Tehran Conference (EUREKA)

The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 29, 1943

For the President from Secretary Hull:

The Embassy at Chungking reports that, according to a Chinese source who recently saw high Japanese and puppet officials at Nanking, Japan continues to make unsuccessful peace offers to Chungking. According to the same source, Matsuoka, former Foreign Minister, left Japan for the Soviet Union on October 7 to try to arrange peace between Germany and the Soviet Union.

The Consul at Kweilin reports that Changteh, Hunan Province, was reportedly in flames; and that it was believed by observers in Kweilin that Changsha would soon be attacked by the Japanese with little possibility that the defense would be other than perfunctory.

Salazar spoke to the National Assembly on November 26, concerning the Anglo-Portuguese Azores agreement and the Timor situation. He emphasized the importance of British and American assurances respecting Portuguese sovereignty, and in Portuguese press accounts American participation in these assurances was stressed by italics and subtitles.

Dr. Salazar pointed out that facilities granted the British had resulted from loyalty to an old alliance and were not to be regarded as a business deal.

Dr. Salazar said relations with Japan were entirely unsatisfactory, and contrasted this with the cordiality of Portuguese relations with the Anglo-Saxon powers.

In the course of the speech Dr. Salazar showed some preoccupation for Portuguese relations with Spain.


The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, 29 November 1943

For the President from the Secretary of State.

There is a danger that unless we move ahead in our study of post-war international civil aviation problems, we may find that the present fluid situation will become jelled in the minds of some of our Allies along lines that may not parallel your own thoughts. I feel therefore that it is urgent and important for us to move ahead in preparing the groundwork which is an essential preliminary to any discussions with other countries. As a practical and feasible way to proceed what would you think of a Committee consisting of Secretary Stimson, Knox and myself meeting to consider the complicated problems involved. Further that we three be authorized to select an able and disinterested man such as Owen D. Young or someone else of equal stature that you may suggest, to give his thought to this question and to draw up a report and recommendations to submit for your consideration.

The President to the Secretary of State

Tehran, 29 November 1943

Deliver to Secretary Hull from the President. Your message transmitted as White 55, I think it more advisable to appoint Winant as our representative.

Second 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
Mr. Harriman Sir Archibald Clark Kerr Marshal Voroshilov
Admiral Leahy Field Marshal Dill Mr. Pavlov
General Marshall General Brooke Mr. Berezhkov
Admiral King Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
General Arnold Air Chief Marshal Portal
Major General Deane Lieutenant General Ismay
Captain Royal Lieutenant General Martel
Captain Ware Major Birse
Mr. Bohlen

Bohlen Minutes

November 29, 1943, 4 p.m.

The President said that since there was no agenda for the conference he thought it would be a good idea to have a report from the military staffs who had met this morning, and if there was no objection they might hear from General Brooke, Marshal Voroshilov and General Marshall.

General Brooke said that the committee had not finished its work and had merely made a survey of the various operations mentioned, and had also examined the Operation OVERLORD, taking into account the period of time which must elapse before OVERLORD was put into effect. He said that the committee considered the fact that if active operations were not undertaken in the Mediterranean during this period it would provide the Germans with an opportunity to remove their forces from that area either for the Soviet front or for the defense against OVERLORD. The committee also examined the advantages of continuing the operations up the leg of Italy until they had brought the Germans to a decisive battle. The committee briefly reviewed the question of providing the Partisans in Yugoslavia with aid and supplies in order to assist them in containing German forces. The advantages of Turkey’s participation in the war from the point of view of opening up the Dardanelles, the supply route to Russia and its effect on the Balkans was [were] also considered. The possibility of an operation in southern France in connection with OVERLORD was also briefly discussed. The effect of the air attacks on Germany was outlined to the committee by Air Marshal Portal, and General Marshall provided the figures of the United States buildup in England, and General Brooke himself had described the changeover from the defense to offensive preparations in England. General Brooke concluded that Marshal Voroshilov had put forth a number of questions and had received answers.

General Marshall said he had little to add to what General Brooke had said and he did not intend to go into any detail. He said that the chief problems were landing craft and suitable airfields to afford fighter protection for any operation. He emphasized that the question of adequate landing craft came first in importance, and added that by landing craft he meant those capable of carrying 40 tanks. He said that he had endeavored to make clear to the committee the manner in which preparations for OVERLORD were proceeding; that the flow of troops from the United States were [was] on schedule and that one million tons of material had already been shipped to England. He repeated that the variable factor was production of landing craft and that the schedule of production had been stepped up. He said that some veteran divisions had already been transferred from the Italian theater to England.

Marshal Voroshilov said that the answers which he had received to his questions at the committee meeting had been confirmed here at the conference by General Brooke and General Marshall. He added that the questions of Yugoslavia and Turkey mentioned by General Brooke had not been considered in detail.

Marshal Stalin then inquired who will command OVERLORD.

The President replied that it had not yet been decided.

Marshal Stalin said that nothing would come out of the operation unless one man was made responsible not only for the preparation but for the execution of the operation.

The Prime Minister said that General Morgan had been in charge of the preparatory work for some time but that the actual Commander had not yet been appointed. He said the British Government was willing to have a United States General in command in view of the fact that from the United States would come the bulk of the troops, and that possibly the Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean would be a British General. He suggested that the question of who should command OVERLORD had best be discussed between the three of them rather than in the large meeting.

The President said that the decisions taken here will affect the choice of the particular officer to command OVERLORD.

Marshal Stalin stated that the Russians do not expect to have a voice in the selection of the Commander-in-Chief; they merely want to know who he is to be and to have him appointed as soon as possible.

The Prime Minister expressed agreement and said that he thought the appointment could be announced within a fortnight. He then went on to say that he was a little concerned at the number and complexity of the problems which were before the conference. He said many hundreds of millions of people are watching this conference, and he hoped that it would not break up until an agreement had been reached on big military, political and moral questions. He said that the British Staff and himself had given prolonged thought to the Mediterranean theater and that they were most anxious to have the armies there fight against the enemy and not have them stripped of essential elements. He stated that their Soviet allies had now had an opportunity to survey the scene and that he would appreciate learning their views as to the best [use?] which could be made of the British forces in the Mediterranean area. He said the question of what help could be given from the Mediterranean theater to OVERLORD and the scale and timing of such help was of great importance. The operation into southern France from northern Italy had been mentioned but not studied and should, therefore, be explored more fully between the United States and British Staffs. Mr. Churchill said that Marshal Stalin had correctly stressed the value of pincers movement but that the time element was important and a premature subsidiary attack might be wiped out. He went on to say that personally all he wanted was landing craft for two divisions in the Mediterranean and that with such a force many operations would be feasible, for example, it could be used to facilitate the operations in Italy or to take the island of Rhodes if Turkey will enter the war, and could be used for these purposes for at least six months and then employed in support of OVERLORD. He pointed out that this force of landing craft could not be supplied for the forces in the Mediterranean without either delaying OVERLORD six to eight weeks or without withdrawing forces from the Indian theater. That is the dilemma. He said he would appreciate the views of Marshal Stalin and his military aides on the general strategy. The Prime Minister continued that the questions of Yugoslavia and Turkey were more political than military. He said that there are now in the Balkans 21 German Divisions and 21 Bulgarian Divisions, a total of 42. He added that there were 54,000 Germans scattered around the Aegean islands which would be an easy prey. If Turkey came in, the nine Bulgarian Divisions from [in?] Yugoslavia and Greece would be withdrawn, thus endangering the remaining German Divisions. No important operations were envisaged for the Balkans but merely supply and commando raids to assist Tito and his forces to contain the German forces there. Mr. Churchill added that Great Britain had no ambitious interests in the Balkans but merely wanted to pin down the German Divisions there. With regard to Turkey Mr. Churchill said that the British Government as allies of Turkey had accepted the responsibility to persuade or force Turkey to enter the war. He would need, and he hoped to obtain, help from the President and Marshal Stalin in his task in accordance with the agreement reached at Moscow. He added that the British Government would go far in pointing out to the Turks that their failure to respond to the invitation of our three great powers would have very serious political and territorial consequences for Turkey particularly in regard to the future status of the straits. He said this morning the military committee had discussed briefly the question of aid to Turkey, but it appeared to be more political than military, and there was no thought of using a major army, and that at the most two Divisions apart from the air and anti-aircraft forces would be sent to Turkey. Mr. Churchill proposed that the two foreign secretaries and the representative of the President meet to discuss the political aspects of the Turkish question as well as other political questions involving the Balkans area. Mr. Churchill said that he had asked some questions yesterday regarding Bulgaria, in particular if Bulgaria attacked Turkey would the Soviet Government consider Bulgaria as a foe. The Prime Minister concluded that if Turkey declared war on Germany it would be a terrible blow to German morale, would neutralize Bulgaria and would directly affect Rumania which even now was seeking someone to surrender unconditionally to. Hungary likewise would be immediately affected. He said that now is the time to reap the crop if we will pay the small price of the reaping. He summed up the task before the conference as: (1) to survey the whole field of the Mediterranean, and (2), how to relieve Russia, and (3), how to help OVERLORD.

Marshal Stalin said that Mr. Churchill need have no worry about the Soviet attitude toward Bulgaria; that if Turkey entered the war the Soviet Union would go to war with Bulgaria, but even so he did not think Turkey would come in. He continued that there was no difference of opinion as to the importance of helping the Partisans, but that he must say that from the Russian point of view the question of Turkey, the Partisans and even the occupation of Rome were not really important operations. He said that OVERLORD was the most important and nothing should be done to distract attention from that operation. He felt that a directive should be given to the military staffs, and proposed the following one:

(1). In order that Russian help might be given from the east to the execution of OVERLORD, a date should be set and the operation should not be postponed. (2). If possible the attack in southern France should precede OVERLORD by two months, but if that is impossible, then simultaneously or even a little after OVERLORD. An operation in southern France would be a supporting operation as contrasted with diversionary operations in Rome or in the Balkans, and would assure the success of OVERLORD. (3). The appointment of a Commander-in-Chief for OVERLORD as soon as possible. Until that is done the OVERLORD operation cannot be considered as really in progress. Marshal Stalin added that the appointment of the Commander-in-Chief was the business of the President and Mr. Churchill but that it would be advantageous to have the appointment made here.

The President then said he had been most interested in hearing the various angles discussed from OVERLORD to Turkey. He attached great importance to the question of logistics and timing. He said it is clear that we are all agreed as to the importance of OVERLORD and the only question was one of when. He said the question was whether to carry out OVERLORD at the appointed time or possibly postpone it for the sake of other operations in the Mediterranean. He felt that the danger of an expedition in the eastern Mediterranean might be that if not immediately successful it might draw away effectives which would delay OVERLORD. He said that in regard to the Balkans, the Partisans and other questions are pinning down some 40 Axis Divisions and it was therefore his thought that supplies and commando raids be increased to that area to insure these Divisions remaining there. The President then said he was in favor of adhering to the original date for OVERLORD set at Quebec, namely, the first part of May.

Marshal Stalin said he would like to see OVERLORD undertaken during the month of May; that he did not care whether it was the 1st, 15th or 20th, but that a definite date was important.

The Prime Minister said it did not appear that the points of view were as far apart as it seemed. The British Government was anxious to begin OVERLORD as soon as possible but did not desire to neglect the great possibilities in the Mediterranean merely for the sake of avoiding a delay of a month or two.

Marshal Stalin said that the operations in the Mediterranean have a value but they are really only diversions.

The Prime Minister said in the British view the large British forces in the Mediterranean should not stand idle but should be pressing the enemy with vigor. He added that to break off the campaign in Italy where the allied forces were holding a German army would be impossible.

Marshal Stalin said it looked as though Mr. Churchill thought that the Russians were suggesting that the British armies do nothing.

The Prime Minister said that if landing craft is [are] taken from the Mediterranean theater there will be no action. He added that at Moscow the conditions under which the British Government considered OVERLORD could be launched had been fully explained, and these were that there should not be more than 12 mobile German divisions behind the coastal troops and that German reinforcements for sixty days should not exceed 15 Divisions. He added that to fulfill these conditions it was necessary in the intervening period to press the enemy from all directions. He said that the Divisions now facing the allies in Italy had come from the most part in France [for the most part from France?], and to break off the action in Italy would only mean that they would return to France to oppose OVERLORD. Turning again to the question of Turkey, the Prime Minister said that all were agreed on the question of Turkey’s entrance into the war. If she refused, then that was the end of it. If she does enter, the military needs will be slight, and it will give us the use of Turkish bases in Anatolia, and the taking of the island of Rhodes which he felt could be done with one assault Division. Once Rhodes was taken the other Aegean islands could be starved out and the way opened to the Dardanelles. Mr. Churchill pointed out that the operation against Rhodes was a limited operation and would not absorb more effectives, and that in any case the troops for this purpose would come from those now used for the defense of Egypt. Once Rhodes was taken these forces from Egypt could proceed forward against the enemy. All he wanted was a small quantity of landing craft. He then said that he accepted Marshal Stalin’s suggestion that terms of reference be drawn up for the military staffs.

Marshal Stalin interposed to ask how many French Divisions were being trained in North Africa.

General Marshall replied that for the present there were five Divisions ready and four in training, and that one of these five was in Italy with the American Fifth Army and another was en route. He said that from the battle experience gained it would be possible to decide how best to utilize the other French Divisions.

The President then proposed that instead of three directives to the three Staffs that one directive be agreed upon here. He then proposed a joint directive as follows: (1). That the military staffs should assume that OVERLORD is the dominating operation. (2). That the Staffs make recommendations in regard to other operations in the Mediterranean area, having carefully in mind the possibility of causing a delay in OVERLORD.

Marshal Stalin said he saw no need for any military committee here, that the questions involved should be decided at the conference. He also saw no need for any political subcommittee. Marshal Stalin then said he wished to ask Mr. Churchill an indiscreet question, namely, do the British really believe in OVERLORD or are they only saying so to reassure the Russians.

The Prime Minister replied that if the conditions set forth at Moscow were present it was the duty of the British Government to hurl every scrap of strength across the channel. He then suggested that the British and American Staffs meet tomorrow morning in an endeavor to work out a joint point of view to be submitted to the conference. It was further agreed that the President, Marshal Stalin and the Prime Minister would lunch together at 1:30, and that Mr. Eden, Mr. Molotov and Mr. Hopkins would likewise lunch together separately.

The meeting adjourned until 4 P.M., November 30, 1943.

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 29, 1943, 4 p.m.

The President said he had no formal agenda for today’s meeting. He thought it would be a good idea if Marshal Stalin, the Prime Minister, and possibly Marshal Voroshilov, would give the meeting their ideas.

Marshal Stalin asked whether the military committee had completed its work.

General Brooke gave an outline of the proceedings of the conference this morning. (See Minutes of Military Conference, 29 November 1943 at 1030.)

General Marshall stated that he had little to add to the statement of General Brooke but that the problems concerning the United States are not those of troops nor equipment but rather problems of ships, landing craft and airfields in sufficient proximity to the scene of immediate operations under consideration. Furthermore, he said, in speaking of landing craft, he was speaking particularly of a special type which carries about 40 tanks or motor vehicles. He said he desired to make clear, as far as the United States forces for OVERLORD are concerned, that the buildup has proceeded according to schedule. Especially should it be noted that the supplies and equipment have now been assembled to the extent of one million tons in the United Kingdom, in advance of the arrival of the troops anticipated. All supplies and equipment have been set up according to schedule. The variable or questionable factor is the subject of landing craft. He said there was a schedule of landing craft construction which had been accelerated both in the United Kingdom and the United States. The purpose of this acceleration is involved with two considerations, (a) the matter of the initial assault for OVERLORD, and (b) operations in the Mediterranean, which could be done if additional landing craft could be made available. In brief, the OVERLORD buildup is going ahead according to schedule as regards ground troops, air forces and equipment. Discussions and problems regarding OVERLORD were related almost entirely to the employment and movement of available landing craft. Transfer of certain United States and British divisions from the Mediterranean to the United Kingdom for the OVERLORD buildup had virtually been completed at the present time.

Marshal Voroshilov said that the information given by General Brooke and General Marshall corresponded to the talks which had been held this morning on the questions concerning OVERLORD – specifically, technical questions. Continuing, Marshal Voroshilov said as far as the matters discussed by General Brooke concerning [concerned?] Italy, Yugoslavia, Turkey and Southern France, it was hoped that these matters would be the subject of the next meeting of the ad hoc committee. The committee also had under discussion the date of OVERLORD and the details of that operation, with the thought that they would be able to discuss these matters further at the next meeting.

Marshal Stalin asked who will be the commander in this Operation OVERLORD.

The President and Prime Minister interpolated this was not yet decided.

Marshal Stalin continued, “Then nothing will come out of these operations.” He further inquired as to who carries the moral and technical responsibility for this operation. He was informed by the President and Prime Minister that the British General Morgan, who is Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (Designate), is charged with the plans and preparations which have been and are continually being made and carried out by a Combined U.S.-British Staff.

In reply to a question from Marshal Stalin as to who has the executive responsibility for OVERLORD preparations, the President replied that we have already decided the names of all the commanders except that of the Supreme Commander.

Marshal Stalin said that it could happen that General Morgan might say that all matters were ready; however, when the Supreme Commander reports, he, the Supreme Commander, might not think that everything necessary had been accomplished by the Chief of Staff. He felt that there must be one person in charge.

The Prime Minister informed Marshal Stalin that General Morgan had been charged with the preparation and carrying out of plans in the preliminary stages for OVERLORD. His Majesty’s Government had expressed willingness to have Operation OVERLORD undertaken under the command of a United States commander. The United States will be concerned with the greatest part of the buildup, and this United States commander will have command in the field.

Mr. Churchill added that in the Mediterranean the British have large naval and air forces which are under direct British command under the Allied Commander in Chief. A decision had not yet been reached between the President and Prime Minister regarding the specific matter of high command. Decisions here at this conference will have a bearing on the choice. Therefore, the President can name the Supreme Allied Commander for OVERLORD if he desires to accept the British offers to serve under a United States commander. The Prime Minister further suggested that Marshal Stalin be given an answer in confidence between the three Chiefs of State regarding who the Supreme Allied Commander would be.

Marshal Stalin said he desired it to be understood that he did not presume to take part in the selection of a commander for OVERLORD but merely wanted to know who this officer would be and felt strongly that he should be appointed as soon as possible and be given the responsibility for preparations for OVERLORD as well as the executive command of the operation.

The Prime Minister agreed it was essential that a commander be appointed for the OVERLORD operation without delay and indicated that such an appointment would be made within a fortnight. He hoped that it might be accomplished during his current meeting with the President.

The Prime Minister then went on to say that he was concerned with the number and complexity of problems which presented themselves before the conference. He said that the meeting was unique in that the thoughts of more than 140,000,000 people were centered upon it. He felt that the principals should not separate until agreements on political, moral, and military problems had been reached. He said that he wished to present a few points which would require study by a subcommittee. Both he and the British Staff had given long study to the Mediterranean position, in which area Great Britain has a large army. He was anxious that the British Mediterranean army should fight throughout 1944 and not be quiescent. From that point of view, he asked the Soviets to survey the field and examine the different alternatives put before them and submit their recommendations.

The Prime Minister said that the first point which required study was what assistance could be given to the OVERLORD operation by the large force which will be in the Mediterranean. He asked in particular what the possibilities of this force might be and what should be the scale of an operation that might be launched from Northern Italy into Southern France. He did not feel that such an operation had been studied in sufficient detail but he welcomed the opportunity to give it close examination. He thought it might be well for the U.S. and U.K. staffs to consider this matter together in the light of their special knowledge concerning resources available. He pointed out that Marshal Stalin had stressed the value of pincer operations. He said that for such operations timing is of great importance. A weak attack several months in advance might result in its being defeated and permit the enemy to turn his whole strength to meet the main attack.

The Prime Minister said he wanted landing craft to carry at least two divisions. With such an amphibious force it would be possible to do operations seriatim, that is, first, up the leg of Italy by amphibious turning movements, thus offering the possibility of cutting off the enemy’s withdrawal and capturing the entire German force now in Central Italy; second, to take Rhodes in conjunction with Turkey’s entry into the war; and, third, to use the entire force for operations six months hence against the southern coast of France in order to assist OVERLORD. He said that none of these operations would be excluded but that the timing would require careful study. This force of two divisions cannot be supplied in the Mediterranean without either setting back the date of OVERLORD for six or eight weeks or without drawing back from the Indian Ocean landing craft which were now intended to be used against the Japanese. He said that this is one of the dilemmas which the Anglo-American staffs are balancing in their minds. In reaching their conclusions they would be greatly assisted by the views of Marshal Stalin and his officers. He welcomed these views because of his admiration for the military record of the Red Army. He therefore suggested that the military staffs continue to study these subjects.

The Prime Minister then said that the second matter which must be settled was political rather than military because of the small military forces involved. He referred to the question of Yugoslavia and the Dalmatian Coast. He said that in the Balkans there were 21 German divisions plus garrison troops, of which 54,000 troops are spread about among the Aegean Islands. There were also about 21 Bulgarian divisions or a total of 42 divisions in all.

The Prime Minister later corrected these figures to indicate that there were 42 divisions in all, 12 of which were Bulgarian divisions in Bulgaria.

He said that if Turkey came into the war the Bulgarian divisions would be used to face the Turks on the Thrace front. This withdrawal of Bulgarian divisions as garrison troops in the Balkans would endanger the remaining German divisions left on that duty by operations of the guerrillas. He said that he did not suggest that the Anglo-American forces put divisions into the Balkans, but he did propose that there be a continuous flow of supplies, frequent commando raids and air support furnished as and when needed. He felt it was shortsighted to let the Germans crush Yugoslavia without giving those brave people now fighting under Tito weapons for which they might ask. He emphasized that the Balkan operations would be a great factor in stretching the Germans and thus giving relief to the Russian front. He added that the British had no interests in the Balkans that were exceptional or ambitious in nature and all they wanted to do was to nail the 21 German divisions in that area and destroy them. He suggested that the Foreign Secretaries of the U.K. and the USSR and a representative of the United States whom the President might designate should hold discussions to see if the proposed activities in the Balkans presented any political difficulties.

The Prime Minister then came to his last point, which was in reference to Turkey. He said that the British are allies of Turkey and that the British have accepted the responsibility of endeavoring to persuade or force Turkey into the war before Christmas. He said that if the President would come in with the British or take the lead, it would be agreeable to him, but he should certainly want all possible help from the U.S. and USSR in accordance with the agreements made at the Moscow Conference.

The Prime Minister said that the British would go far in warning Turkey that her failure to enter the war would jeopardize her political and territorial aspirations, particularly with reference to the Dardanelles, when these matters were being discussed at the peace table.

The Prime Minister indicated that the military staffs had already discussed the military aspects of Turkey’s entry into the war. He said, however, that the question was largely political since only two or three divisions of soldiers were involved. He again posed the question as to how the USSR would feel about Bulgaria. Would they be inclined to tell Bulgaria that if Turkey did enter the war against Germany and Bulgaria helped Germany, the USSR would regard Bulgaria as a foe? He felt that such a statement might have a great influence on Bulgaria’s attitude because of her relationship with the Soviets. He suggested that the Foreign Secretaries study this matter, also particularly as to the methods to be used and the results which might be expected. He said that he personally felt that the results might well be decisive, particularly in their moral effect. He said that Turkey, being an ally of Germany in the last war and now turning against her, would have a profound effect on the remainder of the Balkans. He pointed to Rumania’s desire to present an unconditional surrender at this time and to other indications of unrest in the Balkans, as evidence of the fact that Turkey’s entry into the war would have a great effect.

The Prime Minister concluded by saying he felt that the whole Mediterranean situation should be carefully examined to see what could be done to take weight off the Soviet front.

Marshal Stalin said, as far as the question of the USSR versus Bulgaria is concerned, as soon as Turkey comes into the war we can consider that the matter is closed. The USSR will take care of Bulgaria. If Turkey declares war on Bulgaria, the USSR will declare war on Bulgaria. Even under these circumstances Turkey will not enter the war.

As far as military matters are concerned, Marshal Stalin said he understood that two or three divisions would be made available to help Turkey should she come into the war or to help in the Partisan movement in Yugoslavia. There is no difference of opinion on this point. We feel it desirable to help in Yugoslavia and to give two or three divisions if it would be necessary to do so. The Soviets do not think, however, that this is an important matter. Even the event of the entry of Turkey into the war or the occupation of Rhodes is not the most important thing. If we are here in order to discuss military questions, among all the military questions for discussion we, the USSR, find OVERLORD the most important and decisive. Marshal Stalin said he would like to call the attention of those present to the importance of not creating diversions from the most important operation in order to carry out secondary operations. He suggested that the ad hoc committee, which was created yesterday, should be given a definite task as to what they were to discuss. He said if a committee is created in the USSR, we always give that committee a specific directive or instructions. Marshal Stalin suggested that the military ad hoc committee be given a specific directive. He said it was, of course, true that the USSR needed help and that is why the representatives of the Soviet are here at this conference. He said the Soviets expect help from those who are willing to fulfill Operation OVERLORD. The question now was what shall be the directive to the ad hoc committee? What shall be the instructions that should be given to the committee under the guidance of General Brooke? First of all, this directive must be specific with regard to the fact that OVERLORD should not be postponed and must be carried out by the limiting date. Secondly, the directive to the committee should state that Operation OVERLORD must be reinforced by a landing in the South of France a month or two before undertaking the OVERLORD assault. If not possible two or three months earlier, then the landing in the South of France should be at the same time. If a landing cannot be effected in the South of France at the same time as OVERLORD, possibly this operation could be mounted a little later than OVERLORD.

Marshal Stalin thought this operation in the South of France would be an auxiliary or supporting operation and would help and be considerably effective in contributing toward OVERLORD. On the other hand, operations against Rhodes and other operations in the Mediterranean would be diversions. Operations in the South of France would influence and contribute directly to OVERLORD. He said that the directive to the ad hoc committee must also state that the appointment of the Supreme Commander for OVERLORD should be made forthwith. The decision regarding the OVERLORD commander should be made here in Tehran. If it cannot be done here, it should be done within a week at the latest. The Soviets believe that until such a commander has been appointed, no success from OVERLORD can be expected in the matter of organization for this operation. He added that it is the task of the British and the United States representatives to agree on the commander for OVERLORD. The USSR does not enter into the matter of this selection but the Soviets definitely want to know who he will be. The above are the points of the directive which should be given to the ad hoc committee, and the work of this committee should be completed immediately.

Marshal Stalin asked the conference to seriously consider the points which he had just outlined. He added that he felt if the three points he had made were carried out, they would result in the successful and rapid accomplishment of OVERLORD.

The President said he was tremendously interested in hearing all angles of the subject from OVERLORD to Turkey. He said that if we are all agreed on OVERLORD, the next question would be regarding the timing of OVERLORD. Therefore, if we come down to a matter of questions, the point is either to carry out OVERLORD at the appointed time or to agree to the postponement of that operation to sometime in June or July. There are only one or two other operations in the Mediterranean which might use landing craft and air forces from some other theater. The President said there are two dangers in creating a delay in OVERLORD. One of them is that the use of two or three divisions in the Eastern Mediterranean would cause a delay to OVERLORD and would necessitate the sending of certain landing craft for those operations which in turn could not be withdrawn from the Eastern Mediterranean in time to return for the OVERLORD date. He said it was believed that once we are committed to specific operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, we would have to make it a supreme operation and we probably could not then pull out of it.

Marshal Stalin observed that maybe it would be necessary to utilize some of the means for OVERLORD in order to carry out operations in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The President continued that in the Balkans and Yugoslavia he believed all aid should be given which could be possibly sent to Tito without making any particular commitment which would interfere with OVERLORD. He said he thought that we should consider the value of the 40 divisions the Germans have in the Balkans and if we can do certain operations with a minimum effort, these divisions might be placed in a position where they could no longer be of any value.

The President said he felt that commando raids should be undertaken in the Balkans and that we should send all possible supplies to Tito in order to require Germany to keep their [her?] divisions there.

Marshal Stalin said that in Yugoslavia the Germans have eight divisions; they have five divisions in Greece, and three or four divisions in Bulgaria. He stated that the figures given by the Prime Minister regarding German divisions in the Balkans were wrong.

In reply to a question, Marshal Stalin said there were 25 German divisions now in France.

The President said we should therefore work out plans to contain these German divisions. This should be done on such a scale as not to divert means from doing OVERLORD at the agreed time.

Marshal Stalin observed, regarding the President’s statement, “You are right – You are right.”

The President said we again come back to the problem of the timing for OVERLORD. It was believed that it would be good for OVERLORD to take place about 1 May, or certainly not later than 15 May or 20 May, if possible.

The Prime Minister said that he could not agree to that.

Marshal Stalin said he observed at yesterday’s conference that nothing will come out of these proposed diversions. In his opinion OVERLORD should be done in May. He added that there would be suitable weather in May.

The Prime Minister said he did not believe that the attitudes of those present on this matter were very far apart. He said he (the Prime Minister) was going to do everything in the power of His Majesty’s Government to begin OVERLORD at the earliest possible moment. However, he did not think that the many great possibilities in the Mediterranean should be ruthlessly cast aside as valueless merely on the question of a month’s delay in OVERLORD.

Marshal Stalin said all the Mediterranean operations are diversions, aside from that into Southern France, and that he had no interest in any other operations other than those into Southern France. He accepted the importance of these other operations but definitely considered that they are diversions.

The Prime Minister continued that in the British view their large armies in the Mediterranean should not be idle for some six months but should be, together with the United States Allies, working toward the defeat of Germany in Italy, and at the same time be active elsewhere. He said for the British to be inert for nearly six months would be a wrong use of forces, and in his opinion would lay the British open to reproach from the Soviets for having the Soviets bear nearly all the burden of land fighting.

Marshal Stalin said that he did not wish the British to think that the Soviets wished them to do nothing.

The Prime Minister said if all the landing craft were taken away from the Mediterranean, they will not affect the battle. Marshal Stalin must remember that at Moscow it was stated under what conditions OVERLORD could be mounted and that under those conditions alone could it be launched. Operation OVERLORD was predicated on the assumption that not more than 12 German mobile divisions would be located behind the coastal troops, and furthermore, that not more than 15 reinforcement divisions could enter the fray within 60 days. He said that that was the basis on which he (Mr. Churchill) had stated the British would do OVERLORD. On those conditions, the Allies will have to utilize as many divisions in the Balkans and so forth as are necessary to contain German troops. If Turkey comes into the war, this will be particularly necessary. The German divisions now in Italy have largely come from France. Consequently, if there should be a slackening off in Italy, it would mean that the German divisions would withdraw and appear in the South of France to meet us there. On the other hand, if we do the Eastern Mediterranean, we will contain more German divisions and will create conditions indispensable to the success of OVERLORD.

Marshal Stalin inquired, “What if there are 13 divisions, not 12?”

The Prime Minister replied, “Naturally.” He continued by saying there was one more word about Turkey. All are agreed here that she should enter the war. If Turkey does not enter the war, then that ends that. If she does enter, the only necessary thing to do would be to use an air attack from the Turkish bases in Anatolia and an operation to take the Island of Rhodes. For the purpose of the Rhodes operation, one assault division would be ready in the near future and that would be sufficient. Having gotten Rhodes and Turkish air bases, a course could be steered north and operations undertaken to drive and starve all German divisions out of the Aegean and then open the Dardanelles. Essentially, these specific operations were limited operations, and therefore they could not be considered as military commitments of an indefinite character. If Turkey comes into the war and we get the air bases, it would be a simple matter to open the Straits. If Turkey does not come in, we do not pay any further attention to the matter. If Turkey comes into the war and we hold Rhodes and the Aegean, we will be able to use the air squadrons now in Egypt. All could move forward and help the Soviets. They now play no part except in the defense of Egypt. We can use the same troops which are now guarding Egypt to drive the Germans back. This is a big matter and should not be lightly considered.

The Prime Minister said he felt that our future will suffer great misfortune if we do not get Turkey into the war, for in such case troops and planes will stand idle.

The Prime Minister added that he agreed with General Marshall in his statement that the chief problem is one of transportation across the water and that that matter is largely a question of landing craft. He said that the British were prepared to go into the matter in great detail, and a very small number of landing craft could make the subsidiary operations feasible. If these landing craft cannot be kept in the Mediterranean because of OVERLORD or cannot possibly be found from some other arrangement [area?] such as the Indian Ocean, then this matter should be resolved by the technical committee. A landing in Southern France will require a great number of landing craft. He begged that this important point should be carefully weighed.

The Prime Minister said in conclusion that he accepted the proposal that a directive should be drawn up for this technical committee. He further suggested that the Soviet Government draw up terms of reference, that the United States draw up terms of reference, that Great Britain draw up terms of reference and then he felt sure that all three nations would not be far apart.

The President inquired how long will the conference be in session until the staff comes to a conclusion on these matters.

The Prime Minister in this connection said he can give his own opinion on behalf of the British Government tonight.

In reply to a question from Marshal Stalin as to how many French divisions were in the Allied Armies and how many troops there were in French divisions, the President replied he understood there were now five combat divisions and four more will soon be ready, making a total of nine. Some of these divisions are now engaged in Sardinia and Corsica.

General Marshall said that the French Corps is to become a part of the U.S. 5th Army in Italy and will occupy the left flank. He said that one division was now en route to the Front and will get a trial of battle. As a result of this it would be possible to judge better regarding the employment of other French divisions. All equipment for the French divisions is now in North Africa. There was some delay in four or five divisions being brought up to strength and completing their training. He said the French divisions were training with United States equipment and under the instruction of United States officers and non-commissioned officers.

In reply to a question from Marshal Stalin as to how many men there were in these French divisions, General Marshall replied, French divisions have the same number of men as the United States – 15,000 men per division. The men are mostly native troops with French officers and some noncoms. In the armored command only one quarter are native troops.

Marshal Stalin said, with regard to the remarks of the Prime Minister, if Turkey does not enter the war, it cannot be helped.

The Prime Minister replied if Turkey does not come into the war, he had no intention of asking for any troops for operations in Rhodes or Asia Minor.

In reply to a question from Marshal Stalin as to how many more days this conference would continue, the President said that he was willing to stay here until the conference is finished.

The Prime Minister said he would stay here forever, if necessary.

The President suggested that if the three Chiefs of State were in agreement, the committee need not have any written directive because they have been confronted with every suggestion made at this afternoon’s meeting. He said if the Chiefs of State could agree on the proceedings of the afternoon conference as a directive, then the staff would definitely have only one directive.

Marshal Stalin said he considered that the ad hoc committee was unnecessary. It could not raise any new questions for the military conference. He believed that all that was necessary to be solved was the selection of the commander for OVERLORD, the date for OVERLORD and the matter of supporting operations to be undertaken in Southern France in connection with OVERLORD. He furthermore believed that the committee of Foreign Secretaries proposed by the Prime Minister was unnecessary. He considered that all matters could be solved here and that committees were unnecessary. He said he must leave on the first, anyway, but that he might stay over until the second of December if it had to be – then he must go away. He said that he must know when he can get away. There are two days remaining, the 30th of November and the first of December. He said the President would remember that he had said he could come to the conference for three or four days.

The President then read a proposed directive for the Ad Hoc Committee of the Chiefs of Staff:

  1. The Committee of the Chiefs of Staff will assume that OVERLORD is the dominating operation.

  2. The Committee recommends that subsidiary operation(s) be included in the Mediterranean, taking into consideration that any delay should not affect OVERLORD.

Marshal Stalin observed that there was no mention regarding the date of OVERLORD in the proposed directive. He said for the USSR it is important to know the date OVERLORD will be mounted in order that the Soviets could prepare the blow on their side. He said he insisted on knowing the date.

The President remarked that the date for OVERLORD had been fixed at Quebec and that only some much more important matter could possibly affect that date, that is to say, this was the President’s view.

The Prime Minister said he would like to have an opportunity to reply to the President’s remarks. He said there was no decisive difference in principle. He would be very glad to stay until the first of December and make a decision. It was not clear to him what the President’s plans were, however. He said he was in favor of the continuance of the ad hoc committee if that could be done. With regard to the political subcommittee, Marshal Stalin has clarified matters with regard to Bulgaria and help to Yugoslavia. Therefore, the meeting between the two Foreign Secretaries and Mr. Hopkins would be of great advantage. It would throw light on the problems and would be particularly important on the political questions. He would be grateful for Marshal Stalin’s prompt answers to his questions. If it were decided to do so, the Prime Minister thought that on the whole this procedure would be of advantage. He considered that the timing of the supreme Operation OVERLORD as regards any subsidiary operations would be most necessary as a condition for the success of OVERLORD. Furthermore, he believed that the ad hoc staff committee should recommend what subsidiary operations should be carried out. The Prime Minister believed that we should take more time in drawing up a proper directive to the ad hoc committee.

The President said he found that his staff places emphasis on OVERLORD. While on the other hand the Prime Minister and his staff also emphasize OVERLORD, nevertheless the United States does not feel that OVERLORD should be put off.

The President questioned whether it would not be possible for the ad hoc committee to go ahead with their deliberations without any further directive and to produce an answer by tomorrow morning.

Marshal Stalin questioned, “What can such a committee do?” He said, “We Chiefs of State have more power and more authority than a committee. General Brooke cannot force our opinions and there are many questions which can be decided only by us.” He said he would like to ask if the British are thinking seriously of OVERLORD only in order to satisfy the USSR.

The Prime Minister replied that if the conditions specified at Moscow regarding OVERLORD should exist, he firmly believed it would be England’s duty to hurl every ounce of strength she had across the Channel at the Germans.

The President observed that in an hour a very good dinner would be awaiting all and people would be very hungry. He suggested that the staffs should meet tomorrow morning and discuss the matter.

Marshal Stalin said that he believed that that was unnecessary. The staffs will not in any way speed our work; they will only delay matters. It is proper to decide matters more quickly.

The Prime Minister said he thought the talks of the foreign officers would be most profitable.

The President observed that a few political problems might be discussed during luncheon together by the Foreign Secretaries and Mr. Hopkins in a different place from that where the Chiefs of State had their luncheon.

Marshal Stalin commented, “Then at four o’clock tomorrow afternoon we will have our conference again.”

The President suggested that the Chiefs of State have luncheon together tomorrow about one thirty.

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 Mr. Berezhkov
Mr. Harriman Sir Archibald Clark Kerr
Mr. Bohlen Major Birse

Bohlen Minutes

November 29, 1943, 8:30 p.m.

The most notable feature of the dinner was the attitude of Marshal Stalin toward the Prime Minister. Marshal Stalin lost no opportunity to get in a dig at Mr. Churchill. Almost every remark that he addressed to the Prime Minister contained some sharp edge, although the Marshal’s manner was entirely friendly. He apparently desired to put and keep the Prime Minister on the defensive. At one occasion he told the Prime Minister that just because Russians are simple people, it was a mistake to believe that they were blind and could not see what was before their eyes.

In the discussion in regard to future treatment of Germans, Marshal Stalin strongly implied on several occasions that Mr. Churchill nursed a secret affection for Germany and desired to see a soft peace.

Marshal Stalin was obviously teasing the Prime Minister for the latter’s attitude at the afternoon session of the Conference, he was also making known in, a friendly fashion his displeasure at the British attitude on the question of OVERLORD.

Following Mr. Hopkins’ toast to the Red Army, Marshal Stalin spoke with great frankness in regard to the past and present capacity of the Red Army. He said that in the winter war against Finland, the Soviet Army had shown itself to be very poorly organized and had done very badly; that as a result of the Finnish War, the entire Soviet Army had been reorganized; but even so, when the Germans attacked in 1941, it could not be said that the Red Army was a first-class fighting force. That during the war with Germany, the Red Army had become steadily better from [the] point of view of operations, tactics, etc., and now he felt that it was genuinely a good army. Pie added that the general opinion in regard to the Red Army had been wrong, because it was not believed that the Soviet Army could reorganize and improve itself during time of war.

In regard to the future treatment of Germany, Marshal Stalin developed the thesis that he had previously expressed, namely, that really effective measures to control Germany must be evolved, otherwise Germany would rise again within 15 or 20 years to plunge the world into another war. He said that two conditions must be met:

  1. At least 50,000 and perhaps 100,000 of the German Commanding Staff must be physically liquidated.

  2. The victorious Allies must retain possession of the important strategic points in the world so that if Germany moved a muscle she could be rapidly stopped.

Marshal Stalin added that similar strong points now in the hands of Japan should remain in the hands of the Allies.

The President jokingly said that he would put the figure of the German Commanding Staff which should be executed at 49,000 or more.

The Prime Minister took strong exception to what he termed the cold-blooded execution of soldiers who had fought for their country. He said that war criminals must pay for their crimes and individuals who had committed barbarous acts, and in accordance with the Moscow Document, which he himself had written, they must stand trial at the places where the crimes were committed. He objected vigorously, however, to executions for political purposes.

Marshal Stalin, during this part of the conversation, continuously referred to Mr. Churchill’s secret liking for the Germans.

With reference to the occupation of bases and strong points in the vicinity of Germany and Japan, the President said those bases must be held under trusteeship.

Marshal Stalin agreed with the President.

The Prime Minister stated that as far as Britain was concerned, they do not desire to acquire any new territory or bases, but intended to hold on to what they had. He said that nothing would be taken away from England without a war. He mentioned specifically, Singapore and Hong Kong. He said a portion of the British Empire might eventually be released but that this would be done entirely by Great Britain herself, in accordance with her own moral precepts. He said that Great Britain, if asked to do so, might occupy certain bases under trusteeship, provided others would help pay the cost of such occupation.

Marshal Stalin replied that England had fought well in the war and he, personally, favored an increase in the British Empire, particularly the area around Gibraltar. He also suggested that Great Britain and the United States install more suitable governments in Spain and Portugal, since he was convinced that Franco was no friend of Great Britain or the United States. In reply to the Prime Minister’s inquiry as to what territorial interests the Soviet Union had, Marshal Stalin replied, “there is no need to speak at the present time about any Soviet desires, but when the time comes, we will speak.”

Although the discussion between Marshal Stalin and the Prime Minister remained friendly, the arguments were lively and Stalin did not let up on the Prime Minister throughout the entire evening.

They did, the Soviets will be the victors of the ww2 in Europe.

Marshal Stalin, during this part of the conversation, continuously referred to Mr. Churchill’s secret liking for the Germans.

At the same time Stalin had estblished the “Nationalkommite Freies Deutschland”, preparing for a post war Germany…

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President Roosevelt’s log of the trip

Monday, November 29 (at Tehran)

10:30 a.m. The United States, British and USSR military conferees met in the board room of the Russian Embassy. All joint board meetings, as well as all plenary meetings with the President, the Prime Minister and Marshal Stalin, were held in this room while we were in Tehran.
11:30 a.m. Colonel Elliott Roosevelt arrived in Tehran. He was due to arrive here yesterday morning and his failure to do so caused the President some concern. Colonel Roosevelt’s delay in arriving at Tehran was occasioned by motor trouble at Luxor, Egypt, where he visited prior to his departure from Egypt for Tehran. Colonel Roosevelt lived with the President at the Russian Embassy while he was in Tehran.
11:30 a.m. The President worked on his mail, clearing up all official mail that had arrived yesterday. There were no additional Congressional matters to be acted on.
2:00 p.m. Ambassador Harriman called at the Russian Embassy.
2:15 p.m. The President met with the American Chiefs of Staff. Those present were: The President, Admiral Leahy, General Marshall, Admiral King, General Arnold, Lt-General Somervell, Captain Royal and Lt-Colonel McCarthy.
2:30 p.m. Major Otis F. Bryan and Mr. M. F. Reilly called on the President.
2:45 p.m. Marshal Stalin, accompanied by Commissar Molotov and Mr. Pavlov, called on the President for an informal talk.
3:30 p.m. Members of the United States, British and USSR delegations assembled in the large board room (conference room) at the Russian Embassy for the ceremony at which the Prime Minister presented, in the name of King George VI of Great Britain, the “Sword of Stalingrad” to Marshal Stalin for the people of the City of Stalingrad. An honor guard, composed of both Russian and British soldiers and a Russian Army band, participated in the ceremonies. The Prime Minister and Marshal Stalin entered the room simultaneously; then the President. As the Prime Minister and Marshal Stalin entered, the band played the Soviet National Anthem and then the British National Anthem. The Prime Minister then read a description of the sword and with these remarks: “I have been commanded by His Majesty King George VI to present to you for transmission to the City of Stalingrad, this sword of honor, the design of which His Majesty has chosen and approved. The sword of honor was made by English craftsmen whose ancestors have been employed in sword making for generations. The blade of the sword bears the inscription: ‘To the steel-hearted citizens of Stalingrad, a gift from King George VI as a token of the homage of the British people.’” The Prime Minister made the presentation to Marshal Stalin, who accepted the sword and responded as follows: “On behalf of the citizens of Stalingrad, I wish to express my deep appreciation of the gift of King George VI. The citizens of Stalingrad will value this gift most highly and I ask you, Mr. Prime Minister, to convey their thanks to His Majesty the King.” Marshal Stalin then offered the sword to President Roosevelt for his inspection. The President remarked that it was a very fine gift, and added a few words of praise for the people of the City of Stalingrad.
3:45 p.m. The sword presentation ceremony over, the President, the Prime Minister and Marshal Stalin, together with members of their respective delegations, moved to the front portico of the Russian Embassy where moving pictures and still pictures were made of them by United States, British and Russian military photographers and accredited war correspondents.
4:00 p.m. Plenary meeting of the United States, British and USSR Chiefs of Staff and other delegates with the President, the Prime Minister and Marshal Stalin. Those present included all those present at the 4:00 p.m. meeting yesterday and in addition: Ambassador Harriman, General Marshall, General Arnold, Lt-General Somervell and Captain H. H. Ware, USA, for the United States; Ambassador Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, Lt-General Martel and Brigadier Hollis for Great Britain. The meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.
8:45 p.m. Marshal Stalin was host at dinner at the Russian Embassy to the President, the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary Eden, Commissar Molotov, Ambassador Harriman, Mr. Hopkins, Ambassador Clark Kerr, Mr. Bohlen, Mr. Berezhkov, and Major Birse. Conference discussions were held by this party from after dinner until midnight.
NOTE: The numerous Russian guards observed about the Russian Embassy yesterday – the day of our moving there – were not so much in evidence now except when Marshal Stalin came to the Embassy proper. The Russian Embassy guard was comprised entirely of Army officers and civilian secret servicemen.

U.S. State Department (November 30, 1943)

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 9:30 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
General Arnold Field Marshal Dill
Captain Freseman Lieutenant General Ismay
Brigadier Redman
Captain Royal
Colonel McFarland

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 30, 1943, 9:30 a.m.

Sir Alan Brooke began by saying that the problem was to arrive at an agreed basis for discussion with the Soviets at this afternoon’s Plenary Meeting. He then went on to consider operations in the Mediterranean from west to east. It had always been agreed that some operation should take place against the South of France. In Italy he felt that it was agreed we should not stay in the position now reached and must advance farther. For political and other reasons, it was important to get Rome, and he thought it was probably generally accepted that we should advance as far as the Pisa-Rimini line. For operations in Italy, it was clear that landing craft would be wanted. General Eisenhower had asked for the retention of the landing craft due to return to OVERLORD until 15 January. This would have a repercussion on the OVERLORD date.

In Yugoslavia it was important to give all possible help to the Partisans and there was general agreement regarding this. As regards Turkey and operations in the Aegean, agreement was much more in question. If Turkey were to be brought into the war, it would be desirable to open the Dardanelles and operations in the Aegean would be necessary. If Turkey were not to come into the war, the operations in the Aegean would not be called for.

If examination showed the operation against the South of France to be feasible, sufficient landing craft might be provided for the purpose. The sequence would then be Italian campaign, Rhodes (only if Turkey comes into the war), South of France, landing craft from Rhodes returning in time for the South of France. The date for the South of France operation would therefore be affected by the undertaking of the Rhodes operation.

Admiral Leahy said that the problem seemed to be a straightforward one of the date of OVERLORD. The Russians wanted OVERLORD on a fixed date in May. They also wanted an expedition against the South of France at the same time, or perhaps a little earlier or a little later. As far as he could see, the date of OVERLORD was the only point confusing the issue. If this matter was settled, everything would be settled. If OVERLORD was to be done by the date originally fixed, other operations could not be carried out. It was entirely agreed, he felt, that the operations in Italy must be carried on. On the U.S. side, it was felt that this could be done without interfering with OVERLORD and, indeed, the U.S. Planners were of the opinion that the operation against the South of France could be undertaken as well, without interfering with OVERLORD. If the landing craft were to be kept in Italy until 15 January, the U.S. calculation was that they could still be back in time for OVERLORD.

Sir Alan Brooke said that this was not thought by the British to be the case. Landing craft would need repair and there were also training demands. According to British calculations, even the date of 15 December for returning landing craft to OVERLORD was rather tight and it would be a great help if U.S. repair facilities could be made available for the British landing craft returning.

General Marshall then said that the paper submitted the day before by the United States Chiefs of Staff on the operation against the South of France had been produced at Cairo but was based on logistic and other data prepared in detail before SEXTANT. He said that four questions had been put to the U.S. Planners. Firstly, assuming that the operations against the South of France, set out in the paper in question, were undertaken, could OVERLORD take place on 15 May? In this connection the answer had been that, with the possible exception of transport aircraft, this date would still be possible for OVERLORD. There was reasonable expectation that the transport aircraft would be available from elsewhere. It was possible, moreover, that an airborne division might be brought from the U.S. by cargo ship infiltration, thus making it unnecessary to bring an airborne division from the United Kingdom.

As regards the timing of the operation against the South of France, he considered that it should not be carried out more than two to three weeks before OVERLORD.

The second question asked the U.S. Planners was how long the 68 LSTs could remain in the Mediterranean and still arrive in time for an OVERLORD date of 15 May. The U.S. calculation was that the landing craft must be released 2½ months before OVERLORD in order both that the necessary repair of craft could be effected and that the craft might be available for training purposes. This gave a date of 1 March. The time for training might be reduced by using more fully the craft already in the United Kingdom. It was clear that all U.S. resources must be used to assist in the repair of the landing craft returning late from the Mediterranean.

The U.S. calculation was that, after allowing for losses, the landing craft remaining in the Mediterranean after the departure of the 68 LSTs for OVERLORD would be sufficient to lift 27,000 troops and 1,500 vehicles.

Sir Andrew Cunningham said that the British felt that 100 days were necessary instead of the 2½ months calculated by the U.S. This put 15 February as the latest date to which the landing craft could be retained.

Admiral King agreed and said that therefore it should be safe to leave the landing craft in the Mediterranean until 1 February.

Sir Andrew Cunningham said that this also might allow for some small refits to be carried out in the Mediterranean before returning to the United Kingdom.

General Marshall then went on to the third question which had been asked the U.S. Planners, which was that if the Rhodes operation had to be undertaken as well as the operation against the South of France, how would OVERLORD be affected? It was difficult to get an answer to this question. In the first place, the dates were quite uncertain. Rome had not yet been taken and the date of the amphibious operation in Italy must be dependent on land operations. Moreover, in an amphibious operation such as might be carried out in the Italian campaign maintenance across the beaches might be necessary, which would delay accordingly the availability of landing craft. It was understood, however, that the amphibious operation contemplated was such that the main forces would join up quickly with it. Assuming that the Rome operation would have been completed by the end of January, the landing craft required for Rhodes could be in the Middle East by 15 February; the Rhodes operation could take place then on 21 March. Allowing a month for the operation, the landing craft could return to Corsica on 21 April, arriving 30 April. A month would probably be necessary for the repair of landing craft before the operation against the South of France which could, therefore, be undertaken at an earlier stage [at the earliest, say?] – 15 July. Moreover, the total landing craft available would be barely sufficient for operations against the South of France, and this was not allowing for any losses that might occur.

The Planners were also asked how long OVERLORD would be delayed if the 68 LSTs were never returned to the United Kingdom for OVERLORD. The answer to this was that these craft represented a three months’ production and, in consequence, three months’ delay to OVERLORD. As the landing craft could be made available alternatively only by withdrawing them from allocations to the Pacific, operations there would also be put back by three months.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the only landing craft that had not been mentioned were those allocated to Operation BUCCANEER, in which 20 LSTs and 12 LSI(L)s were involved. He then read certain extracts from Naf 492, giving General Eisenhower’s views on operations against the South of France.

General Marshall expressed himself as being opposed to an early date for the attack against the South of France in advance of the OVERLORD date. He was more inclined to a simultaneous operation.

Admiral King considered that D-Day should be the same for both operations and that this would provide a much better basis for planning. This met with general agreement.

Sir Alan Brooke then referred to the U.S. paper on the operation against the South of France and said that the paper would need careful examination as to the number of divisions that were available from Italy for such an operation, and the number that would need to be retained for the operations in Italy.

General Marshall explained that the figure of four British divisions represented garrison requirements in Italy outside the immediate zone of operations.

Sir Alan Brooke thought the figure of 10 divisions and an amphibious lift of 2 divisions, available from Italy for the South of France operation, to be too high.

Admiral King stressed the importance of insuring that landing craft were employed for the purposes for which they were designed and not diverted to other uses for convenience. This had happened in the Pacific and no doubt also in the Mediterranean and it was necessary to be firm in view of the importance of the landing craft factor.

Sir Andrew Cunningham agreed and said that once the assault was over and ports were open, all landing craft should be withdrawn for refit for the next operation. It was true that although in the Mediterranean the Commanders were alive to the situation and had tightened up matters considerably, there was still some misuse of landing craft.

In this connection, Sir Charles Portal referred to the tendency to be too conservative in the buildup. He referred particularly to the large stocks that had been accumulated in Sicily as an insurance. Probably there was a tendency to over-insure.

There was general agreement on the above considerations and some discussion ensued in which two extremes were quoted, one, in which the 8th Army landing in Sicily had taken a bare minimum of transport and in consequence had been delayed in their subsequent advance; and the other, in the planning for OVERLORD in which so many vehicles had been put down to accompany the leading formations, that the whole operation would tend to be hampered thereby.

As regards relief work, Admiral King considered that it was necessary to be hard-hearted and to cut out anything that was being taken across beaches which was not absolutely necessary. There was general agreement regarding this.

Sir Charles Portal then referred to the aspect of fighter cover for the operation against the South of France. He said he was not satisfied that the range from the available air bases would allow of adequate air support and thought the matter would need to be examined carefully. In AVALANCHE two alternative plans had been considered and one of these had had to be turned down because fighter cover could not be insured. Salerno had been 180 miles from available fighter strips in North Sicily. Marseilles was 190 miles from the nearest part of Corsica and 225 miles from the eastern side on which the best air bases were sited. We might want to go farther than Marseilles.

Admiral Leahy questioned as to why we should need to go as far west as Marseilles. There were good beaches at various places along the coast.

General Arnold agreed that the whole question would have to be studied very carefully. He stated that the estimates in the U.S. draft paper on operations against Southern France had been based on the use of long-range fighter aircraft.

Admiral King then asked whether he was correct in understanding that, should all other operations be dropped, the landing craft would not be available for OVERLORD to take place on 1 May.

Sir Alan Brooke replied that this was the case and that if the landing craft due to return to OVERLORD did not leave the Mediterranean until 15 January, 1 June would be the earliest date possible for Overlord because of the need for repairing the landing craft and using them for training purposes.

Admiral Leahy pointed out that the U.S. figures did not agree with this and that if the landing craft were retained until 15 February, OVERLORD would still be possible by 15 May.

Admiral King said that any U.S. facilities available for the repair of landing craft would be placed at the disposal of the Commander of OVERLORD for this urgent task.

Sir Charles Portal then made the suggestion that [if?] an amphibious lift of one division were left in Italy until the capture of Rome and one division with its amphibious lift were kept mounted in the Middle East until the middle of February, by then it would be known whether Turkey would come in. If Turkey did not come in, the division could be dismounted and the landing craft made available for OVERLORD.

Sir Alan Brooke said, in reply to this, that he felt that the landing craft that would be required for this division for the Aegean were already being used for the Italian campaign.

Admiral Leahy said that if the proposed operation were to take place after 15 February, this would surely delay OVERLORD.

Sir Charles Portal agreed but suggested that we might have two alternative dates for OVERLORD – the one if Turkey were to come into the war, and the other if Turkey were not to come in.

Admiral King made it clear that whereas the operations against Rhodes and the Dodecanese were contingent upon Turkey entering the war and were not concerned with OVERLORD, the operations against the South of France and in Italy were completely interlocked with OVERLORD. It should be possible for the Combined Chiefs of Staff to work out roughly on these bases two alternative dates for OVERLORD, as suggested by Sir Charles Portal.

Sir Charles Portal remarked that while he agreed with Admiral King, he could not accept that the entry of Turkey into the war would have no effect on OVERLORD.

General Marshall then said that disregarding the question of postponing the date for OVERLORD and considering the matter of landing craft only, it seemed to him that the suggestion of Sir Charles Portal would involve the dividing of the resources of landing craft available in the Mediterranean so that no real strength would be left anywhere. This, he thought, was serious as it would be splitting the most potent means of influencing the war. It would reduce correspondingly the effort in Italy and might have serious consequences. General Eisenhower’s views were different from those expressed formerly, and he now talked of a two-division amphibious lift whereas formerly he had only asked for one.

General Marshall felt, moreover, that there was the chance that the landing craft so withdrawn to the Aegean, to which Sir Charles Portal referred, might never be used. He said that he agreed completely with the Prime Minister as to the importance of keeping a tighter hold on supply. There was general agreement in this connection.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the OVERLORD plan should be coordinated with the plans for a Russian offensive. No Russian offensive had ever started before the end of May. Marshal Stalin clearly, and quite reasonably, would like us to draw the German strength away from the Russian front before the Russian offensive started.

A general discussion then ensued as to the answer that could be given to the Russians regarding the date on which it would be possible to undertake OVERLORD.

Sir Alan Brooke said that unless we could give the Russians a firm date for OVERLORD, there would be no point in proceeding with the Conference. As far as he could see, we could do OVERLORD in May if we did not undertake other operations. Sir Alan Brooke said that he did not think that 1 May would be possible although 1 June might be. This brought us back to the BUCCANEER operation to which, of course, there was a political background. He still thought that it would be better to use the landing craft allocated to BUCCANEER for this main effort against the Germans. In response to a question of Admiral Leahy as to whether the BUCCANEER landing craft would help OVERLORD at all, Sir Alan Brooke replied that it would, as it could be used both in the Aegean and against the South of France. Moreover, the amphibious lift for OVERLORD was itself all too small. It was even smaller than it had been at Salerno.

Admiral Leahy said that this affected the validity of the whole of the OVERLORD plan.

Sir Alan Brooke pointed out that if OVERLORD were delayed it would make more landing craft available.

Sir Charles Portal remarked that whatever operations were undertaken in the European theater, the OVERLORD operation would undoubtedly be helped indirectly.

Sir Andrew Cunningham said that unless BUCCANEER landing craft were to be used, it would not be possible, except at the expense of OVERLORD, to have more than a one-division lift for the South of France operation, a lift which, in his opinion, was not sufficient.

Admiral King said that the Prime Minister had laid great stress on the importance of keeping actively employed all forces now in the Mediterranean. He agreed with this in principle but drew attention to the 2½ months’ inactivity that would ensue for 35 divisions in the United Kingdom if the OVERLORD date was postponed from 1 May to 15 July. He had always felt that the OVERLORD operation was the way to break the back of Germany.

Sir Andrew Cunningham questioned the 2½ months referred to by Admiral King, saying that the earliest date possible for OVERLORD would be 1 June. Both Admiral King and Admiral Leahy then said that this came to them as a complete surprise as 1 May was the date agreed upon.

Admiral Leahy asked Sir Alan Brooke whether he believed that the conditions laid down for OVERLORD would ever arise unless the Germans had collapsed beforehand.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he firmly believed that they would and that he foresaw the conditions arising in 1944, provided the enemy were engaged on other fronts as well.

Sir Charles Portal said that it was still in the balance as to whether we would overcome the German increase in fighter production. The success of the combined bomber offensive had not been as complete as had been hoped for. The Germans were making tremendous efforts and were aiming at a production of 1,600 to 1,700 fighters per month. If they succeeded, the OVERLORD operation might be faced by a very strong fighter force acting against it.

General Arnold then said how important it was to examine carefully the whole question of air strengths throughout the world in order to ensure that our great air superiority could be applied to best advantage.

Sir Charles Portal expressed his opinion that from the air point of view a June or July date for OVERLORD would seem to be better, as regards weather, than one in May.

Admiral Leahy suggested that the Russians would not refuse a 1 June date for OVERLORD but that we would have to be firm about it.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the date would have to be fixed earlier than 1 June because of the need to retain landing craft for Italy until 15 January. It would be possible to fix a RANKIN date for 1 May when probably an attack could be made across the Channel with about two-thirds the strength now envisaged for OVERLORD. It was generally felt that the Russians would not understand the RANKIN operation if it were put to them. He reminded the Combined Chiefs of Staff that 1 May had been settled at TRIDENT as the date for OVERLORD by splitting the difference between the U.S. suggestion of 1 April and the British suggestion of 1 June. It had not been based on any particular strategic consideration.

General Ismay said that at Moscow the Russians had been told that the operation was scheduled for some time in May. They had not been told 1 May.

Sir Alan Brooke said that we might tell the Russians that OVERLORD could be undertaken not later than 1 June but that we would expect, in that case, the Russian offensive to take place also not later than 1 June.

Sir Andrew Cunningham agreed that 1 June could be adhered to.

Sir Charles Portal said that Marshal Stalin’s statement that the Russians would enter the war against Japan when Germany had been defeated, seemed to alter the whole relative importance of the war in Europe and the Pacific, and to shift the emphasis rather towards Europe for the time being.

There was some further discussion in which the dependence of the attack upon moon and tide and weather conditions was considered, and also the desirability of giving a bracket of dates instead of a fixed target date for the operation.


a. That we should continue to advance in Italy to the Pisa-Rimini line.

This means that the 68 LSTs which are due to be sent from the Mediterranean to the United Kingdom for OVERLORD must be kept in the Mediterranean until 15 January.

b. That an operation shall be mounted against the South of France on as big a scale as landing craft permit. For planning purposes D-Day to be the same as OVERLORD D-Day.

c. To recommend to the President and Prime Minister respectively that we should inform Marshal Stalin that we will launch OVERLORD during May, in conjunction with a supporting operation against the South of France on the largest scale that is permitted by the landing craft available at that time.

NOTE: The United States and British Chiefs of Staff agreed to inform each other before the Plenary Meeting this afternoon of the decisions of the President and Prime Minister respectively on the above point.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff were unable to reach agreement on the question of operations in the Aegean until they had received further instructions from the President and Prime Minister respectively.

1 Like

Meeting of President Roosevelt with the Shah of Iran, noon

United States Iran
President Roosevelt Shah Pahlevi
General Hurley Prime Minister Soheily
Mr. Dreyfus Foreign Minister Sa’ed-Maragheh’i
Colonel Roosevelt Mr. Ala

Apparently the principal subjects discussed were Iran’s economic problems and the desire of the United States to assist in their solution.

Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin luncheon meeting, 1:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom Soviet Union
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill Marshal Stalin
Mr. Bohlen Major Birse Mr. Berezhkov

Bohlen Minutes

November 30, 1943, 1:30 p.m.

Before luncheon, at the Prime Minister’s request, the President read to Marshal Stalin the recommendations of the combined British and American Staffs, which had been approved by himself and the Prime Minister.

Marshal Stalin expressed his great satisfaction with this decision. He added that the Red Army would at the same time undertake offensive operations, and would demonstrate by its actions the value it placed on this decision. He asked when the Commander-in-Chief would be named.

The President said he had to consult with his Staff, but that he was sure that the Commander-in-Chief would be named in three or four days or, in other words, immediately following his return, and that of the Prime Minister, to Cairo. The President said that there were a number of questions in regard to command which he had had to discuss with Mr. Churchill. He added that the Commander-in-Chief of OVERLORD would operate from England, and that there would be a Commander-in-Chief for the Mediterranean area. And one question was, under whose command the operations in Southern France would fall.

At this point The Prime Minister interrupted to say that the operations in Southern France should be under the Commander-in-Chief of OVERLORD, but the operations in Italy, which must be intensified to coordinate with the operations in France, would be under the Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean theater.

Marshal Stalin expressed agreement with this idea, and said it was sound military doctrine.

For the next part of the luncheon the conversation was general, until the Prime Minister asked Marshal Stalin whether he had read the proposed communiqué on the Far East of the Cairo Conference.

Marshal Stalin replied that he had and that although he could make no commitments, he thoroughly approved the communiqué and all its contents. He said it was right that Korea should be independent, and that Manchuria, Formosa and the Pescadores Islands should be returned to China. He added, however, that the Chinese must be made to fight, which they had not thus far done.

The Prime Minister and the President expressed agreement with Marshal Stalin’s views.

After some discussion of the great size of the Soviet Union, during which Marshal Stalin admitted frankly that had Russia not had at her disposal such a vast territory the Germans would have probably won the victory, the Prime Minister said that he felt that such a large land mass as Russia deserved the access to warm water ports. He said that the question would of course form part of the peace settlement, and he observed that it could be settled agreeably and as between friends.

Marshal Stalin replied that at the proper time that question could be discussed, but that since Mr. Churchill had raised the question he would like to inquire as to the regime of the Dardanelles. He said that since England no longer objected, it would be well to relax that regime.

The Prime Minister replied that England had now no objections to Russia’s access to warm water ports, although he admitted that in the past she had. He questioned, however, the advisability of doing anything about the Straits at the time, as we were all trying to get Turkey to enter the war.

Marshal Stalin said there was no need to hurry about that question, but that he was merely interested in discussing it here in general.

The Prime Minister replied that Great Britain saw no objections to this legitimate question, and that furthermore we all hoped to see Russian fleets, both naval and merchant, on all seas of the world.

Marshal Stalin said that Lord Curzon had had other ideas.

The Prime Minister replied that that was true, and that it would be idle to deny that in those days Russia and England did not see eye to eye.

Marshal Stalin replied that Russia also was quite different in those days.

The President reverted to the question of the approaches to the Baltic Sea, which he had previously discussed with Marshal Stalin. He said he liked the idea of establishing the former Hanseatic cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Lubeck into some form of a free zone, with the Kiel Canal put under international control and guaranty, with freedom of passage for the world’s commerce.

Marshal Stalin said he thought that that was a good idea, and then asked what could be done for Russia in the Far East.

The Prime Minister replied that it was for this reason that he had been particularly glad to hear the Marshal’s views on the Cairo communiqué, since he was interested to find out the views of the Soviet government on the Far East and the question of warm water ports there.

Marshal Stalin replied that of course the Russians had their views, but that it would perhaps be better to await the time when the Russians would be taking an active representation in the Far Eastern war. He added, however, that there was no port in the Far East that was not closed off, since Vladivostok was only partly ice-free, and besides covered by Japanese-controlled Straits.

The President said he thought the idea of a free port might be applied to the Far East besides, and mentioned Dairen as a possibility.

Marshal Stalin said he did not think that the Chinese would like such a scheme.

To which the President replied that he thought they would like the idea of a free port under international guaranty.

Marshal Stalin said that that would not be bad, and added that Petropavlovsk or [on?] Kamchatka was an excellent port, and ice-free, but with no rail connections. He pointed out in this general connection that Russia had only one ice-free port, that of Murmansk.

The Prime Minister then said that it was important that the nations who would govern the world after the war, and who would be entrusted with the direction of the world after the war, should be satisfied and have no territorial or other ambitions. If that question could be settled in a manner agreeable to the great powers, he felt then that the world might indeed remain at peace. He said that hungry nations and ambitious nations are dangerous, and he would like to see the leading nations of the world in the position of rich, happy men.

The President and Marshal Stalin agreed.

It was then decided that after a short session this afternoon at 4:30 there would be no more full sessions of the conference, but at 4:00 o’clock tomorrow the President, Marshal Stalin and the Prime Minister, together with Mr. Eden, Mr. Molotov and Mr. Hopkins, would meet to discuss political matters, and reference was made to Poland, Finland and Sweden as possible subjects of discussion.

Hopkins-Eden-Molotov luncheon meeting, 1:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom Soviet Union
Mr. Hopkins Foreign Secretary Eden Foreign Commissar Molotov
Captain Ware Captain Lunghi Mr. Pavlov

Ware Minutes

November 30, 1943, 1:30 p.m.

Mr. Hopkins brought up the question of the “strong points” to which reference had evidently been made previously in discussions with Mr. Molotov and Marshal Stalin about post-war Europe.

Mr. Molotov specifically mentioned Bizerte and Dakar and was interested in the question of the sovereignty of Bizerte. He said it would be difficult to realize how the war could not but affect such places, and that this was Marshal Stalin’s point of view also.

He added that it would be difficult also to comprehend how France, specifically, could be considered for treatment which would exclude punishment for her hostile acts committed in the past – in other words, how France could go unpunished for these acts.

Mr. Hopkins, specifically mentioning Belgium and Holland, brought out the implications of the fact that these countries were in close proximity to Germany and questioned the ability of such countries to defend themselves after this war.

Mr. Molotov said it had been shown once more that they are unable to defend themselves. Regarding France, however, he stated that this was a different matter. He said that France did not want to defend herself and in this respect she could be held much more responsible for her hostile acts than could Belgium and Holland.

Mr. Eden very willingly admitted that Great Britain should have given France more help.

Mr. Molotov indicated that France was not merely a country overpowered by the Germans but in fact was now with the Germans actively supporting German strategy. He added that France was not weak and that France did not want to join the Allies but wanted to collaborate with Germany. He said that the former French government had collapsed and that France made an alliance with Germany.

Mr. Eden , in reference to possible future attitudes toward France, said that nothing was too bad for the Lavals and Petains.

Mr. Molotov repeated that they are supporting Hitler now and that regarding France it is not just a matter of weakness.

Mr. Hopkins mentioned as an example the possibility of a strong point and airbase in Belgium and wanted to know what sort of agreement could be worked out in regard to who would operate such a base and under what right or authority.

It was pointed out that it would perhaps be easier just to arrange for the use of such bases for the Allies following the war in countries which had been enemy countries, and that in order to get the use of such bases in friendly countries, certain complications and rights of sovereignty might arise.

Mr. Eden suggested that the leasing of bases in the West Indies to the United States by Great Britain might serve as a rough example of these future arrangements.

Turning to Mr. Hopkins he said that it seemed that this was an exchange of bases for United States ships but really it was because “We like the United States to be there.” He asked Mr. Hopkins if he did not think that was really it.

Mr. Hopkins indicated that he would object to any such conclusion.

Mr. Molotov indicated that it would be hard to realize how such future arrangements for strong points could not but affect the countries where such bases were located but that at the present time it seemed uncertain what countries would be so affected. He said that he felt he was expressing the views of Marshal Stalin in stating that after the war in order to assure that there would be no future big war, the States particularly responsible for securing the peace will have to see to it that the main strategic bases will be in their control.

Regarding the strong points which will be taken from Germany or Japan, he remarked that these could be under the control possibly of Great Britain or the United States or both.

Specifically concerning Bizerte and Dakar, he mentioned United States or British control.

It appeared that he assumed there would be United States control in the Atlantic, and he asked if this was the correct understanding.

Mr. Eden said that the Prime Minister had stated that he did not want any more territory and that in regard to strong points taken from Germany and Japan, there might be joint control by the United States and Great Britain or United Nations control.

Regarding French bases, he could not say, since this matter would take great consideration, particularly in view of the fact that for many years England had been very close to France.

It might be supposed that the French could make a contribution by placing their bases under some United Nations control. In this way it would be possible for France to give something, and this should not in any way hurt the pride of France.

Mr. Molotov agreed that these sounded like legitimate demands.

Mr. Hopkins indicated that the place and strength of these future strong points would have to be worked out with a view as to who would possibly be a potential future enemy. He said that the President feels it essential to world peace that Russia, Great Britain, and the United States work out this control question in a manner which will not start each of the three powers arming against the others.

He indicated that the people would select as likely future enemies, Germany and Japan.

He said that the question of building up bases in the Pacific would not be a difficult one. Specifically in regard to the Philippines, he indicated that following their independence we would still consider it advisable to have naval and air bases there. He indicated that we feel such bases in the Philippines would not be under United Nations control but rather United States control.

In the event that Formosa was returned to China, naval and air bases would be desired there also.

The size, character, and duties of occupying forces on such bases would have to be worked out.

Mr. Eden said he agreed also.

Mr. Hopkins said that there are two problems which disturb the President in this connection. We do not want sovereignty over any islands which will be free [freed?] from Japanese domination. The United Nations may perhaps exercise some sort of protective influence.

The problem remains as to the type of base and as to who will operate them. The three great powers should decide these basic questions regarding strong points and who will control these. This control will involve air, naval, and ground forces.

Mr. Hopkins pointed out that it is relatively easy for the United States to discuss the question of strong points because the United States is not located under any possible immediate danger from Germany. The difficult problem will be to enforce peace upon Germany. The Russian and British strong points located nearer to Germany would involve more immediate problems in connection with the enforcing of peace on Germany.

The question of the location of strong points should not be too difficult once the most difficult problems in this connection have been basically agreed upon here. This whole question of strong points is one of the most important post-war problems.

Mr. Hopkins mentioned that there had been a brief discussion between the Prime Minister and Marshal Stalin on this subject and that it would be fully worthwhile, he believed, if the President, Prime Minister, and Marshal Stalin could further discuss this problem but that he understood that time was short and that possibly we could go into this matter now.

Mr. Molotov indicated that of course the heads of the governments had greater authority and would be more fully competent to talk through the issue but that possibly we could clarify the matter now.

Mr. Eden said he would like to know what Mr. Molotov recommends on the matter. Then he turned to the problem of Turkey.

He said that the Turkey problem had been thought over carefully and that it was his suggestion that we should make a joint summons to Turkey to enter the war. This summons would be made to Turkey, making clear what consequences would follow if Turkey refused, with all three of us backing the demand. He indicated that if it were agreeable to Mr. Molotov, an invitation could be extended to President Inonu of Turkey to come to Cairo where he could meet with the Prime Minister and the President if the President would be willing to stop over for this purpose in Cairo on his way back.

Mr. Eden said to Mr. Molotov that he would like to have Russian participation also and that it would be good if they would send someone representing the Soviet Government to the proposed meeting with the Turkish President in Cairo.

Mr. Eden added that it may be likely that President Inonu would not come; that he might make a constitutional excuse. But in case President Inonu does refuse to come to Cairo, he would suggest that the President or the Prime Minister should not go to Turkey. If President Inonu does not come, perhaps an Ambassador or better yet, some special messenger should be sent to President Inonu in Turkey with our demands.

Mr. Eden emphasized that he thought there should be a special person sent and asked who this person should be.

Mr. Molotov stated that he was in favor of bringing Turkey into the war not in the distant future, but now, this year.

Mr. Eden remarked that the problem then is not what we want but how. He stated that he understood that Marshal Stalin does not believe that Turkey will go to war, but Mr. Eden added it should be tried.

He said to Mr. Molotov that it was his feeling that the Soviet position was of much greater optimism in regard to the possibility of getting Turkey into the war at the time of the Three Power Conference in Moscow.

Mr. Molotov indicated that following the Numan request and the negotiations with Turkey conducted by Mr. Eden in the name of the Three Powers, that the reply which Great Britain had received from Turkey had caused the Russian loss of optimism.

Mr. Hopkins said that he understood that the Russians had wanted Turkey to enter the war particularly for immediate military benefit which the Russians had felt they would derive from having this action force more German troops away from the Soviet front.

He understood that the Prime Minister had discussed with Marshal Stalin on several occasions, the Turkey problem and that Marshal Stalin had emphasized his desire to have Turkey in the war now.

He said that the President would want to know more about the present Soviet attitude on this question. He assumed that all of us would want Turkey in the war and wanted to know whether there was actually a change in emphasis in the Soviet analysis of this situation.

Mr. Eden, in answer to a question put to him, stated that he had spoken in Turkey on behalf of the three countries.

Mr. Molotov remarked that under the authority of the protocol of the Three Power Conference, this was as it should be.

Mr. Hopkins indicated that it was quite all right for Mr. Eden to speak for the United States.

Mr. Molotov pointed out that the reply made by Turkey was very bad and could not but affect the Soviet point of view which he understood had been made clear to Mr. Churchill by Marshal Stalin.

Mr. Molotov then added that if Turkey does declare war on Germany and if Bulgaria continues to take a hostile attitude, the Soviet Union will not only break diplomatic relations with Bulgaria but will be at war with Bulgaria. This all goes to show, he indicated, that the Soviet Government does attach importance to the participation of Turkey in the war.

Mr. Eden said that when he first learned of this Soviet analysis in regard to Bulgaria in this connection, and that he had heard about this at the conference yesterday, that he was frankly surprised.

Mr. Molotov said that this was a brief exposition of the Soviet point of view.

He asked Mr. Eden if he could elucidate a statement made at the conference yesterday by Prime Minister Churchill to the effect that if Turkey refuses the demands, that Turkey’s post-war rights in the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles would be affected. He asked Mr. Eden what Mr. Churchill meant by this.

Mr. Eden replied “frankly I do not know.”

Then he went on to add that he supposed the Prime Minister had meant that the present cordiality and support being offered Turkey would be changed; in fact that the whole basis of relationship with Great Britain would be changed.

He offered to ask Mr. Churchill for further elucidation if Mr. Molotov would so desire.

Mr. Molotov indicated that he would like to know.

Mr. Eden then asked Mr. Molotov if specifically his government would agree to the suggestion to try to bring President Inonu of Turkey to Cairo.

Mr. Molotov said that he thought it would be a good idea but that he would ask Marshal Stalin.

Mr. Eden thanked Mr. Molotov very much.

Mr. Hopkins, turning to Mr. Eden, stated that he had good reason to believe that a substantial understanding on these points under discussion would be arrived at between Marshal Stalin, the Prime Minister, and the President.

Mr. Molotov said he was convinced that the results of this conference would add vigor to the people of our respective countries and that the coming together of the three heads of government would do still more toward improving the morale in our countries.

Mr. Hopkins indicated that if large undertakings were started following Turkey’s entry into the war, and if in this connection the island of Rhodes were occupied and attacks were made on the Dodecanese Islands, that such large commitments which would inevitably follow, would possibly cause at least a delay of OVERLORD. However, he stated that aside from the military situation which might be of sufficient importance that also there might be a psychological advantage in developing the war in this area at this time which would justify a delay in OVERLORD. Among other things, this might force Finland to ask for peace from Russia.

Mr. Molotov asked if he was to understand that the entry of Turkey into the war at this time was connected with a delay in the timing of OVERLORD in the opinion of Mr. Hopkins.

Mr. Hopkins said that the President was under this impression and so also our Chiefs of Staff.

Mr. Molotov said that Marshal Stalin would be against getting Turkey into the war now if this necessarily meant a delay of OVERLORD.

Mr. Hopkins said he hesitated to be too encouraging but that he might be mistaken and that possibly a formula was being worked out whereby this possible action in the Eastern Mediterranean could take place without interfering with OVERLORD.

Mr. Hopkins said that he understands there were three questions of urgent importance to the Russians in regard to OVERLORD as stated at the conference yesterday:

  1. The assurance that OVERLORD will take place and on time.
  2. The Commander of OVERLORD.
  3. The supporting action in Southern France.

Mr. Eden then turned to the question of aid to Tito in Yugoslavia. He made mention of a mission with United States Officers in it and suggested to Mr. Molotov that the Russians might also want to send a mission and that maybe the Russians would want to have an airbase in Northern Africa.

Mr. Eden stated that the British were ready to provide that base.

Mr. Molotov said thank you.

Mr. Eden went on to explain that the British airbase for sending supplies to Tito is located at Cairo and asked Mr. Molotov where he would like to have a base for the Russians.

Mr. Molotov answered that he would leave that to the discretion of Mr. Eden and that as Mr. Eden suggested Cairo he thought that would be a good location for the Russians too.

Mr. Molotov said that the Soviet General Staff plans to send a mission to Yugoslavia and that on his return to Moscow he will be able to state who is taking part in this mission.

Mr. Eden said that he would try to get preliminary arrangements made and a place ready for an airbase for the Russians at Cairo and assured that such a base would be made available.

Mr. Molotov asked whether it would not be better to have a mission to Michaelovich [Mihailović] rather than to Tito in order to get better information.

Mr. Eden said that he would know better tomorrow but that from reports he had received from British Officers, Michaelovich would not be good to deal with, but he said that maybe it would be good for the Russians to send some of their people to Michaelovich.

Then he brought up the question as to whether the territory occupied by Tito was or was not separated by German forces from the area or areas occupied by Michaelovich.

Mr. Eden then referred to Mr. Molotov, making reference to what he termed an “indiscreet conversation” held between the Prime Minister and Marshal Stalin the other day on the subject of Poland.

He added that the British have only one desire – to prevent the problem from becoming a source of friction between our countries. He said that if the question of two steps to the left was to be considered for Poland, then he would want to know how large these steps would be. He said that if he knew what was in the minds of the Russians on this question he would then be able to ask them for some sort of an agreement of opinion. Therefore, he suggested that this problem should be carefully looked over.

Mr. Molotov added that he agreed.

Mr. Hopkins said that he was under the impression that the President had spoken quite openly and frankly with Marshal Stalin and that he had told him or would tell him all that he had on his mind on this subject and that he was sure the President and Prime Minister had talked over the question of Poland.

Third 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
Mr. Harriman Sir Archibald Clark Kerr Marshal Voroshilov
Admiral Leahy Field Marshal Dill Mr. Pavlov
General Marshall General Brooke Mr. Berezhkov
Admiral King Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
General Arnold Air Chief Marshal Portal
Major General Deane Lieutenant General Ismay
Captain Royal Lieutenant General Martel
Captain Ware Major Birse
Mr. Bohlen

Bohlen Minutes

November 30, 1943, 4 p.m.

The President opened the proceedings by stating that while most of those present were aware of what had occurred this morning at the meeting of the British and American Staffs, he wished personally to express his happiness at the decision reached which he hoped would be satisfactory to Marshal Stalin. He proposed that Sir Alan Brooke, British Chief of Staff, report for the Combined Chiefs.

General Brooke said that sitting in combined session the United States and British Staffs had reached the following agreement, which had been submitted for the approval of the President and the Prime Minister. It was agreed:

  1. That OVERLORD will be launched during the month of May 1944.

  2. That there will be a supporting operation in southern France on as large a scale as possible, depending on the number of landing craft available for this operation.

The Prime Minister stated that it was important that close and intimate contact be maintained with Marshal Stalin and the Soviet General Staff since it was important that in closing on the wild beast all parts of the narrowing circle should be aflame with battle. All operations must be considered, and if Turkey entered the war her action as well as the resistance operations in Yugoslavia should also be coordinated with the actions of the allied army.

Marshal Stalin said he fully understood the importance of the decision reached and the difficulties which would be encountered in the execution of OVERLORD. He added that the danger in the beginning of the operation was that the Germans might attempt to transfer troops from the eastern front to oppose OVERLORD. In order to deny to the Germans the possibility of maneuvering he pledged that the Red Army would launch simultaneously with OVERLORD large scale offensives in a number of places for the purpose of pinning down German forces and preventing the transfer of German troops to the west. He said that he had already made the foregoing statement to the President, and Mr. Churchill but he thought it necessary to repeat it to the conference.

The President said that we were all aware of the importance of maintaining the closest cooperation between the three Staffs, and now that they had gotten together he hoped they would stay together. He went on to say that he had already told Marshal Stalin that the next step would be the appointment of a Commander-in-Chief for OVERLORD, and that he was confident that this appointment would be made within three or four days or immediately after he and the Prime Minister had returned to Cairo. He suggested that if Marshal Stalin and the Prime Minister had no objection it might be advisable for the British and American military staffs to return to Cairo tomorrow as they had a great deal of detail work to do in working out the decisions reached here. Both Marshal Stalin and the Prime Minister agreed.

The Prime Minister stated that having taken this important decision the main question now was to find enough landing craft for all our needs. He said he could not believe that the great resources of the United States and England could not make available what was needed. He said he had caused an inquiry to be made in regard to the total number of landing craft in the Mediterranean, and that upon their return home his military staff would have this information. Mr. Churchill added that he wished to state that now the decision had been taken he felt that OVERLORD should be delivered with smashing force and he hoped that it would be possible to add to the strength of the operation as he wished to place that man in a position where there was no way out for him; if he put force in the west he would be smashed on the Soviet front, and if he attempted to hold firm in the east he would be smashed on the west. He went on to say that the present conclave might now break up as the military questions had been settled. Some political questions remained to be discussed and he hoped it would be possible on December 1st and 2nd to discuss these questions since he felt it would be of great value to be able to tell the world that full agreement had been reached on all questions at this conference. He expressed the hope that the President and Marshal Stalin would be willing to remain in Tehran through December 2 if necessary. Both the President and Marshal Stalin agreed.

The President then said it would be necessary to consider the text of the communiqué to be issued and suggested that the military staffs before their departure work out a draft of the military aspects of the conference for their consideration. This was agreed.

The Prime Minister then said some form of cover plan should be worked out in order to confuse and deceive the enemy as to the real time and place of our joint blows. He said that the vast preparations in England could not be concealed from the enemy, and it was therefore important that every effort be made to confuse and mislead him. He said that “truth deserves a bodyguard of lies.”

Marshal Stalin then described the methods used on the Soviet front to conceal the location and timing of Soviet offenses. This was done through the use of dummy tanks, aircraft, fake landing fields and false information on the military radio.

The formal conference then closed with the agreement that the President, Marshal Stalin and the Prime Minister, Mr. Molotov, Mr. Eden and Mr. Hopkins would meet tomorrow to discuss political questions.

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 30, 1943, 4 p.m.

In opening the meeting, the President said he assumed that most of those present were familiar with what had transpired at the meeting of the British and American staffs earlier in the day, but he suggested that General Brooke be asked to read the conclusions which were reached at that meeting.

Marshal Stalin and the Prime Minister agreed.

General Brooke said that at the meeting of the British and American staffs they had agreed to recommend to the President and Prime Minister that they should inform Marshal Stalin that the Anglo-American forces would launch OVERLORD during the month of May, in conjunction with a supporting operation against the South of France, on the largest scale that would be permitted by the landing craft available at that time.

The Prime Minister said it is of course understood that we shall keep in close touch with Marshal Stalin and the Soviet military authorities in order that all operations may be coordinated with each other. He said that the Anglo-American-Soviet forces would be closing in on Germany from all parts of a circle and it was essential that the pressure be exerted by all forces at the same moment. For this purpose, he proposed to keep the Soviet authorities informed of the Anglo-American plans. He added that it would be possible to hold 8 to 10 German divisions on the Italian front, and he expressed the hope that the Yugoslavs could continue their good work in holding German divisions in that country. He said that if Turkey could be brought into the war, so much the better, and emphasized again the necessity for the three great Powers to work together as one team.

Marshal Stalin said that he understood the importance of the decision that had been reached by the Anglo-American staffs. He emphasized that there would be difficulties in the beginning and possibly dangers. The greatest danger would be that at the time of the attack the Germans might endeavor to transfer divisions from the Eastern Front to meet it and attempt to prevent its success. In order to deny the Germans freedom of action and [not to?] permit them to move their forces to the West he stated that the Soviets would undertake to organize a large-scale offensive against the Germans in May in order to contain the maximum number of German divisions on the Eastern Front and thus remove the difficulties for OVERLORD. He added that he had already made such a statement to the President and Prime Minister but felt it necessary to repeat it at the Plenary Session of the conference.

The President said that the Marshal’s statement concerning the timing and coordination of operations was extremely satisfactory and it forestalled a question on that subject he was about to ask. He suggested that now that the staffs of the three nations had gotten together it was essential they should maintain close contact with each other, with particular emphasis on making certain that all future operations were timed with relation to each other.

The President then said he had told Marshal Stalin that the next step was the appointment of the Supreme Commander for the OVERLORD operation. He said that he and the Prime Minister would take up this matter with their staffs and make the decision within three or four days, certainly soon after their arrival in Cairo.

The President said that the only military matters remaining for consideration were details of the OVERLORD operation which would have to be worked out between the combined British and American staffs, and suggested it might be more convenient for them to return to Cairo at once for this purpose.

After ascertaining from Marshal Stalin that he had no more matters which he wished presented to the Combined British and American Staffs, the President and Prime Minister agreed that the staffs should return to Cairo on the following day.

The Prime Minister said there are many details about the OVERLORD operation which remain to be settled. He said that the necessary landing craft would have to be found, but he could not believe that the two nations, with their great volume of production, could not make the necessary landing craft available. He said also that he would like to add weight to the operation as it is now planned, especially in the initial assault. In all events, he wished to make sure that the armed forces of the three nations would be in heavy action on the Continent of Europe during the month of June. If this were so, he added, it would make it very difficult for “that man.” If Hitler attempts to meet the Soviet attack from the east, the Anglo-American forces will move in on him. On the other hand, if he attempts to stop the Anglo-American forces, the Soviet forces will be able to advance into Germany.

Marshal Stalin said that he understood the necessity for the detailed staff planning and concurred that it would be a good idea for the staffs to return to Cairo at once.

The Prime Minister then indicated that since the military business of the conference was concluded, there were some political matters of extreme importance which remained to be decided. He hoped it would be possible for the three Heads of State to meet on the first and second of December and not to leave Tehran until December 3. He said it would be well if they remained until all questions of importance had been decided. He indicated that he was prepared to delay his departure, and the President and Marshal Stalin agreed to stay the extra day.

The President brought up the subject of the communiqué, particularly as it referred to the military decisions. He suggested that the military staffs draft something for the President and Prime Minister’s approval.

Marshal Stalin agreed that this should be done insofar as military matters taken up at the conference were concerned.

The Prime Minister said he thought the communiqué should strike the note that all future military operations were to be concerted between the three great Powers.

Marshal Stalin added, certainly those in Europe from both the east and west.

The Prime Minister said that the preparations for OVERLORD are bound to be known to the enemy. Numerous depots are being constructed in Southern England, the entire appearance of the coast is changing and photographs indicate these changes in detail.

Marshal Stalin said that it was difficult, if not impossible, to hide such a large operation from the enemy.

The Prime Minister then asked if any arrangements had been made to provide a combined cover plan for the operations in May as between the three great Powers.

Marshal Stalin said that on such occasions the Soviets had achieved success by the construction of false tanks, airplanes and airfields. They move these items to sectors in which no operations are planned, and such movements are immediately picked up by the German intelligence. In sectors from which blows are to be launched, all movements are made quietly and mostly under cover of darkness. In this manner they had often succeeded in deceiving the Germans. He noted that at times up to 5,000 false tanks and 2,000 false airplanes had been used, as well as the construction of a number of airfields which were not actually intended to be used. Another method of deception practiced by the Red Army was by the use of radio. Unit commanders communicate freely by radio giving the Germans false information and evoke immediate attacks from the German air forces in areas where such attacks can do no harm.

The Prime Minister observed that truth deserves a bodyguard of lies.

Marshal Stalin said, “This is what we call military cunning.”

The Prime Minister said that he considered it rather military diplomacy. He suggested that arrangements be made for liaison to be established between the three great Powers as regards the deception and propaganda methods to be adopted.

It was agreed that the Chiefs of State and their Foreign Ministers should meet on the following day at 1600.

Sketch by Roosevelt to illustrate his concept of the United Nations Organization


The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the President

Tehran, 30 November 1943

Memorandum for the President

From: The United States Chiefs of Staff.

The question of the allocation of Italian ships to the USSR, as requested at the Moscow Conference, may be brought up during the EUREKA proceedings.

The original Russian request was for 1 battleship, 1 cruiser, 8 destroyers, 4 submarines and 40,000 displacement tons of merchant shipping. This request is the subject of the exchange of a number of dispatches between our delegation in Moscow and the President. During these exchanges the allocation, or possible allocation, of one-third of the Italian Fleet for the use of the USSR was concurred in by the United States. However, it is understood that the USSR would not be prepared at this time to man and employ one-third of the Italian Fleet.

If the allocation of Italian ships to the USSR is brought up at this time, the action agreed upon should be solely with regard to its influence on the prosecution of the war. The following factors are to be considered:

a. The turning over of Italian ships to the Russians at this time would have a serious adverse effect on the prosecution of the war in Italy and in such other places as Italian forces are now cooperating. It seems quite possible that the Italian crews, before surrendering the ships to the Russians would scuttle. Italy has been accepted as a cobelligerent. The surrender of Italian ships would provide valuable propaganda for use by the enemy with the Italians in Germany, occupied Italy, even elsewhere.

b. Italian ships would not come provided with spare parts and ammunition. Further, they would probably require some modernization, especially as regards antiaircraft armament, which the USSR has no means of effecting.

It is recommended that it continue to be agreed in principle that one-third of the Italian warships that are allocated for transfer to powers other than Italy be allocated for the use of the USSR It is further recommended that any question of the allocation of Italian naval ships to other powers be deferred, at least until after the conclusion of Allied offensive operations in Italy.

Admiral, U.S. Navy,
Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy

Draft declaration on Iran

Tehran, November 30, 1943

Suggested draft declaration

The Governments of Iran, the United States, the USSR, and the United Kingdom, having consulted together, desire to make plain their common policy with regard to the prosecution of the war and their complete agreement with respect to the special economic questions with which the war has confronted Iran.

By subscribing to the Declaration by United Nations, all four governments have already declared their joint determination to press the war to a victorious conclusion. They are further agreed that Iran can make its most useful contribution to this end by facilitating the movement of essential supplies from overseas to the USSR and they recognize the assistance along this line which Iran has already rendered. All four governments intend to continue and intensify the cooperation in this respect which has been established. It is clearly understood that any armed forces of the United States, the USSR, and the United Kingdom which are, or may be, established on Iranian territory are solely for the purpose of furthering the common war effort and will be withdrawn as soon as the needs of that effort permit, in accordance with the published agreements already concluded between Iran and the other three Governments.

The four Governments are in agreement that the maximum benefit from their combined efforts can be obtained only if the essential economic needs of Iran are met, and they reaffirm their intention to cooperate closely to achieve this objective. The Governments of the United States, the USSR, and the United Kingdom will continue to make available to the Government of Iran such financial and material assistance as may be possible, having regard to the heavy demands made upon them by their worldwide military operations and to the worldwide shortage of transport, raw materials, and supplies for civilian consumption. The four Governments will work together in planning the importation of essential goods into Iran, and, in general, they will act in close consultation with regard to all economic matters which may affect the war effort in Iran.

With respect to the post-war period, the Governments of the United States, the USSR, and the United Kingdom are in accord with the Government of Iran that any economic problems confronting Iran at the conclusion of hostilities should receive full consideration, on an equal basis with those of other members of the United Nations, by any conferences or international agencies which may be set up to deal with international economic matters.

The Governments of the United States, the USSR, and the United Kingdom are as one with the Government of Iran in their desire for the maintenance of the complete independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran. They count upon the participation of Iran, along with all other peace-loving nations, in the establishment of international peace, security and prosperity after the war, in accordance with the principles of the Atlantic Charter, to which all four Governments have subscribed.

The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 30, 1943

For the President from Secretary Hull

Winant would certainly be a fine choice. Our representative on the Commission will have a full-time job and much detailed drafting and discussion will be essential. I don’t see, therefore, how one man can combine the exacting duties of American Ambassador to Great Britain with those of our representative on the Commission if these two important jobs are to be effectively done. Have you any further comment or suggestions in the light of the foregoing, in other words do you still desire him to hold both positions?


The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, 30 November 1943

From the Secretary of State for the President

Following the sinking by a German submarine of a small Colombian Vessel in the Caribbean (The second such sinking) the Colombian Government with the approval of the Senate proclaimed a state of belligerency with Germany. This will involve the adherence of Colombia to the United Nations declaration.

President Lopez of Colombia is in the United States on leave of absence. The reason for his trip is his wife’s need for medical attention. However, the President’s political position, while improved, has not entirely recovered from the recent political crisis. It is generally believed that he will return to Colombia to resume his office within a few weeks.

Senator Butler’s article in Readers Digest and his address and reports to the Senate on his trip to the other American Republics have caused a sensation. However, his charges which are as sweeping as they are unfounded have been vigorously challenged by the Vice President and by Nelson Rockefeller. The general effect in the other American Republics cannot be minimized although the majority of those commenting have shown a good understanding of the situation here. Senator Butler’s elaborate report will when available be analyzed in detail by the different agencies concerned.

Tripartite dinner meeting, 8:30 p.m.

Major Boettiger Mr. Holman
Lieutenant General Ismay Mr. Martin
General Arnold Lieutenant General Somervell
Lord Moran General Brooke
Mr. Harriman Mr. Berezhkov
Field Marshal Dill Marshal Voroshilov
Major Birse Sir Reader Bullard
Marshal Stalin Mr. Molotov
Prime Minister Churchill Mr. Eden
President Roosevelt Mr. Hopkins
Mr. Bohlen Sir Archibald Clark Kerr
Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham Mr. Winant
Admiral Leahy Air Chief Marshal Portal
Section Officer Sarah Churchill Oliver General Marshall
Admiral King Captain Randolph Churchill
Sir Alexander Cadogan Colonel Elliott Roosevelt
Sergeant Robert Hopkins Commander Thompson

Boettiger Minutes

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

Thirty-three members of the American, British and Russian representatives [delegations?] at the Tehran Conference gathered with Mr. Churchill for dinner on the occasion of his 69th birthday. A list of the guests, and the seating arrangement at the dinner-table, is attached.

It was clear that those present had a sense of realization that historic understanding had been reached and this conception was brought out in the statements and speeches. Back of all was the feeling that basic friendships had been established which there was every reason to believe would endure.

This strong feeling of optimism appeared to be based on the realization that if the three nations went forward together, there was real hope for a better world future, and that their own most vital interests dictated such a policy.

President Roosevelt sat on the Prime Minister’s right, and Marshal Stalin on his left. All speeches took the form of toasts, following the Russian custom and the policy established at the Stalin dinner at the Soviet Embassy on Sunday [Monday] night.

The President opened the proceedings with the first toast, an unusual departure from rote in that he, instead of the host, proposed the traditional toast to the King. The President said that as an old friend of King George he had requested of Mr. Churchill the privilege of offering the toast.

The Prime Minister then paid a warm official and personal tribute to the President, whom he characterized as a man who had devoted his entire life to the cause of defending the weak and helpless, and to the promotion of the great principles that underlie our democratic civilization. Following this with a toast to Marshal Stalin, he said the latter was worthy to stand with the great figures of Russian history and merited the title of “Stalin the Great.”

The President spoke of his long admiration for Winston Churchill and his joy in the friendship which had developed between them in the midst of their common efforts in this war.

Marshal Stalin said the honors which had been paid to him really belonged to the Russian people; that it was easy to be a hero or a great leader, if one had to do with people such as the Russians. He said that the Red Army had fought heroically, but that the Russian people would have tolerated no other quality from their armed forces. He said that even persons of medium courage and even cowards became heroes in Russia. Those who didn’t, he said, were killed.

The Prime Minister spoke of the great responsibility that rested on the three men who have the power to command some 30 million armed men, as well as the vast number of men and women who stood behind these men in their work in field and factory, which makes possible the activities of the armies. In a personal toast to Franklin Roosevelt, the Prime Minister expressed his opinion that through the President’s courage and foresighted action in 1933, he had indeed prevented a revolution in the United States. He expressed his admiration for the way the President had guided his country along the “tumultuous stream of party friction and internal politics amidst the violent freedoms of democracy.”

Among the many toasts of the evening was one by President Roosevelt to Sir Alan Brooke, the British Army Chief of Staff. Marshal Stalin stood with the others, but he held his glass in his hand, and when the others had drunk he stayed on his feet. He said he wished to join in the toast of General Brooke, but wished to make certain observations.

Acknowledging the General’s greatness, Marshal Stalin, with a twinkle in his eye, said he regretted that Sir Alan was unfriendly to the Soviet Union, and adopted a grim and distrustful attitude toward the Russians. He drank the General’s health in the hope that Sir Alan “would come to know us better and would find that we are not so bad after all.”

Sometime later, in reply to Stalin, General Brooke rose and with some stiffness of manner declared that the Marshal had made note of the means used by the Russians in deceiving the enemy on the Eastern Front. For the greater part of the war, he went on, Great Britain had adopted cover plans to deceive the enemy, and it was possible that Marshal Stalin had mistaken the dummy “tanks and airplanes” for the real operations. “That is possible” interjected Stalin, dryly, bringing chuckles around the table. His real desire, continued Brooke, was to establish closer collaboration with the Russians. “That is possible,” Stalin repeated, “even probable.” And there were more chuckles. It was thought that General Brooke would wind up with a toast to Marshal Voroshilov, the Russian chief of staff, but instead he broke away completely from his [this?] vein and abruptly proposed the health of Admiral Leahy.

Mr. Churchill took indirect note of the incident and seemed inclined to soften the effect of it, and in a subsequent toast he observed that he had heard the suggestions concerning changing political complexions in the world. He said that he could not speak with authority concerning the political view which might be expressed by the American people in the coming year’s elections, and that he would not presume to discuss the changing political philosophy of the Russian nation. But, he continued, so far as the British people were concerned, he could say very definitely that their “complexions are becoming a trifle pinker.” Stalin spoke up instantly: “That is a sign of good health!”

In what he declared would be the concluding toast of the evening, Mr. Churchill referred to the great progress which had been made at Tehran toward solution of world affairs, and proposed a joint toast to the President and Marshal Stalin.

But before the dinner could break up, Stalin requested of his host the privilege of delivering one more toast. Mr. Churchill nodded assent and Stalin then said he wished to speak of the importance of “the machine” in the present war, and to express his great admiration for the productive capacity of the United States. He had been advised, he said, that the United States would very soon be producing 10,000 planes every month. This compared, he said, with 2,500 to 3,000 planes which the Soviet Union was able to produce, after making every effort to speed the task, and with a somewhat similar number of planes produced monthly by Great Britain.

Without these planes from America the war would have been lost, said Stalin with emphasis. He expressed his gratitude and that of the Russian people for the great leadership of President Roosevelt which had developed the great production of war machines and made possible their delivery to Russia. He wound up with a warm toast to the President.

Then the President sought the privilege of adding a last word, and he said these meetings at Tehran had raised all our hopes that the future would find a better world, an ordered world in which the ordinary citizen would be assured the possibility of peaceful toil and the just enjoyment of the fruits of his labors.

He said:

There has been discussion here tonight of our varying colors of political complexion. I like to think of this in terms of the rainbow. In our country the rainbow is a symbol of good fortune and of hope. It has many varying colors, each individualistic, but blending into one glorious whole.

Thus with our nations. We have differing customs and philosophies and ways of life. Each of us works out our scheme of things according to the desires and ideas of our own peoples.

But we have proved here at Tehran that the varying ideals of our nations can come together in a harmonious whole, moving unitedly for the common good of ourselves and of the world.

So as we leave this historic gathering, we can see in the sky, for the first time, that traditional symbol of hope, the rainbow.