with Prime Minister Churchill and Marshal Stalin and their respective military staffs and political delegates. Riding in the President’s plane with him were: Mr. Hopkins, Ambassador Harriman, Admiral Leahy, Admiral Brown, Admiral McIntire, General Watson, Major Boettiger, Lieut-Commander Fox, Lieutenant (jg) Rigdon, Secret Service Agents Reilly, Fredericks and Kellerman, and Steward Prettyman.
7:40 a.m. Our plane passed over the Suez Canal near the town of Ismailia.
8:30 a.m. Our plane passed over the city of Jerusalem. Major Bryan took us on a wide-circle tour of the city before continuing on, thus affording all passengers an excellent view of this ancient and inspiring city. Our route from Jerusalem took us east over Lake Habbaniya and the Euphrates River; then we turned northeast, passing Baghdad to the south. Just after we crossed the Tigris River, we picked up the Abadan-Tehran motor highway and followed its course generally as far as Hamadan. The Iranian railroad, over which much of our Lend-Lease supplies for Russia travel, could also be seen at times. From the air we sighted trainloads and motor convoys loaded with U.S. Lend-Lease supplies, bound from the Persian Gulf port of Basra to Russia. Our pilot took advantage of the almost perfect visibility prevailing and never flew above 8,000 feet altitude, ofttimes flying through the mountain passes instead of flying over the mountains. From Hamadan we took a direct airline route for Tehran. This entire flight offered a real bird’s-eye view of the many geological contrasts this generally desolate country has to offer, particularly in the low sandy desert country and in the bleak, nude mountains.
Before landing at Tehran, we advanced our clocks and watches one and one-half hours to conform to Tehran local time (Zone Minus 3½ Time).
3:00 p.m. The President’s plane arrived at Tehran at 3:00 p.m. local time, covering the 1,310 miles from Cairo in approximately 6½ hours flying time. Our plane, as well as all other planes bearing members of the American and British delegations, landed at Gale Morghe Airport – a Russian Army field – about five miles south of Tehran. This is a modern airfield, and on it were noted a large number of our Lend-Lease planes now bearing the Red Star of Russia.
The President was met at Gale Morghe Airport by Major General D. H. Connolly, Commanding General of our Persian Gulf Service Command. For reasons of security, it had been requested that no other officials meet the President here. There were no honors, which was also by request.
The President left his plane and entered a waiting U.S. Army motorcar and proceeded directly to the American Legation where he was greeted by Mr. Louis G. Dreyfus Jr., the United States Minister to Iran, and Brigadier General Patrick Hurley, USA.
The President, Admiral Leahy, Admiral Brown, Major Boettiger and Mr. Hopkins occupied quarters at the American Legation as guests of Minister Dreyfus. The other members of our party were quartered at General Connolly’s compound. Before leaving Cairo the President had been urged to make his quarters in Tehran at both the British and Russian Embassies. The decision to stay at the American Legation was made because of a wish to be more independent than a guest could hope to be and also as the British had issued their invitation first it was felt that the Russians might be offended if it were accepted. Immediately after our arrival at Tehran, Admiral Brown was sent to call on the Russian Chargé d’Affaires to explain why the President had decided to live at the American Legation and why he could not accept the Russians’ invitation. We learned on our arrival here that Marshal Stalin and his party had arrived in Tehran earlier in the day. The President invited Marshal Stalin to dinner at the American Legation this evening but the Marshal declined because of having had a very strenuous day.
4:30 p.m. Mr. Maximov, Russian Chargé d’Affaires at Tehran, called on the President at the American Legation.
4:50 p.m. Ambassadors Harriman and Winant called at the Legation.
6:00 p.m. The President retired to his study and wrote a number of personal letters.
7:30 p.m. The President dined at the American Legation and had as his guests Admiral Leahy, Admiral Brown, Admiral McIntire, General Watson, Ambassador Harriman, Ambassador Winant, and Mr. Hopkins.
10:30 p.m. Lt-General Ismay called at the American Legation. He departed at 11:00 p.m.
The following is a complete list of those comprising the American party visiting Tehran for this occasion: The President; Mr. Harry L. Hopkins; Ambassador Winant; Ambassador Harriman; Admiral William D. Leahy, USN; General G. C. Marshall, USA; Admiral E. J. King, USN; General H. H. Arnold, USA; Lt-General B. B. Somervell, USA; Rear Admiral Wilson Brown, USN; Rear Admiral Ross T. McIntire (MC), USN; Rear Admiral C. H. [E.] Olsen, USN; Major General E. M. Watson, USA; Major General J. R. Deane, USA; Major General T. T. Handy, USA; Rear Admiral C. M. Cooke, USN; Brig. General P. J. Hurley, USA; Captain W. L. Freseman, USN; Captain F. B. Royal, USN; Colonel A. J. McFarland, USA; Colonel Elliott Roosevelt, AUS; Colonel E. O’Donnell, USA; Commander V. D. Long, USN; Lt-Colonel Frank McCarthy, USA; Lt-Comdr. George A. Fox (HC), USN; Major DeWitt Greer, AUSl; Major George Durno, AUS; Major John Henry, AUS; Major John Boettiger, AUS; Captain G. E. [F.] Rogers, AUS; Captain H. H. Ware, AUS; Lieut J. M. Hannon, USNR; Lieut (jg) W. M. Rigdon, USN; Lieut (jg) R. P. Meikeljohn, USNR; Ship’s Clerk E. F. Block, USN; Warrant Officer (jg) John Devenney, USA; Mr. Charles Bohlen (State Dept.); Std 1/c Arthur Prettyman, USN; Sgt. Robert Hopkins, AUS; M/Sgt. Frank Stoner, AUS; M/Sgt. Horace Caldwell, AUS; Chief Cook A. Orig, USN; Chief Steward I. Esperancilla, USN; Chief Steward M. Floresca, USN; Chief Steward F. Calinao, USN; Chief Steward P. Estrada, USN; Chief Cook C. Ordona, USN; Mr. Russell W. Barnes (OWI); Corp. W. E. Cromling, USMC; Chief Cook A. Javier, USN; Chief Cook B. Cabera, USN; Chief Cook M. Corpus [z], USN; Sgt. D. P. Flanagan, USMC; T/3 P. J. Levington, AUS; S/Sgt. R. Morton, AUS; [M/]Sgt. E. K. Stott, AUS; Sgt. E. E. Bright, AUS; T/4 H. Gambaccini, AUS; Y1c E. J. Maurer, USNR; Y1c E. G. Peterson, USNR; Y2c L. W. Karr, USNR; Y2c D. C. Flickinger, USNR; T/3 J. J. Lucas, AUS; Mr. Michael F. Reilly (USSS); Mr. Guy H. Spaman (USSS); Mr. James J. Rowley (USSS); Mr. Charles W. Fredericks (USSS); Mr. Vernon Spicer (USSS); Mr. Robert Holmes (USSS); Mr. Neil A. Shannon (USSS); Mr. W. K. Deckard (USSS); Mr. Robert Hastings (USSS); Mr. Walter Haman (USSS); Mr. James M. Beary (USSS); Mr. Gerald Behn (USSS); Mr. Frank B. Wood (USSS); Mr. Roy Kellerman (USSS); As will be noted, some few members of our party (The President’s party) remained at Cairo, viz; Warrant Officer (jg) A. M. Cornelius, USA; Mr. H. S. Anderson (USSS); Mr. James Griffith (USSS); Chief Steward S. Abiba, USN; Chief Cook L. Enrico, USN.
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U.S. State Department (November 28, 1943)

Meeting of the President with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 11:30 a.m.

President Roosevelt
Mr. Hopkins
Admiral Leahy
General Marshall
Admiral King
General Arnold
Captain Royal, Secretary

Joint Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 28, 1943, 11:30 a.m.

The President said he understood that the British felt our forces in Italy could advance to the Pisa-Rimini line. He believed that as we push north into Italy, the Germans will retire behind the Alps.

Admiral Leahy said as he saw it we could do either of two things: (1) Undertake OVERLORD, or (2) go after Italy and Rhodes, and then OVERLORD would revert to the status of an operation of opportunity such as RANKIN.

General Marshall said that if our forces advance as far as the Ancona line and the Rhodes operation should be undertaken in February, it would mean postponing OVERLORD probably until about 15 June, possibly July. He said the British want to do Rhodes earlier unless the Andaman operation is thrown out. The British propose to undertake Rhodes in lieu of the Andaman operation. The means which would be sucked in for the accomplishment of the Rhodes operation would be considerable. He pointed out that the Soviets probably want a more immediate operation than OVERLORD. He said we could probably increase the pressure in Italy and expedite General Eisenhower’s advance. The British are very anxious to bring Turkey into the war and undertake the Rhodes operation. They state that this will result in opening the Straits. General Somervell believes that even should Turkey enter the war, it might be six to eight months thereafter before the Dardanelles could be opened. This consideration is predicated largely on the fact that in order to undertake operations in the Aegean, a change of base will be required, and it always takes considerable time to shift from one base to another.

The President inquired whether the British had explained the total number of men they have in the Middle East.

General Marshall stated that the Prime Minister realizes and desires to deploy these troops. The main problem as regards collaboration with the Soviets is that they desire pressure exerted within the next two months. If, on the other hand, the Soviets decide that they do not really need immediate assisting operations, it might be possible to complete the operation north of Rome, undertake Rhodes, and delay OVERLORD until about 15 June. The British Chiefs of Staff are in an embarrassing position with regards to giving up BUCCANEER. The Prime Minister claims that if Turkey entered the war and we undertake the Dodecanese operation, Bulgaria and Rumania would immediately fall.

The President inquired, “Suppose we can get the Turks in, what then?”

General Marshall said the requirements will be difficult to provide for Aegean operations. The British idea is to have the Turks hold the Straits.

Admiral King added that the British furthermore consider that Rhodes and certain other islands in the Aegean must be taken. He pointed out that we cannot do Rhodes before sometime in February.

General Marshall said he believed that we should buck up General Eisenhower without effecting any undue delay in OVERLORD.

General Marshall added that the Soviets should know better than anyone else about the situation in Bulgaria, whether or not that country could be expected to fall if Turkey entered the war and the Dardanelles were opened.

Admiral King pointed out that General Wilson had stated to the Combined Chiefs of Staff he did not know very much regarding the conditions in Bulgaria.

General Marshall said that the Germans already know considerable about the land and air buildup in the U.K. in preparation for OVERLORD – also about the concentration of landing craft in the U.K. and they are conscious of the definite gathering of force in the U.K. He added that it looks as though a delay in OVERLORD would certainly be necessary if we undertake additional commitments in the Mediterranean.

The President said that he understood there were now some 21 German divisions in the Balkans and the Dodecanese. What should we say if the Soviets inform us that they will be in Rumania soon, and inquire what can the United States and Britain do to help them?

General Marshall said that we could certainly do more along the east coast of the Adriatic by opening up small ports and getting supplies in to the Tito forces. He pointed out that communications inland from the coast are very bad. He believed, however, that it would not be difficult to get in munitions, foodstuffs and other supplies for the guerrilla forces. He said that it had been agreed with the British that the Adriatic should be made a separate command under one officer. He pointed out that the United States Chiefs of Staff had also agreed to a unified command in the Mediterranean, subject to the President’s approval. It was believed that we could put ships into the Eastern Adriatic Coast and assist in supporting Tito.

Admiral Leahy said that General Eisenhower feels that if he can get far enough north in Italy he can push into the northeast toward Austria.

General Marshall added that he could also push with a left wing toward Southern France. These two movements, together with the limited operations on the Adriatic Coast, could hold several German divisions.

The President made the suggestion that certain special 2,000-ton merchant ships constructed for the U.S. Army be converted to LSI(L)s.

General Marshall said delays would be caused largely by vehicular transportation facilities. LSTs would not be the bottleneck in such a movement. On the other hand, LSTs are a bottleneck as regards overseas transportation. One LST is equivalent to about six or seven LCTs. He believed that the Prime Minister would use every wile to cut out BUCCANEER. He pointed out that the United States have constructed suitable landing fields on captured islands in as short a period as twelve days.

The President pointed out that control of the Andaman Islands would make it possible to cut, by air, supply lines from Bangkok. He said we are obligated to the Chinese to carry out the amphibious Operation BUCCANEER.

Mr. Hopkins observed that the Prime Minister considers that as between Rhodes and BUCCANEER, the former is the more important.

Admiral King pointed out that as an alternative to withdrawing means for the carrying out of BUCCANEER, withdrawal of certain shipping earmarked for OVERLORD had been suggested.

The President observed that the Generalissimo had been told that the British would build up their fleet in the Indian Ocean. The question was, of what value would the fleet be there unless some operation were carried out?

Admiral Leahy pointed out that only a small portion of naval strength would be involved in the Burma operation.

Admiral King said that the Prime Minister told the Generalissimo orally what ships would be available to support the Burma Command. The only place for the use of landing craft is the Andaman Islands.

General Marshall said the British had observed that they cannot decide about BUCCANEER versus Rhodes until after they have talked to the USSR. They feel they should not be pressed to carry out an operation for political reasons until the military considerations are proven sound. He, General Marshall, considered that BUCCANEER is sound. He said he had talked to Admiral King regarding this matter. As regards the feasibility of constructing only one landing strip in the Andamans, General Marshall said he did not believe it.

The President pointed out that the United States would have more experience with opening up and holding occupied territory.

Admiral King said the British idea is that if they take Rhodes, the Turks will take all other islands. The Allies will have to give material, ships, and supplies for opening up the Dardanelles.

The President felt that the British would probably say after Rhodes was taken, “Now we will have to take Greece.” … If we should get the Andaman Islands, where would we go? He felt that small groups of commandos, operating in support of Tito along the Adriatic Coast, had great possibilities. Another suggestion would be for a small force to penetrate northward from Trieste and Fiume. He said he was much more favorably inclined towards operations from the Adriatic rather than from the vicinity of the Dodecanese.

Admiral Leahy observed that in order to put forces into Trieste and Fiume, we should have to push the German Army further north into Italy; otherwise, they would be on the left flank of the penetrations from Trieste.

The President agreed that the Germans should be pushed on toward the Alps. He thought it would be a good idea to go around the ends into France and Austria. He pointed out that during the last war the Austrians required Germans to help them. He believed that if we push far enough north into Italy, the Germans will retreat behind the mountains.

In reply to a question from the President as to whether or not the Chiefs of Staff were being pressed by the French to go into Southern France, Admiral King replied in the affirmative. He added that if Turkey comes into the war, we certainly will be involved in the Dodecanese.

In reply to a question from the President as to the value of airfields in the vicinity of Smyrna should Turkey come into the war, General Arnold said we could use certain of these fields for heavy bombers and we would be able to help by using other airfields in Turkey for both heavy and medium bombers.

In reply to a question from the President as to whether or not the British had talked about a landing in the vicinity near Salonika, the Chiefs of Staff replied in the negative.

Admiral King observed that neither General Wilson nor General Donovan think the Bulgars will quit.

The President said he did not have the conscience to urge the Turks to go into the war.

In reply to a question from the President, General Arnold stated that the Germans have now about 700 planes in the Balkans; furthermore, the Turks have no really modern planes, all are obsolete.

General Marshall pointed out that the British originally planned to give the Turks 27 fighter squadrons; they finally gave them 17, but more fighter squadrons would have to be given to the Turks.

General Marshall observed that one of the difficulties in the Italian campaign is lack of equipment for troops due to lack of shipping. There are divisions sitting in North Africa now with insufficient equipment due to lack of shipping. These divisions could be used if the equipment were available. He pointed out that the real issue is, what do the Soviets mean by “immediate help”? The USSR evidently wants Turkey into the war as a cold-blooded proposition. The Soviets definitely want something, and we should find out what it is.

The President thought that by January we could mount commando group operations in the Adriatic and the Aegean.

General Marshall questioned whether it would be feasible to undertake very many commando raids. He questioned whether these operations would conflict with planned operations in Italy.

The President pointed out that his idea was that a commando raid should be on a small scale, say with about 2,000 men to a group. These small groups would not require landing craft on the same scale as larger operations.

In connection with a remark from the President regarding retention of landing craft for OVERLORD, Admiral King pointed out another factor which should be given consideration with regard to the number of landing craft planned to return to the United Kingdom for OVERLORD. He said we won’t get the 67 retained in the Mediterranean into the U.K. due to the fact that they will have been used in action operations and there will certainly be considerable attrition. He added that all landing craft production after March is earmarked for the Pacific. If there is a delay of one month in OVERLORD, the one month’s increased production can be diverted to OVERLORD.

The President observed that we must tell the Soviets that we get just so much production per month. All this production is earmarked for definite planned operations. In order to transfer means such as landing craft, it is necessary to take them away from one place in order to add to the means at another. There is no pool available.

General Marshall observed that when General Eisenhower has one command of the entire Mediterranean, better use of landing craft may be effected.

Admiral King observed that destroyers and other craft could be utilized for commando raids.

General Marshall said the Prime Minister believes he could control the Mediterranean if he could get his own man, General Alexander, in as Commander in Chief.

The President observed that we must realize that the British look upon the Mediterranean as an area under British domination.

General Marshall said the British were wedded to committeeism. Unity of command would expedite operations. General Marshall explained to the President the relationship between General Eisenhower’s and General Wilson’s command, and the attitude of General Eisenhower’s subordinate commanders in chief versus the independent commanders with General Wilson and the effects of this at the Combined Chiefs of Staff meeting last Friday. He pointed out that while the United States perhaps does not do committee work as well as the British, nevertheless they (the British) have certainly had a very serious time in the Middle East due to the lack of unity of command.

The President said he was afraid that Marshal Stalin will ask just how many German divisions could be taken off the Soviet Western Front immediately. He said he did not intend to get involved in a discussion as between the relative merits of the Dodecanese and the Andamans.

General Arnold observed that the flow of planes through the Azores has already begun as of yesterday. He said it was planned to pass 147 through in December and as many as 154 in January.

In reply to a question from the President as to how many squadrons of planes were operating in antisubmarine work out of the Azores, Admiral King replied about three squadrons.


Roosevelt-Stalin meeting, 3 p.m., Roosevelt’s Quarters, Soviet Embassy

**Present **
United States Soviet Union
President Roosevelt Marshal Stalin
Mr. Bohlen Mr. Pavlov

Bohlen Minutes

November 28, 1943, 3 p.m.

The President greeted Marshal Stalin when he entered with “I am glad to see you. I have tried for a long time to bring this about.”

Marshal Stalin , after suitable expression of pleasure at meeting the President, said that he was to blame for the delay in this meeting; that he had been very occupied because of military matters.

The President inquired as to the situation on the Soviet battlefront.

Marshal Stalin answered that on part of the front, the situation was not too good; that the Soviets had lost Zhitomir and were about to lose Koresten [Korosten] – the latter an important railroad center for which the capture of Gomel could not compensate. He added that the Germans have brought a new group of divisions to this area and were exercising strong pressure on the Soviet front.

The President then inquired whether or not the initiative remained with the Soviet forces.

Marshal Stalin replied that, with the exception of the sector which he had just referred to, the initiative still remains with the Soviet Armies, but that the situation was so bad that only in the Ukraine was it possible to take offensive operations.

The President said that he wished that it were within his power to bring about the removal of 30 or 40 German divisions from the Eastern front and that that question, of course, was one of the things he desired to discuss here in Tehran.

Marshal Stalin said it would be of great value if such a transfer of German divisions could be brought about.

The President then said that another subject that he would like to talk over with Marshal Stalin was the possibility that after the war a part of the American-British merchant fleet which, at the end of the war, would be more than either nation could possibly utilize, be made available to the Soviet Union.

Marshal Stalin replied that an adequate merchant fleet would be of great value, not only to the Soviet Union, but for the development of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States after the war, which he hoped would be greatly expanded. He said, in reply to the President’s question, that if equipment were sent to the Soviet Union from the United States, a plentiful supply of the raw materials from that country could be made available to the United States.

The Conference then turned to the Far East.

The President said that he had had an interesting conversation with Chiang Kai-shek in Cairo, on the general subject of China.

Marshal Stalin remarked that the Chinese have fought very badly but, in his opinion, it was the fault of the Chinese leaders.

The President informed Marshal Stalin that we were now supplying and training 30 Chinese divisions for operations in Southern China and were proposing to continue the same process for 30 additional divisions. He added that there was a new prospect of an offensive operation through North Burma to link up with China in Southern Yunnan and that these operations would be under the command of Lord Louis Mountbatten.

Marshal Stalin then inquired as to the situation in the Lebanon.

The President gave a brief description of the background and events leading up to the recent clashes, and in reply to Marshal Stalin’s question said that it had been entirely due to the attitude of the French Committee and General de Gaulle.

Marshal Stalin said he did not know General de Gaulle personally, but frankly, in his opinion, he was very unreal in his political activities. He explained that General de Gaulle represented the soul of sympathetic France, whereas, the real physical France engaged under Petain in helping our common enemy Germany, by making available French ports, materials, machines, etc., for the German war effort. He said the trouble with de Gaulle was that this [his?] movement had no communication with the physical France, which, in his opinion, should be punished for its attitude during this war. De Gaulle acts as though he were the head of a great state, whereas, in fact, it actually commands little power.

The President agreed and said that in the future, no Frenchman over 40, and particularly no Frenchman who had ever taken part in the present French Government, should be allowed to return to position in the future. He said that General Giraud was a good old military type, but with no administrative or political sense, whatsoever. He added that there were approximately 11 French divisions, partly composed of Algerians and other North Africans, in training in North Africa.

Marshal Stalin expatiated at length on the French ruling classes and he said, in his opinion, they should not be entitled to share in any of the benefits of the peace, in view of their past record of collaboration with Germany.

The President said that Mr. Churchill was of the opinion that France would be very quickly reconstructed as a strong nation, but he did not personally share this view since he felt that many years of honest labor would be necessary before France would be reestablished. He said the first necessity for the French, not only for the Government but the people as well, was to become honest citizens.

Marshal Stalin agreed and went on to say that he did not propose to have the Allies shed blood to restore Indochina, for example, to the old French colonial rule. He said that the recent events in the Lebanon made public service the first step toward the independence of people who had formerly been colonial subjects. He said that in the war against Japan, in his opinion, that in addition to military missions, it was necessary to fight the Japanese in the political sphere as well, particularly in view of the fact that the Japanese had granted the least nominal independence to certain colonial areas. He repeated that France should not get back Indochina and that the French must pay for their criminal collaboration with Germany.

The President said he was 100% in agreement with Marshal Stalin and remarked that after 100 years of French rule in Indochina, the inhabitants were worse off than they had been before. He said that Chiang Kai-shek had told him China had no designs on Indochina but the people of Indochina were not yet ready for independence, to which he had replied that when the United States acquired the Philippines, the inhabitants were not ready for independence which would be granted without qualification upon the end of the war against Japan. He added that he had discussed with Chiang Kai-shek the possibility of a system of trusteeship for Indochina which would have the task of preparing the people for independence within a definite period of time, perhaps 20 to 30 years.

Marshal Stalin completely agreed with this view.

The President went on to say that Mr. Hull had taken to the Moscow Conference a document which he (the President) had drawn up for the purpose of a National [International?] Committee to visit, every year, the colonies of all nations and through use of instrumentalities of public opinion to correct any abuse that they find.

Marshal Stalin said he saw merit in this idea.

The President continued on the subject of colonial possessions, but he felt it would be better not to discuss the question of India with Mr. Churchill, since the latter had no solution of that question, and merely proposed to defer the entire question to the end of the war.

Marshal Stalin agreed that this was a sore spot with the British.

The President said that at some future date, he would like to talk with Marshal Stalin on the question of India; that he felt that the best solution would be reform from the bottom, somewhat on the Soviet line.

Marshal Stalin replied that the India question was a complicated one, with different levels of culture and the absence of relationship in the castes. He added that reform from the bottom would mean revolution.

It was then 4 o’clock and time for the General Meeting.

The President , in conclusion, stated that an additional reason why he was glad to be in this house was that of affording the opportunity of meeting Marshal Stalin more frequently in completely informal and different [sic] circumstances.

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Immediate abolishment of castes would cause riots for sure. I am not sure about revolution.

Damn Stalin… You are smart and knowledgeable.

Also also…Moscow instructed CPI to work against the british during Molotov-ribbentrop pact and then told them to work against the facists and work with the british after barbarrosa which they have used to expand their influence… Spoilers… they will cause a bit of a drama and chaos after 1945 in states such as in the princely state of Hyderabad.


Roosevelt-Molotov meeting, about 4 p.m.

Molotov called on Roosevelt after Stalin had departed.

Foreign Commissar Molotov to President Roosevelt

November 28, 1943

Translation of communication November 28, 1943, from Mr. Molotov at Tehran

Marshal Stalin has acquainted himself with the communiqué concerning the conference of President Roosevelt, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and Prime Minister Churchill, which took place in North Africa in the second half of November this year.

Marshal Stalin expresses his thanks for the information and states that he has no observation at all to make in regard to the communiqué.

First plenary meeting, 4 p.m.

United States United Kingdom Soviet Union
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill Marshal Stalin
Mr. Hopkins Foreign Secretary Eden Foreign Commissar Molotov
Admiral Leahy Field Marshal Dill Marshal Voroshilov
Admiral King General Brooke Mr. Pavlov
Major General Deane Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham Mr. Berezhkov
Captain Royal Air Chief Marshal Portal
Mr. Bohlen Lieutenant General Ismay
Major Birse

Bohlen Minutes

November 28, 1943, 4 p.m.

The President said as the youngest of the three present he ventured to welcome his elders. He said he wished to welcome the new members to the family circle and tell them that meetings of this character were conducted as between friends with complete frankness on all sides with nothing that was said to be made public. He added that he was confident that this meeting would be successful and that our three great nations would not only work in close cooperation for the prosecution of the war but would also remain in close touch for generations to come.

The Prime Minister then pointed out that this was the greatest concentration of power that the world had ever seen. In our hands; here is the possible certainty of shortening the war, the much greater certainty of victories, but the absolute certainty that we held the happy future of mankind. He added that he prayed that we might be worthy of this God-given opportunity.

Marshal Stalin welcomed the representatives of Great Britain and the United States. He then said that history had given to us here a great opportunity and it was up to the representatives here to use wisely the power which their respective peoples had given to them and to take full advantage of this fraternal meeting.

The President then gave a general survey of the war as a whole and the needs of the war from the American point of view. Before turning to the war in the Pacific, the President said he desired to emphasize that the United States shared equally with the Soviet Union and Great Britain the desire to hasten in every way possible the day of victory. He then said that the United States was more directly affected by the war in the Pacific and that the United States forces were bearing the chief burden in that theater with, of course, help from Australian and British forces in that area; the greater part of the U.S. naval establishment was in the Pacific and over a million men were being maintained there. He pointed out as evidence of the immense distances in the Pacific that one supply ship operating from the United States could only make three round trips a year. The allied strategy in the Pacific was based on the doctrine of attrition which was proving successful. We were sinking more Japanese tonnage than the Japanese were able to replace. He said that the allies were moving forward through the southern islands and now through the islands to the east of Japan. On the north little more could be done due to the distance between the Aleutian and Kuril Islands. On the west our one great objective was to keep China in the war, and for this purpose an expedition was in preparation to attack through North Burma and from Yunnan Province. In this operation Anglo-British [Anglo-American] forces would operate in North Burma and Chinese forces from Yunnan. The entire operation would be under the command of Lord Louis Mountbatten. In addition, amphibious operations were planned south of Burma to attack the important Japanese bases and lines of communication in the vicinity of Bangkok. The President pointed out that although these operations extended over vast expanses of territory, the number of ships and men allocated for the purpose were being held down to a minimum. He summed up the aims of these operations as follows: (1) to open the road to China and supply that country in order to keep it in the war, and (2) by opening the road to China and through increased use of transport planes to put ourselves in position to bomb Japan proper.

The President then said he would turn to the most important theater of the war – Europe. He said he wished to emphasize that for over one year and a half in the last two or three conferences which he had had with the Prime Minister, all military plans had revolved around the question of relieving the German pressure on the Soviet front; that largely because of the difficulties of sea transport it had not been possible until Quebec to set a date for the cross-channel operations. He pointed out that the English Channel was a disagreeable body of water and it was unsafe for military operations prior to the month of May, and that the plan adopted at Quebec involved an immense expedition and had been set at that time for May 1, 1944.

The Prime Minister interposed and remarked that the British had every reason to be thankful that the English Channel was such a disagreeable body of water.

The President then said that one of the questions to be considered here was what use could be made of allied forces in the Mediterranean in such a way as to bring the maximum aid to the Soviet armies on the Eastern front. He added that some of these possibilities might involve a delay of one, two or three months in the large cross-channel operation and that before making any decision as to future operations in the Mediterranean he and the Prime Minister had desired to ascertain the views of Marshal Stalin on this point. He pointed out that among the possible points of future operation in the Mediterranean were Italy, the Adriatic and Aegean Seas and Turkey. In conclusion, the President emphasized the fact that in his opinion the large cross-channel operation should not be delayed by secondary operations.

Marshal Stalin stated that in regard to the Pacific war the Soviet Government welcomed the successes of the Anglo-American forces against the Japanese; that up to the present to their regret they had not been able to join the effort of the Soviet Union to that of the United States and England against the Japanese because the Soviet armies were too deeply engaged in the west. He added that the Soviet forces in Siberia were sufficient for defensive purposes but would have to be increased three-fold before they would be adequate for offensive operations. Once Germany was finally defeated, it would then be possible to send the necessary reinforcements to Siberia and then we shall be able by our common front to beat Japan. Marshal Stalin then gave a brief review of military developments in the Soviet-German front since the German offensive in July. He said that the Soviet High Command had been preparing an offensive of its own but that the Germans had stolen the march on them and attacked first. Following the failure of the German offensive, the Soviet forces had passed over to the attack, and he admitted that the successes which they had achieved this summer and autumn had far exceeded their expectations as they had found the German army much weaker than they had expected. He said that at the present time there were 210 German Divisions facing the Soviet armies with six more in the process of transfer from the west. To this should be added 50 non-German Divisions (10 Hungarian, 20 Finnish, 16 to 18 Rumanian), making a total of 260 Divisions facing the Soviet armies with six more on the way. In reply to the President’s question, Marshal Stalin stated that the normal battle strength of a German front line Division was from 8,000 to 9,000 but that if Auxiliary corps, supply, etc. forces were added the total strength of each Division was around 12,000. He said that last year the Soviet armies had faced 240 Axis Divisions of which 179 were German, whereas this year they faced 260 of which 210 were German with six more on the way. He said that the Soviet Union had had 330 Divisions at the start of the summer campaign and that it was this numerical superiority over the Germans which permitted the offensive operations to develop so successively [successfully?]. He added, however, that the numerical superiority was gradually being evened up. He said one of the great difficulties encountered by the Soviet armies in advancing was the question of supply since the Germans destroyed literally everything in their retreat. He mentioned that although the initiative on the front as a whole remained in Soviet hands, the offensive because of weather conditions had slowed down in those sectors. In fact, in the sector south and southwest of Kiev the German counteroffensive had recaptured the town of Zhitomir and would probably recapture Korosten in the near future. He said the Germans were using for this counter-attack three old and five new tank Divisions and twenty to twenty-three motorized infantry Divisions in an attempt to retake Kiev.

Marshal Stalin then turned to the allied operations in Italy. He said that from their point of view the great value of the Italian campaign was the freeing of the Mediterranean to allied shipping but that they did not consider that Italy was a suitable place from which to attempt to attack Germany proper; that the Alps constituted an almost insuperable barrier as the famous Russian General Suvorov had discovered in his time.5 He added that in the opinion of the Soviet military leaders, Hitler was endeavoring to retain as many allied Divisions as possible in Italy where no decision could be reached, and that the best method in the Soviet opinion was getting at the heart of Germany with an attack through northern or northwestern France and even through southern France. He admitted that this would be a very difficult operation since the Germans would fight like devils to prevent it. Marshal Stalin went on to say that it would be helpful if Turkey would enter the war and open the way to the Balkans, but even so the Balkans were far from the heart of Germany, and while with Turkish participation operations there would be useful, northern France was still the best.

The Prime Minister stated that the United States and Great Britain had long agreed as to the necessity of the cross-channel operation and that at the present time this operation, which is known as OVERLORD, was absorbing most of our combined resources and efforts. He added that it would take a long statement of facts and figures to explain why, to our disappointment, it would be impossible to undertake this operation in 1943 but that we were determined to carry it out in the late spring or early summer of 1944. He went on to say that the operations in North Africa and Italy had been clearly recognized by both the President and himself as secondary in character but that it was the best that could be done in 1943. He said that the forces which were now in process of execution [accumulation?] for the OVERLORD operation involved an initial assault of 16 British and 19 U.S. Divisions, a total of 35. He pointed out that the strength of the individual British and American Divisions was considerably stronger than a German Division. He said it was contemplated to put one million men on the continent of Europe in May, June and July.

Marshal Stalin remarked at this point that he had not meant to convey the impression that he considered the North Africa or Italian operations as secondary or belittle their significance since they were of very real value.

The Prime Minister thanked the Marshal for his courtesy by repeating that neither he nor the President had ever considered the operations in the Mediterranean [as anything more than a stepping-stone?] for the main cross-channel operation. He said that when the 16 British Divisions earmarked for OVERLORD had landed in France, they would be maintained by reinforcements, but that no additional British Divisions could be sent to Europe since, taking into consideration the British forces in the Middle East, India and the size of the Royal Air Force which was not idle, this would utilize all British manpower which was based on a population of only 46 million. He added that it was the United States which would send in a steady stream of necessary reinforcements for the development of OVERLORD. He added, however, that the summer of 1944 was a long way off and that following the capture of Rome, which was hoped would take place in January 1944, it would be six months before OVERLORD would begin. He and the President had repeatedly asked themselves what could be done with forces in the Mediterranean area during this period to bring the greatest pressure to bear on the enemy and help relieve the Soviet front. He said he did not wish to have any allied forces to remain idle during this period. He admitted that some of the operations which had been discussed might involve a delay of some two months in OVERLORD. He added, however, that they are all ready to withdraw seven of the best British Divisions from the Italian theater in preparation for OVERLORD, but emphasized that the great difficulty lay in the shortage of landing craft and that this constituted a great bottleneck of all allied operations.

Reverting to the Italian theater, the Prime Minister said that the weather had been exceptionally bad in Italy and that General Alexander, who under General Eisenhower was in command of the 15th Army Group in Italy, believed that in taking Rome there was an excellent opportunity of destroying or at least mauling 10 to 15 German Divisions. There was no plan for going into the broad part of Italy subsequent to the taking of Rome, and once the great airfields in the vicinity of that city had been captured and the Pisa–Rimini line had been reached, the allied forces would be free for other operations, possibly in southern France, or an enterprise across the Adriatic.

He said that the operations of the Partisans in Yugoslavia, which had been greater and better than those of Mihailović, opened up the prospects to the allies to send additional help to Yugoslavia, but there was no plan to send a large army to the Balkans, although through commandos and small expeditions something might be done in that area.

The Prime Minister then said that he had come to one of the largest questions we had before us, namely, the question of Turkey’s entrance into the war which we should urge upon that country in the strongest possible terms. If Turkey would enter the war it would open up the Aegean sea and assure an uninterrupted supply route to Russia into the Black Sea. He mentioned that only 4 Arctic convoys to the North Russian Ports could be considered this season because of the need of escort vessels in connection with OVERLORD. He then inquired, how shall we persuade Turkey to enter the war and in what manner? Should she provide the allies with bases or should she attack Bulgaria and declare war on Germany, or should she move forward or stay on the defensive on the fortified lines in Thrace. He added that Bulgaria owed a debt of gratitude to Russia for her liberation from Turkish rule.

Marshal Stalin interposed to remark that this liberation had taken place a long time ago.

The Prime Minister said that Turkey’s entrance into the war would undoubtedly have an effect from Rumania from whom peace feelers had already been received, and also from Hungary and might well start a landslide among the satellite States. He added that the Soviet Government had special feelings and special knowledge on these questions and he would welcome their views. The Prime Minister concluded by inquiring whether any of the possible operations in the Mediterranean were of sufficient interest to the Soviet Union if these operations involved a two-or-three-month delay in OVERLORD. He said that he and the President could not make any decision until they knew the Soviet views on the subject and therefore had drawn up no definite plans.

The President then said that he had thought of a possible operation at the head of the Adriatic to make a junction with the Partisans under Tito and then to operate northeast into Rumania in conjunction with the Soviet advance from the region of Odessa.

The Prime Minister remarked that if we take Rome and smash up the German armies there we will have a choice of moving west or, as the President says, east in the Mediterranean, and suggested that a sub-committee be appointed to work out the details of the various possibilities.

Marshal Stalin inquired if the 35 Divisions which he understood were earmarked for OVERLORD would be affected in any way by the continuation of the operations in Italy.

The Prime Minister replied that they would not, since entirely separate Divisions were being used in the Italian Theater. The Prime Minister, in reply to Marshal Stalin’s questions as to the relationship of the operations which he had outlined, explained that after the taking of Rome there would be available some 20 to 23 British, American, French and Polish Divisions which would be available for operations in the Mediterranean without in any way affecting the preparations for OVERLORD. He repeated that this force could either move west, or as the President suggested, to the eastern part of the Mediterranean. He said that since shipping was already allocated, any movements of effectives between OVERLORD and the Mediterranean would be very limited. He added that while the OVERLORD involved an initial assault of 35 Divisions, of which 16 would be British, the development of the operation envisioned by July 50 or 60 Allied Divisions on the continent, but repeated that the additional Divisions would come from the United States and not Great Britain. He added that the total strength of an American or British Division, including auxiliary forces, amounted to 40,000 men. He also stated that although the British and American air forces were very large and undertaking great operations, it was expected that the United States air force would be doubled or tripled within the next six months. He proposed to make available to Marshal Stalin the exact schedule of movements of supplies from the United States to Great Britain which already involved one million tons of stores.

Marshal Stalin then inquired if Turkey entered the war would some Anglo-American forces be allocated to that area.

The Prime Minister replied that two or three Divisions, British or British controlled, were available for the capture of the islands of the Aegean, and that as an immediate aid to Turkey it was proposed to send 20 squadrons of fighters and several anti-aircraft regiments, adding that the preparation[s] to send these forces to Turkey were already far advanced.

Marshal Stalin replied that in his opinion he questioned the wisdom of dispersing allied forces of [for?] the various operations mentioned such as Turkey, the Adriatic and Southern France since there would be no direct connection between these scattered forces. He said he thought it would be better to take OVERLORD as the basis for all 1944 operations; that after the capture of Rome the troops thus relieved might be sent to Southern France, and in conjunction with forces operating from Corsica might eventually meet in France the main force of OVERLORD from the north. These would be in the nature of diversionary operations to assist OVERLORD. Marshal Stalin said that he favored the operations in Southern France particularly as he thought Turkey would not enter the war. He repeated that he was convinced that Turkey would not enter the war.

The President remarked that there would be 8 or 9 French Divisions, which included native Divisions, available for an operation against southern France.

Marshal Stalin remarked that in an operation against southern France the transportation difficulties would be greatly facilitated.

The Prime Minister said he agreed with Marshal Stalin in regard to the inadvisability of scattering our forces. He pointed out that the squadrons destined for Turkey and the Divisions for the seizure of the Aegean islands were now being used for the defense of Egypt and that their use would not distract in any way from OVERLORD or the operations in Italy.

Marshal Stalin remarked that these operations would be worth-while only if Turkey entered the war which he again repeated he did not believe would happen.

The Prime Minister replied that he had in mind the six months which would elapse after the expected capture of Rome before the beginning of OVERLORD, and that both he and the President were most anxious that their troops should not remain idle since if they were fighting, the British and American governments would not be exposed to the criticism that they were letting the Soviet Union bear the brunt of the war.

Marshal Stalin replied that in his opinion OVERLORD represented a very large operation and that it would be facilitated and, in fact, would be certain of success if the invasion of southern France was undertaken some two months before OVERLORD. This would divert German troops from the northern part of France and assure the success of OVERLORD. He said that as an extreme measure he would be inclined to leave 10 Divisions in Italy and postpone the capture of Rome in order to launch the attack in southern France two months in advance of OVERLORD.

The Prime Minister replied that he was sure Marshal Stalin would permit him to develop arguments to demonstrate why it was necessary for the allied forces to capture Rome, otherwise it would have the appearance of a great allied defeat in Italy. He pointed out the allied forces would be no stronger before the capture of Rome than after, and in fact without the fighter cover which would be possible only from the north Italian fields it would be impossible to invade northern France. In reply to Marshal Stalin’s questions regarding Corsica, the Prime Minister pointed out that there were no adequate airfields on the island.

The President said that he thought the question [of] relative timing was very important and that he personally felt that nothing should be done to delay the carrying out of OVERLORD which might be necessary if any operations in the eastern Mediterranean were undertaken. He proposed, therefore, that the staffs work out tomorrow morning a plan of operations for striking at southern France.

Marshal Stalin pointed out that the Russian experience had shown that an attack from one direction was not effective and that the Soviet armies now launched an offensive from two sides at once which forced the enemy to move his reserve back and forth. He added that he thought such a two-way operation in France would be very successful.

The Prime Minister stated that he personally did not disagree with what the Marshal had said and that he did not think he had said anything here which could possibly affect adversely an operation in southern France, but he added it would be difficult for him to leave idle the British forces in the eastern Mediterranean which numbered some 20 Divisions, British controlled, which could not be used outside of that area, merely for the purpose of avoiding any insignificant delay in OVERLORD. He said that if such was the decision they would, of course, agree, but they could not wholeheartedly agree to postpone operations in the Mediterranean. He added, of course, that if Turkey does not enter the war that is the end of that, but that he personally favored some flexibility in the exact date of OVERLORD. He proposed that the matter be considered overnight and have the staffs examine the various possibilities in the morning.

Marshal Stalin stated that as they had not expected to discuss technical military questions he had no military staff but that Marshal Voroshilov would do his best.

The Prime Minister stated it would not [now?] be necessary to consider how far we could meet Turkey’s request in the event that she agreed to enter the war.

Marshal Stalin replied that Turkey was an ally of Great Britain and at the same time had relations of friendship with the United States and the Soviet Union who as friends could ask Turkey and indeed bring pressure to bear on her to carry out her obligations as an ally of Great Britain. He said that all Neutrals considered Belligerents to be fools and it was up to the countries represented here to show that the Neutrals were the ones that were fools and that we must prove to Turkey that if they stay out of the war on the winning side that they were indeed the fools.

The Prime Minister said he thought it would be an act of supreme unwisdom if the Turks were to refuse an invitation from Russia to join the war on the winning side. He added that Christmas in England was a poor season for Turkeys. When the joke had been explained to Marshal Stalin, he said he regretted that he was not an Englishman.

The President then stated that should he meet the President of Turkey he would, of course, do everything possible to persuade him to enter the war, but that if he were in the Turkish President’s place, he would demand such a price in planes, tanks and equipment that to grant the request would indefinitely postpone OVERLORD.

Marshal Stalin repeated his doubt as to Turkey’s intention and said that they had in fact already replied to the suggestion that they enter the war. Although many considered this reply favorable, he personally thought it was negative in character.

The Prime Minister remarked that in his opinion the Turks were crazy.

Marshal Stalin said there were some people who apparently preferred to remain crazy.

The meeting adjourned until 4 p.m., November 29, 1943.

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Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 28, 1943, 4 p.m.
U.S. secret

The President said, as the youngest of the three Chiefs of State present, he had the privilege of welcoming Marshal Stalin and Prime Minister Churchill to this auspicious conference. We are sitting around this table for the first time as a family, with the one object of winning the war. Regarding the conduct of naval and military meetings, it has been our habit, between the British and the United States, to publish nothing but to speak our minds very freely. In such a large family circle we hope that we will be very successful and achieve constructive accord in order that we may maintain close touch throughout the war and after the war. The General Staffs of the three countries should look after military matters. Marshal Stalin, the Prime Minister and I have many things to discuss regarding matters pertaining to conditions after the war. If anyone of us does not want to talk about any particular subject brought up, we do not have to. The President added that before he came to the discussion of military problems, he felt that perhaps the Prime Minister would like to say something about matters pertaining to the years to come.

The Prime Minister said that we represent here a concentration of great worldly power. In our hands we have perhaps the responsibility for the shortening of this war. In our hands we have, too, the future of mankind. I pray that we may be worthy of this God-given opportunity.

The President then turned to Marshal Stalin and said, “Perhaps our host would like to say a few words.”

Marshal Stalin said:

I take pleasure in welcoming those present. I think that history will show that this opportunity has been of tremendous import. I think the great opportunity which we have and the power which our people have invested in us can be used to take full advantage within the frame of our potential collaboration. Now let us get down to business.

The President said he would like to start with a general survey of the war and of the meaning of the war. This survey will be from the American point of view. We earnestly hope that the completion of the war will come just as soon as possible. Let us begin with a subject that affects the United States more than either Great Britain or the USSR, the subject of the Pacific. It is most important to us to bring back to the United States those forces which are now in the Pacific. We are bearing a major part of the Pacific war. The United States has the greatest part of its naval power in the Pacific, plus about one million men. We are proceeding on the principle of attrition as regards Japan. At the present that policy is being accepted in our country. We believe we are sinking many Jap ships, both naval and merchant – more than they can possibly replace. We have been moving forward toward Japan from the south and now we are moving toward Japan through the islands from the east. There is very little more that we can do as regards operations from the north. On the west of Japan, it is necessary for us to keep China in the war. Hence, we have arranged plans for operations through North Burma and into the Yunnan Province. That operation will advance us far enough so that China herself can strike into the Yunnan Province. In addition, we are still discussing an amphibious operation in order to strike at the supply lines from the Jap base at Bangkok. This base is a veritable storehouse for Japan. The whole operation covers a huge territory, and large numbers of ships and men and planes are necessary to carry it out. We must definitely keep China actively in the war.

The President said, in the second place, we hope, by opening the Burma Road and increasing the transportation of supplies by plane into China, we will be in a position to attack Tokyo from China by air this summer. All this is regarding the Southeast Asia operations. But we want to express to you the very great importance not only of keeping China in the war but of being able to get at Japan with the greatest possible speed.

Now to come down to the more important operations which are of immediate concern to the USSR and Great Britain. In the last two or three conferences at Casablanca, Washington and Quebec, we have made many plans. As a matter of fact, about a year and a half ago the major part of our plans were involved in consideration of an expedition against the Axis across the English Channel. Largely because of transportation difficulties we were not able to set a definite date. Not only do we want to get across the English Channel but once we are across, we intend to proceed inland into Germany. It would be impossible to launch such an operation before about 1 May 1944 – it was decided at Quebec. The Channel is such a disagreeable body of water. No matter how unpleasant that body of water might be, however, we still want to get across it.

Mr. Churchill interpolated that we were very glad it was an unpleasant body of water at one time.

We cannot do everything we would like to do in the Mediterranean and also from the United Kingdom, as there is a definite “bottleneck” in the matter [matériel] of war called landing craft. If we were to conduct any large expedition in the Mediterranean, it would be necessary to give up this important cross-Channel operation, and certain contemplated operations in the Mediterranean might result in a delay in OVERLORD for one month or two or three. Therefore, I pray in this military Conference to have the benefit of the opinion of the two Soviet Marshals and that they will inform us how in their opinion we can be of most help to the USSR.

The President said that he felt that even though OVERLORD should be delayed, we can draw more German divisions from the Soviet front by means of that operation than any other. We have the troops in the Mediterranean but there is a shortage of landing craft. We might help the USSR by doing certain immediate operations in the Mediterranean, but we must avoid, if possible, delaying OVERLORD beyond May or June. There were several things we could do: (a) increase the drive into Italy; (b) undertake an operation from the Northeast Adriatic; (c) operations in the Aegean; (d) operations from Turkey. That is what this military conference is concerned with and we want to create a withdrawal of German divisions from the Western Front.

The Prime Minister interpolated “as soon as possible.”

The Prime Minister said we would like to know what we can do that would most gratefully [greatly] help that which the Soviets are doing on their Western Front. He added that we have tried to outline matters in the simplest terms. There are no differences between Great Britain and the United States in point of view except as regards “ways and means.” We would like to reserve any further comments until after we have heard from Marshal Stalin.

Marshal Stalin said, as regards the first part of the President’s remarks, we Soviets welcome your successes in the Pacific. Unfortunately, we have not so far been able to help because we require too much of our forces on the Western Front and are unable to launch any operations against Japan at this time. Our forces now in the East are more or less satisfactory for defense. However, they must be increased about three-fold for purposes of offensive operations. This condition will not take place until Germany has been forced to capitulate. Then by our common front we shall win.

Regarding the second part of the President’s remarks concerning Europe, Marshal Stalin said he had certain comments to make. Firstly, in a few words, he would like to tell how the Soviets are conducting their own operations, especially since they started their advance last July.

Here The Marshal inquired whether he would be taking too much time to discuss the operations on the Soviet front, and The President and Prime Minister both replied emphatically in the negative and requested him to proceed.

Marshal Stalin said that after the German defense had collapsed, they were prepared to start their offensive, i.e., they had accumulated sufficient munitions, supplies and reserves, etc. They passed easily from the defensive into the offensive. As a matter of fact, they did not expect the successes they achieved in July, August, and September. Contrary to the Soviet expectations, the Germans are considerably weakened. At the present time the Germans have on the Soviet front 210 divisions, plus 6 German divisions that are in the process of being furnished for this front. In addition, there are 50 non-German divisions, which include 10 Bulgarian, 20 Finnish, and 16 to 18 Rumanian.

The President asked what the present strength of these divisions was.

Marshal Stalin replied that the Germans considered a normal division to be eight to nine thousand men, not counting the corps troops, anti-aircraft artillery, and so forth. Including these special troops, the divisions totaled about twelve thousand. He said that last year the Germans had 240 divisions on the Soviet front, 179 of which were German. However, this year they have 260 divisions on the Soviet front, 210 of which are German, plus the six that are now moving from the West. The Red Army has 330 divisions opposing the Germans. This Soviet excess of 70 divisions is used for offensive operations. If the excess did not exist, no offensive operations would be possible. However, as time goes on the difference between the German and Soviet strength decreases, particularly as to the result of demolitions which the Germans construct during their withdrawals, which makes supply difficult. As a result, the operations have slowed down, but the Red Army still maintains the initiative. In some sectors the operations have come to a standstill.

Marshal Stalin said that as to the Ukraine, west and south of Kiev, the Germans have taken the initiative. In this sector they have three old and five new tank divisions, plus 22 or 23 infantry or motorized divisions. These are for the purpose of capturing Kiev. Some difficulties may, therefore, be foreseen. All of these factors make it necessary that the Soviets continue operations in the West and remain silent as far as the Far Eastern front is concerned. The above is a description of the Soviet operations during this past summer.

Now a few words as to how the USSR believes the forces of the United States and Great Britain could be best used to help the Soviet front. Possibly this is a mistake, but the USSR has considered the operations in Italy as of great value in order to permit ships to pass through the Mediterranean. As to other large operations against Germany from the Italian front, it is not considered that operations in Italy are of great value to further the war against the Axis. Thus, it is believed that the Italian operations were of great importance in order to produce freedom of navigation, but that now they are of no further great importance as regards the defeat of Germany. There was once a time when the Soviets tried to invade the Alps, but they found it a very difficult operation.

In the USSR it is believed that the most suitable sector for a blow at Germany would be from some place in France – Northwestern France or Southern France. It is thought that Hitler is trying hard now to contain as many Allied divisions in Italy as possible because he knows things cannot be settled here, and Germany is defended by the Alps. It would be a good thing if Turkey could open the way to Germany, and it would then be unnecessary to launch a cross-Channel operation. However, despite the fact that the heart of Germany is far from the Balkans, it would be a better area from which to launch an attack than from Italy. Soviet military authorities believe it would be better to use Northern France for invasion purposes, but it must be expected that the Germans will fight like devils to prevent such an attack.

The Prime Minister then said that the British had long agreed with the United States that an invasion of North and Northwestern France across the Channel should be undertaken. At the present time preparations for such an operation are absorbing the major part of our energies and resources. He said it would take a long statement to explain why the U.S. and U.K. have not been able to strike against France in 1943, but that they are resolved to do so in 1944. In 1943 operations in Africa and across the Mediterranean were the best that could be accomplished in view of the limitations imposed by the lack of shipping and landing craft. He said that the United States and Great Britain had set before themselves the object of carrying an army into France in the late spring or early summer of 1944. The forces set up for this operation amount to 16 British divisions and 19 U.S. divisions, a total of 35. It must be remembered, however, that these divisions are almost twice as strong as the German divisions. The enterprise will involve a force of a million men being placed into France in 1944.

At this point Marshal Stalin stated that he had not wished to imply that the Mediterranean operations had been unimportant.

The Prime Minister said he was very grateful for the Marshal’s courtesy, but both he and the President had never regarded the Mediterranean operations as more than a stepping stone to the main offensive against Germany. He said that after the British 16 divisions had been committed, there would be no more British divisions available for the operations. The entire British manpower would be necessary to maintain the divisions thus committed in France and elsewhere throughout the world. The remaining buildup for the offensive against Germany would rest with the United States. The Prime Minister said, however, that the summer of 1944 is far away. This particular operation is six months away. It is asked now what can be done in the meanwhile that will be of more use and take more weight off the USSR, possibly without delaying OVERLORD more than a month or two. Already seven of the best divisions have been withdrawn from the Mediterranean for OVERLORD and many landing craft have already gone or are being collected together. These withdrawals, plus bad weather, have resulted in our great disappointment at not now being in Rome. However, it is hoped to be there in January. General Alexander, who is commanding these operations under the direction of General Eisenhower, feels that that offensive might result in completely cutting off the 10 or 12 divisions now opposing the Anglo-American forces. This would result from amphibious operations, flanking movements, which would cut off their lines of withdrawal.

The United States and the British have not come to any decision regarding plans for going into the Valley of the Po or for trying to invade Germany from Northern Italy. It was felt that when the Pisa-Rimini line should be reached we could then look toward Southern France or the Adriatic. It would be possible to use sea power in order to open the way.

The Prime Minister said, however, that the operations referred to above were not enough. Ways of doing much more were now being talked of. Splendid things had been accomplished in Yugoslavia by Tito, who is doing much more than Mihailovich had accomplished. There were no plans to put a large army into Yugoslavia, but a blow could be struck at the Germans by means of assisting the Tito forces through increased supplies.

The Prime Minister said that one of the greatest things under consideration was the matter of bringing Turkey into the war, persuading her in, and opening the communications into the Dardanelles, Bosphorus and the Black Sea. Such operation would make possible an attack on Rhodes and other islands in the Aegean. The above would have a very important effect in that it would be possible for convoys to supply the USSR through that route and these convoys could be maintained continuously. At the present time four convoys are scheduled via the northern routes, but it will not be possible to send more because of the necessity of utilizing the escorts for the OVERLORD buildup.

The Prime Minister said one of the most important questions is how Turkey can be persuaded to come into the war. What should be done about this matter? If Turkey should enter the war, should she be asked to attack Bulgaria or should her forces stop on the Thrace front? What would be the effect of Turkey’s action on Bulgaria? What do the Soviets think Bulgaria would do in the event of Turkey’s coming into the war? How would Turkey’s entry into the war affect Rumania and Hungary? Would not Turkey’s entry into the war and consequent operations in the Aegean bring about a political “turnover” and force a German evacuation of Greece? It would be appreciated if the Soviets would let us know their opinion, political as well as military, on the above questions.

Marshal Stalin said with regard to the remark of the Prime Minister as to whether it was thought Bulgaria would remember the Soviet action in freeing her from the Turks – the liberation of Bulgaria has not been forgotten.

The Prime Minister continued that the objective of operations which were contemplated in the Eastern Mediterranean was to support the Soviets provided the USSR considered the matter of sufficient interest for these operations to be undertaken – even if it meant as much as about two months’ delay in OVERLORD. Until it is known how the Soviets feel about Turkish and Aegean operations, the matter cannot be definitely decided. The U.S. and U.K. can only decide this point after consulting with the USSR.

The President said that possibly an entry through the Northeastern Adriatic for offensive operations against Germany in the direction of the Danube would be of value. Such operations were being considered together with a movement into Southern France. Plans for these operations had not been worked out in detail. Such plans would be based, of course, on the assumption that the Red Army would at the same time be approaching Odessa. It was thought, however, that it would be desirable to have a subcommittee go into the details of this matter.

The Prime Minister said that if the Anglo-American forces take Rome and break up the German formation south of the Apennines, they would then have the choice of proceeding to Southern France or eastward across the Adriatic.

Marshal Stalin said that he understood it would require 35 divisions to invade France. Did these include the forces to be used in the Mediterranean?

The Prime Minister indicated that the Mediterranean forces were entirely separate from those included in the OVERLORD buildup. Pie added that after the Italians had been defeated in Italy there remained the possibility of an attack against Southern France or across the Adriatic in the direction of Hungary and the Danube. Entirely separate from the OVERLORD buildup there would be 22 divisions available in the Mediterranean; these should all be used. However, it was not possible to move more than seven of them to the OVERLORD buildup because of a lack of shipping. Pie explained again that the OVERLORD buildup was to include 16 British and 19 American divisions; that once the 16 British divisions had been committed there would be no more British divisions available. However, the United States would continue to pour divisions into France as fast as they could be shipped across the Atlantic until a total force of 50 to 60 divisions had been reached. He pointed out, incidentally, the British and American divisions with their necessary supporting troops could be roughly estimated at 40,000 men each.

The Prime Minister also spoke of the large air forces being assembled in England. The present RAF has about reached its maximum strength and [will?] be maintained at this strength in the future. However, it is contemplated that the American Air Forces in England will be doubled or tripled in the next six months. The U.S. has already shipped a million tons of stores to the United Kingdom in preparation for the OVERLORD operation. Mr. Churchill said that the President and he would be delighted to have the whole schedule of the OVERLORD buildup, both as to personnel and supply, presented to the Soviet authorities and answer any questions which they might have on this subject. He added that the schedule so prepared is being carried out.

Marshal Stalin said it seemed to him that in addition to the operations to capture Rome and in addition to those envisaged for the Adriatic, an operation in Southern France was contemplated.

The Prime Minister replied it was hoped that an operation against Southern France might be carried out as a diversion for OVERLORD but that detailed plans for such an operation had not been worked out.

Marshal Stalin asked if Turkey enters the war will Anglo-American forces be allocated to assist them?

The Prime Minister said that speaking for himself, two or three divisions would be required to take the islands in the Aegean that control communications to Turkey, that 20 squadrons of fighter aircraft and several regiments of anti-aircraft artillery could also be supplied by the British without seriously affecting other operations in the Mediterranean.

Marshal Stalin then said that the Anglo-American presentation was clear to him and indicated that he would like to make some comments. He said that it was not worthwhile to scatter the British and American forces. The plans presented seemed to indicate that part would be sent to Turkey, part to be utilized in Southern France, part in Northern France and part for operations across the Adriatic. He suggested that OVERLORD be accepted as a basis for operations in 1944 and other operations should be considered as diversionary. He thought that after Rome had been captured there might be a chance for an operation against Southern France from Corsica, in which event the OVERLORD forces plus the Southern France invasion force could establish contact in France. This, he thought, would be a much better operation than to scatter forces in several areas distant from each other. He considered that France was the weakest of all German-occupied areas. He added that he had no hopes of Turkey entering the war and in fact was convinced that she would not, in spite of all pressure that might be exerted.

The Prime Minister said that he and the President had understood that the Soviet authorities wanted Turkey to come into the war. They were prepared to make every effort to persuade or force her to do so.

Marshal Stalin said the Soviets do want Turkey to enter the war but he felt that she could not be taken in by “the scruff of the neck.”

The Prime Minister said that he agreed that the Anglo-American forces should not be scattered but that the operations he had outlined in the Eastern Mediterranean would require only three or four of a total of 25 divisions that might be available. He thought that this could be accomplished without seriously affecting the main operations of OVERLORD. Most of the operations would be done by divisions from the Middle East. The air power necessary to assist Turkey would be taken from that now protecting Egypt and thus they would be brought into a better position to strike at the enemy.

The Prime Minister said he dreaded the six months’ idleness between the capture of Rome and the mounting of OVERLORD. Hence, he believed that secondary operations should be considered in order to deploy forces available.

Marshal Stalin said he would like to express another opinion, i.e., that he believed OVERLORD has the greatest possibilities. This would particularly be the case if OVERLORD operations were supported by another offensive movement from Southern France. He believed that the Allies should be prepared to remain on the defensive in Italy and thus release 10 divisions for operations in Southern France. Within two or three months after operations commenced in Southern France and the German forces had thus been diverted, the time would be propitious to start an operation in the North of France such as OVERLORD. Under these conditions the success of OVERLORD would be assured. Rome might then be captured at a later date.

The Prime Minister observed that we should be no stronger if we did not capture Rome. If the airfields north of Rome are not secured it would be impracticable to place adequate aircraft for an attack on Southern France. He said it would be difficult for him to agree not to take Rome this January. He added that failure to do so would be considered as a crushing defeat, and that the House of Commons would feel that he was failing to use his British forces in full support of the Soviet ally. He said that in this event he felt it would be no longer possible for him to represent his government.

Marshal Stalin suggested that an operation against Southern France might be undertaken and given air cover from bases on Corsica.

The Prime Minister said that it would take considerable time to construct the necessary airfields on the Island of Corsica.

The President said that Marshal Stalin’s proposals concerning Southern France were of considerable interest to him. He would like to have the Planners make a study of the possibilities of this operation. The question of relative timing in the Eastern Mediterranean with reference to these operations posed a very serious question. The point was whether it would be better to go into the Eastern Mediterranean and delay OVERLORD for one or two months or to attack France one or two months before the first of May and then conduct OVERLORD on the original date. He was particularly desirous that this operation not be delayed if it were possible to avoid it.

Marshal Stalin said as the result of the Soviet experience in the past two years they have come to the conclusion that a large offensive from one direction is unwise. The Red Army usually attacks from two directions, forcing the enemy to move his reserves from one front to the other. As the two offensives converge the power of the whole offensive increases. Such would be the case in simultaneous operations from Southern and Northern France.

The Prime Minister said he agreed with the views expressed by Marshal Stalin but did not feel that his proposals concerning Turkey and Yugoslavia were inconsistent with them. He wished to go on record as saying that it would be difficult and impossible to sacrifice all activity in the Mediterranean in order to keep an exact date for OVERLORD. There would be 20 divisions which could not be moved out of the Mediterranean because of a lack of shipping. These should be used to stretch Germany to the utmost. He expressed the hope that careful and earnest consideration should be given to making certain that operations in the Mediterranean were not injured solely for the purpose of keeping the May date for OVERLORD. He added that agreement between the three powers was necessary and would be reached but he hoped that all factors would be given careful and patient consideration before decisions were reached. He suggested meditating on the discussions of the first meeting and reviewing them at the meeting of the next day.

The President said he thought it would be a good idea for the staff to immediately conduct a study on the operations against Southern France.

The Prime Minister agreed that the staff should investigate plans for operations against Southern France but added that they should also work on Turkey.

Marshal Stalin agreed that it would be well to continue consideration of these matters the next day. He had not expected that the conference would deal with purely military questions and therefore they had not brought a large military staff. He added, however, that Marshal Voroshiloff was present and would be available for military discussions.

The Prime Minister asked how the question of Turkish entry into the war should be considered. He asked if she could be brought in, what she should be expected to do in the event that she did come in and what the cost of her entry would be to the three powers concerned.

Marshal Stalin said that the entry of Turkey into the war was both a political and a military question. Turkey must take pride in the policy of entry from the point of view of friendship. The British and the United States should use their influence to persuade Turkey to help. In this way it would be impossible for Turkey to maintain her position as a neutral and continue to play fast and loose between our side and the Axis. It was his opinion that if it were not possible to induce Turkey to enter the war as a matter of friendship, she should not enter. Marshal Stalin added that all neutral states, including Turkey, look upon belligerents as fools. We must prove to them that if they do not enter this war, they will not reap the benefits of the victory.

The Prime Minister observed that Christmas time would be a dangerous season for Turkey. He added that he proposed submitting a paper which he would present before the conference, containing six or seven questions which should be answered in order to clarify the Turkish situation.

The President said that he would do all he could to persuade the President of Turkey to enter the war. However, he felt personally that Turkey would ask such a high price for her entry as a belligerent that OVERLORD would be jeopardized.

Marshal Stalin said that the Turks have not yet answered the proposals already made to them but that he expected their reply would be in the negative.

The Prime Minister said that Turkey would be mad not to accept the Soviet invitation to join the winning side. If she failed to align herself with us, she would certainly loose [lose] the sympathy of the British people and almost certainly of the American people.

Marshal Stalin observed that “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” The Turks are now inactive and they should help us.

The Conferees then agreed that the plenary session should be held at 1600 the following day.

The President observed that it would be desirable to have a military conference first.

It was agreed that a military conference should be held at 1030 the following day, that Marshal Voroshiloff should represent the USSR, Admiral Leahy and General Marshall should represent the USA and General Brooke and Air Marshal Portal should represent Great Britain.


Tripartite dinner meeting, 8:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom Soviet Union
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill Marshal Stalin
Mr. Hopkins Foreign Secretary Eden Foreign Commissar Molotov
Mr. Harriman Sir Archibald Clark Kerr Mr. Pavlov
Mr. Bohlen Major Birse

Bohlen Minutes

November 28, 1943, 8:30 p.m.

During the first part of the dinner the conversation between the President and Marshal Stalin was general in character and dealt for the most part with a suitable place for the next meeting. Fairbanks seemed to be considered by both the most suitable spot.

Marshal Stalin then raised the question of the future of France. He described in considerable length the reasons why, in his opinion, France deserved no considerate treatment from the Allies and, above all, had no right to retain her former empire. He said that the entire French ruling class was rotten to the core and had delivered over France to the Germans and that, in fact, France was now actively helping our enemies. He therefore felt that it would be not only unjust but dangerous to leave in French hands any important strategic points after the war.

The President replied that he in part agreed with Marshal Stalin. That was why this afternoon he had said to Marshal Stalin that it was necessary to eliminate in the future government of France anybody over forty years old and particularly anybody who had formed part of the French Government. He mentioned specifically the question of New Caledonia and Dakar, the first of which he said represented a threat to Australia and New Zealand and, therefore, should be placed under the trusteeship of the United Nations. In regard to Dakar, the President said he was speaking for twenty-one American nations when he said that Dakar in unsure hands was a direct threat to the Americas.

Mr. Churchill at this point intervened to say that Great Britain did not desire and did not expect to acquire any additional territory out of this war, but since the 4 great victorious nations – the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and China – will be responsible for the future peace of the world, it was obviously necessary that certain strategic points throughout the world should be under the [their?] control.

Marshal Stalin again repeated and emphasized his view that France could not be trusted with any strategic possessions outside her own border in the post-war period. He described the ideology of the Vichy Ambassador to Moscow, Bergery, which he felt was characteristic of the majority of French politicians. This ideology definitely preferred an agreement with France’s former enemy, Germany, than with her former allies, Great Britain and the United States.

The conversation then turned to the question of the treatment to be accorded Nazi Germany.

The President said that, in his opinion, it was very important not to leave in the German mind the concept of the Reich and that the very word should be stricken from the language.

Marshal Stalin replied that it was not enough to eliminate the word, but the very Reich itself must be rendered impotent ever again to plunge the world into war. He said that unless the victorious Allies retained in their hands the strategic positions necessary to prevent any recrudescence of German militarism, they would have failed in their duty.

In the detailed discussion between the President, Marshal Stalin and Churchill that followed Marshal Stalin took the lead, constantly emphasizing that the measures for the control of Germany and her disarmament were insufficient to prevent the rebirth of German militarism and appeared to favor even stronger measures. He, however, did not specify what he actually had in mind except that he appeared to favor the dismemberment of Germany.

Marshal Stalin particularly mentioned that Poland should extend to the Oder and stated definitely that the Russians would help the Poles to obtain a frontier on the Oder.

The President then said he would be interested in the question of assuring the approaches to the Baltic Sea and had in mind some form of trusteeship with perhaps an international state in the vicinity of the Kiel Canal to insure free navigation in both directions through the approaches. Due to some error of the Soviet translator Marshal Stalin apparently thought that the President was referring to the question of the Baltic States. On the basis of this understanding, he replied categorically that the Baltic States had by an expression of the will of the people voted to join the Soviet Union and that this question was not therefore one for discussion. Following the clearing up of the misapprehension, he, however, expressed himself favorably in regard to the question of insuring free navigation to and from the Baltic Sea.

The President, returning to the question of certain outlying possessions, said he was interested in the possibility of a sovereignty fashioned in a collective body such as the United Nations; a concept which had never been developed in past history.

After dinner when the President had retired, the conversation continued between Marshal Stalin and Mr. Churchill. The subject was still the treatment to be accorded to Germany, and even more than during dinner Marshal Stalin appeared to favor the strongest possible measures against Germany.

Mr. Churchill said that he advocated that Germany be permitted no aviation of any character – neither military or civilian – and in addition that the German general staff system should be completely abolished. He proposed a number of other measures of control such as constant supervision over such industries as might be left to Germany and territorial dismemberment of the Reich.

Marshal Stalin to all of these considerations expressed doubt as to whether they would be effective. He said that any furniture factories could be transformed into airplane factories and any watch factories could make fuses for shells. He said, in his opinion, the Germans were very able and talented people and could easily revive within fifteen or twenty years and again become a threat to the world. He said that he had personally questioned German prisoners in the Soviet Union as to why they had burst into Russian homes, killed Russian women, etc., and that the only reply he had received was they had been ordered to do so.

Mr. Churchill said that he could not look more than fifty years ahead and that he felt that upon the three nations represented here at Teheran rested the grave responsibility of future measures of assuring in some manner or other that Germany would not again rise to plague the world during the [that?] period. He said that he felt it was largely the fault of the German leaders and that, while during war time no distinction could be made between the leaders and the people particularly in regard to Germany, nevertheless, with a generation of self-sacrificing, toil and education, something might be done with the German people.

Marshal Stalin expressed dissent with this and did not appear satisfied as to the efficacy of any of the measures proposed by Mr. Churchill.

Mr. Churchill then inquired whether it would be possible this evening to discuss the question of Poland. He said that Great Britain had gone to war with Germany because of the latter’s invasion of Poland in 1939 and that the British Government was committed to the reestablishment of a strong and independent Poland but not to any specific Polish frontiers. He added that if Marshal Stalin felt any desire to discuss the question of Poland, that he was prepared to do so and he was sure that the President was similarly disposed.

Marshal Stalin said that he had not yet felt the necessity nor the desirability of discussing the Polish question.

After an exchange of remarks on this subject from which it developed that the Marshal had in mind that nothing that the Prime Minister had said on the subject of Poland up to the present stimulated him to discuss the question, the conversation returned to the substance of the Polish question.

Mr. Churchill said that he personally had no attachment to any specific frontier between Poland and the Soviet Union; that he felt that the consideration of Soviet security on their western frontiers was a governing factor. He repeated, however, that the British Government considered themselves committed to the reestablishment of an independent and strong Poland which he felt a necessary instrument in the European orchestra.

Mr. Eden then inquired if he had understood the Marshal correctly at dinner when the latter said that the Soviet Union favored the Polish western frontier on the Oder.

Marshal Stalin replied emphatically that he did favor such a frontier for Poland and repeated that the Russians were prepared to help the Poles achieve it.

Mr. Churchill then remarked that it would be very valuable if here in Teheran the representatives of the three governments could work out some agreed understanding on the question of the Polish frontiers which could then be taken up with the Polish Government in London. He said that, as far as he was concerned, he would like to see Poland moved westward in the same manner as soldiers at drill execute the drill “left close” and illustrated his point with three matches representing the Soviet Union, Poland and Germany.

Marshal Stalin agreed that it would be a good idea to reach an understanding on this question but said it was necessary to look into the matter further.

The conversation broke up on this note.

Bohlen Supplementary Memorandum

November 28, 1943, 8:30 p.m.

Memorandum of Marshal Stalin’s views

During dinner and afterwards Marshal Stalin kept returning to the following subjects:

Treatment to be accorded Germany
In regard to Germany, Marshal Stalin appeared to regard all measures proposed by either the President or Churchill for the subjugation and for the control of Germany as inadequate. He on various occasions sought to induce the President or the Prime Minister to go further in expressing their views as to the stringency of the measures which should be applied to Germany. He appeared to have no faith in the possibility of the reform of the German people and spoke bitterly of the attitude of the German workers in the war against the Soviet Union. As evidence of the fundamental German devotion to legality he cited the occasion in 1907 when he was in Leipzig when 200 German workers failed to appear at an important mass meeting because there was no controller at the station platform to punch their tickets which would permit them to leave the station. He seemed to think that this mentality of discipline and obedience could not be changed.

He said that Hitler was a very able man but not basically intelligent, lacking in culture and with a primitive approach to political and other problems. He did not share the view of the President that Hitler was mentally unbalanced and emphasized that only a very able man could accomplish what Hitler had done in solidifying the German people whatever we thought of the methods. Although he did not specifically say so, it was apparent from his remarks that he considered that Hitler through his stupidity in attacking the Soviet Union had thrown away all the fruits of his previous victories.

As a wartime measure Marshal Stalin questioned the advisability of the unconditional surrender principle with no definition of the exact terms which would be imposed upon Germany. He felt that to leave the principle of unconditional surrender unclarified merely served to unite the German people, whereas to draw up specific terms, no matter how harsh, and tell the German people that this was what they would have to accept, would, in his opinion, hasten the day of German capitulation.

France and the French Empire
Throughout the evening Marshal Stalin kept reverting to the thesis that the French nation, and in particular its leaders and ruling classes, were rotten and deserved to be punished for their criminal collaboration with Nazi Germany. In particular he reiterated that France should not be given back her Empire. He took issue with the Prime Minister when the latter stated that France had been a defeated nation and had suffered the horrors of occupation, and denied that France had been in effect defeated. On the contrary their leaders had surrendered the country and “opened the front” to the German armies. He cited as characteristic of French political thinking the views of Bergery, former Vichy Ambassador to Moscow. Bergery had felt that the future of France lay in close association with Nazi Germany and not in association with Great Britain and the United States. When the Prime Minister stated that he could not conceive of a civilized world without a flourishing and lively France, Marshal Stalin somewhat contemptuously replied that France could be a charming and pleasant country but could not be allowed to play any important role in the immediate post war world. He characterized de Gaulle as a representative of a symbolic and not a real France but one who nevertheless acted as though he was the head of a great power. He appeared to attach little importance to de Gaulle as a real factor in political or other matters.

Both in regard to German and French questions Stalin was obviously trying to stimulate discussion and to ascertain the exact views of the President and Prime Minister on these questions without, however, stating clearly what solutions he himself proposed. On all questions of future general security which arose in the discussion of the French and German questions he appeared desirous to ascertain exactly what form of security organization would be developed after the war and how far the United States and British governments were prepared to go in implementing the police power of such an organization.

President Roosevelt’s log of the trip

Sunday, November 28 (at Tehran)

During the forenoon Ambassadors Winant and Harriman, Generals Ismay, Connolly and Hurley called at the American Legation.
9:30 a.m. Marshal Stalin sent word through Ambassador Harriman that he was concerned about the distance that separated the American Legation from the Russian Embassy compound, because it was well known that the city of Tehran was filled with Axis sympathizers and that an unhappy incident might occur to any of the Heads of State driving through the city to visit each other. Ambassador Harriman pointed out that if we persisted in our refusal to accept quarters in the Russian compound we would be responsible for any injury that Marshal Stalin might suffer in driving through the town to consult with President Roosevelt. Mr. Harriman emphasized that the city of Tehran had been under complete German control only a few months before and that the risk of assassination of Mr. Churchill and Marshal Stalin while coming to visit President Roosevelt was very real. He said that the Russians offered a part of their Embassy that would be under a separate roof and we would have complete independence but that it would bring the three Heads of State so close together that there would be no need for any of them to drive about town. The President accepted the Russian invitation and announced that he would make the move to the Russian Embassy, taking with him his own servants, at 3:00 p.m.
11:20 a.m. The President worked on official mail that had just arrived from Washington. No Congressional matter contained in this mail.
11:30 a.m. The President met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Admiral Leahy, General Marshall, Admiral King, General Arnold, Captain Royal and Lieut-Colonel McCarthy). This meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m. The President, Admiral Leahy, Mr. Hopkins and Major Boettiger left the American Legation by auto for the Russian Embassy to live there as guests of the Russian Government. While the President and his party occupied the main building of the Embassy, Marshal Stalin and his party lived in one of the smaller houses within the Russian Embassy compound. The British Legation was just one block distant. After seeing the President comfortably quartered at the Russian Embassy, Admirals Brown and McIntire and General Watson returned to the American Legation so as to continue the impression of occupancy of those quarters by the President and his party.
3:15 p.m. Immediately following the President’s arrival at the Russian Embassy, Marshal Stalin, accompanied by Mr. Pavlov (his interpreter), called on the President and they had a long private talk. This was the first meeting of these two distinguished gentlemen. After Marshal Stalin departed, Commissar Molotov called on the President.
4:00 p.m. The President, Prime Minister Churchill and Marshal Stalin, with their respective military staffs and other delegates, met at the Russian Embassy. This was the first joint meeting of these gentlemen.
. . . . . . .
NOTE: Generals Marshall and Arnold were not present due to a misunderstanding as to the time of the meeting. The meeting had been called on very short notice and at the time General Marshall and General Arnold were on an auto tour of the city of Tehran.
7:20 p.m. The meeting of the President, the Prime Minister and Marshal Stalin, together with their military staffs and other delegates, adjourned.
7:30 p.m. The President summoned Lieutenant (jg.) Rigdon and worked on official mail that had arrived during the day. He signed Congressional bills S321, S364, S1336, S1354 and a proclamation entitled “Capture of Prizes.”
8:30 p.m. The President was host at dinner in his quarters at the Russian Embassy to the Prime Minister, Marshal Stalin, Sir [Mr.] Anthony Eden, Ambassador Harriman, Mr. Charles E. Bohlen, Ambassador Clark Kerr, Major Birse, Commissar Molotov and Mr. Pavlov. After dinner, this group discussed conference matters until 11:00 p.m.
NOTE: Much credit is due the President’s Filipino mess boys for the success of the dinner this evening. They prepared the entire meal under a real handicap. They had moved into a virtually empty room at the Russian Embassy at 4:00 p.m. Ranges and much kitchen equipment had first to be installed before they could even begin the preparation of the meal. But with their resourcefulness they saw it done and came through with the meal in their usual fine style.
General Watson spent the day today paying up his many “unfortunate” football bets. The Navy defeated the Army at football yesterday (13–0) and permitted practically everyone in the party to fatten his purse at the General’s expense.

U.S. State Department (November 29, 1943)

Tripartite military meeting, 10:30 a.m.

United States United Kingdom Soviet Union
Admiral Leahy General Brooke Marshal Voroshilov
General Marshall Air Chief Marshal Portal Mr. Pavlov, Interpreter
Colonel McFarland, Secretary Brigadier Redman, Secretary
Captain Ware, Interpreter Captain Lunghi, Interpreter

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 29, 1943, 10:30 a.m.

General Sir Alan Brooke expressed his pleasure at being able to sit down at a table around which were gathered the military representatives of the U.S., the U.K., and the USSR. He said that he would run through a brief account of the war as seen by the British representatives at the present moment and then examine the relation of the OVERLORD operation to the other parts of the war effort.

He thought that one of the most important things at the present time was to keep the German divisions actively engaged. For this reason, the British were interested in stopping the movement to the Russian front of all the German divisions which it was possible to hold. OVERLORD would engage a large number of German divisions, but it could not possibly be mounted until 1 May at the very earliest date. Therefore, there would ensue, between the present time and the launching of OVERLORD, a period of some five or six months during which something must be done to keep the German divisions engaged. It was therefore desired to take full advantage of the forces now established in the Mediterranean area.

At this point General Brooke expressed the hope that General Marshall would interrupt his statement if anything was said with which General Marshall did not agree or on which he wished to offer any comment.

Continuing his account of the war, General Brooke said that for the reasons already stated, all the plans on which we have been working have been designed to deploy the maximum forces on all fronts. Pointing out on a map the present location of the Italian Front, he said that on that line we are assembling the forces in Italy necessary to drive the Germans to the north. There are some 23 German divisions now in Italy, part of them in the south and a part of them in the north. The present conception is to assemble sufficient forces to drive the Germans from their present line to a line north of Rome. To do this it would be necessary to employ amphibious forces around the German flanks (pointing to the west flank), and by these operations it was hoped to engage the 11 or 12 German divisions in the south, render them inoperative, and force the Germans to relieve them. By these means we should be able to contain the German divisions now present in Italy and to reduce their efficiency.

Turning to Yugoslavia, General Brooke said that since the withdrawal of Italian forces there, the Germans have found it difficult to maintain their communications in that country. Therefore, full advantage must be taken of all opportunities to increase the German difficulties in Yugoslavia by assisting the Partisans. It is desired to organize a system by which arms can be supplied to them and air assistance rendered as well.

General Brooke said that there were now some 21 German divisions deployed in Yugoslavia as far down as the Grecian border. Replying to an indication from Marshal Voroshilov that he did not quite agree with these figures, he stated that this was his information and that he would ask the British Intelligence to check the accuracy of his figures. He said that there were also 8 Bulgarian divisions in addition to the German divisions in the Yugoslav area.

With reference to Turkey, General Brooke said that, looking at Turkey from a military point of view and omitting all political considerations, we see a great military advantage in getting Turkey into the war. By this we shall have an opportunity of opening the sea communications through the Dardanelles. By doing this, the position of Bulgaria and Rumania will become more difficult and the chances of getting them out of the war will be greatly increased. There will also be opened up the possibility of establishing a supply line to Russia through the Dardanelles.

By establishing airdromes in Turkey, it will be possible to launch bombing attacks on German oil establishments in eastern Europe. The shortening of the sea route to Russia will save shipping and thereby assist greatly in the general shipping shortage. In order to open sea communications through the Dardanelles, it is considered that it will be necessary to capture some of the Dodecanese Islands, beginning with Rhodes. With airdromes established in Turkey and with Turkish help, it was not believed that this would be a difficult task nor that it would detract from other operations.

General Brooke said that we have in the Mediterranean now a certain number of landing craft for special operations. These landing craft would be required for the operations he had outlined, and their retention for these operations would require the retarding of the date set for OVERLORD. The landing craft are being used to maintain and build up the forces now in Italy. By the operations he had outlined we should be able to hold and destroy the German forces now in the Mediterranean area while awaiting the date for OVERLORD.

He considered it also of great importance to establish airdromes to the north of Rome in order to bring bombing to bear on German installations. He said that this air operation in conjunction with the operations now being carried on from England would play a great part in the conduct of the whole war.

He pointed out that air attacks were now containing about a million men now held in Germany solely by reason of the bomber offensive. He said that if we adopt defensive operations in Italy now, as had been suggested at yesterday’s conference, we should still have to maintain strong forces in Italy in order to contain the German forces there. Therefore, there would be left over only very limited forces for the operation against the coast of Southern France. In addition, the landing craft available for that operation would be limited to a very small assault force.

General Brooke said that he agreed with Marshal Stalin’s pincer strategy of two cooperating forces whenever such a strategy was possible but he thought that this strategy was better when based on land instead of on long sea communications. In the latter case, the two forces are not sufficiently self-supporting. It is not easy to reinforce one from the other or to keep a reserve from which to reinforce either from a central point. The building up of land forces by sea is a lengthy business.

General Brooke said that if the attack against Southern France were launched two months prior to OVERLORD, that it was certain to be defeated before OVERLORD starts. He said that a more nearly simultaneous execution of these operations would be required and also that large numbers of landing craft would be necessary. However, it had been considered that during OVERLORD a small landing might be made in Southern France to draw German forces away from the larger operation.

He said that the difficulties and dangers for OVERLORD would develop during the building up of the forces. It was possible to assault the French coast only with some three or four divisions and the process of building up to 35 divisions would be long and difficult. During this period, it was imperative that the Germans should not be able to concentrate large forces against the operation.

General Brooke said that this concluded a rough outline of the projected land operations and that Air Marshal Sir Charles Portal would explain the air aspects of the operations.

Air Marshal Portal inquired as to whether he should, in his comments, cover the U.S. air operations or whether General Marshall would do this.

In reply, General Marshall requested Air Marshal Portal to cover the entire operations and said that he would elaborate as necessary.

In response to Marshal Voroshilov’s request that the U.S. representatives give their comments on the land operations before the taking up of the air aspects, Admiral Leahy requested General Marshall to state the U.S. views.

General Marshall said that he should first explain the purely American point of view of this stage of the war. He pointed out that the U.S. now has a going war on two fronts, the Pacific and the Atlantic, and this fact of two major operations at one time presents a dilemma. In contrast to the usual difficulties of war, there is no lack of troops and no lack of supplies. There are now more than fifty divisions in the United States which we wish to deploy as soon as possible in addition to those already overseas. The military problem, therefore, resolves itself almost entirely into a question of shipping and landing craft. While this is, of course, an exaggeration, it might almost be said that we have reached the point of having to ignore strategy in order to advance communications. Our great desire is to bring these troops into action as soon as possible.

When we speak of landing craft we mean, most of all, special craft for the transport of motor vehicles and tanks. As the Chief of the Imperial General Staff has already stated, our problem in the Mediterranean is largely one of landing craft, and of those landing crafty we are particularly concerned with the special craft for transporting motor vehicles.

General Marshall said that he wished to repeat and emphasize that there was no lack of troops or of supplies. He said we are deeply interested in the length of voyages, the length of time required in ports, and the overall time for the turnaround. Our air forces had been sent overseas just as soon as they had been trained and hence, the air battle was far more advanced than the situation on land. One of the delays in the buildup of land forces in Italy had been the getting in of air support and the necessary ground troops to maintain it.

General Marshall said that one reason for favoring OVERLORD from the start is that it is the shortest oversea transport route. After the initial success, transports will be sent directly from the United States to the French ports because there are about sixty divisions in the United States to be put into OVERLORD.

As to the Mediterranean factors in the situation, General Marshall said that no definite conclusions have been reached up to the present as to further operations, pending the results of this conference. The question now before us is: What do we do in the next three months, and then in the next six months? He pointed out that what was done in the second period would necessarily depend on the decisions made in the first period.

General Marshall said he would like to repeat the statement made by General Brooke that it is considered dangerous to launch an operation against the coast of Southern France a long time (that is, what we consider a long time) prior to OVERLORD. On the other hand, action in Southern France has been considered and planned on as very important for the support of the operation in Northwestern France. He said that at the present moment he and his U.S. colleagues feel that from two to three weeks should be the maximum limit for launching this operation in advance of OVERLORD.

General Marshall said he wished to point out, in addition to what General Brooke had said, that the destruction of ports imposes an initial and serious delay in getting heavy equipment and ammunition ashore, and it is necessary that we assume in our planning that the ports will be destroyed. Our engineers have accomplished marvels in restoring the damaged ports but despite this, a considerable period of dangerous delay inevitably follows the initial assault. He illustrated this by reference to the U.S. experience in Salerno, a comparatively small landing. In the first 18 days there had been landed over the beaches a total of 108,000 tons of supplies, 30,000 motor vehicles and 189,000 troops. He wished to emphasize that all of this had to be done over the beaches and that none of it came through a port. The U.S. was fortunate, of course, to have had during this period a very slight enemy air reaction.

General Marshall said that the difficulty in such an operation is to get sufficient fighter air cover. In almost every case it had been found, therefore, that an additional operation was necessary in order to get the airfields for this fighter cover.

In answer to a question from Marshal Voroshilov as to how long it had taken to land the men and material just enumerated, General Marshall said it had required 18 days; thereafter a port had been secured. Then, beginning with an initial entry of 2,000 tons of supplies, the intake through the port was increased more and more as the demolished equipment was rehabilitated until it was possible to take care of all requirements in this manner.

In summarizing, General Marshall said that he wished to emphasize that shipping and landing craft, with the provision of fighter air cover, are the problems for which we have to find solutions in order to decide the question of Mediterranean operations. He added that over Salerno fighter aircraft had had only 15 or 20 minutes of actual combat flying time.

Marshal Voroshilov remarked that for OVERLORD this would be a very short time.

General Marshall replied that a total combat time of 30 minutes had been planned for OVERLORD.

In reply to Marshal Voroshilov’s statement that he did not think this was sufficient time, Air Marshal Portal explained that the 30 minutes was not measured from takeoff to landing but was the actual time in which the fighter planes were actually engaged over the battle area.

In reply to Marshal Voroshilov’s question as to what fighters were envisaged as being in this area, Air Marshal Portal said that these would be the high-performance fighters, like the British Spitfires and American P-51s and P-38s. He explained that the long-range fighters were not so suitable against the German defenses as the short-range.

General Marshall said that in the Mediterranean we face the problem of where to employ our available landing craft. If we undertake certain operations, OVERLORD will inevitably be delayed. If we confine ourselves to reduced operations in the Mediterranean for the next three or four months, this course entails the least interference with OVERLORD. He repeated that the problem is not a lack of troops or of equipment. He would like Marshal Voroshilov to understand that at the present time the U.S. has landing operations going on at five different places in the Pacific, all of which involve landing craft, and that four more similar operations were due to be launched in January.

Admiral Leahy said that he thought the best procedure now would fee to have Air Marshal Portal discuss the air aspects of operations and then to ask Marshal Voroshilov to present any comments or advice he may have.

Air Marshal Portal said that he would speak only of the air war in Europe other than on the battle fronts. He said that the air offensive against Germany was being waged on an ever-increasing scale from the U.K.; from the Mediterranean it was just beginning. As to the scale of attack, the British and Americans together were launching from 15,000 to 20,000 tons of bombs per month on German communications, installations, and battle industry. Our immediate objective is the destruction of the plants and factories on which German battle industry depends. If we can do this and inflict heavy casualties on German fighters, we hope to be able to range over all Germany and destroy one by one every important installation on which the German war effort depends.

The battle is heavy, with heavy losses on both sides. The Germans clearly realize their danger if our plans succeed. This is assured by the disposition of their forces in order to counter our attacks. For instance, for the defense of central and southern Germany the Germans now have deployed between 1,650 and 1,700 fighters. On all other fronts together they have only 750 fighters. These figures cover fighters only; bombers are not included. German sensitiveness to the bombing of their industrial area was recently illustrated when, in response to the comparatively light attacks made from the Mediterranean on this area, the Germans immediately transferred 200 fighters to the area.

Air Marshal Portal said that it was recognized that the bulk of the Soviet planes were now employed in support of the land battle, but when it became possible to spare air forces from the land battle, this would help enormously on all other fronts by causing the Germans to withdraw forces to protect the area threatened by the Soviets.

In response to a suggestion from Admiral Leahy, it was now agreed that it would be helpful if Marshal Voroshilov would express his opinion on the matters under discussion.

Marshal Voroshilov said that before making a statement, he would like to ask some questions. He said that he knew from the statements made by the British and American military representatives in Moscow that Overlord is being prepared for next spring, with a target date about 1 May. He had just heard that morning that fifty or sixty divisions would be available from the U.S. for this operation and that the only problem was one of shipping and landing craft. He hoped that it might be possible to have a report on what is being done now to solve the problem of shipping and landing craft and to launch Operation OVERLORD on time. This constituted his first question.

As to his second question, he said that he had attached great importance to the remarks made by General Marshall from which he understood that the U.S. considers Operation OVERLORD of the first importance. He wished to know if General Brooke also considered the operation of the first importance. He wished to ask both Allies whether they think that OVERLORD must be carried out or whether they consider that it may be possible to replace it by some other suitable operation when Turkey has entered the war.

General Marshall said that in answer to Marshal Voroshilov’s question as to progress from the U.S. side on the buildup for OVERLORD, all preparations are now under way and have been for some time, for a target date of 1 May 1944, and that the troops are now in motion. As an example, he pointed out that we now have in England, well ahead of the troops, a million tons of supplies and equipment, including munitions and heavy supplies of all kinds. It remains now only to bring the troops up to the supplies.

He pointed out that the U.S. had only one division in England in August. There are nine divisions there now with a constant flow of additional troops. There had been a tremendous flow of air personnel for the bomber offensive.

He said that in speaking of divisions, he was including the necessary corps and army troops as well as service troops. He reiterated that the problem is landing craft for OVERLORD. The question now is: Shall we take any landing craft from OVERLORD for other operations and thereby delay OVERLORD? The troops are in motion for OVERLORD. The air forces are already there and proceeding with their expansion. The problem is landing craft.

Marshal Voroshilov said that he had an additional question. He said that General Deane and General Ismay, in explaining the OVERLORD buildup at the Moscow Conference, had said that both in the U.S. and U.K. there were now being built special landing craft and special vessels for the construction of temporary harbors. He would like to know the present status of these construction programs.

General Marshall said that he would leave the answer as to the special port construction and as to part of the landing craft construction to General Brooke. He said that in the struggle with the landing craft problem, the object of the U.S. is to get more craft in order to be able to undertake some operations in the Mediterranean that could easily be done if more landing craft were available. He wished to make clear that the landing craft program for OVERLORD is well in hand. General Marshall repeated and emphasized this statement.

Marshal Voroshilov said that he understood that some shipbuilding yards both in England and America had been taken over for the building of landing craft. He wished to know whether the construction was actually under way or whether it was still only a program.

General Marshall said that General Brooke could answer for the U.K. There was no secret about the matter. He feared that he himself had misled Marshal Voroshilov in view of the fact that he was answering the Marshal’s question wholly with respect to landing craft for OVERLORD. For example, it had recently been decided to delay the movement from the Mediterranean to OVERLORD of sixty landing craft, capable of carrying 40 tanks each, in order to permit General Eisenhower not only to advance more rapidly in Italy but to force the Germans to reinforce their line from the Po Valley. In other words, the object was to absorb more German divisions in view of the fact that General Eisenhower was unable to conduct a turning movement through the mountains during the winter. For this reason, it had been decided to delay the movement of these landing craft from the Mediterranean to the U.K. but it was hoped that it would be possible to complete the operations for which they were being retained in the Mediterranean and still get them through on time for OVERLORD. In the meantime, a tremendous effort was being made both in the U.S. and U.K. to increase the output of landing craft so that OVERLORD might be made more powerful and more certain of success, and so that it might be possible to undertake the operations in the Mediterranean that additional landing craft would permit. He pointed out that the problem in the Mediterranean involves at present more troops than can be put into action.

Marshal Voroshilov said that this answered his question.

General Brooke said, in answer to Marshal Voroshilov’s first question as to the importance in British eyes of operation OVERLORD, that the British had always considered the operation as an essential part of this war. However, they had stipulated that the operation must be mounted at a time when it would have the best chances of success. He pointed out that the fortifications in Northern France are of a very serious character, that the communications are excellent, and therefore the Germans would have an excellent opportunity of holding up the landings until they could bring their reserves into play. This is the reason for the British stipulations as to the conditions prerequisite for launching the operation. They consider that in 1944 these conditions will exist. They have reorganized all their forces for this purpose. These forces were originally organized for the defense of the U.K. but they are now organized as an expeditionary force for employment on the Continent. Amphibious divisions are now undergoing training for Operation OVERLORD. Four battle-tried divisions have been brought back from Italy to the U.K. for the operation and, in addition, there have been brought back some of the landing craft which will be required. All details and plans for the operation have been made as far as it has been possible to do so up to the present moment.

It followed, therefore, that the British attach the greatest importance to the execution of this operation in 1944 but, as General Marshall had said and as he (General Brooke) wished to say again, landing craft constituted our tactical necessity. In order to maintain the 1 May 1944 date for OVERLORD it will be necessary to withdraw landing craft from the Mediterranean now. If this were done, it would bring the Italian operations almost to a standstill. The British wished, during the preparations for OVERLORD, to keep fighting the Germans in the Mediterranean to the maximum degree possible. In their view, such operations are necessary not only to hold the Germans in Italy but to create the situation in Northern France which will make OVERLORD possible.

General Brooke said that Marshal Voroshilov had heard correctly as to the construction of landing craft in England at the present time. The Prime Minister has stopped certain ordinary construction in order to make additional landing craft possible. By, these means it was hoped to make sixty or seventy more craft available in time for OVERLORD. These are being built now and are in addition to the original program.

With reference to the provision for temporary harbors, he said that the necessary gear was being built for this purpose now. In this connection many experiments have been made, and while some of them had not been as successful as it had been hoped, others had offered considerable promise and it was hoped would give fruitful results. This was a matter of the greatest importance as the success or failure of the operation may depend on these ports. He hoped that these statements would provide a satisfactory answer to Marshal Voroshilov’s question.

Marshal Voroshilov said he wished to apologize for his failure to understand clearly but he was interested to know whether General Brooke, as Chief of the Imperial General Staff, considered OVERLORD as important an operation as General Marshall had indicated that he did. He would like General Brooke’s personal opinion.

General Brooke replied that as Chief of the Imperial General Staff he considered Operation OVERLORD as of vital importance, but there was one stipulation that he should like to make. He knew the defenses of Northern France and did not wish to see the operation fail. In his opinion, under certain circumstances it was bound to fail.

Marshal Voroshilov said that Marshal Stalin and the Soviet General Staff attach great importance to OVERLORD and felt that the other operations in the Mediterranean can be regarded only as auxiliary operations.

General Brooke said that that was exactly the way he looked at the matter but, unless the auxiliary operations are carried out, in his opinion OVERLORD cannot be successful.

Marshal Voroshilov said that he would now express his own point of view. He recalled that Marshal Stalin had said yesterday that he and the Soviet General Staff considered that OVERLORD was a very serious operation and would prove a difficult one. He said that the accomplishments of the U.S. and U.K. in the war to date, especially the brilliant operations of their air forces over Germany, served to indicate the might of these two nations and the superiority of the Allies in the Mediterranean area. If there is added to this the firm will and desire of the U.S. and British staffs, he (Marshal Voroshilov) felt sure that OVERLORD would be successful and that it would go down in history as one of our greatest victories. He repeated that this view was supported by what all have seen in the fighting in North Africa and the operations of the Allied air forces over Germany.

Marshal Voroshilov said that he had absolutely no doubt that the necessary shipping and landing craft for OVERLORD can be found either by construction of new craft or conversion from merchant craft. He was sure these problems can be solved successfully. He understood from the statements made by General Marshall that the U.S. now has nine divisions in the U.K. He pointed out that there are yet six months to 1 May 1944, the target date for OVERLORD. This will permit the U.S. forces in the U.K. to be doubled or tripled and, in addition, make possible the bringing over of tanks and other supplies.

General Marshall said that the nine divisions now in the U.K. consisted of seven infantry divisions and two armored divisions.

Marshal Voroshilov said that in his opinion this force can be doubled in the next six months, to which General Marshall replied that this is already scheduled.

Marshal Voroshilov said that he would now discuss the operation itself. He entirely agreed with General Brooke that some small operations in the Mediterranean are necessary as diversions in order to draw German troops away from the Eastern Front and from Northwestern France, but he thought as a military man, and as probably all other military men would think also, that OVERLORD is the most important operation and that all the other auxiliary operations, such as Rome, Rhodes and what not, must be planned to assist OVERLORD and certainly not to hinder it. He pointed out that it was possible now to plan additional operations that may hurt OVERLORD and emphasized that this must not be so. These operations must be planned so as to secure OVERLORD, which is the most important operation, and not to hurt it. The suggestion made yesterday by Marshal Stalin that simultaneous operations should be undertaken from Northern France and Southern France is based on the idea that the Mediterranean operations are secondary to OVERLORD. Germany cannot be attacked directly from Italy because of the Alps. However, Italy does offer the possibility of successful defense with a small number of troops. The troops saved by defensive operations in Italy would be available for launching an amphibious operation against Southern France. Marshal Stalin does not insist on this but does insist on the execution of OVERLORD on the date already planned.

Marshal Voroshilov said, with respect to the action of the air forces and Air Marshal Portal’s suggestion of the bombing of eastern Germany by the Russian Air Force, that it must be known to the U.S. and the U.K. staffs that the Germans are still strong on the Russian front. He wished to repeat that, as Marshal Stalin had said yesterday, there are now 210 German divisions on this front and 50 satellite divisions, making a total of 260 in all. The Soviets will, of course, utilize every opportunity of attacking eastern Germany by air, but these opportunities are not very frequent. No such possibility exists at present because all air forces are employed in support of the land battle.

With respect to the difficulties of the cross-Channel operation, he said that it was understood, of course, that crossing the Channel was more difficult than crossing a large river. He pointed out, however, that during the recent Soviet advances to the west they had crossed several large rivers, the most recent of which was the Dnieper. In the latter case the ordinary difficulties of a river crossing were greatly increased by the high, steep western bank and the low eastern bank, but with the help of machine gun, mortar and artillery fire and the employment of mine throwers it had been found possible to lay down a fire so intense that the Germans could not endure it. It was so in the vicinity of Kiev, Gomel, and other points. He believed, therefore, that with similar aids it will be possible for the Allies to land in Northern France.

General Brooke said that he would like to point out that the question as to whether or not Operation OVERLORD is to be executed in 1944 has not been under discussion. It has been definitely decided to carry out the operation, and it is recognized that the Mediterranean operations are definitely of a secondary nature. There are certain forces, however, now deployed in the Mediterranean from whose employment a direct benefit can and should be derived. In addition, all operations planned in the Mediterranean area are coordinated in the overall plan for the war and are projected with a view to their eventual influence on the Eastern Front and on OVERLORD. He said that he had been studying the Soviet river crossings with the greatest of interest. In his opinion the Soviets had been accomplishing technical marvels.

Marshal Voroshilov said that the crossings were the result of the efforts of all of their people. They had the will to do it.

General Brooke said that the Channel crossing was a technical matter, the minutest details of which had been under study for several years. It must not be forgotten that the fire support for the operation must come from the sea. With reference to Marshal Voroshilov’s remarks as to artillery and mortar support, he said that the British have equipped landing craft with mortars and have studied every detail of the fire support of the cross-Channel operation from air and sea. He wished to point out the special difficulties existing in connection with this coast because of the long shelving beaches, where the tide goes out a long way. On many parts of the coast this characteristic makes landing operations very difficult and in some places, as at Calais, where the situation most favors air support, the beaches are the worst. He said the British are still engaged in experiments as to the best means of forcing a landing and are adding to the results of these experiments the best experience of the U.S. and British forces in the war to date.

Marshal Voroshilov referred to newspaper accounts which he had read with reference to large maneuvers held in England and wished to know if these had resulted in any new developments.

General Brooke replied that these maneuvers have been carried out mainly for the purpose of bringing about battles in the air. He said that they had carried out all preparations for the cross-Channel operation as a matter of training, and this had proved of great value to the staffs. The landing craft had been launched toward the French coast in the hope that the German air forces would be induced thereby to come out and fight. The German response had not been in keeping with the British hopes. The maneuvers referred to did not include an exercise in the actual landings. These exercises, however, are continually being carried out in certain areas on the English coasts from which the population has been cleared in order to permit the necessary supporting fire.

Marshal Voroshilov said he wished to inquire of Air Marshal Portal what his opinion was as to the sufficiency of the air forces available for OVERLORD.

Air Marshal Portal replied that there were enough air forces available to insure the success of the landing itself. The Allies would probably be superior to the Germans in the air by five or six to one. It was not, however, in the assault period that the air need would be the greatest, but during the buildup of the invading forces across the beaches. This would constitute the critical period, and it was during this period that the Germans would try to bring to bear their maximum available air power. At the same time a considerable portion of the Allied air forces would have to be used in order to interrupt communications leading from the interior of France to the front.

Marshal Voroshilov said he considered an air superiority of five or six to one as satisfactory.

Air Marshal Portal pointed out that all these figures must be judged in the light of distance. He said that the Germans have many airfields located close to the front on their side.

Marshal Voroshilov said that these German airfields must be destroyed before the operation is launched. In his opinion it was impossible to begin it without air superiority.

Air Marshal Portal replied that this initial destruction of German airfields was a part of the OVERLORD plan.

General Marshall said that he wished to offer one comment. The difference between a river crossing, however wide, and a landing from the ocean is that the failure of a river crossing is a reverse while the failure of a landing operation from the sea is a catastrophe, because failure in the latter case means the almost utter destruction of the landing craft and personnel involved.

Marshal Voroshilov said that he appreciated the frankness of these statements.

General Marshall went on to say that his military education had been based on roads, rivers, and railroads and that his war experience in France had been concerned with the same. During the last two years, however, he had been acquiring an education based on oceans and he had had to learn all over again.

General Marshall said that prior to the present war he had never heard of any landing craft except a rubber boat. Now he thinks about little else.

Marshal Voroshilov replied, “If you think about it, you will do it.”

To this General Marshall replied, “That is a very good reply. I understand thoroughly.”

Marshal Voroshilov said that he wished to emphasize that if in Operation OVERLORD our forces were launched against the hostile coast without previously destroying the enemy positions, there could, of course, be no success. He thought that the procedure must be similar to that followed on land. First the enemy positions must be destroyed with artillery fire and bombing from the air; then light forces, including reconnaissance groups, would land and take the first ground; when this had been done, the large forces would come in later. Therefore, if the advance forces were unable to land and were destroyed in the attempt, the larger forces would not be destroyed also. He felt that if the operation were conducted in this way, it would prove to be a brilliant success and not result in catastrophe.

General Marshall emphasized that no catastrophe was expected, but that everyone was planning for success.

Admiral Leahy suggested, in view of the lateness of the hour, that the meeting adjourn and reconvene later.

General Brooke suggested the possibility of convening again Tuesday morning at 1030. He said that he had some questions he would like to ask Marshal Voroshilov.

Marshal Voroshilov thought it desirable to reach some conclusions as a result of the discussion.

General Brooke suggested that the conclusions would properly follow the second meeting, to which Marshal Voroshilov agreed.

The meeting accordingly adjourned, to reconvene at the Russian Legation [Embassy], Tehran, Iran, on Tuesday, 30 November at 1030.

Roosevelt-Stalin meeting, 2:45 p.m.

United States Soviet Union
President Roosevelt Marshal Stalin
Mr. Bohlen Mr. Berezhkov

Bohlen Minutes

November 29, 1943, 2:45 p.m.

The President opened the conference by saying that he wished to lend to Marshal Stalin a most interesting report from an American Army officer who had spent six months in Yugoslavia in close contact with Tito. This officer had the highest respect for Tito and the work he was doing in our common cause.

Marshal Stalin thanked the President and promised to return the report when he had read it.

The President then said that during the Moscow Conference, the American Delegation had introduced a proposal to make available to the United States Air Forces, air bases in the USSR for the primary purpose of the shuttle-bombing between Great Britain and the Soviet Union. He handed Marshal Stalin a memorandum on the subject and expressed the personal hope that the Marshal would give this project his support. He then said that this was of great future importance and he wished to tell the Marshal how happy he would be to hear his word in the conference in regard to the defeat of Japanese forces and victory over Germany. He said however, that we must be prepared for that eventuality and do some advance planning, and he therefore was giving the Marshal two papers, one on the air operations against Japan and the other relating to naval operations. In handing these papers to Marshal Stalin, the President emphasized that the entire matter would be held in the strictest security and any contacts between Soviet and American officers on the subject would be strictly secret.

Marshal Stalin promised to study the documents the President had given him.

The President then said he had a great many other matters relating to the future of the world which he would like to talk over informally with the Marshal and obtain his view on them. He said that he hoped to discuss some of them before they both left Tehran. He said that he was willing to discuss any subject military or political which the Marshal desired.

Marshal Stalin replied there was nothing to prevent them from discussing anything they wished.

The President then said the question of a post war organization to preserve peace had not been fully explained and dealt with and he would like to discuss with the Marshal the prospect of some organization based on the United Nations.

The President then outlined the following general plan:

(1) There would be a large organization composed of some 35 members of the United Nations which would meet periodically at different places, discuss and make recommendations to a smaller body.

Marshal Stalin inquired whether this organization was to be worldwide or European, to which the President replied, worldwide.

The President continued that there would be set up an executive committee composed of the Soviet Union, the United States, United Kingdom and China, together with two additional European states, one South American, one Near East, one Far Eastern country, and one British Dominion. He mentioned that Mr. Churchill did not like this proposal for the reason that the British Empire only had two votes. This Executive Committee would deal with all non-military questions such as agriculture, food, health, and economic questions, as well as the setting up of an International Committee. This Committee would likewise meet in various places.

Marshal Stalin inquired whether this body would have the right to make decisions binding on the nations of the world.

The President replied, yes and no. It could make recommendations for settling disputes with the hope that the nations concerned would be guided thereby, but that, for example, he did not believe the Congress of the United States would accept as binding a decision of such a body. The President then turned to the third organization which he termed “The Four Policemen”, namely, the Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain, and China. This organization would have the power to deal immediately with any threat to the peace and any sudden emergency which requires this action. He went on to say that in 1935, when Italy attacked Ethiopia, the only machinery in existence was the League of Nations. He personally had begged France to close the Suez Canal, but they instead referred it to the League which disputed the question and in the end did nothing. The result was that the Italian Armies went through the Suez Canal and destroyed Ethiopia. The President pointed out that had the machinery of the Four Policemen, which he had in mind, been in existence, it would have been possible to close the Suez Canal. The President then summarized briefly the idea that he had in mind.

Marshal Stalin said that he did not think that the small nations of Europe would like the organization composed of the Four Policemen. He said, for example, that a European state would probably resent China having the right to apply certain machinery to it. And in any event, he did not think China would be very powerful at the end of the war. He suggested as a possible alternative, the creation of a European or a Far Eastern Committee and a European or a Worldwide organization. He said that in the European Commission there would be the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and possibly one other European state.

The President said that the idea just expressed by Marshal Stalin was somewhat similar to Mr. Churchill’s idea of a Regional Committee, one for Europe, one for the Far East, and one for the Americas. Mr. Churchill had also suggested that the United States be a member of the European Commission, but he doubted if the United States Congress would agree to the United States’ participation in an exclusively European Committee which might be able to force the dispatch of American troops to Europe.

The President added that it would take a terrible crisis such as at present before Congress would ever agree to that step.

Marshal Stalin pointed out that the world organization suggested by the President, and in particular the Four Policemen, might also require the sending of American troops to Europe.

The President pointed out that he had only envisaged the sending of American planes and ships to Europe, and that England and the Soviet Union would have to handle the land armies in the event of any future threat to the peace. He went on to say that if the Japanese had not attacked the United States he doubted very much if it would have been possible to send any American forces to Europe, the President added that he saw two methods of dealing with possible threats to the peace. In one case if the threat arose from a revolution or developments in a small country, it might be possible to apply the quarantine method, closing the frontiers of the countries in question and imposing embargoes. In the second case, if the threat was more serious, the four powers, acting as policemen, would send an ultimatum to the nation in question and if refused, [it] would result in the immediate bombardment and possible invasion of that country.

Marshal Stalin said that yesterday he had discussed the question of safeguarding against Germany with Mr. Churchill and found him optimistic on the subject in that Mr. Churchill believed that Germany would not rise again. He, Stalin, personally thought that unless prevented, Germany would completely recovery [recover] within 15 to 20 years, and that therefore we must have something more serious than the type of organization proposed by the President. He pointed out that the first German aggression had occurred in 1870 and then 42 [44] years later in the 1st World War, whereas only 21 years elapsed between the end of the last war and the beginning of the present. He added that he did not believe the period between the revival of German strength would be any longer in the future and therefore he did not consider the organizations outlined by the President were enough.

He went on to say that what was needed was the control of certain strong physical points either within Germany along German borders, or even farther away, to insure that Germany would not embark on another course of aggression. He mentioned specifically Dakar as one of those points. He added that the same method should be applied in the case of Japan and that the islands in the vicinity of Japan should remain under strong control to prevent Japan’s embarking on a course of aggression.

He stated that any commission or body which was set up to preserve peace should have the right to not only make decisions but to occupy such strong points against Germany and Japan.

The President said that he agreed 100% with Marshal Stalin.

Marshal Stalin then stated he still was dubious about the question of Chinese participation.

The President replied that he had insisted on the participation of China in the 4 Power Declaration at Moscow not because he did not realize the weakness of China at present, but he was thinking farther into the future and that after all China was a nation of 400 million people, and it was better to have them as friends rather than as a potential source of trouble.

The President , reverting to Marshal Stalin’s statements as to the ease of converting factories, said that a strong and effective world organization of the 4 Powers could move swiftly when the first signs arose of the beginning of the conversion of such factories for warlike purposes.

Marshal Stalin replied that the Germans had shown great ability to conceal such beginnings.

The President accepted Marshal Stalin’s remark. He again expressed his agreement with Marshal Stalin that strategic positions in the world should be at the disposal of some world organization to prevent a revival of German and Japanese aggression.

President Roosevelt to Marshal Stalin

Tehran, November 29, 1943

Proposals presented by United States Delegation at Moscow Conference

During the recent Moscow Conference, the United States Delegation proposed that air bases be made available in the USSR on which United States aircraft could be refueled, emergency repaired and rearmed in connection with shuttle bombing from the United Kingdom. It was also proposed that a more effective mutual interchange of weather information be implemented and that both signal and air communication between our two countries be improved.

It was my understanding that the USSR agreed to these proposals in principal [principle] and that appropriate Soviet authorities would be given instructions to meet with my Military Mission for the purpose of considering concrete measures which would be necessary to carry out the proposals.

I hope that it will be possible to work out these arrangements promptly.

President Roosevelt to Marshal Stalin

Tehran, November 29, 1943

Advance planning for air operations in Northwestern Pacific

With a view of shortening the war, it is our opinion that the bombing of Japan from your Maritime Provinces, immediately following the beginning of hostilities between the USSR and Japan, will be of the utmost importance, as it will enable us to destroy Japanese military and industrial centers.

If agreeable, would you arrange for my Military Mission in Moscow to be given the necessary information covering airports, housing, supplies, communications, and weather in the Maritime Provinces and the route thereto from Alaska. Our objective is to base the maximum bomber force possible, anywhere from 100 to 1,000 four-engined bombers, with their maintenance and operating crews in that area; the number to depend upon facilities available.

It is of the utmost importance that planning to this end should be started at once. I realize that the physical surveys by our people should be limited at this time to a very few individuals and accomplished with the utmost secrecy. We would of course meet any conditions you might prescribe in this regard.

If the above arrangements are worked out now, I am convinced that the time of employment of our bombers against Japan will be materially advanced.

President Roosevelt to Marshal Stalin

Tehran, November 29, 1943

Advance planning for naval operations in Northwestern Pacific

I would like to arrange with you at this time for the exchange of information and for such preliminary planning as may be appropriate under the present conditions for eventual operations against Japan when Germany has been eliminated from the war. The more of this preliminary planning that can be done, without undue jeopardy to the situation, the sooner the war as a whole can be brought to a conclusion.

Specifically, I have in mind the following items:

a. We would be glad to receive combat intelligence information concerning Japan.

b. Considering that the ports for your Far Eastern submarine and destroyer force might be threatened seriously by land or air attack, do you feel it desirable that the United States should expand base facilities sufficiently to provide for these forces in U.S. bases?

c. What direct or indirect assistance would you be able to give in the event of a U.S. attack against the northern Kurils?

d. Could you indicate what ports, if any, our forces could use, and could you furnish data on these ports in regard to their naval use as well as port capacities for dispatch of cargo?

These questions can be discussed as you may find appropriate with our Military Mission in Moscow, similar to the procedure suggested for plans regarding air operations.

The Minister in Iran to the President’s special representative

Tehran, November 29, 1943

My Dear General Hurley: This morning the Prime Minister, M. Soheily, told me he had seen Mr. Eden today and had taken up with him the possibility of the issuance, at the end of the conference, of a joint communiqué along the following lines:

  1. The Allies recognize that Iran has given them every possible help, etc.
  2. The independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran is confirmed, as already set forth in the Tripartite Treaty.
  3. The economic needs of Iran will be considered when the peace treaty is negotiated, etc.

According to M. Soheily, Mr. Eden agreed to this in principle but requested that the Prime Minister approach me and the Soviets to get our agreement to go ahead.

Sincerely yours,