Third Washington Conference (TRIDENT)

U.S. State Department (May 12, 1943)

Roosevelt-Churchill luncheon meeting, 1 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Lord Beaverbrook

Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff

Washington, May 12, 1943.


Conduct of the War in 1943-44

  1. We have asked for this meeting because we think the time has come to carry a stage further the combined plans agreed upon at Casablanca. We have no intention of suggesting any departure from the principles underlying the decisions taken at that Conference (see C.C.S. 155/1 and 170/2). We feel, however, that their application requires review and development in the light of the progress of the war in the last four months, the detailed studies which have been carried out, and the experience which has been gained.

Operations in the European Theater

  1. The decisions reached at Casablanca (see C.C.S. 155/1, paragraphs 3, 4 and 5) were as follows:

Operations in the European Theater will be conducted with the object of defeating Germany in 1943 with the maximum forces that can be brought to bear upon her by the United Nations.

The main lines of offensive action will be:

a) The occupation of Sicily with the object of:
(i) Making the Mediterranean line of communication more secure.
(ii) Diverting German pressure from the Russian Front.
(iii) Intensifying the pressure on Italy.

b) To create a situation in which Turkey can be enlisted as an active Ally.

(c) The heaviest possible bomber offensive against the German war effort.

(d) Such limited offensive operations as may be practicable with the amphibious forces available.

(e) The assembly of the strongest possible force (subject to (a) and (b) above and paragraph 6 below (Operations in the Pacific and Far East)) in constant readiness to re-enter the Continent as soon as German resistance is weakened to the required extent.

In order to insure that these operations and preparations are not prejudiced by the necessity to divert forces to retrieve an adverse situation elsewhere, adequate forces shall be allocated to the Pacific and Far Eastern Theaters.

  1. So far as amphibious operations from the United Kingdom are concerned, the Combined Chiefs of Staff have since approved a directive to General Morgan to prepare plans, among other things, for a “full scale assault against the Continent in 1944 as early as possible.” So far as operations in the Mediterranean were concerned, the Casablanca Conference did not look beyond the capture of Sicily. It is therefore now for consideration what action should be taken in the European Theater between the capture of Sicily and the mounting of the full-scale offensive in 1944 – a period of anything up to nine or ten months – for the furtherance of the objects agreed at Casablanca which have just been referred to.

  2. It seems to us unthinkable that we should be inactive during these critical months when Russia is engaging about 185 German divisions. This is just the time when we ought to be exerting all the pressure that we can. It would be fatal to give Germany so long a breathing space in the west, and thus possibly enable her to avert collapse.

  3. In our view, the main task which lies before us this year in the European Theater is the elimination of Italy. If we could achieve this, it is our opinion that we should have gone a very long way towards defeating Germany. The break-up of the Axis would inevitably have a most serious effect on the psychological and material strength of Germany. The effects would be:

a) The withdrawal of some 35 Italian Divisions from Greece, Yugoslavia, and southern France. Germany would either have to let go of one or more of these countries, with all that this implies in loss of raw materials and prestige, and in the extension of the range of the Allied bomber offensive, or alternatively she would have to substitute German for Italian troops at substantial cost to the Russian Front.

b) The elimination of the Italian Navy would enable us to transfer very considerable naval forces from the Mediterranean to the Pacific or to the Indian Ocean, whichever is thought preferable. If we were able to take over the Italian Fleet, the naval position would be still more favorable.

c) We should be able to mount a threat through Sardinia and Corsica against the south of France in the spring of 1944, which would greatly increase the chances of success of cross-Channel operations from the United Kingdom.

d) The collapse of Italy would have a big effect on Turkey, and hasten her readiness to make common cause with the Allies.

  1. It is of course possible that we might eliminate Italy after the fall of Sicily by air action alone. We think, however, that it would be most unwise to bank on this or to transfer any substantial part of our bomber force from the United Kingdom. We therefore consider it essential that we should follow up a successful HUSKY by amphibious operations against either the Italian islands or the mainland, backed up, if possible, by operations in other parts of the Mediterranean. Only in this way can we reap the full benefit of our victories in Africa and in HUSKY, and employ the powerful and experienced Anglo-American forces gathered in the Mediterranean Theater and their assault craft. We have considered various alternatives, and have formed provisional views as to which should be undertaken. We will explain these in detail later on.

  2. The provision of the shipping required to deliver a second amphibious blow in the Mediterranean this year will of course have repercussions elsewhere and will affect BOLERO. But even if Italy collapses as a result of the first blow (HUSKY), we shall still need considerable shipping in the Mediterranean to exploit this success by installing air bases on the Italian Mainland and Islands, by increasing supplies to the Balkan resistance groups, and by speeding up our aid to Turkey. In either case some delay is likely to be caused to the buildup of BOLERO, but we believe that this disadvantage will be greatly outweighed by the fact that successful Mediterranean operations, and still more the elimination of Italy, will ease the task confronting an army landing in Europe from the United Kingdom.

  3. We do not believe that there is any method of giving effectual help to the Russian Front throughout this year other than a continuance of Mediterranean operations, and the intensification of our bomber offensive. It was decided at Casablanca that the heaviest possible bomber offensive against the German war effort should be a feature of the campaign of 1943. Nothing has occurred in the interval to alter the wisdom of this decision, and we think that Sickle should continue to have a high priority.

Pacific and Far East Theater

  1. At Casablanca it was agreed that certain operations should take place in the Pacific Theater (see C.C.S. 170/2 paragraph 5(a)), and that subject to certain reservations, plans and preparations should be made for the recapture of Burma to take place in the winter of 1943-44. The 15th November was approved as the provisional date for the ANAKIM assault. We do not know whether the experience of the last four months, and the studies which have been made by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff have caused them to confirm or modify the program for Pacific operations which was drawn up. We should like to hear their views on this. As to ANAKIM, the position is that after Casablanca, the Commander in Chief, India, was at once invited to frame the best possible plan, and to state his requirements. We are prepared to explain this plan and its implications in detail if the U.S. Chiefs of Staff so desire. We think the plan represents the best that can be made having regard to the resources which will be available. But it is necessary to say straight away that we are of the opinion that the full operation should not be attempted in the winter of 1943-44. Our main reasons are:

a) The magnitude of the assault and the scope of the operations to which it would be the prelude, are such that we do not feel able to undertake them at a critical period in the war with Germany, on whom we cannot afford to relax the pressure.

b) We are very doubtful of the feasibility of the operation at the present time. For any reasonable prospect of success it would demand a sufficiency of forces specially trained and equipped, and backed up by ample reserves of men and material. These conditions cannot be fulfilled in the coming winter.

c) Until long-term plans for the ultimate defeat of Japan have been decided upon, it cannot be assumed that the re-conquest of Burma, however desirable the political effect, especially on China and India, is indispensable from the military point of view.

d) Operation ANAKIM, even if successful in 1943-44, would not be likely to reopen the Burma Road until the middle of 1945.

  1. Although we cannot do ANAKIM this year, we recommend that everything possible should be done, with the resources available to keep up the pressure on Japan from the west and to support China. We have various alternatives to propose, and would welcome discussion of any suggestions which the U.S. Chiefs of Staff may desire to put forward.

  2. The results of our examination of ANAKIM make us feel that we should together examine more closely the method by which the defeat of Japan is ultimately to be brought about. This is essential so that all preliminary operations can be arranged to fit into the ultimate design, and so that Commanders in Chief in the Far East Theater and Indian Ocean may have a firm basis on which to frame their long-term plans and preparations. This will insure that the right sort of equipment of all kinds will be available in the necessary quantities when the time comes.


  1. It is clear that the availability of shipping will be one of the main governing factors as to what can and what cannot be done in 1943 and also in 1944. We suggest, however, that before going into details on shipping, we should clear our minds on the strategical issues, and decide, on merits, on the course of action at which we should aim. Thereafter we should examine the extent to which the shipping available will enable us to fulfill our program. We think it essential that the shipping question should be examined in detail, and settled before the Conference breaks up.
1 Like

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff with Roosevelt and Churchill, 2:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Field Marshal Dill
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General McNarney Lieutenant General Ismay
Brigadier General Deane
Brigadier Jacob

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

May 12, 1943, 2:30 p.m.


The President welcomed Mr. Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff. He recalled that it was less than a year ago when they had all met in the White House, and had set on foot the moves leading up to TORCH. It was very appropriate that they should meet again just as that operation was coming to a satisfactory conclusion. The meeting at Casablanca had set on foot Operation HUSKY, and he hoped that this would meet with similar good fortune. He thought that the keynote of our plans at the present time should be an intention to employ every resource of men and munitions against the enemy. Nothing that could be brought to bear should be allowed to stand idle.

He then asked the Prime Minister to open the discussion.

The Prime Minister recalled the striking change which had taken place in the situation since he had last sat by the President’s desk, and had heard the news of the fall of Tobruk. He could never forget the manner in which the President had sustained him at that time, and the Shermans which had been handed over so generously had made their reputation in Africa. The British came to the present meeting adhering to the Casablanca decisions. There might have to be adjustments made necessary by our success, which also enabled us to take a longer forward view. TORCH was over, HUSKY was near, what should come next? He would put forward some views which had been formed by careful study. These would not be in the shape of fixed plans, but rather of ideas for the common stock. We had been able by taking thought together to produce a succession of brilliant events which had altered the whole course of the war. We had the authority and prestige of victory. It was our duty to redouble our efforts, and to grasp the fruits of our success. The only questions outstanding between the two Staffs were questions of emphasis and priority. He felt sure that these could be solved by mutual agreement.

He did not propose to deal with the U-boat war, and the aerial bombardment of Germany. There were no differences of opinion on these subjects, though there might be a few points of detail to be cleared up between the two Staffs. He would like to put forward for consideration a number of objectives, and questions which might focus subsequent study. The first objective was in the Mediterranean. The great prize there was to get Italy out of the war by whatever means might be the best. He recalled how in 1918, when Germany might have retreated to the Meuse or the Rhine and continued the fight, the defection of Bulgaria brought the whole of the enemy structure crashing to the ground. The collapse of Italy would cause a chill of loneliness over the German people, and might be the beginning of their doom. But even if not immediately fatal to Germany, the effects of Italy coming out of the war would be very great, first of all on Turkey, who had always measured herself with Italy in the Mediterranean. The moment would come when a Joint American-Russian-British request might be made to Turkey for permission to use bases in her territory from which to bomb Ploești and clear the Aegean. Such a request could hardly fail to be successful if Italy were out of the war, and the moment were chosen when Germany could take no powerful action against Turkey. Another great effect of the elimination of Italy would be felt in the Balkans, where patriots of various nationalities were with difficulty held in check by large Axis forces, which included 25 or more Italian divisions. If these withdrew, the effect would be either that Germany would have to give up the Balkans, or else that she would have to withdraw large forces from the Russian Front to fill the gap. In no other way could relief be given to the Russian Front on so large a scale this year. The third effect would be the elimination of the Italian fleet. This would immediately release a considerable British squadron of battleships and aircraft carriers to proceed either to the Bay of Bengal or the Pacific to fight Japan.

Certain questions presented themselves in relation to the Mediterranean. Need we invade the soil of Italy, or could we crush her by air attack? Would Germany defend Italy? Would Italy be an economic burden to us? He did not think so. Would arguments against a general conquest of Italy apply equally against a toe and heel operation to establish contact with Yugoslavia? Finally, there was a large political question for the British and United States Governments. What sort of life after the war should we be willing to accord to Italy if she placed herself unreservedly in our hands? He might observe that if Italy made a separate peace, we should have the use of Sardinia and the Dodecanese without having to fight for them.

The second objective was the taking of weight off Russia. He was much impressed by Stalin’s attitude, in spite of the stopping of the Arctic convoys. For the first time, in his recent speech, Stalin had acknowledged the efforts and victories of his Allies. But we should never forget that there were 185 German divisions on the Russian Front. We had destroyed the German Army in Africa, but soon we would not be in contact with them anywhere. The Russian effort was prodigious, and placed us in their debt – a position from which he would like to emerge. As he had already mentioned, the best way of taking the weight off the Russian Front in 1943 would be to get, or knock, Italy out of the war, thus forcing the Germans to send a large number of troops to hold down the Balkans.

The third objective had already been mentioned by the President in his opening remarks. It was to apply to the greatest possible extent our vast Armies, Air Forces, and munitions to the enemy. All plans should be judged by this test. We had a large Army and the Metropolitan Fighter Air Force in Great Britain. We had our finest and most experienced troops in the Mediterranean. The British alone had 13 divisions in that theater. Supposing that HUSKY were completed by the end of August, what should these troops do between that time and the date 7 or 8 months later, when the cross-Channel operation might first be mounted? They could not possibly stand idle, and he could not contemplate so long a period of apparent inaction. It would have a serious effect on relations with Russia, who was bearing such a disproportionate weight.

The objectives he had so far mentioned all led up to BOLERO, SLEDGEHAMMER, and ROUNDUP. By BOLERO, he meant the administration arrangements necessary for the movement and reception of large American forces in the United Kingdom. He could not pretend that the problem of landing on the Channel coast had been solved. The difficult beaches, with the great rise and fall of tide, the strength of the enemy’s defenses, the number of his reserves, and the ease of his communications, all made the task one which must not be underrated. Much, however, would be learned from HUSKY. The question arose whether anything could be done this year before the weather broke in August or September. All the British landing craft had gone from the United Kingdom to HUSKY, and owing to priority having been rightly given to SICKLE, only one U.S. division was so far available in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, plans were being made for an operation to provoke an air battle, and we were standing ready to exploit a German collapse, should this by any chance take place. He wished to make it absolutely clear that H. M. Government earnestly desired to undertake a full-scale invasion of the Continent from the United Kingdom as soon as possible. They certainly did not disdain the idea if a plan offering reasonable prospects of success could be made.

The fifth objective was aid to China. As a result of Casablanca, Field Marshal Wavell had prepared the best plan he could for Operation ANAKIM, and he thought that it had some prospect of success. The difficulties of fighting in Burma were apparent. The jungle prevented the use of our modern weapons. The monsoon strictly limited the length of the campaigning season, and there was no means of bringing sea power to bear. Should, however, ANAKIM be successfully carried out, he was advised that it would not be till 1945 that the Burma Road could be reopened, and even then its capacity would not be more than 20,000 tons a month. Nevertheless, he had not gone back on the status of ANAKIM. He attached the same degree of importance as before to activity in the Indian Ocean theater of war. Was there any means by which China could be helped in 1943 other than the air route? How could this be improved? The British readily shouldered their responsibility to establish and guard the air facilities required in Assam. If further study showed that it would be better to bypass Burma, he was anxious that another means should be found of utilizing the large forces standing in India. He thought that this alternative might well be found in an operation against the tip of Sumatra and the waist of Malaya at Penang. He was most anxious that we should find in that theater some means of making use of those advantages which had been so valuable in TORCH. In that operation, sea power had played its full part; complete surprise had been possible; we had been able to seize a territory of importance which not only brought in a new Army on our side, but forced the enemy to fight in a place most disadvantageous to him. These conditions might apply to an attack on the area he had described. The fleet to cover the operation would come from the Mediterranean after the elimination of Italy. This meant that the operation could not be launched before March, 1944, which would, however, be a suitable moment from the point of view of weather.

He felt that the time had now come to study the long-term plan for the defeat of Japan. He would like once more to state the British determination to carry the struggle home to Japan. The only question was how best to do it. He thought that the United States Chiefs of Staff should lead in a joint study, on the assumption that Germany would be out of the war in 1944, and that we could concentrate on the great campaign against Japan in 1945. If the underlying strategic conception was agreed, then operations could be planned to fit in, and the requisite specialized apparatus could be got ready in time.

If, of course, Russia could be brought in against Japan, that would prove the best solution of all. Stalin had shown plain indications that Russia would want to be in at the death, but the timing of Russian action must obviously depend upon what happened to Hitler, and when.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister said that he hoped his remarks would be of use in framing an Agenda for Combined Chiefs of Staff Conferences, and would be some guide as to the emphasis and priorities which should be assigned to the various theaters of operation as well as to their relationship and reciprocal reactions.

The President expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister for the open manner in which he had presented his views. He said that the Combined Staffs must approach their problems with open minds, giving full consideration to the priorities and relative importance of the many problems which they would consider in the course of the conferences.

The President stated that he has always been a firm believer in attrition as an effective weapon. He pointed to the North African campaign and suggested that it might not have been so successful had sufficient force been sent to capture Tunisia on the initial landing. As a result of the Tunisian campaign there will be perhaps some 200,000 enemy casualties. He felt there would have been considerably less had Tunisia been taken at the outset.

He pointed out that the United Nations are now outproducing both the Germans and the Japanese and that if we break even in our losses of airplanes and other munitions we are, in effect, forging ahead.

The President then said that with the large armies and naval forces that are available to the United Nations every effort should be made to keep them engaged with the enemy. He felt that the United Nations were losing ground when their forces remain idle.

The President expressed optimism as far as the situation in Turkey was concerned. When the Prime Minister went on his fishing trip after the Casablanca Conferences, he, the President, had been surprised by the cordial reception that the Prime Minister had received. He felt that Turkey was now in a better political position than she had ever been before. Perhaps Turkey could be brought to a favorable attitude toward the United Nations by diplomacy alone. If so, this would permit the use of her airfields for combined air operations against Ploești and the Germans’ right flank and their lines of communication. If Turkey could be brought into the war, there would be the possibility of combined operations toward the Adrianople line, thus threatening Bulgaria, and inducing that country to withdraw from the war. He felt that the Russians would welcome any effort on the part of the United Nations which would result in breaking the Germans’ lines of communication. He pointed out also that attrition would be at work during any operations from Turkey.

The President then asked “Where do we go from HUSKY?” He said he had always shrunk from the thought of putting large armies in Italy. This might result in attrition for the United Nations and play into Germany’s hand. He indicated that a thorough investigation should be made of what an occupation of Italy proper, or of the heel or toe of Italy, would mean as a drain on allied resources. At the same time, he pointed out that the Mediterranean area contained large armies of the United Nations, perhaps about a total of 25 divisions, and that these must be kept employed. He said there was not much time in 1943, because planning future operations is a lengthy procedure. The question to be decided quickly, is how to use the Mediterranean troops this year. He said that conditions in Italy are known to be precarious. Italy might drop into the lap of the United Nations, who would then have the responsibility of supplying the Italian people. Everyone was agreed that Italy must be reconstituted, but that the mistakes regarding possession of the Northern Adriatic, which occurred at the peace table after the last war, must not be repeated.

Summing up, the President said a survey should be made to determine the cost of occupying Italy or parts of it as opposed to the cost of achieving the same results by air offensives from Sicily or the heel and toe of Italy.

The President said that regardless of operations undertaken in the Mediterranean there would be a surplus of manpower. He said that this surplus should be used to build up BOLERO. Preparations for such buildup should begin at once. He felt that all were agreed that no ROUNDUP or SLEDGEHAMMER was possible of accomplishment this year, but if one or the other were to be mounted in the spring of 1944, preparations should begin now. ROUNDUP and SLEDGEHAMMER have been talked about for two years but as yet none of these operations had been accepted as a concrete plan to be carried out at a certain time. Therefore he wished to emphasize that SLEDGEHAMMER or ROUNDUP should be decided upon definitely as an operation for the spring of 1944.

The President then directed his remarks toward the Pacific. He said that at the present time a landing was being made in the Aleutians, on the Island of Attu. Approximately 3,000 men had already been put ashore. By this operation it was hoped to put Kiska in a box between Attu and Amchitka which would also result in imposing attrition on the enemy. So far, the operations in the Aleutians had resulted in a net gain to the United Nations. The operations in the Solomons and in New Guinea had had the same result.

The President said that while things are apparently going along all right in the Pacific, attention must be devoted to the length of the Japanese supply lines. He likened them to a segment of pie in which Japan proper was at the apex, and the line from the Solomons through the Dutch East Indies to Burma represented the outer crust. While there was some attrition going on against the outer crust, the most effective way to get at the Japanese shipping was to strike at the apex. So far the United Nations have done well in sinking Japanese merchant tonnage. Proof of this has been in the fact that the Japanese have been taking shipping from the Yangtze and using it, together with junks they are building, for coastal runs, in order to release coastal shipping for ocean work. Since the war started the Japanese have suffered a net loss of 1,000,000 tons of shipping or approximately one-seventh of the shipping which they had available at the beginning of the war. If they continue to lose shipping at this rate they cannot maintain the outer rim of the pie and will have to contract in their operations**. The President** said that the same was true with regard to aircraft. Attrition suffered by the Japanese air forces has resulted in their having less strength available now than at the beginning of the war.

The President repeated that the most effective way to strike the Japanese shipping was to strike it leaving Japan proper. This could best be done from bases either in China, or from China and Russia. Therefore much depends upon keeping China a going concern. He said he did not believe the Chinese were crying wolf when reporting the critical condition which exists in their country today. He said that the conference could not justify overlooking the possibility of a Chinese collapse. This brought up the question of the priority for aid to China with regard to 1943 and 1944.

ANAKIM and similar plans proposed at Casablanca might not have an effect which would be immediate enough to keep China in the war; the results of ANAKIM would not be felt until March or April of 1944 and the Burma Road would not be fully open to traffic until 1945. The necessity was for doing something for China now. The President said that the question resolves itself to assisting China by air.

The President said that to assist China by air it was essential to reconstruct and maintain the security of the airfields in Assam to the west of the mountains. They must be made secure regardless of the cost in manpower and matériel, and they must also be protected. On the east side of the mountains the Chinese are building landing fields and now have five or six fields in good condition. General Stilwell has two divisions in training for the protection of these fields. The President said that the Generalissimo does not fear a ground attack in Yunnan.

He said that air in China would accomplish three objectives: it would be able to harass Japanese troops South of Hankow or those advancing from the South against Chungking; it could harass Japanese attacks against Chungking from the North; and it could stop Japanese attacks against Chungking which might be made up the Yangtze. The President said he doubted if reliance could be placed on the Chinese army, excepting those troops being trained in Yunnan and Ramgarh. However, he thought it important to give the Generalissimo, who is the head of both the Army and the State, what he wants at this time. This, he said, is a strong buildup of the American-Chinese Air Forces. Such an air force can be built up to strike against Japanese shipping and against Japan itself. He emphasized that the Chiefs of Staff must bear in mind the political fact that China is in danger of collapse.

The President pointed out that aid to China at the present time does not have an immediate effect of taking weight off Russia but that it would have an ultimate effect when Russia joins up with the United Nations in their war against Japan. This he predicted would take place within 48 hours after Germany has been defeated.

The President said, with regard to taking weight off Russia, that the United Nations [should] continue with strategy which would compel the Germans to fight. It was for that reason that he questioned the occupation of Italy, feeling that this might result in releasing German troops now in that country. He said he felt the most effective way of forcing Germany to fight was by carrying out a cross-Channel operation.

The Prime Minister said that he did not feel that an occupation of Italy would be necessary. In the event of an Italian collapse, the United Nations would occupy the necessary ports and air bases from which to carry on operations against the Balkans and Southern Europe, but they should let an Italian Government control the country, subject to supervision on the part of the United Nations.

The President and the Prime Minister then indicated that the possibility of securing the use of the Azores was under consideration. An attempt would be made to accomplish this by diplomacy, and, if necessary, the diplomacy might be coupled with threats or an actual surprise arrival of forces. They thought that an arrangement might be made with Portugal whereby the use of the Azores could be obtained on a rental basis. However, they indicated that the question was largely political.

Field Marshal Sir John Dill asked if consideration had been given to the present attitude of Spain.

Both the President and the Prime Minister indicated that they felt that Spain was much relieved by the turn of events in Africa, that it was becoming more favorably disposed toward the United Nations, and that it had in mind constantly the threat of the American forces facing Spanish Morocco.

The President announced that the next meeting would be on Friday, 14th May, at 2:00 p.m., at which time it was desired to have the Commanders in Chief, India, and Generals Stilwell and Chennault present to discuss conditions in the Burma-China Theater.


The Pittsburgh Press (May 12, 1943)

High Far East war leaders arrive in U.S.

President, Prime Minister to review strategy on all fronts
By Merriman Smith, United Press staff writer

778818_view 05_04
Third visit to Washington finds Prime Minister Winston Churchill riding to the White House with President Roosevelt after his arrival in the United States yesterday. The meeting of the two war leaders is their fifth.

Washington –
New Allied blows against Japan were believed to be foreshadowed by disclosure today that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill brought to Washington his top military and naval officers in India.

There was no doubt that Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt, master strategists of Allied arms, will review plans for all fronts, including the invasion of Europe. They also face several knotty political problems such as the Polish-Russian relations and the Giraud-de Gaulle friction.

But the apparent emphasis on the war against Japan in this fifth Roosevelt-Churchill conference tended to confirm belief of many observers here that the plans for direct blows against the European continent have been pretty well perfected before this.

Wavell in party

Membership of the Churchill party was disclosed by the White House today.

With the Prime Minister were Field Marshal Sir Archibald P. Wavell (Commander-in-Chief of British forces in India and former commander of their army in the Middle East), Adm. Sir James Somerville (Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern Fleet), and Air Mshl. Sir Richard Peirse (commanding British air officer in India).

Other members of Mr. Churchill’s party included Gen. Sir Alan Brooke (Chief of the Imperial General Staff), Adm. of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound (First Sea Lord), Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Charles Portal (Chief of the British Air Staff).

Also Lord Leathers (Minister of War Transportation), Lord Cherwell (the Prime Minister’s statistical officer), Lt. Gen. Sir Hastings L. Ismay (chief staff officer to the Minister of Defense), and Brig. E. I. C. Jacob (Assistant Secretary [Military] of the British War Cabinet).

It was noted in London that no African or U.S. commanders in Britain accompanied Mr. Churchill.

White House Press Secretary Stephen T. Early said the war experts who accompanied the Prime Minister would meet with the American staff chiefs, while Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill hold a series of intensive conferences.

Heavy blows pledged

From time to time, Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill will probably participate in the Joint Staff meetings.

The presence of Marshal Wavell, Adm. Somerville and Marshal Peirse was taken as a strong indication that considerable emphasis in the talks between the President and the Prime Minister will be on the Far East and the South Pacific. Mr. Roosevelt has promised that heavy blows will be struck this year against the Jap homeland.

Obviously, however, they will also review Allied strategy all over the world, particularly in the light of the Allied cleanup in Tunisia.

Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, U.S. Commander-in-Chief in China, Burma and India, has been in Washington recently and is believed still in this country. He may join the war planning sessions.

Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, chief of the U.S. 14th U.S. Army Air Force in China, has also been in Washington.

Mr. Roosevelt and the Prime Minister conferred at great length last night after dinner, and resumed their talks again today.

To dine at Embassy

Tonight, the Prime Minister will go to the British Embassy to have dinner with his Ambassador, Lord Halifax, while the President is entertaining President Edvard Beneš of Czechoslovakia, who will arrive at the White House at 4:30 p.m. today to be an overnight guest.

Mr. Roosevelt and the top leaders of the U.S. government will greet President Beneš upon arrival and later attend a stag state dinner for him at the White House tonight.

Only the brief announcement of Mr. Churchill’s arrival was made last night, but observers here believe that in addition to European military plans they are giving keen attention to these matters:

  1. Plans to reemphasize their “unconditional surrender” decision reached at Casablanca last January and to reassert their lack of interest in peace offensives, except on that condition, whether emanating from the Axis directly or through such agents as Gen. Francisco Franco of Spain.

  2. Incessant demands of the Australian and Chinese leaders that more material, especially planes, be thrown into the war against Japan. some sources suggested that the comparative case of the Allied victory in Tunisia might possibly permit an increase in the Pacific allotments determined at the Casablanca Conference.

  3. The Soviet Union’s relations with the rest of the United Nations, which have been clouded by Soviet-Polish friction. A Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin meeting might be in the cards later, but was not considered probable in the immediate future.

  4. Post-war plans. In this connection, it was noted that the international food conference, first big meeting that will bear on post-war matters, will begin next week at Hot Springs, Virginia.

Two schools of thought

Washington generally had not expected another Roosevelt-Churchill meeting until mid-summer. Two conflicting schools of thought developed as to basic purposes of the meeting at this time:

One said:

He has come to map out with the President the new offensive in Europe, now that German resistance in Tunisia is out of the way.

The other said:

The next move was decided when Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill met at Casablanca. This time they are meeting to take up what goes on after the invasion of European continent gets underway.

In any event, it seemed certain that the improved military situation resulting from the Axis rout in Tunisia was bound to figure in the new calculations here.

Meanwhile, reports from London predicted that the present White House parleys would lead to a Churchill-Roosevelt meeting with Premier Joseph V. Stalin of the Soviet Union, such reports obviously based on the “second mission to Moscow” of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph E. Davies who is bearing a highly-secret message from Mr. Roosevelt to Mr. Stalin.


U.S. State Department (May 13, 1943)

Roosevelt-Churchill-Beneš meeting, forenoon

United States United Kingdom Czechoslovakia
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill President Beneš

President Beneš had been invited to attend so that he could explain to Roosevelt and Churchill his views on the partition of Germany. Beneš also set forth his views regarding the necessity to try German war criminals, reeducate the German people, decentralize the German administration, and substantially change the German social structure. Numerous questions of European politics as well as problems of future international organization and the guaranteeing of peace and security were discussed by Roosevelt, Churchill, and Beneš at this meeting.


Study by the United States Joint Staff Planners

Washington, 13 May 1943.

Enclosure to C.C.S. 215

Invasion of the European Continent from the United Kingdom in 1943-1944

  1. A detailed examination of the merits and possibilities of the defeat of the European Axis by a bomber offensive and air-ground invasion of the Continent from the United Kingdom has been made by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff.

  2. It is estimated that Germany has 32 divisions in France and the Low Countries. Seven of these divisions are highly mobile and could on short notice be moved to oppose an invasion effort. These forces could be increased in time to a grand total of 60 divisions. She also has about 1,254 planes in the area (747 fighters) which could be increased to 1,766 (1,158 fighters) by stripping all areas except the Mediterranean and Eastern Front. In addition to a coastal defense zone varying from 5 to 15 miles in depth, she has four defensive belts which must be reduced or neutralized before the West Wall is reached.

  3. The projected bomber offensive against Germany may be expected to so reduce her ability to wage war as to create favorable conditions for a reentry to the Continent unless Germany is able to develop timely and effective countermeasures.

  4. By maximum utilization of shipping and United Kingdom port facilities for the movement of United States forces, and by placing increased emphasis on the conversion of British defensive divisions into offensive units, it is estimated that 36 United Nations divisions can be made available for cross-Channel operations by 1 April 1944.

  5. Whether the available shipping is used to move forces from the United States or the Mediterranean, the total number of divisions available in the United Kingdom will be the same. However, the addition of battle-seasoned troops from the Mediterranean will provide an added insurance for the success of the initial assault.

  6. The two most promising areas for assault operations, the Caen and Cotentin Peninsula sectors, will afford port facilities for a buildup in 12 months of about 1,000,000 men. By extending this bridgehead to include the Seine River and the ports of Le Havre and Rouen, the buildup in 12 months would be about 4,000,000 men, or about 100 divisions.

  7. It should be noted that consideration of cross-Channel operations in this study has been confined to the initial movement. Landing craft for this purpose as compared with the requirements of C.C.S. 105/2 may be met, but at the expense of some operations in other theaters. The buildup immediately thereafter and the requirements in APAs, AKAs, APs, AKs, etc., have not been examined.

  8. It is recommended that:

a) The combined bomber offensive be given first priority in buildup and its execution be facilitated.

b) As the combined bomber offensive progresses, its effects should be continuously examined and integrated with other factors, the results of these examinations to be used in determining the date for cross-Channel operations.

c) A balanced invasion force be built up in the United Kingdom as rapidly as possible for the purpose of an early invasion in the event of a collapse of Germany (SLEDGEHAMMER).

d) No operations be undertaken in the Mediterranean which will interfere with the buildup of maximum forces in the United Kingdom for SLEDGEHAMMER as well as for ROUNDUP.

e) Production of landing craft be increased to the maximum without undue interference with the construction of other essential war materials.

f) The target date of 1 April 1944 be accepted for operations from the United Kingdom. The target date coincides with the completion of the fourth phase of the bomber offensive and is subject to revision in the light of the results obtained.

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 10:30 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General McNarney Field Marshal Dill
Commander Freseman Lieutenant General Ismay
Commander Long
Brigadier Redman
Brigadier General Deane
Commander Coleridge
Lieutenant Colonel Vittrup

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

May 13, 1943, 10:30 a.m.


Admiral Leahy, on behalf of the United States Chiefs of Staff, expressed his pleasure at having the British Chiefs of Staff present for this series of meetings. He appreciated that they have come so far and left their duties for this purpose. He felt that it was important that by personal conferences the problems which had arisen since their last meeting should be resolved.

Admiral Leahy said he would like to outline brief proposals with regard to the conduct of the Conference. He suggested the meetings should take place daily, including Sundays, from 10:30 to 12:45, followed by a luncheon in the Map Room of the Public Health Building. If acceptable to the British Chiefs of Staff, the United States Chiefs of Staff would like to have with them at these meetings their three senior planning officers, together with one member of the Joint Strategic Survey Committee, and two officers responsible for supply problems. These officers would not take part in the discussion nor sit at the table. He felt that many of the problems could be more quickly resolved if those involved were present and could hear at first hand the views of the Chiefs of Staff.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he felt that the number should be kept down as much as possible but agreed with Admiral Leahy’s suggestions. He would like the British Directors of Plans also to be present.

Sir John Dill suggested that to assist the representatives of the British Chiefs of Staff in their duties after the Conference itself had ceased, it would be helpful if they also could attend.

Admiral Leahy agreed that this was an excellent suggestion.

Admiral Leahy further suggested that with regard to the recording of decisions, nothing in the minutes should be regarded as an agreed decision unless it were recorded as such in the conclusions. Agreed decisions should be taken as the first item at the subsequent meeting. With regard to the final report to the President and the Prime Minister, he suggested that any preliminary reports presented should be regarded as tentative only and that in the final report an effort should be made to arrange approved existing and projected strategic undertakings in their order of priority. He suggested the first two sessions should be given up to a general discussion and exchange of ideas on global strategy, both in Europe and the Pacific; after that, post-HUSKY operations in 1943 and beyond, both in the Mediterranean and Western Europe; and finally a review of the China situation, Operation ANAKIM and the Pacific. At the conclusion of these first two general discussions, the Combined Planners should be asked to prepare a detailed agenda. The war against Japan should perhaps be discussed first since the Commanders in Chief in the Far East might wish to return to their posts.

Admiral Leahy then read out a memorandum giving the views of the United States Chiefs of Staff on the global strategy of the war.

Sir Alan Brooke thanked Admiral Leahy for the warm welcome which he had given to the British Chiefs of Staff. He felt it was appropriate that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should meet at the conclusion of the successful operations in North Africa. It was also appropriate that he should choose this moment to express the admiration of the British Chiefs of Staff for General Eisenhower’s conduct of these operations, and above all, for his success in obtaining and maintaining the utmost cooperation and harmony throughout his command and complete absence of friction.

Sir Alan Brooke said he was in entire agreement with the proposals for the Conference suggested by Admiral Leahy. With regard to the memorandum on global strategy which Admiral Leahy had read, the British Chiefs of Staff would like time to consider this paper, since it embodied the foundations of our future strategy.

Sir Alan Brooke then read out a memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff containing their views on the conduct of the war in 1943-1944 (attached as Annex “B” to these minutes). In reading this memorandum, he amplified in certain respects that part of paragraph 2 dealing with the directive to General Morgan. This directive included instructions to prepare for a feint designed to bring about an air battle on the western front, an operation (a reverse Dunkirk) in which all available forces should be put forth onto the Continent by any possible method to take advantage of a crack in German morale, and finally, instructions to prepare for a full-scale assault against opposition. Shipping remained the stranglehold on all our operations. It would be necessary to keep this factor in mind in all considerations. It was suggested, however, that the desirability of possible operations from a military viewpoint should first be assessed, and when agreement had been reached on this, the possibilities of carrying them out should be related to the shipping position. As regards the order of discussion, he suggested that since there was no immediate urgency for the return of the Commanders in Chief to India, the global strategy should first be discussed, then European strategy (since Germany was agreed to be the main enemy) and finally the Pacific.

In reply to a question by General Marshall, Sir Alan Brooke said that if HUSKY was launched on the 10th of July, it was estimated that the operation should be completed within one month.

General Marshall said that the United States Planners had estimated that the revised HUSKY might take until the middle of September.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he considered that the new plan with its stronger lodgments should not take much longer than the old one since our air superiority should be able to cut the enemy’s lines of reinforcement.

Sir John Dill suggested that the rapid collapse of the Axis forces in Tunisia might be taken as indicative of what the future held for us.

Sir Charles Portal said that the weakness of the new plan lay in its failure to seal the island to reinforcements. He agreed, however, that with our large air superiority, if sufficient pressure could be maintained, it would not be easy for the Axis to reinforce since they would find difficulty in keeping their ports open. The impression from General Eisenhower’s signal on the revised plan was that it inferred that he anticipated but little delay due to the changes made.

General Marshall asked the views of the British Chiefs of Staff on the results to be expected on Germany by the progressive and cumulative effect of the combined bomber offensive this summer up to the fall.

Sir Charles Portal said that he built great hope on these attacks if the buildup could be maintained. It was hoped to have between eight and nine hundred United States heavy bombers and four hundred United States medium bombers in the United Kingdom by the 30th of June.

General McNarney confirmed that this number of heavy bombers would be available, though there might be a slight diminution in the number of mediums.

Sir Charles Portal said that the effect of some thousand-day bombers and between 1,000 and 1,200 night bombers would be considerable. The results of day bombing had been most encouraging and must achieve the withdrawal of German fighters from other fronts since the Germans could not afford to ignore the material and morale effect of these attacks. The American day bombing plan aimed not only to shoot down enemy fighters but to destroy fighter factories.

General Marshall asked for the Chief of Air Staff’s views on the effect of concentrating all available air power in support of a land battle.

Sir Charles Portal said that this largely depended on the targets offered. Our air superiority would be overwhelming within a circle of 120 to 150 miles. The Germans could only provide some two to three hundred bombers and five to six hundred fighters, whereas the British had some 1,500 fighters and the United States would have about a thousand. If replacements were available, this superiority after a few days would defeat the German fighter defense and enable the bombers to attack their targets relatively unmolested. The essential problem was to insure that the German Air Force gave battle.

General Marshall then raised the question of the results of turning our air power in North Africa onto the Italian fleet once bases were available in Sicily.

Sir Charles Portal said that the present task of the Air in North Africa was to insure air superiority over Sicily. The northern Italian ports were out of range from the United Kingdom in the summer. The attack must be based either on Sicily or North Africa.

Sir Dudley Pound said that if they were bombed out of Spezia, the Italian fleet might make for Toulon. The modern Italian battleships of the Littorio class had left Spezia after the last bombing, but had then returned. The older battleships were at Taranto and were immobilized for the present since the necessary destroyers had been used for ferrying troops to Tunisia. There they had sustained considerable losses, but he believed that there were still enough destroyers available to escort the Italian fleet to sea.

Admiral King agreed with Sir Dudley Pound that it was desirable to drive the Italian fleet into the Adriatic but doubted if those in the northwestern Italian ports would run the gauntlet through the Straits.

In reply to a question by General Marshall, Sir Charles Portal said that the Italian fleet in the north was only vulnerable to day attack by U.S. bombers since the short nights did not permit of British night bombers being used. He did not believe that the Italian fighter defense was good but ships were difficult to sink, particularly since the vessels of the Littorio class had heavy deck armor.

General McNarney said that all Italian ports, including Toulon and Trieste, were in easy range of B-17 and B-24 aircraft based on North Africa. American bombers were developing a new technique for low-altitude attacks. Experience in the South Pacific went to show that good results could be achieved in spite of heavy anti-aircraft fire, though the question of defense against fighters was another matter and must be taken into account since the Italian ships would be in ports out of range of our escorting fighters.

General Marshall then asked for an estimate on a time basis of the vulnerability of the Ploești oil fields to attack by aircraft based either on Aleppo or Libya.

Sir Charles Portal said he did not believe that an adequate scale of attack could be brought to bear except from Turkey or the mainland of Italy or Greece. Only B-24s based on North Africa could reach the oil fields, and these were neither numerous enough nor were they as well able as the B-17s to beat off an attack. If Turkish, Italian or Greek bases could be used, an attack should produce a very serious effect on the refineries, and hence on Germany’s petroleum situation.

General McNarney said that a plan which had great possibilities had been worked out for attacking Ploești oil fields by low-level bombing attacks from bases in Bengasi, using 500-pound delay action bombs, the force to consist of 153 Heavy Bombers. He believed that such an attack would render any further operations against the refineries unnecessary for a period of some six months. This attack could be carried out without waiting for the Turkish or Italian airfields to be available, and the numbers required could easily be built up of B-24s with some additional B-17s temporarily diverted from the United Kingdom.

General Marshall said it was important in considering our future strategy to carefully assess the possibilities and destructive capacity of air attacks. We should take advantage of this strength in planning our future operations, particularly in the Mediterranean where it should be possible to use air power rather than additional ground forces. The enemy must not be allowed to relax, however. Damage to the Italian fleet might prove sufficient to release British surface vessels for employment in the Far East. The plan for Ploești outlined by General McNarney seemed well worth the gamble. The destructive power against fighters shown by the B-17s had been encouraging, as had also their accuracy in bombing which had forced enemy fighter reaction to their attacks. Attacks on the Italian fleet, and on the oil fields of Ploești could be undertaken. These would not be too heavy a logistical burden. All these possibilities had a bearing on what could be achieved to hasten the collapse of Italy by air action alone. An Italian collapse might have a political reaction on the Turks which would enable us to get the use of their air bases. The results of our air superiority in Tunisia had proved crippling to the enemy.

Operation HUSKY should provoke further air fights which would weaken the enemy and might leave us in a position to bomb Italy almost unmolested. Since correct application of air power was all important, the Chiefs of Staff would deeply regret any failure to exploit a favorable opportunity which might be presented to use its cumulative effect in the Mediterranean at this time. Effective use of air power might enable us to economize in the use of ground forces in the Mediterranean Area. They would also deeply regret not being ready to make the final blow against Germany, if the opportunity presented itself, by reason of having dissipated ground forces in the Mediterranean Area.

Admiral Leahy asked for an estimate as to how long it would require to establish ourselves in a position in Turkey or in the heel of Italy to undertake air attacks on Ploești.

Sir Charles Portal said he estimated that from seven to nine weeks would be required before we could operate from Turkish airfields or from three to four weeks if a Turkish acceptance could be taken for granted and the necessary concentrations in Syria made beforehand. Airfields in Turkey sufficient to operate 25 squadrons were now available and airfields for another 20 squadrons should be ready by October. It was difficult to estimate the time factor if the heel of Italy was used. A considerable amount of shipping would be required, and the timing would depend on the amount of land forces engaged and requirements for tactical air forces which would take up the airfields otherwise available for the strategic bombing force. Broadly, he felt that it was unlikely that an air attack on Ploești could take place from Italian bases sooner than from seven to nine weeks after the launching of the land operations against the heel. He feared that an initial ineffective attack on Ploești might lead to great strengthening of the defenses. It was unwise to underestimate the meteorological and geographical difficulties in attacking this target. A very high degree of training and good luck with regard to the weather were essential.

Admiral Leahy emphasized the importance of the time element in bombing of the Ploești fields.

Admiral King said that the Russians might undertake an attack on Ploești since they had large air forces and bases near the target.

Sir Charles Portal said this had been suggested to the Russians, but he believed their air forces were too closely committed to the ground battle.

General Marshall said that permission had been sought from the Russians, prior to the first Ploești raid, for the U.S. aircraft to land in Russia. This permission, however, had been received a week too late to be of any use, and the Russians had never agreed to permit U.S. aircraft to take off for the raid from Russian fields.

Sir Charles Portal said that the British Chiefs of Staff had brought with them their study on the possibility of bombing Ploești and the results which would be achieved. He suggested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should instruct the Combined Staff Planners to prepare a report on this matter.

Admiral King suggested that the Russians should again be approached on the desirability of bombing Ploești or the use of their airfields by U.S. or British bombers for this purpose.

Sir Charles Portal concurred.

Sir Alan Brooke agreed that full use must be made of air power in the Mediterranean but considered that this must be examined in relation to the whole picture of the value of knocking Italy out of the war.

General Marshall felt that in looking at the whole picture we should direct our attention to knocking Germany out of the war.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the enemy were certain to resist to the best of their ability our plans for putting shipping through the Mediterranean, and this should produce heavy air attacks. The enemy’s one hope of victory lay in the success of his operations by submarine and air against our surface ships. The capture of Sicily would help us to open the Mediterranean route, but even then, Axis air based on Sardinia would endeavor to cut the line of communication.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Chiefs of Staff doubted if bombing by air alone would cause the collapse of Italy. If Italy collapsed, Germany would be faced with the necessity of taking over the garrisoning of the Balkans from the Italians. Some 43 Italian divisions were now employed on this task. The Germans might use fewer. If they used only 20, it would mean 20 less on the Russian Front. Further, unless Germany allowed us to occupy the whole of Italy, including her northern airports, Germany would have to send troops to resist our attacks. The Balkans were economically valuable to Germany. Troops could not be withdrawn from them altogether since Mihailovitch in Yugoslavia would rise and Greece and Albania would be inflamed. If we could knock out Italy and thus divert at least 20 divisions from the Russian Front, and if the Russians could keep up the pressure during 1943, the Germans might crack. It was essential, therefore, that we must use every means to insure a collapse of Italy.

Sir Alan Brooke said that if Italy should crumble as a result of HUSKY, we must consider what action should be taken. Troops for the occupation of Italy would be necessary. He did not believe that Germany would try to control an Italy which was not fighting. Continental communications were designed for an east and west flow of traffic. Communications north and south were bad, as were lateral communications along the southern outposts of German power in the Mediterranean. German resistance in Tunisia had crumbled more quickly than we had been led to expect from our previous knowledge of German troops. They had suffered a terrific defeat with loss of some 150,000 men. None of their North African troops were available to increase the defenses of Sicily. Operation HUSKY might be easier than we thought, and on the completion of a successful HUSKY, the Germans might be forced to divert troops to the various islands and threatened points in Southern Europe.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he believed that German strategy on the Eastern Front would be mainly an offensive-defensive. They now only had 185 divisions on this front. No Italian divisions were left there and far fewer Hungarians and Roumanians. Action of ours in the Mediterranean, which would force the collapse of Italy, would necessitate the Germans withdrawing additional troops from Russia to meet Italian commitments, including the 7 Italian divisions in southern France which would then be threatened by the Allies. An Anti-Fascist Government might request our support against the Germans or a state of anarchy might exist. The first alternative would be more difficult to deal with. In any event, German commitments resulting from the collapse of Italy would help our final re-entry into northern France, since only from there or from the Russian Front could the necessary additional troops be found.

The capture of Corsica and Sardinia would assist an attack on southern France, and since German forces would have to be diverted for the protection of this coast, the re-entry into north France would be assisted. He was entirely in agreement that air forces should be used to the maximum but linked with appropriate ground forces.

In reply to a question by General Marshall, Sir Dudley Pound said that the Germans now had a strong force including the Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, one pocket battleship, and one 8-inch cruiser concentrated in the north of Norway. An additional battlecruiser would not be fit for service for many months, and the aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin, although completed, would probably not be operationally fit for several months. Admiral Doenitz, on assuming command, had stated that the whole German Navy would be used for an attack on shipping. This might mean that the crews of the surface ships might be used to reinforce the submarines or that the surface fleet itself would be used against our convoys. In this latter event the fleet could be more easily used to attack Russian convoys than to break out into the Atlantic. They were at present concentrated in the north in expectation of another convoy being run. The short nights of summer made it difficult for them to elude our very long-range aircraft if they tried to break out in the Atlantic. No German tankers were known to have gone to sea, and this was usually the prelude to a breakout. He did not believe that a breakout was likely until the autumn. The degree of cooperation between the German and Japanese fleets was not known, but it was possible that the Japanese had convinced the Germans that the most useful purpose which their fleet could serve was to remain in harbor thus containing a superior British force.

Reverting to the revised HUSKY plan, Admiral King said that he appreciated the arguments in its favor. He was anxious, however, as to the lack of ports available in the early stages through which our forces could be maintained. The revised plan, however, had the merit of simplicity and concentration. He did not believe that the Italian fleet would try to pass through the Sicilian narrows though it was possible that it might attempt a passage through the Straits of Messina. He felt it unwise to overlook enemy naval potentialities in the Mediterranean. He asked for information with regard to the rehabilitation of the French fleet.

Sir Dudley Pound agreed with Admiral King as to the advantages of the new plan in that only one end of the island required cover. He believed that two French 6-inch cruisers and a few contre-torpilleurs were being repaired.

Admiral King, referring to ROUNDUP, stated that the results of SICKLE might prove to be overwhelming. We must be ready to exploit this by cross-Channel operations. It appeared to him that our large air forces could be used for destruction of critical bridges such as those across the Seine, ammunition and supply dumps and lines of communication. We must therefore be very firm in our determination to mount ROUNDUP in April, 1944. He believed that the vast concentration of air forces available in the United Kingdom might prove the determining factor in the success of Continental operations.

Admiral Leahy said that it was generally agreed that the elimination of Italy would have extremely valuable results, but he agreed with Admiral King’s thought that it might be unwise to divert to or maintain in the Mediterranean forces which could be used in a cross-Channel assault or as a prelude to such an attack. If we weakened our potentialities for a cross-Channel assault by continuing to confine forces to the Mediterranean, it might preclude a major effort against Germany on the Western Front.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he believed that if we did not continue operations in the Mediterranean, then no possibility of an attack into France would arise. Even after a bridgehead had been established, we could get no further. The troops employed would for the most part be inexperienced. The force available, some 15 to 20 divisions, was small and could not be regarded in the same category as the vast Continental armies which were counted in 50’s and 100’s of divisions. Before undertaking operations across the Channel, it was essential that we should create the right situation to insure its success.

General Marshall stated that the discussion was now getting to the heart of the problem. Experience in HUSKY had shown that initial estimates of requirements were always exceeded. The only limit to TORCH had been the availability of shipping. The Tunisian campaign had sucked in more and more troops. Operations invariably created a vacuum in which it was essential to pour in more and more means. Once undertaken the operation must be backed to the limit. He felt deeply concerned that the landing of ground forces in Italy would establish a vacuum in the Mediterranean which would preclude the assembly of sufficient forces in the United Kingdom to execute a successful cross-Channel operation and Germany would not collapse unless this occurred from air bombardment alone. If further Mediterranean operations were undertaken, then in 1943 and virtually all of 1944 we should be committed, except for air attacks on Germany, to a Mediterranean policy. This would entail a very serious state of affairs in the Pacific. It would mean a prolongation of the war in Europe, and thus a delay in the ultimate defeat of Japan, which the people of the U.S. would not tolerate. We were now at the crossroads – if we were committed to the Mediterranean, except for air alone, it meant a prolonged struggle and one which was not acceptable to the United States.

Admiral Leahy said that the Pacific could not be neglected; it was too vital to the United States. Immediate action was necessary to maintain China in the war. The war in Europe must be brought to a rapid decisive close at the earliest possible date.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he agreed that the European war must be ended as fast as possible. He believed, however, that to cease Mediterranean operations on the conclusion of HUSKY would lengthen the war. The seizure of the Brest Peninsula, which was all we could now achieve, would merely lock up 20 divisions. Russia was the only Ally in possession of large ground forces, and our strategy must aim to help her to the maximum possible extent. Only by continuing in the Mediterranean could we achieve the maximum diversion of German forces from Russia. The transshipment of Allied divisions from the Mediterranean to England was a difficult shipping commitment. A lodgment in the Brest Peninsula would not be a decisive blow. There were only some ten to twelve British Divisions available in England.

General Marshall said that if a maximum effort was made, some eleven U.S. divisions could be made available in the United Kingdom by April, 1944.

Sir Alan Brooke pointed out that these combined forces would only be sufficient to hold a bridgehead and would not be large enough to debouch into the Continent. Now was the time when action was required to relieve the pressure on Russia. No major operations would be possible until 1945 or 1946, since it must be remembered that in previous wars there had always been some 80 French Divisions available on our side. Any advance towards the Ruhr would necessitate clearing up behind the advancing Army and would leave us with long lines of communications. Our air force in U.K. was at present largely on a static basis though it was being converted now for use with the expeditionary force. The British manpower position was weak, and to provide the necessary rearward services for continental warfare, two of our twelve divisions now in U.K. would probably have to be cannibalized.

General Marshall said that it appeared that ROUNDUP was still regarded as a vague conception. Did this mean that the British Chiefs of Staff regarded Mediterranean operations as the key to a successful termination of the European war?

Sir Charles Postal explained, that the British. Chiefs of Staff did not believe that a force of some 20 to 25 divisions could achieve important results across the Channel on the Continent of Europe unless almost the entire bulk of the German Army was in Russia or the Balkans. Our ability to operate across the Channel later was dependent on the extent to which we could help Russia now. This in turn was dependent on the possibilities of knocking out Italy this year. If this could be achieved, then in 1944 a successful re-entry into northwest Europe might well be possible, but a re-entry now with some 12 to 15 divisions against the German forces available could achieve nothing.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he did not visualize an increase in the existing ground forces in the Mediterranean. The only cost would be in shipping to mount subsequent operations.

General Marshall, referring again to the buildup for ROUNDUP, stated that if we were ever to get the forces in the United Kingdom, we must begin now. Further operations in the Mediterranean would, in his opinion, create a vacuum which would constitute a drain on our available resources.

Admiral Leahy asked if it was believed that the Russians would be satisfied with an attack on Italy if this meant postponement of ROUNDUP.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he was convinced that a Russian failure would prolong the war for many years. He believed it far better, from the Russian point of view, that Ave should attack Italy now rather than start preparing for cross-Channel operations which could not be of any real importance until 1944. What the Russians wished us to achieve was a withdrawal of German forces from their front. The problem was how this could best be done. He believed that only by attacking in the Mediterranean could we achieve immediate results and that this was more valuable than building up for a 1944 ROUNDUP which, might not even then be possible.

General Marshall said that he thought that Sir Alan Brooke forgot the fact that there would be continual air operations in the Mediterranean. Germany would not know when Ave were about to strike a blow, and her troops would be contained in the area. We had built great hopes of crippling Germany by air attack, and he felt, therefore, that this would be more successful against Italy where the resistance would be less. He believed that land operations in the Mediterranean Area would prolong the European war and hence the time when a decision could be achieved in the Pacific. The build-up of forces in Great Britain for BOLERO would constitute a threat which would demand a German reaction.

Sir Charles Portal said that he would be satisfied with this plan if he believed that Italy could be knocked out by air alone and that we could thus gain the Italian airfields on the plains of Lombardy and the occupation of Sardinia and Corsica. He was doubtful, however, if air alone would achieve the desired result. It had never been claimed that Germany could be knocked out by air alone, but rather that it would reduce her power to such an extent that her forces available against Russia and ourselves would be so weakened as to permit of her defeat. Our object was to assist Russia, and we must achieve this object as early as possible.

Sir Alan Brooke said that operations in the Mediterranean were important from the Turkish point of view. The Turkish attitude depended both on Russian successes and our operations against Italy. The additional shipping for operations in the Mediterranean could only be found at the expense of BOLERO. The reduction in BOLERO buildup resulting from the undertaking of operations in the Mediterranean would only be some three to four divisions in 1943 and none in 1944. Operations in the Mediterranean were not an unlimited commitment. We must take immediate advantage of the deterioration in Italian morale. Even if we occupied all Italy, a serious shipping commitment would not arise since the Italian ships would themselves be sufficient to bring nearly all the necessary food to Italy, and only some 10 ships a month would be required for coal.

Admiral King reminded the Chiefs of Staff of the danger of [to] the lines of communication to the Mediterranean passing through the Straits of Gibraltar. The Germans had not yet taken action in this area, but we might be faced with a difficult position if they concentrated submarines in the approaches.

Sir Dudley Pound said that on a previous occasion when the Germans had operated in the actual approaches to the Straits of Gibraltar, they had suffered serious losses.

In reply to a question by Admiral Leahy, Sir Alan Brooke said that the advantages of obtaining the Azores were obvious. An examination had been made of possible German reactions. A German advance into Spain and Portugal would require some 15 to 20 divisions and would be met with resistance, if only guerrilla. The Germans would then be faced with a difficult economic situation and the logistic problem of bad communications and different rail gauge. The British Chiefs of Staff did not believe that Germany would undertake this operation. A difficult situation, however, existed with regard to Portugal. If we ask the Portuguese to allow us the use of the Azores, she might well require a guarantee from us that she would be defended. This would be difficult to give since it would entail keeping forces and ships ready to meet this commitment. It would therefore be desirable, if possible, to give Portugal no guarantee and to assure her that the risk of a German reaction was very remote.

Admiral Leahy said that this seemed largely a political question. It was unwise to offer guarantees and better to take the islands without previous notice, at the same time giving assurance that they would be returned to Portugal at the end of the war.

Sir Hastings Ismay said that the British were in a difficult position since they had entered into negotiations with the Portuguese and had staff conversations with a view to assisting Portugal in defending the islands against attack. It might therefore be better for the United States to occupy these islands.

General Marshall suggested that a possible timing for the occupation of the Azores might be just after HUSKY had been launched in order to utilize the shipping returning from this operation. There were sufficient troops in Northwest Africa for use in Portugal.

Sir Hastings Ismay said that a telegram had just been received from the British Cabinet stating that the Foreign Secretary believed that the Portuguese might agree to an occupation of the islands. He offered to circulate to the Combined Chiefs of Staff a British study on the whole problem.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Agreed:

  1. That nothing be considered as an agreed decision during the TRIDENT Conferences which does not appear in the conclusions of the minutes.

  2. That during the TRIDENT Conferences the conclusions of each meeting be read and approved as the first item of the succeeding meeting.

  3. That when any Summaries of Conclusions are given to the President and the Prime Minister during the period of the Conference, it should be explained to them that these would only be tentative and that, at the end of the Conference, a final Agreed Summary of Conclusions would be submitted.

  4. That in the preparation of the Final Summary of Conclusions, effort should be made to set out an order of priority of existing and projected strategic undertakings.

  5. That at the end of the 84th Meeting the Combined Staff Planners should be directed to prepare a detailed agenda for the remaining Conferences.

b. Agreed that the possibilities of launching a decisive air attack on the Ploești Oil Fields from Russia should be explored by the Combined Staff Planners.

c. Took note that a paper that had been prepared by the British Chiefs of Staff on the subject of the use of Portuguese Islands in the Atlantic would be circulated to the Combined Chiefs of Staff as a basis of future discussion.

Roosevelt-Churchill luncheon meeting, 1 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Air Chief Marshal Portal

Hull-Churchill meeting

United States United Kingdom
Secretary Hull Prime Minister Churchill
740.0011 EW/29478

Memorandum by the Secretary of State

Washington, May 13, 1943.

Strictly confidential

Subject: Russia; Trade Agreements Program; de Gaulle

I called on Prime Minister Churchill at the White House at his request. He proceeded first to express his extreme gratification at the final and complete military victory in Africa. I interjected to say that “your” and our Vichy policy has been justified and vindicated 100 percent. He promptly replied with enthusiasm that it had been vindicated 140 percent, and then went on to say that it was one of the greatest classical operations, perfect in every essential respect in that the air, land and naval forces and the diplomatic activities of our Governments were all synchronized together with marvelous precision and thrown against the enemy with the most powerful effect. He said that the United States had not received credit for the two years’ work of preparation and of paving the way for the African expedition under our Vichy policy. I said I must agree with him on that, but that one of these days the full facts would come out.

I brought up the need for a more full and complete understanding with Russia on the part of Great Britain and the United States and went on to repeat in substance what I had said to Foreign Minister Eden on his recent visit here in regard to the extreme importance of our two countries proceeding systematically through carefully selected persons to talk Mr. Stalin out of his shell, so to speak, away from his aloofness, secretiveness and suspiciousness until he broadened his views and visualized a more practical international cooperation in the future; at the same time indicating Russia’s intentions both in the East and the West. Mr. Churchill thought that Russia would help fight Japan when the war in the West was over, to which I replied that so far as I knew, there was no evidence or intimation of any kind as to what Russia would do in this respect; that it was my opinion that if she eventually should come into the war in the Pacific, it would probably be two or three weeks before victory, during which time she could spread out over Manchuria and other large areas and then be assured of sitting in at the peace conference. I said she may come into the war in the East, but the point I was emphasizing was that I could not get any intimation as to her future plans except in regard to certain territorial matters on her borders in Europe.

I then referred to our commercial policy and trade agreements program and elaborated on that in ways that are familiar to all. I expressed the opinion that we would receive the support of the public in carrying forward this combined program of liberal commercial, monetary and other related policies. He said very little on this question but appeared definitely interested.

He then said that the President had suggested that he might talk to me about de Gaulle. He proceeded to say that he was not pushing forward de Gaulle, although he had heard it reported that we felt that de Gaulle was receiving British financial support with which to do the things that are most objectionable to us. The Prime Minister said that he and Eden found de Gaulle terrible to get on with and that he wanted it understood that they were not undertaking to build him up. He added that we on the other hand must not get behind Giraud and pit him against de Gaulle, one reason being that de Gaulle was considered a symbol of French resistance and the British just could not throw him overboard, notwithstanding his many very objectionable and difficult ways. I said that the one big point in the situation that should appeal to both Governments alike was that if this de Gaulle matter is allowed to go forward as it has been, it will undoubtedly bring about serious friction between our two Governments; that large cross sections of people in this country will finally become aroused through false propaganda and constant agitations and machinations on the part of the de Gaulle organization, and in turn the Governments will be subject to repercussions that will seriously affect the relations between the two. I said that there was nothing personal implied in my remarks but I wished to point out with emphasis the poisonous propaganda activities of the de Gaulle organization both in this country and in North Africa where the purpose seemed to be to undermine and break down support for Giraud and then for de Gaulle to take charge politically from the top to the bottom and transplant this organization to Metropolitan France. I repeated with emphasis that inevitably friction will arise between our two Governments if this sort of propaganda work, which is so false and misleading in so many ways, is kept up by the de Gaulle organization. I elaborated in other ways in regard to the offer of higher wages to take sailors off their ships and for similar purposes thereby keeping everything in an uproar wherever a de Gaulle representative goes. I also made it very emphatic more than once the universal belief that the British are definitely behind these operations with money, the aid of the radio and with other methods. The Prime Minister maintained, first, that he personally was utterly disgusted with de Gaulle and, second, that the British were not aiding him as much as I seemed to think. I then suggested that there were numerous ways for the British to get away from their build-up of de Gaulle both rapid and gradual, if the latter course should prove necessary. I do not think that I made any special impression on the Prime Minister in this regard as he continued to urge that this Government should not support Giraud to the point of engaging in a quarrel with de Gaulle and the British. I, of course, maintained that this would be the inevitable outcome of the British policy in regard to de Gaulle.


Let “us” educate him…

1 Like

The Pittsburgh Press (May 13, 1943)

Churchill-Roosevelt talks hint Burma push next fall

Drive would open road to China; Prime Minister to address House, Senate next Wednesday
By Merriman Smith, United Press staff writer

Washington –
President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill today continued their White House conferences, believed to center on plans for a major fall offensive to drive the Japs out of Burma and open the way to China, and then to Japan.

Plans were disclosed for two speeches by Mr. Churchill while he is in Washington. Next Wednesday, the White House revealed, he will address a joint session of Congress. Tomorrow afternoon – on the occasion of the anniversary of the British Home Guards – he will broadcast to his homeland a speech designed almost entirely for British consumption.

Meeting postponed

Mr. Roosevelt devoted virtually his entire attention to his distinguished guest, scheduling only one other caller for the entire day.

The White House announced that the Pacific War Council had been called to meet at noon, but a half-hour later, it said the meeting had been postponed until next week. No explanation was advanced, but it was believed likely that some members of the council had found themselves unable to attend at this time. Another possibility was that Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill did not believe their plans were sufficiently well-defined for presentation to the Council.

Talk with Beneš

House Speaker Sam Rayburn saw Mr. Churchill this morning at the white House. The Prime Minister accepted his invitation to address Congress next Wednesday at about 12:30 p.m. ET. The speech will probably be broadcast throughout the world.

Both Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill talked this morning with President Edvard Beneš of Czechoslovakia, who was an overnight White House guest.

Plans for a fall offensive in Burma would not preclude strong blows against Jap forces before that time. There was increasing belief here that these blows would be struck in the very near future, especially in the Aleutians.

The signs pointed to Burma as the scene of the first major land operation against Japan because it is the logical way to open the route to China and then get at the Jap homeland. Such a campaign could not be started before fall because the monsoons with their torrential rains have begun and mechanized transport will be virtually impossible through the mushy jungles during the summer.

As the President and Mr. Churchill conferred almost certainly at the White House, U.S. and British sources here generally agreed that Japan is the point of emphasis in the present talks. And now is the time to plan for a Burma offensive, because it takes about six months to effectuate plans for big military operations.

The fact that London dispatches continue to emphasize the coming European offensives as the major point in discussion was explained here as reflecting the preoccupation of people in the British Isles with battles in their own arena.

Face logistics

The belief that Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill were looking six months ahead to a strong push through Burma made sense to a number of military experts here. The master strategists of the Allied cause plotted the November invasion of North Africa last June.

In plotting the defeat of Japan, Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Churchill and their military advisers were up against a collection of very knotty problems of logistics.

Without control of Burma, the problem of getting new equipment to China in volume is almost impossible. Mr. Roosevelt has been in frequent conference recently with Chinese Foreign Minister T. V. Soong, who will probably talk with the President and the Prime Minister during some of the current planning conferences.

Wavell in party

Indication that the present Roosevelt-Churchill talks would include the Far East came yesterday with disclosure that accompanying Mr. Churchill were his top men from India, including Field Marshal Sir Archibald P. Wavell, commanding British forces in India.

There was no idea, however, that the conferences in any sense would be confined to the Pacific. In fact, Messrs. Roosevelt and Churchill are probably taking a last look at plans for invasions of Europe, plans which were formulated at Casablanca last January.

The presence of Marshal Wavell, Adm. Sir James Somerville, commander of British naval forces in the Bay of Bengal, and Air Mshl. Sir Richard Peirse, commander-in-chief of British forces in India, aroused some curiosity as to why Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific, was not here.

Names withheld

Thus far in the conferences no announcement has been made on U.S. armed services chiefs who are in consultation with the British staff chiefs. It was generally accepted, however, that the American conferees include Gen. George C. Marshall (Army Chief of Staff), Adm. Ernest J. King (Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet), Adm. William D. Leahy (Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief), Gen. H. H. Arnold (commander of the Army Air Forces) and a host of other high-ranking generals and admirals.

It was believed the two ranking U.S. commanders in the Burma-China-India Theater of war would participate too. Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, commander of all U.S. forces in that theater, and Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, commanding the 14th Air Force in China, are here and have been principal figures in a recent series of important war conferences.

Premier of Canada to attend parley

Ottawa, Canada (UP) –
Announcement by Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King that he will take part in the conferences between Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt in Washington next week, gave rise to speculation today that the discussions may result in greater participation in the war effort by Canada and her armed forces.

Mr. King disclosed in the House of Commons yesterday that he will go to Washington early next week for the discussions. He told Parliament that Mr. Churchill would be unable to visit the Dominion before returning to Britain.

Mr. King’s participation in the conference may also be the result of suggestions in the House of commons that Canada be given greater representation in United Nations war panels.

Several members pointed out that the Dominion is constantly increasing production of war munitions and supplies and that its representation at the conferences should be enhanced accordingly.

U.S. State Department (May 13, 1943)

Roosevelt-Churchill meeting, 11 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins
Mr. Harriman

U.S. State Department (May 14, 1943)

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 10:30 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General McNarney Lieutenant General Ismay
Lieutenant General Embick Field Marshal Dill
Lieutenant General Stilwell Field Marshal Wavell
Lieutenant General Somervell Admiral Somerville
Vice Admiral Horne Air Chief Marshal Peirse
Major General Streett Admiral Noble
Major General Chennault Air Marshal Welsh
Rear Admiral Cooke Lieutenant General Macready
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Captain Lambe
Colonel Smart Brigadier Porter
Commander Freseman Air Commodore Elliot
Commander Long Brigadier Macleod
Brigadier Redman
Brigadier General Deane
Commander Coleridge
Lieutenant Colonel Vittrup

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

May 14, 1943, 10:30 a.m.


Conclusions of the Previous Meeting

Without discussion, the Combined Chiefs of Staff accepted the record and conclusions of the 83rd Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

Global Strategy

Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Chiefs of Staff had examined the views of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff on the Global Strategy of the War. There were certain points in this paper with which they were not in entire agreement. They adhered to the views agreed to at Casablanca as set out in C.C.S. 155/1.

The British Chiefs of Staff had two main points of difference which he would like to mention. Firstly, paragraph 2b of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff paper referred to an extension of pressure against Japan. Such extension might well cause a vacuum into which forces would have to be poured and would thereby depart from the object set out in paragraph 2a of the same paper, i.e., to force an unconditional surrender of the Axis in Europe. Action in the Pacific must be coordinated with that in Europe and must not prejudice the defeat of Germany or the war would drag on indefinitely.

The second point of difference was in connection with paragraph 3 of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff paper, i.e., ROUNDUP and its possibilities. The British Chiefs of Staff believed that the possibilities of ROUNDUP were dependent on the success or failure of the Russians on the Eastern Front, Allied cross-Channel operations could only form a very small part of the whole continental land war, and our effort must be aimed therefore at supporting Russia and thereby creating a situation in which ROUNDUP was possible.

The views of the British Chiefs of Staff with regard to ROUNDUP might be summed up as follows:

It was their firm intention to carry out ROUNDUP at the first moment when the conditions were such that the operations would contribute decisively to the defeat of Germany. These conditions might arise this year, but in any case, it was the firm belief of the British Chiefs of Staff that they would arise next year. They could be created only by the Russian Army. Our action, therefore, must consist of:
a. Continuing our increasing bombardment of Germany; and
b. Drawing off from the Russian Front as many forces as possible.

On the basis of this definition of ROUNDUP the British Chiefs of Staff had put forward their views on operations in the Mediterranean.

Paragraph 5 of the U.S. paper pointed out how essential it was that Russia should be kept in the war. The British Chiefs of Staff looked on the matter differently and regarded it as essential not only that Russia should be kept in the war but that we should create a situation whereby Russian victories could be achieved.

Admiral Leahy said that he was unable to see that the U.S. conception of global strategy differed materially from that set out at Casablanca. The intention was now and was then to prepare for and launch cross-Channel operations. The African venture was undertaken in order to do something this year while preparing for cross-Channel operations. Little preparation for the latter had, in fact, been made, since all available U.S. resources had been sent to North Africa. The North African campaign was now completed. If we launched a new campaign in the Mediterranean, then we should continue to use our resources in that area. This would again postpone help to Russia since we should not be able to concentrate forces in the U.K. and thus cause a withdrawal of German troops to western Europe. If new operations in the Mediterranean were the best way to bring the European war to a conclusion, then they must be undertaken; but if these operations would have the effect of prolonging the war, he saw great difficulties in committing U.S. resources to them.

In reply to a question by Admiral Leahy, Sir Alan Brooke confirmed that, in the British view, Mediterranean operations would shorten the European war.

Admiral Leahy said that the U.S. Planners in reporting to the U.S. Chiefs of Staff had pointed out the necessity of shortening the war in the Pacific and thus preventing Japan from consolidating her gains.

Admiral Leahy then read out a paper giving the views of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff on global strategy.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Chiefs of Staff had prepared two papers – one on operations in the European Theater and one on operations from India for 1943-1944, which he would like to hand over to the U.S. Chiefs of Staff at the conclusion of the meeting.

Admiral Leahy drew attention to paragraph 11 of the British Chiefs of Staff paper contained in Annex “B” to C.C.S. 83rd Meeting with regard to a combined examination of the method by which the defeat of Japan was ultimately brought about. He thought it would be helpful if Field Marshal Wavell and General Stilwell were asked to give their views on this subject. An examination should be made of each plan and of what it would accomplish. He suggested that there should also be a combined examination as to how to bring about the ultimate defeat of Germany. He would like to have the views of the British Chiefs of Staff on the Pacific campaign as a whole.

Operations in Burma

Sir Alan Brooke said that after the Casablanca Conference, plans had been drawn up for operations from India. Field Marshal Wavell would outline the plan which had been decided on as being the best; but this plan did not, in his opinion, hold out great hopes. Even when Burma was cleared and the Burma Road opened, it would take from six to nine months to develop it to a capacity of 10,000 tons per month. Was ANAKIM the best plan? He believed that we should examine other lines of approach to the problem and whatever action was decided on from India this should be coordinated as part of a complete plan for the defeat of Japan. One possibility was to seize the Kra Isthmus and to punch through to Bangkok, thereby cutting the main Japanese line of communications to Burma and obtaining bases from which to threaten Japanese oil traffic. There was no communication by rail with Bangkok from the west coast of the Kra Peninsula, and the roads were poor; but the principal difficulty was the lack of adequate port facilities on the Kra Isthmus.

Another alternative was to capture northern Sumatra and Penang. This operation again would give us air bases to cover the Japanese oil routes.

The third alternative would be to take the whole of Sumatra and then Java, the latter either from the east or west.

Only preliminary examination had been given to these plans. It was essential to decide whether one of these or Operation ANAKIM held out the best hopes. The latter might prove to be the most valuable, but the very poor lines of communication through Assam must be remembered. The Brahmaputra River had to be crossed by train ferries since there was no bridge, and the only railways available were single track meter gauge. It was planned to use more shipping on the Brahmaputra when it could be returned from Iraq. Rather than undertake ANAKIM, it might be better to develop new airports and to increase the capacity of the air ferry service into China to the maximum.

Land operations would have to take place down the two roads from Imphal and Ledo at the end of which roads, when built, our forces would have to be maintained through the monsoon season, when no operations could take place. A thrust from the north would have to be accompanied by landings on the west coast designed to secure airfields. These landings would require carrier-based air support, and only relatively small forces could infiltrate over the mountains. To capture southern Burma an assault on Rangoon would be necessary. Owing to the delta and mangrove swamps, no landings on the coast were possible, so that a hazardous operation up the Irrawaddy was required. Even when Rangoon was captured, there would be a continuous threat on our eastern flank; and once committed in this area, we might be drawn on into further operations against Thailand and the consequent difficulties of maintaining ourselves.

If on examination Operation ANAKIM proved to be the best answer, it must be done; but any action we took must be coordinated with United States thrusts from the east. In any event, the air route to China should be developed. It must be remembered, too, that successful operations against Germany in Europe might well bring Russia to our assistance in the Far East.

Admiral Leahy pointed out that the object of the Burma Campaign was to assist China by opening the Burma Road. Alternative operations did not appear to afford immediate relief to China.

Sir Alan Brooke agreed that unless the Burma Road was opened, no immediate relief to China would be given except by air. He considered that the moral effect of recapturing Burma would be great both in China and in India; and it was, therefore, desirable to do this operation if possible; but from the material point of view we must consider whether operations to open the Burma Road would produce sufficient result to warrant the scale of effort which would be necessary and the commitments which would arise. The actual supplies which the Road could take through to China were relatively small.

Admiral Leahy said that it was essential to do something for China. We must maintain the air route whose capacity was now relatively small and which would fall further during the monsoon season.

Sir Alan Brooke said that it was important to appreciate the fact that operations to recapture Burma would interfere with developing facilities for increasing the capacity of the air route.

Admiral King said that he understood that airfields in Assam were now being developed though slowly. As in Europe, where Russia’s geographical and manpower position were regarded as vital to the defeat of Germany, so China’s geographical position and manpower were vital to the defeat of Japan and must be used. A collapse of China would vastly prolong the war and vitally affect the whole situation vis-à-vis Japan.

Sir Alan Brooke said he fully appreciated this point. The value of Russian bases for use against Japan was also great.

Admiral King said that he was attracted toward the Bangkok operation, but it must be remembered that this was of no direct assistance to China. The Japanese attitude toward the Puppet Government in Nanking had changed, and the people in the occupied area were being offered supplies and facilities which were not available to Free China. Morale was weakening, and if China went out of the war, the task of the United Nations in defeating Japan would be terrific.

At this point, Field Marshal Wavell, Admiral Somerville, and the Air Chief Marshal Peirse entered the meeting.

Admiral Leahy stated that the Chiefs of Staff had just been discussing the Burma situation. They would like very much to hear Field Marshal Wavell’s idea on the best methods of procedure.

Field Marshal Wavell said that, considering such operations, the first thing necessary to make clear was the administrative situation in India, which would of necessity be used as a base for operations in Burma. The communications in eastern India and Assam are very poor. One means of communication is the Brahmaputra River, but the value of the river ports is limited by the fact that the seasonal rise and fall is as much as 25 feet. On the other hand, the river constitutes a formidable barrier, as it is unbridged throughout its length and frequent changes of course make it difficult if not impossible to bridge. The result is that the bottleneck of transportation from India to Assam is the ferries which operate across this river. It has railroads on either side which are of meter gauge, single line, and in poor condition. A year ago this railroad carried only three or four trains a day, had no modern methods for operation, and few crossings. Improvements have made it possible to operate 14 pairs of trains a day up as far as Manipur Road. Beyond that point 12 pairs a day is the maximum capacity. Unless this rail route is double tracked, which would be a tremendous undertaking and would take from two to three years, the present volume of traffic cannot be increased. There is one stretch of the railroad north of the Brahmaputra which runs along the south of the Himalayas. This part of the road is frequently broken by floods. Last year it was out of action for five months during the monsoon season. The only other approach to Assam was through Bengal, which is a single-track route. There were no satisfactory road communications between India and Assam. Such as there were, were poor in the dry season and impossible during the wet season. This necessitated sending by rail all vehicles for use in Assam or Burma. Before the Japanese entered the war, one of the principal tasks for India was to establish a line of communications to Russia through Iraq. Therefore, most of the steamers from the Brahmaputra were sent into Iraq for this purpose. It is now difficult and a long haul to get them back, but an effort was being made. The ultimate result is that the amount of supplies which can be sent into northeast Assam is limited. The scope of the operations which can be conducted is in turn dependent upon this volume of supplies.

In referring to conditions in Assam and northern Burma, General Wavell stated that it was one of the rainiest spots in the world. Recently over 22 inches of rain fell in a period of three weeks, in the dry season. During the wet season it rains continuously. There are few roads, and those which do exist are in poor condition. There is very little stone or other suitable building material which could be used for the purpose of constructing roads or airdromes, and such as there is usually has to be carried great distances. The entire country is intensely malarial resulting in a high casualty rate. At present they are very short of engineering equipment such as bulldozers, rollers, etc., as well as qualified personnel to operate this machinery.

When the Japanese entered the war, there were approximately thirty airfields in India. Last year over 200 were constructed at a very great effort, which demanded practically all of the resources which could be made available in India. The original layout of these airfields had to be defensive and therefore further back than now required. There were only a limited number in the forward area including Assam. The conditions there are therefore unfavorable for offensive operations.

Work is going on on three or four projects, but each of these projects demands the same thing. There are two bases being constructed, also the road from Manipur to Imphal and on to Tamur. This was originally a one-way road as far as Imphal only. It has now been made two-way as far as Imphal; and work is in hand to extend it as a two-way, all-weather road as far as Tamu. Beyond Tamil and into Burma it is at present a fair-weather road only. This project is not completed. Malaria is intense in the area. The road to Imphal, over 200 miles, all requires fill. It would have to be doubled in some places in order to bear the traffic. When this road gets into Burma, it will still have another seventy miles to go to get into the Chindwin Valley, across a route which a year ago was nothing more than a mule track.

The other base is at Ledo from which it is intended to construct a road by the Hukaung Valley to Myitkyina. Here again a road needs to be constructed approximately 200 miles in length, for most of which there has formerly been not even a mule track, although a road alignment had been surveyed for part of the way.

General Wheeler had taken over the construction of this road and had at present gone about 50 miles. In the Hukaung Valley section the only way to get a road through was to stick to the hills; otherwise in the rainy season this section will be covered with water. Whether or not a road could be constructed to open the line of communication from India to China was open to doubt. However, General Stilwell, who has recently seen General Wheeler, could give a more accurate report. The moral effect on the Chinese would be good if such a project were undertaken, even though the carrying capacity might prove small.

They had tried to run two roads from Imphal into the Chindwin Valley. One is through, but the other is considered as being a much greater undertaking.

With regard to airfields, the original requirement had been three fields in the northeast corner of Assam. These were in use but not quite completed but had encountered various delays, particularly because of labor and equipment shortages. These airfields now are operating with runways complete. However, the standings are limited; and with the increase in the numbers of aircraft, the demands for standings are increasing proportionately. After the visit of Generals Arnold and Somervell, three more airfields had been requested. The sites had been selected. The target date for their completion was 1 October, but a great deal will depend on monsoons and the availability of labor. It was difficult to get native labor to work during the rainy season. It was proposed to use on these fields steel mats, which in turn mean an added burden on the railway – 6,000 tons per runway.

He had had another administrative survey made just before leaving India; the conclusion reached was that the facilities were not available both to establish communications for the maintenance of the large force necessary to invade Burma successfully and to provide sufficient airfields for the support of China. He had left instructions to put the construction of the airfields on top priority.

The land route to Akyab was extremely difficult. The sea landing could have been successfully made, but he did not have the shipping, landing craft, and other essential equipment available. Therefore, he tried the operation overland down the coast. The essence of this operation should have been speed in order to arrive at Akyab before the Japanese were able to reinforce. However, the conditions encountered proved extremely difficult and provided the time necessary for the Japanese to reinforce and eventually drive the British out. Operations on a small scale against Akyab could not have had any major effect. The original plan was to have been coordinated with a Chinese offensive beginning in March. He had not been told that the Chinese had abandoned their operation until well into February, when his arrangements were already underway. He had continued with the operation, but the Japanese had been able to move reinforcements from Upper Burma and use them against his force. While Akyab had not been captured, the Japanese had suffered heavily, and air operations against them had been effective.

Further north, it had been the intention that one brigade should advance from the Fourth Corps Area and penetrate deeply beyond the Chindwin Valley to cover work taking place on the road and to help Chinese operations. This brigade had been specially trained to live on the country and operate without communications. When he had learned that the Chinese did not intend to take any action, he had decided to send the brigade in to gain experience in this form of fighting. They crossed the Chindwin early in February and went through to the Irrawaddy, cut the railway in 75 places, and put it out of action for several months. The commander of the brigade then decided to try to operate against Japanese communications near Lashio. However, in crossing the Irrawaddy, he had lost many of his transport animals and some of the remainder had died of disease. After being in action with the Japanese, he decided to break up the brigade into small columns, as had been arranged, and up to date some 1,500 of the original 2,500 had gotten back. Of the remainder, some were still on their way back while some were making for China. Casualties amounted to some 18 percent. The brigade consisted of British, Burmese and Ghurka troops. The Burmese had been included to assist the command with their local knowledge, and some had been deliberately left behind for future use. As a result of the experience gained, it had been decided to train one or possibly more brigades for this type of fighting.

The operations on the Arakan coast had proved disappointing, and we had failed to capture Akyab. This failure, together with the possible loss of Maungdaw, had strategic disadvantages in that it gave the Japanese an advance base for air attack on India and denied us bases.

In view of the difficulties of warfare in Upper Burma, it would never be possible to complete the conquest by land alone and a seaborne invasion of Lower Burma was essential. Landings on the Arakan Coast down to Cape Negrais would be cut off from the mainland by the Arakan Hills, through which there was only one bad road to Prome. It was impossible to land in the delta of the Irrawaddy; and, though landing at Moulmein was possible, these forces would be separated from Rangoon by big rivers and a flank guard against Siam would be essential.

Operations down the Arakan coast were designed to obtain air bases to give air cover for successive landings and finally for assault on Rangoon, but the latter town could not thus be captured in one season.

When Generals Arnold and Somervell had arrived from Casablanca with the proposal that a plan to capture Burma in one campaigning season should be drawn up, it was decided that the object could only be achieved in one way.

An advance by land must be made in Upper Burma to contain Japanese forces. This must be followed by landings on the Arakan coast to provide bases for air cover for a direct assault on Rangoon by going up the river. Forces from Assam and the Chinese from Yunnan would join up. The final assault up the Rangoon River was extremely difficult and hazardous. Though the river was not at present heavily defended, this could quickly be done if the Japanese learned of our intentions.

Certain conditions were essential if this plan was to be successful. Sufficient forces must be available, fully trained and fully equipped with all the necessary supplies and specialized equipment, and be ready to start operations at the beginning of the dry season during the first fortnight of November. Planning and Operational staffs were gotten together to prepare for the operation; and it was estimated that 180,000 tons of supplies a month, loading during March, April, May and June, were essential in order to mount the operation. In fact, in March and April only 70,000 and 65,000 tons respectively had been loaded. This was approximately half the normal maintenance requirements, and the operation was thus put back from two to three months.

The operations on the Arakan coast had proved that the Japanese were as good in defense as in attack and that our troops would require careful and lengthy training. Training in India was a difficult process due to the climate, and took longer than elsewhere. It was unlikely that the necessary shipping or naval forces would be available and therefore ANAKIM as originally planned was not possible of execution in full during the coming cold weather season. He was prepared to undertake the operation only if fully trained and equipped troops were available with the necessary amphibious transport assault and landing ships and specialized equipment. However, much shipping was sent now it would not be in time for the forces to be ready in early November.

Admiral Leahy asked Field Marshal Wavell what he considered to be the best practicable action which could be taken to keep China in the war.

Field Marshal Wavell said that he fully realized the political importance of the recapture of Burma, both on China and on India. Even if Operation ANAKIM was undertaken in full and was successful the Burma Road was unlikely to attain a capacity of 20,000 tons per month until June 1945. He believed the U.S. Air Force was now ferrying some 6,000 tons per month into China and hoped to work up to 10,000 tons per month. This was a greater capacity than the road would have for a long time and it might be possible to raise even this figure. He believed that the best way to help China was to increase the strength of General Chennault’s forces and that this, together with an increase of air-borne supplies, would have more material results than Operation ANAKIM. An unsuccessful operation into Burma would be almost worse than no operation at all. General Chennault’s forces could bring pressure to bear both against Japanese air and their shipping and port facilities. These were their weak links. It was not easy to construct more airfields in Assam since the requirements of gasoline and of construction material, including steel tracks, were heavy. If large-scale operations into Burma were not undertaken, then it would be easier to construct the airfields required to increase the flow into China. Thus, it would be feasible to increase General Chennault’s forces which could then achieve bigger results.

Admiral Leahy thanked Field Marshal Wavell for his description of the position in Burma.

Admiral Leahy explained that it was essential that we should find some method of giving assistance to China so that we could take advantage of Chinese manpower and eventually have bases in China for direct attack against Japan proper. He asked General Stilwell for his views on this subject.

General Stilwell stated that in his opinion it was absolutely necessary that we give the Chinese assistance in the near future. Their economic situation is rapidly deteriorating and the morale of the people and the army is bad. At present there is a great need to build up ground forces to make the route safe to the bases in China we hope eventually to establish. He had been worried since last summer lest the Japanese should undertake operations for the purpose of seizing Kunming. If the Japanese could successfully accomplish this, even a recaptured Burma would be of no use to us, and China would be lost. He was firmly of the opinion that Yunnan Province must be held and at present saw no way to accomplish this except by the use of the Chinese Army. He felt that if a route for supplying China could be made safe, everything else would follow; and conversely, if the route were lost, all of China would be lost. Therefore, the fundamental necessity was to insure the retention of our present route and its terminals and to conduct offensive operations to improve the supply situation. He stated that other things which we might undertake against the Japanese from China, such as conducting air offensives against their shipping and ground installations, would hurt the Japanese to some extent, but could not be decisive. On the other hand, they might provoke violent and fatal reaction on the part of the Japanese. In referring to Field Marshal Waveil’s statement with reference to 6,000 tons per month being moved into China by air, he stated that 3,400 tons per month was the greatest air load yet shipped over the hump, and that was under the most favorable conditions. He was of the opinion that this volume could not be materially increased within the next six months. If all the tonnage of the air transport were devoted to air effort, that is, for use by the 14th Air Force, it would hearten the Chinese to some extent, but with the means available, nothing really effective could be done to help the Chinese. He believed that the 14th Air Force should continue on a defensive mission in order that the minimum essential equipment could be supplied the Chinese troops in Yunnan. There were now 32 divisions in Yunnan, and the goal set was to try to carry 10,000 tons of equipment for this force. That, together with what could be scraped together in China, would enable this force to be put in the field at least partly equipped by the fall. He was firmly of the opinion that the best way to help the Chinese situation was to reassure the Chinese that a main effort was being made to reopen the supply route from India. If this were not done, he believed the Chinese reaction would be very serious. There were certain pro-Japanese elements in China that were taking advantage of an increasing feeling in the minds of some Chinese that no material help could be made available. Unless this condition could be remedied promptly, the situation would become dangerous. Delay might make it impossible for us to seize the bases which we needed in south and east China.

Admiral Leahy asked General Stilwell what he meant by “something must be done.”

General Stilwell replied that we must open the road to China – undertake Operation ANAKIM.

In reply to a question asked by Sir Alan Brooke as to when he considered it essential to have the road opened, General Stilwell replied, by January ‘44, or as soon as possible. The limiting date is a year from now. China cannot be expected to hold out for another year and a half, if for that long.

Admiral King suggested that General Stilwell meant that although the road might not actually be completed or in a condition to carry an appreciable volume of traffic, the psychological reaction on China in allaying their fears would keep them from cracking.

General Stilwell agreed.

Sir Alan Brooke asked whether or not it was correct that if we were to undertake operations to open the Burma Road, the cost would have to be borne by the air effort in China and if he recommended undertaking such operations at the expense of the air effort.

General Stilwell replied that the air effort could be supported with 3,000 tons a month. That amounted to only one train a day at most. The bases at Imphal and Ledo were pretty well stocked by now, and he did not see why any material reduction in the air effort should be caused. If 10,000 tons per month could be made available to the Chinese Divisions in Yunnan, they would be in suitable state for use in the fall.

Field Marshal Wavell stated that he had never intended to convey that limited ground operations could not be carried out at the same time as full-scale air operations.

In answer to a question by Admiral Leahy as to whether or not limited operations would help the situation in China, General Stilwell stated that such operations would help materially. Any way in which the line of communications could be improved would provide appreciable assistance. It was his opinion that operations to clear Burma, north of a northeast and southwest line through Lashio, should be undertaken.

Field Marshal Wavell said that he gravely doubted the ability to maintain forces in that area during the rainy season unless they were able during the dry season, in addition to conducting the offensive, to build approximately 200 miles of road.

General Stilwell stated that he was fully aware of this condition and that the plans called for building the road.

Field Marshal Wavell pointed out the enormous effort involved and stated that it would utilize practically all of the engineering personnel and equipment. He stated that the basic objection to seizing northern Burma was that once occupied it could not be maintained, especially if we were to go as far as Mandalay. The Japanese have railroad, river, and road communications from Rangoon and can develop and support a much larger force. Also they would be operating out of a dry area, which extends to the north of Prome, where movement and operations are possible during the wet season. We, on the other hand, could reach only the northern edge of this dry area from which the Japanese would be operating and would be confronted with immense supply problems; in addition, we would have no air support unless airfields could be constructed in northern Burma. This would be a gigantic undertaking.

Air Marshal Peirse pointed out that the movement of supplies for the air force used in support of the ground operations in north Burma would be of such volume that it would cut down materially supplies by air to China.

Field Marshal Wavell said that part of the plan called for a pipeline to Imphal and Ledo to supply gasoline for the support of the operations. This would effect a great reduction in the load on rail, river and road and also on the amounting of trucking. However, at present there was only a limited amount of pipe available.

Sir Alan Brooke pointed out that a limited operation for the purpose of opening a road in northern Burma would require practically the whole of the force involved to protect the road and in turn demand a greater volume of supplies over the road for the support and maintenance of troops. He believed that the only effective way of opening a supply route to China was to recapture the whole of Burma.

Admiral King pointed out that if the present air route could be shifted further to the south, where the mountains were not so high, each of the planes could carry a greater load and therefore materially increase the volume of supplies.

Admiral Leahy stated that, of course, we could expect the Japanese to attack the road, but would they have enough troops available to attack it in greater strength than we could support in the same area?

Admiral King, referring to a possible operation against Bangkok previously mentioned by Sir Alan Brooke, stated that he felt that such an operation would get at the root of the Japanese communications, and if undertaken, would cut their supply.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he believed that an operation against Bangkok would develop a vacuum, and that we should not launch such an operation until we were ready to carry it through to completion. He agreed with Admiral King that it was a vital spot in the center of the Japanese communications system.

General Marshall said that the whole problem of maintaining China in the war was one of logistic difficulties which must be linked to our capabilities of overcoming them. He would like Field Marshal Wavell to prepare his views on this so that the U.S. Planners, General Stilwell and General Somervell could examine them. The object of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff was to maintain China in the war since they assigned immense strategic importance to this in relation to the ultimate outcome of the war with Japan.

Admiral Leahy stated that all of this discussion on Burma had been very interesting. It was clearly indicated that we had a very difficult problem before us and that we must do something to improve the conditions in China. This resolved itself into a study of the logistic problems incident to her supply. He agreed with General Marshall that the best line of approach would be to study these logistic problems which should indicate a line of action to be followed.

Future Business

Sir Alan Brooke, in answer to a question by Admiral Leahy, suggested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff have one more meeting before directing the Planners to prepare an agenda.

Admiral Leahy agreed that after the discussion with the President and the Prime Minister that afternoon, the Combined Chiefs of Staff would be better able to give the Planners instructions for the preparation of the agenda. It may well prove desirable to discuss the Oriental problem first. He suggested that the question of the agenda be taken as the first item at tomorrow’s meeting.

Admiral Leahy expressed his appreciation to Field Marshal Wavell and General Stilwell for the information presented at the Conference.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Approved the conclusions of the 83rd Meeting as recorded in the minutes.

b. Agreed:

  1. That, with reference to Conclusion a(5) of the 83rd Meeting, the Combined Planners would require general directions to enable them to prepare an agenda for the remaining Conferences.

  2. That these directions should be considered at the beginning of their next meeting.

Memorandum by the Chief of Staff, Allied Force HQ

Algiers, 14 May 1943.

C.C.S. 223

Operations After HUSKY

The attached paper (Enclosure “A”) prepared by the Operations Division, Allied Force Headquarters, represents the views of General Eisenhower and Admiral Cunningham with respect to operations after HUSKY. It is not concurred in by Air Chief Marshal Tedder whose comments are attached (Enclosure “B”). It is requested that both papers be submitted for the information of the Combined Chiefs of Staff as representative of the opinion of the Commander in Chief, Allied Force, from the local viewpoint only.

Enclosure “A”

Algiers, 7 May 1943.


The Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, Allied Force HQ to the Chief of Staff, Allied Force HQ

Subject: Operations after HUSKY

After Operation HUSKY there are two immediate possibilities:
a. To continue operations against the Italian mainland by action against:
i) The Reggio-Sangiovanni area (Operation BUTTRESS)
ii) The Crotone area (Operation GOBLET)
iii) The Heel of Italy (Operation MUSKET)

These operations would be preparatory to an advance into Italy in the direction of Naples.

b. To occupy Sardinia and Corsica as a preparatory measure to such further operations as may be decided upon.


To discuss the relative merits of the two courses of action referred to above.


a. The advantages of this course of action are:
i) Operations on the Italian mainland even though confined to one area might be sufficient to compel Italy to ask for terms.

ii) Operation BUTTRESS and possibly GOBLET might be undertaken so as to coincide with the final stages of Operation Husky thus taking direct advantage of the disorganization and confusion which may occur as a result of a rapid success in HUSKY.

iii) The fact that operations were carried into the mainland of Europe would have considerable political value.

iv) Bases would be obtained from which operations in the Balkans could be supported if this strategy is decided upon.

b. The disadvantages are:
i) The operations themselves will require considerable forces. Should Italy not ask for terms as a result, we may be committed to a major campaign on the Italian mainland possibly involving all the forces available in the Mediterranean.

ii) Should Germany be in a position strongly to reinforce Italy and should she so decide, we might be involved in a campaign against superior German forces in country in which superiority in numbers would have full weight.

iii) Both during and after the operations a considerable garrison commitment will be involved, since we shall be operating in enemy as opposed to occupied territory.

iv) We shall be responsible for the administration and supply of such areas of the mainland as we occupy. This will constitute a heavy shipping and economic commitment.

v) Even if it is decided to limit the area of operations to the Toe and Heel of Italy, considerable forces will be required to defend these areas unless Italy has gone out of the war.

c. It is estimated that some 4-5 divisions would be required for Operations BUTTRESS and GOBLET. For Operation MUSKET it is estimated that 4-5 divisions would be required initially. The force in this area would probably have to be built up to a total of approximately 10 divisions (including two Armored divisions) if further operations are to be undertaken on the mainland.

The above requirements would be to some extent counterbalanced by the reduction which it would be possible to make in the garrison of HUSKY. It is clear, however, that operations on the mainland are likely to involve all the resources which we can make available.


a. The advantages of this course of action are:
i) It will place the whole of Italy within easy bombing range. This fact alone might be sufficient to induce Italy to ask for terms.

ii) A threat of invasion will exist over the entire length of the west coast of Italy. This is likely to cause the Italians to withdraw troops from the Balkans and will cause the maximum dispersion of Axis troops on the mainland.

iii) It will constitute a threat to southern France and thereby tend to retain German troops in that area.

iv) It renders our sea communications in the western Mediterranean secure and reduces the air threat to North Africa thus freeing air and AA resources.

v) The operational commitment is limited and the subsequent garrison requirement will be small. Operation FIREBRAND can be undertaken by French forces.

b. The disadvantages are:
i) If the occupation of Sardinia and Corsica does not induce Italy to ask for terms, we should still be faced with the necessity for conducting operations on the mainland in order to achieve that end.

ii) We shall not be taking advantage of the disorganization which may be caused on the mainland by the success of HUSKY

iii) We shall not reap the political advantages which will accrue from the opening of a campaign on the mainland of Europe.

c. It is estimated that Operation BRIMSTONE will require about 5 Inf Divs and one Armd Div; the garrison commitment is unlikely to be greater than 2 Inf Divs. On the other hand, it must be remembered that if this course is adopted it may be necessary to retain the maximum garrison in HUSKY.


The position may therefore be summarized as follows:
a. Operations BUTTRESS, GOBLET and MUSKET require considerable forces and once we have embarked upon this course we are committed. Unless Italian morale is already weakening, we may be involved in a major campaign the duration and requirements of which it is not possible to foresee.

b. Operations BRIMSTONE and FIREBRAND can be carried out with comparatively limited forces and after these operations we shall still retain full liberty of action to strike in whatever direction may seem advisable. If Italian morale is weakening after HUSKY, the threat of heavy bombing which these operations will produce may be sufficient to induce Italy to ask for terms.

c. The decision between these two courses of action must depend to a great extent upon the state of Italian morale after HUSKY. It will not be easy to assess this accurately and it is therefore considered that the course of action which does not definitely commit us to the mainland is preferable.


It is concluded that the next operations after HUSKY should be BRIMSTONE and FIREBRAND in preference to BUTTRESS, GOBLET and MUSKET.

Brigadier General, GSC
Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3

Enclosure “B”

Algiers, 8 May 1943.

Most secret
Ref: ACMT/S. 515.

The Air Commander in Chief, Mediterranean Air Command to the Commander in Chief, Allied Force HQ

Mediterranean Strategy

I have just seen a paper prepared by G.3. section for the Chief of Staff. This paper has not been considered by the J.P.S. Previous editions of the paper (P/68) have been considered by the J.P.S. and I have instructed my representative to emphasize certain factors. This final paper does not, in my opinion, give these factors due weight. I cannot, therefore, agree with it or with its conclusions. The main points on which I am in disagreement are the following:

  1. Firstly, the difficulties of the capture of Sardinia are completely glossed over. In my opinion, owing to the distance from air bases the capture of Sardinia would be a more difficult problem than HUSKY.

  2. The alleged advantage that “It placed the whole of the Italian mainland within easy bombing range” is true, but misleading. The whole Italian mainland is already within easy bombing range from Tunisia and Sicily. The value of additional bases in Sardinia is more than balanced by the additional maintenance and supply involved.

  3. The value of Sardinia is, in my opinion, almost entirely a defensive one, in that it would reduce the commitment for the protection of shipping passing along the North African coast.

  4. I do not agree that the capture of Sardinia would free considerable AA resources in North Africa, since North African bases are within reasonable operation range of enemy bases in Italy.

  5. As regards Italy itself, the paper does point out that the establishment of air bases in central Italy would bring within range of our heavy bombers the main Axis industrial centers in southern Germany, etc., also the Roumanian oil fields. This is true, but the main advantage of using Italy as a base is omitted. The main value of such an air base is that heavy bomber attacks on the majority of the most vital centers in Germany, and other Axis countries pass through routes which completely evade the great belt of fighter and AA defenses which Germany has set up along the whole North and North Western approaches. These defenses are exacting an increasing toll on our bomber offensive. It would be quite impossible from every point of view for the enemy to create a similar organization covering the Southern approach, and bomber offensive directed, from the South, especially when coordinated with that of U.K. would have enormously increased material and moral effects.

  6. I must emphasize, therefore, that in my opinion the conclusions to paper No. P/69 are unsound insofar as they fail to pay due weight to the air aspect which I am sure you will agree has already proved itself to be one of the vital factors.

Air Chief Marshal
Air Commander in Chief

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff with Roosevelt and Churchill, 2 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Field Marshal Dill
Admiral Leahy Field Marshal Wavell
General Marshall General Brooke
Admiral King Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Lieutenant General Stilwell Admiral Somerville
Lieutenant General McNarney Air Chief Marshal Portal
Major General Chennault Air Chief Marshal Peirse
Lieutenant General Ismay
Brigadier General Deane
Brigadier Jacob

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

May 14, 1943, 2 p.m.


The President said that this Conference had been called to talk about the local situation in the India-Burma-China Theater because that area presented problems which were extremely difficult. The United Nations were now on dead-center with regard to operations in that area. The thought on the subject must be simplified. He said the problem should be divided into two main subdivisions: first, operations to be carried out forthwith and, second, operations to be carried out at the end of the present monsoon season. The two should not be confused. Preparations for operations in November and December of 1943 must certainly start now, but preparations for operations to be carried out forthwith must be rushed.

The President indicated that China is now in a dangerous political condition. The United Nations could not let China go to pieces. It should be remembered, when discussing demands of the Generalissimo, that he was the head of the Army and of the State. It was imperative that the United Nations not be put in the position of being responsible in any way for the collapse of China. It was no longer possible to simply tell China to take what she was given. There must be active cooperation on the part of the United Nations. An attitude of It can’t be done could not be tolerated because it was certain that something must be done. He said there would have to be a 1943 affirmative.

The Prime Minister said that there must be a 1943 and a 1944 affirmative.

The President then asked those present to express their convictions freely on the subject of China and asked the Prime Minister to present his views.

The Prime Minister said he felt that the President had put the case very clearly. He himself had once been keen on action of the ANAKIM type and two years ago had written a memorandum on the subject, a copy of which he had given to Admiral King at Casablanca, in which he had proposed an operation through Rangoon on Bangkok. A decision had been made at Casablanca that ANAKIM was to be mounted. Accordingly, Field Marshal Wavell had prepared a plan which was in his opinion the best method for accomplishing the recapture of Burma. The Prime Minister said he now gathered that Field Marshal Wavell considered the outlook for the accomplishment of this plan to be bleak, but he still held it feasible if and when the necessary material was provided.

The Prime Minister said that operations in Burma so far had not been effective. However, they had taught lessons. He said when he looked at Field Marshal Wavell’s plan, in the light of results to date, he did not like the looks of it. He questioned the value of trying to retake Burma now, and asked if it could not be bypassed. If so, would not the construction and defense of airfields be sufficient to insure a flow of supplies into China? The question was how to construct these airfields quickly and to insure their protection. He said that, for himself, he had little inclination to go to swampy jungles in which operations could be conducted for only five months of the year, country infested with malaria, where modern equipment could not be used. The idea of making four attacks from the sea, to say nothing of the advance up the Rangoon River to Rangoon, subject to attack from shore defenses of various kinds, did not present a favorable outlook. All of these factors, together with the long lines of communications, made the prospects for ANAKIM, as now planned, extremely gloomy, a view that was shared by his military advisers.

The Prime Minister indicated that he could not see how operations in the swamps of Burma would help the Chinese. The factor that had turned him against the plan, more than any other, was that only 20,000 tons could be transported over the Burma Road, and then only in early 1945, even though ANAKIM were completely successful. He questioned what would happen to the Chinese in the interval. He felt that the above considerations indicated that there should be a passionate development of air transport into China, and the buildup of air forces in China, as the objectives for 1943.

The Prime Minister then turned the discussion to 1944. He indicated an Asiatic TORCH should be sought. A blow should be struck where it could be accomplished with complete surprise. It would, of necessity, have to be an operation which would attract enemy reaction and thus take the pressure off China and the South Pacific. He suggested the possibility of seizing the northern tip of Sumatra. It would be much better to baffle the enemy by surprise than to continue with the development of the obvious.

The President said that in the TORCH operation the objective had been to drive the Axis forces out of Africa, or at least to form a junction between Generals Alexander and Montgomery in the East and General Eisenhower’s forces in the West. Our objectives in China should be: first, to save China and keep it going and, second, to continue to increase the rate of attrition on Japan in ships and airplanes. He said that until now the United Nations have met with considerable success in their battle of attrition against Japan, but the pace would have to be stepped up. He then asked Field Marshal Wavell to express his views on the Burma and ANAKIM operation.

Field Marshal Wavell said that he had had the Burma campaign and Burma constantly in mind for two years. He considered it to be the most important pivot in the war against Japan. After war had been declared, it became impossible to defend Burma once the United Nations had lost control of the seas. He had been thinking of the reconquest of that country ever since. He said he was convinced that a reconquest could not be accomplished by land operations alone but must be combined with amphibious operations and naval action. He had always realized the political effect that the loss of Burma had on China and also upon India. The moral effect on both countries was also of extreme importance.

Field Marshal Wavell said that the more he had planned for reconquest the more difficult it had become. Communications to northeast India, which must be a base for land operations, are extremely difficult. They are dependent upon a railroad which has small capacity and is often out of operation for long periods. Airfields must have metal or concrete surfaces. To illustrate the difficulties in communications, he said that his troops at Manipur had never been on full rations during the last monsoon period because of the effect of rain on the roads. Current operations have shown that the Japanese have good troops for defensive fighting, whereas the Indian forces, accustomed to the open plains, require intensive training for this type of warfare.

Field Marshal Wavell said that when he was asked to produce a plan to conquer Burma in the next dry season, he had had prepared what he thought was the best plan possible. Even so, it was a hazardous one and difficult of accomplishment. He felt it had a reasonable chance of success if his troops were fully trained and equipped. The plan required a considerable increase of supplies which had to be sent to the theater at once. It was necessary that 180,000 tons per month be sent to India. Actually, in March and April only 65,000 and 70,000 tons respectively had been shipped. He felt that therefore the operation could not start in November as originally planned. Unless the operation could start in November, it could not succeed in the coming dry season. It would be necessary to get land-based air cover on the Arakan coast first, then capture Rangoon, while, at the same time, conducting operations in the north with British and Chinese troops. The Chinese forces from the north and the British-Indian forces from the south would then attempt to form a junction. After that it would be necessary to repair the railroads and bring supplies in through Rangoon and ship them north in order to start repair of the Burma Road. His administrative experts had informed him that the road could not be fully opened to traffic until the middle of 1945.

The Field Marshal indicated that relief to China would therefore not be effective until 1945, but that the moral effect, on the other hand, would be considerable at once to both China and India. If success was assured, it would be worth hazarding the losses. He said, however, that an unsuccessful expedition would be much worse than none at all.

Field Marshal Wavell said that his Planners had been examining alternatives. He said that, in the long run, it was probable that more supplies could be sent into China by air alone in the next 18 months than would be the case if the air transport was required to use much of its capacity for operations leading to the construction of the Burma Road.

The possibility of using troops in the India Theater for some other operation was being examined. An effort was being made to determine the effect of creating a break or landing somewhere in the semicircle from Burma through the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Java. Possible objectives were Bangkok via the Kra Isthmus, northern Sumatra, and Malaya, or the Sunda Straits. Bangkok was considered to be impracticable because there was no adequate port or routes across the Kra Isthmus. Sunda Straits was an attractive objective because it threatens the Palembang oil fields. This, however, was not possible within the resources available. An operation which did appear to be promising was one which would seize three or four airfields in northern Sumatra and from there drive on into the Malayan Peninsula at Penang, where there were four or five additional airfields. The object of such an expedition would be to place large air forces in Sumatra and Malaya from where they could attack Bangkok, Singapore, the Palembang oil fields, and Japanese shipping. If it were possible to place strong air forces on northern Sumatra and protect them, a bad situation would be created for the Japanese and cause them considerable air losses. The expedition would probably require about the same forces as would be required by ANAKIM. It would have the advantage that the operation would not be dependent on the monsoon. It would be an expensive operation in aircraft because of the distance from air bases and it would also require considerable shipping. The proposed operation, if feasible, however, would cause considerable attrition to Japanese air power and shipping. The Japanese would have to react to the United Nations’ operations and this would bring on air battles. Considerable further study would be required before an opinion could be given as to the possibility of the operation.

In reply to a question by the Prime Minister, the Field Marshal said the operation proposed could not take place until 1944.

The President pointed out that there were many naval problems involved in the capture of Rangoon. He questioned whether sufficient carriers could be made available.

Admiral Somerville said that the Rangoon operation was not attractive. Even to seize the airfields on the Arakan coast would require carriers standing off from one to three weeks, which was too long against Japanese land-based air attack. Seizure of Rangoon was not feasible unless it could be covered to some extent by land-based aircraft from the Arakan coast.

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound indicated that carriers could not be made available until they could be released from the Mediterranean.

Admiral Somerville said that the naval approach to Rangoon was narrow and could be easily defended. He doubted if the operation was feasible from the naval point of view.

Air Chief Marshal Peirse said that, from an airman’s point of view, air development appeared to meet the requirements, which were
a. to defeat the enemy air forces;
b. to assure military aid to China; and
c. to bring support in the form of supplies at the earliest date.

One thing was essential and that was that we should have adequate air forces operating from India to neutralize Japanese air forces which might interfere with the air route. He pointed out that it had become clear that the development of land operations through Assam into China and development of the facilities required both for the Royal Air Force and the American Ferry Command were mutually antagonistic. He continued that, in his opinion, if all the effort was put into building up the air forces operating under General Chennault and the air transport into China, much more could be done than is at present planned. He felt that the tonnage over the air transport route to China could be considerably increased. He further considered that, for the defense of this air route, it was not necessary to reconquer Burmese territory, provided that Allied Air Forces were adequate for the neutralization of the enemy air forces.

Referring to ANAKIM, Air Chief Marshal Peirse said that he had never considered the plan to be sound since the sea-borne expedition and the landings could not be supported by land-based aircraft. The plan was based on the assumption that the enemy might have 300 to 350 aircraft and that of these, 100 might attack any landing operation. Clearly the defense which one or two carriers could oppose would be quite inadequate to a scale of attack of this order.

The President asked how many airports there were in the area from Assam to Chittagong.

Air Chief Marshal Peirse said that at the present moment he was operating 14 squadrons from forward airdromes between northeast Assam and Chittagong, exclusive of those used by the American Air Force.

The President asked if the runways were long enough for bombers.

Air Chief Marshal Peirse replied that there were six airfields with hard runways from which medium and heavy bombers could operate. For the most part, heavy bombers operated from airfields further back. He said that the plan to capture Sumatra has considerable merit because it extends our air cover eastward and interferes with the Japanese shipping lanes. The radius of bomber aircraft operating from Malaya to northern Sumatra will extend far enough to meet that of bombers operating through southern China. He considered that air operations undertaken from Malaya in conjunction with offensive air operations undertaken from China would be bound to draw considerable enemy air forces into these areas to oppose them. Such air forces the enemy could ill spare.

General Stilwell said that the weight of opinion was apparently against him. To his mind China represented a base which the United Nations wanted. They wanted it both for its geographic position and for the use of Chinese manpower. He felt that ultimately the United Nations must meet the Japanese Army on the mainland of Asia. If China were allowed to fall now, it would be a long road back before the United Nations would be in a position to meet Japan on Chinese soil. He said that to keep China in the war it was essential to retain control of Yunnan.

General Stilwell said that he had been worried for a long time over the possibilities of a Japanese attack against Kunming, particularly one from the south. The Japanese have the forces available in Indo China to make such an attack. He said that if we are to hold Yunnan, ground forces must be trained to do it, and they must be Chinese forces.

General Stilwell said that there are now 32 divisions in training which will be available for the defense of Yunnan. At the present time they have a strength of about 8,100. However, it is planned to inactivate one out of each three divisions so as to bring the remainder to a total strength of 10,000 each. This will result in 22 divisions being available as soon as their equipment is received and the others will be brought up to strength later. He felt that if this force could be trained and equipped, it would be capable of defending Yunnan Province. Sufficient equipment would be available if 10,000 tons capacity were utilized for this purpose over the air transport route between now and September.

General Stilwell indicated that it was absolutely essential to open land communications to China. Even though the initial supplies were small, they would have a tremendous moral effect on China and munitions thus transported would be used to build up a second group of 30 divisions which had been promised by the Generalissimo. He said that under this program, there would ultimately be a force capable of fighting the Japanese. If supplies for these ground forces were not sent at once, it would be impossible to train and equip the Chinese Yunnan forces and the Chinese Army would disappear. He admitted that if all supplies were devoted to building up the Chinese Air Forces, it would have an effect on the Japanese shipping lanes, and it would be a shot in the arm to Chinese morale, but he felt that it would not lead to decisive results. He said as soon as the buildup of American forces begins to sting the Japanese too much, they will launch an attack from Indo China to capture the Kunming Area. If that proved to be the case, the eastern terminal of the air route would disappear and China would be out of the war. It was imperative, therefore, that Yunnan Province be defended and the only way this could be accomplished was by the build-up of Chinese Ground Forces.

The President said that he had never accepted such a low tonnage figure for the air route, that it must be divided up between Air and Ground equipment. Why should not sufficient be conveyed for both?

General Stilwell said that up to the present, 3,400 tons had been the maximum conveyed in any one month. Increased quantities were certainly possible on paper, but it must always be remembered that we were fighting the conditions of the country, the monsoon, and inadequate airfields, and there was always the danger that the Japanese would interfere with the route.

Field Marshal Wavell said that there was no great danger to the Assam airfields from land attack. The warning system was reasonably adequate, giving 13 minutes warning.

General Stilwell thought that the warning system required improvement. He thought that all possible steps had already been taken by Field Marshal Wavell to speed up the development of the airfields. Labor had already been switched from the Ledo Road.

In response to an inquiry by the President, General Stilwell said that his requirements for the Chinese Army in Yunnan were 2,000 tons a month in the next five months; and General Chennault said that he required 4,700 tons a month for four months, and after that 7,000 tons a month.

The President suggested that the immediate objective for the air route should therefore be 7,000 tons a month.

In further discussion, it was pointed out that the plan was already to achieve 10,000 tons per month by November, though something might be done to speed up matters so as to try to achieve 7,000 tons a month by July.

General Stilwell said that the only way of getting large quantities of material into China was by road. We might, by a great effort, achieve 10,000 tons by air, but a land route would ultimately be essential.

The President said that it must be borne in mind that the Generalissimo was head of the State, as well as Commander in Chief. General Stilwell and General Chennault were thus hi a sense under him when they were in his territory. It was difficult from the psychological point of view to tell the Generalissimo that we thought things should be done in some manner different from his ideas.

General Chennault agreed that it was necessary to listen to what the Generalissimo said. His own plan was first to use his air forces to protect the terminal base in Yunnan, and then to operate from another area farther east from which Japanese shipping could be attacked in the Hong Kong-Formosa area. He doubted whether the Japanese could advance across-country and capture Yunnan. They had never yet succeeded in such an operation. They had always advanced up rivers which they used for their line of communication, and the traffic on the rivers was thus open to air attack. The Generalissimo certainly feared an attack up the Yangtze, but quite a small force, say two Fighter squadrons and one Bomber squadron, would be enough to prevent such an advance.

The Prime Minister suggested that if all efforts now concentrating on the Ledo Road and on supporting the troops in Burma were concentrated on developing the airfields, the progress might be more rapid, and the higher tonnage might be achieved earlier.

Field Marshal Wavell said that a certain amount of resources might be saved from the Ledo Road, though it was in itself of some importance for improving the warning system. Airfields already had first priority.

General Marshall said that several steel mats for airfields were on their way, and General Wheeler’s demand for two or three more Engineer Battalions was under examination. It might be possible to supply these from the Middle East.

The President inquired what would be the effect on the Generalissimo if Operation ANAKIM were not carried out.

General Stillwell said that the effect was unpredictable, but there was no doubt that the Generalissimo was relying on the operation.

General Chennault said that the Generalissimo always wanted definite commitments on dates and size of forces. He believed that if 7,000 tons a month were flown in the Generalissimo would be satisfied.

Field Marshal Dill pointed out that the Generalissimo knew about the plan for 10,000 tons a month, and was expecting this to be carried out in addition to ANAKIM. A 7,000-ton project would thus not be anything new to him.

General Stilwell said that the Generalissimo felt that he had been himself concerned in the making of the ANAKIM plan, and was committed to it. He expected the operation to be carried out as planned. If it were not, he would feel deserted. Operations against Sumatra or Malaya would have no bearing on the opening of the Burma Road, and would thus greatly prolong the period during which no steps were being taken to reopen it. The Chinese were suspicious of the British, and it would be necessary for the British to prove to them that they were in earnest. The effect of the cancellation of ANAKIM would be very bad on the Chinese people, and the development of the air supply route would not be regarded as an adequate substitute.

The Prime Minister said that he was not prepared to undertake something foolish purely in order to placate the Chinese. He was not prepared to make war that way. He would do anything that was sensible to help the Chinese in exactly the same way as he would do anything that was sensible to help the Russians; but he did not see any particular value in carrying out costly operations to no purpose.

Admiral King said that the Burma Road was a symbol to the Chinese, and operations in Burma would make them feel that at any rate the reopening was on the way.

The President suggested that a possible alternative solution would be to make use of the forces designed for ANAKIM for an advance towards China, opening the Road as the advance progressed.

Field Marshal Wavell said that this possibility had been carefully studied. The question was how could a force advancing in this manner be sustained? The railhead in Assam was already overloaded. Beyond that there were 200 miles of hill road already completed. Then came 80 miles of partly made hill road to a point still west of the Chindwin River. After that point there was no all-weather road at all in Upper Burma north of Mandalay. The Japanese had built a dry-weather road towards the Chin hills, but it was separated from the end of our road by 120 miles. We should have to build 250 miles of all-weather road in 4/5 months – an engineering effort entirely beyond the capacity of the line of communication through Assam to support. Upper Burma was the most malarial country in the world, and if operations were continued there in the rainy season, 25% casualties per month must be expected. It might be better to go down to Mandalay, rather than to try to go due east, but after we got to Mandalay, we should then be trying to maintain our forces over 300 miles of road of which 150 miles were not all-weather. We could not possibly meet the Japanese on even terms as they would have behind them the railway, the road, and the river. He did not think it would be possible to cut their line of communication decisively by air.

General Stilwell, in reply to a question by the President, said that he agreed with Field Marshal Wavell that an attack on Rangoon would be very hazardous. He thought it might be better to go in through Bassein.

Admiral Somerville observed that an attack on Bassein was open to the same objection, that for two or three weeks air support would have to be provided by carriers.

The Prime Minister, reverting to General Stilwell’s statement about the attitude of the Chinese, said that he was sorry to hear that the Chinese were suspicious of the British. The British had asked nothing of the Chinese and were prepared to do anything that would really contribute to their safety. He was not prepared, however, to undertake months of unprofitable operations in order to remove the unfounded suspicions of the Chinese. The United States would realize that it was not a question of saving the expenditure of British blood. The British were perfectly prepared to fight in true brotherhood with their Allies.

General Stilwell explained that it was only because China was essential ultimately as a base that it was so necessary to undertake operations to open the way thereto.

The Prime Minister said that he was not at present convinced that this was so. However, he saw no reason openly to abandon the operation at present. He thought that moves in preparation should continue provided they did not hamper the development of the air route. Further study would be necessary before a decision could be taken on the actual operation to be carried out.

The President said that he thought the two objectives should be to get 7,000 tons a month by air into China by July; and, secondly, to open land communication with China. It was for the Military advisers to suggest the best way in which the latter objective could be carried out.

Admiral Leahy thought that the task for the staffs was to find out the most promising operation to open the way to China irrespective of any agreement actually to carry it out in the immediate future.

General Marshall urged that no suggestion be made to the Generalissimo that 7,000 tons per month was the target as this would appear to the latter as a reduction from the 10,000 tons per month which he knows to be the objective. He said that in the development of ANAKIM, RAVENOUS had been the first approach. Field Marshal Wavell had objected to RAVENOUS as being unsound for supply reasons, Sir Alan Brooke had objected because of the insecurity of the south flank, and the Generalissimo had objected because it was not coupled with naval action. Finally, ANAKIM in its present form had been agreed upon by all. This was now considered to be impracticable. He said that the plan proposed by General Stilwell was new in many of its features and should be thoroughly explored.

The Pittsburgh Press (May 14, 1943)

Churchill says –
Many drives to crush Axis being mapped

Armies in Britain will battle on continent, Premier declares

Washington (UP) –
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said today that he and President Roosevelt and their military experts are planning many future campaigns against the Axis in different parts of the world.

He said in an address to his homeland which was also broadcast in this country:

It is no good only having one march ahead laid out.

March after march must be planned as far as human eye can set.

Design and forethought must be our guides and heralds. We owe it to the fighting troops. We owe it to the vast communities we are leading out of the dark planes; we owe it to heroic Russia, to long-tormented China; we owe it to the captive and enslaved nations who beckon us on through their prison bars.

Strong armies ready

Pointing out that strong armies are assembled in Britain and that the island “is the assembly base for the United States armies of liberation coming across the broad Atlantic,” Mr. Churchill added:

But this is not the end. We must prepare for the time which is approaching and will surely come, when the bulk of these armies will have advanced across the seas into deadly grapple on the continent.

Mr. Churchill said that the planning was now being done “well ahead of the armies who are moving swiftly forward.”

His words seemed to confirm the general belief here that Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill are now formulating strategy for operations that will follow the initial invasion of Europe. They are believed to be paying particular attention to campaigns to get at the Japanese homeland.

Message to Chiang

Earlier today, he sent a message to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek assuring the Chinese leader that “the day will come” when the:

…arms of the United Nations… will surely drive the Japanese invader from the soil of China.

Mr. Churchill’s broadcast from the White House was made in honor of the third anniversary of the British Home Guard, which was formed as an answer to the threat of German invasion.

He said:

These are great days. They are like the says in Lord Chatham’s time of which it was said you had to get up very early in the morning not to miss some news of victory. Ah! But victory is no conclusion. Even final victory will open up a new and happier field of valiant endeavor.

Praises Home Guard

Most of the address was given over to praise for the work of the Home Guard, tracing their history from the dark days of 1940 when:

…we hardly dared to fire a round for practice, so great was the stringency.

But, obviously seeking to counteract any feeling of complacency despite the British Isles’ greatly-improved condition, Mr. Churchill added:

Let me assure you of this, that until Hitler and Hitlerism are beaten into unconditional surrender, the danger of invasion will never pass away.

He said that:

Just in the same way as the Home Guard render the regular forces mobile against an invader, so the Home Guard must become capable of taking a great deal of the burden of home defense on themselves and thus setting free the bulk of our trained troops for the assault on the strongholds of the enemy’s power.

U.S. sent timely succor

He expressed appreciation of the U.S. action in giving “precious and timely succor” by sending a million rifles, 1,000 field guns and ammunition for the Home Guard.

Eisenhower writes

Mr. Churchill received a message from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, commander-in-chief of Allied forces in Africa, promising that:

This army will continue to pound until Hitlerism has been exterminated from the earth.

Gen. Eisenhower’s message replied to congratulations he had received from Mr. Churchill.

The White House also disclosed that Mr. Churchill had conferred with Secretary of State Cordell Hull, President Edvard Beneš of Czechoslovakia, Chinese Foreign Minister T. V. Soong and Australian Foreign Minister Herbert Evatt. These conferences were in addition to Mr. Churchill’s almost constant talks with the President and members of their respective war staffs.

House, their staff chiefs are conferring elsewhere in the capital. The White House still declined to give out the names of the American conferees.

Mr. Churchill and Lord Leathers, the British Minister of War Transport, are expected to meet soon, possibly today, with Adm. Emory S. Land, War Shipping Administrator.

Canadian to confer

Canadian Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King will joi9n the conferences for a brief period next week and it was believed possible that Mme. Chiang Kai-shek, wife of the Chinese Generalissimo, would see Mr. Churchill here.

One of the high spots of Mr. Churchill’s visit will come next Wednesday when he speaks before a joint session of Congress.

Mr. Churchill came to the United States this time by ship, with the last leg of the trip to Washington being made by train.

The White House permitted that disclosure late last night, two days after Mr. Churchill’s arrival. He was apparently on the high seas when the Allied armies smashed through to victory last Friday at Bizerte and Tunis.

U.S. State Department (May 15, 1943)

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 10:30 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General McNarney Lieutenant General Ismay
Lieutenant General Somervell Field Marshal Dill
Vice Admiral Horne Admiral Noble
Vice Admiral Willson Lieutenant General Macready
Major General Streett Air Marshal Welsh
Rear Admiral Cooke Captain Lambe
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Brigadier Porter
Colonel Smart Air Commodore Elliot
Commander Freseman Brigadier Macleod
Commander Long
Brigadier Redman
Brigadier General Deane
Commander Coleridge
Lieutenant Colonel Vittrup

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

May 15, 1943, 10:30 a.m.


Conclusions of the Previous Meeting

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Approved the conclusions of the 84th Meeting as recorded in the Minutes.

Future Work of the Committee

Admiral Leahy said that the Committee had not yet directed the Planners to prepare an agenda for future work. He suggested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should first consider various courses of action open to achieve the defeat of the Axis in Europe and then similarly the defeat of Japan.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Chiefs of Staff held much the same views. He felt that ROUNDUP should first be considered, and for this it would be desirable to have expositions of the U.S. conception of this operation and a study of conditions and feasibility; next, operations in the Mediterranean might be discussed based on the British Chiefs of Staff memorandum; and, lastly, the war with Japan, considering operations in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, and their coordination.

When the scope and requirements of operations in the theaters had been defined, the Combined Chiefs of Staff would then proceed to examine the extent to which our demands for shipping resources could meet what was proposed. After that, the Committee would consider the global strategy in terms of concrete facts and deal with miscellaneous points such as the Portuguese islands and Ploești.

Admiral King felt that the first step should be to set out agreed basic fundamentals: for instance, the vital importance of Atlantic and Pacific lines of communications, security of the citadel of Britain, and the fact that the full weight must be thrown first on the defeat of Germany. To this might be added others. Was China essential as a basis for the defeat of Japan? These fundamentals, when agreed, would constitute a point of departure and yardsticks by which our strategy could be judged. Many of these points had been contained in previous papers, but he felt it important that a fresh statement should be got out as early as possible.

Sir Alan Brooke agreed with Admiral King’s views and suggested that the Planners should be instructed to prepare a document on those lines.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. That the Combined Staff Planners should prepare for consideration on Monday morning, 17 May:
i) A statement of agreed essentials for the effective prosecution of the war, which would serve as a background for the formulation of future plans, e.g., security of essential sea communications; security of the citadel of Britain; etc.

ii) A draft agenda for the remaining conferences in the light of the discussion which had taken place.

Operations in Burma

Sir Alan Brooke said that at the White House the previous day it had been agreed that the staffs should, in consultation with the U.S. and British commanders in the area, examine the best means of expanding the air route to China and of opening a land route from India.

Sir Charles Portal said that he considered it important that the commanders concerned should be consulted so that the orders the Combined Chiefs of Staff would give as a result of their deliberations would be related to practical possibilities.

Admiral Leahy suggested that it would be desirable that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should offer Dr. T. V. Soong and General Chu an opportunity to express the views of General Chiang Kai-shek at an early date.

The Committee then discussed a draft directive to the Combined Planners with reference to a study of operations in Burma.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. That the Combined Staff Planners, in consultation as necessary with the British and U.S. Commanders in Chief, India and China Theaters, should examine and report on:
i) The potentialities of the air route from Assam to China given complete priority for its development except for the minimum requirements of the forces defending the air field areas, and whether any further steps can now be taken to enable these potentialities to be realized.

ii) The most promising operation, having regard to the various considerations brought to light in previous discussions, for the opening of a land route to China, and what resources and conditions are necessary for carrying it out without prejudicing the development of the air route.

b. That Dr. T. V. Soong and Major General Shih-ming Chu should be invited to appear at the meeting on Monday, 17 May, and express the views of the Generalissimo regarding operations in the Burma-China Theater.

Operations in Europe

Sir Alan Brooke considered the possibilities of undertaking ROUNDUP should be examined in relation to the results which would accrue from the shutting down of future operations in the Mediterranean. United States views on the possibilities of the BOLERO buildup and their conception of the scope and results of cross-Channel operations would be of value. Similarly, operations in the Mediterranean should be examined with the British Chiefs of Staff paper as a basis for discussion.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff then discussed the acceptance of General Eaker’s plan for the buildup of SICKLE as one of the fundamentals of our agreed strategy.

Sir Alan Brooke believed that at this stage SICKLE should not be accepted as a fundamental since it might on further examination be found to tie our hands with regard to future plans.

After further discussion, the Combined Chiefs of Staff were in general agreement that SICKLE should not at this stage be accepted as a fundamental, though it was obvious that the intensity of our air bombardment would have a material effect on any land operations, whether undertaken across the Channel or in the Mediterranean and should not therefore be reduced except after critical examination.

Sir Charles Portal said that the most important point was to decide whether the defeat of Germany would be brought nearer by immediate Mediterranean operations at some expense to BOLERO, or, alternatively, by stopping operations in the Mediterranean in order to build up at the maximum rate for cross-Channel operations. The Planners should examine this problem with a view to a combined assessment of the effect on Germany of the two alternatives.

Sir Alan Brooke said that both the U.S. and British Chiefs of Staff were agreed that ROUNDUP must be undertaken as early as possible, but in the British view it was necessary, before ROUNDUP could be successful, to create a suitable situation by diversion of German forces. The United States view was that the war could be won by cross-Channel operations in 1944, but he was not clear as to the exact plan by which decisive results would be achieved.

General Marshall said that great faith was being pinned to the results of the bomber offensive. We must be ready to take advantage of these results. He was concerned lest any delay in building up forces in the United Kingdom would result in our not being ready when the moment presented itself. The British believed that operations in the Mediterranean would not materially slow up the BOLERO movement. The exact results of the air attacks might be problematical, but the availability of tonnage to move troops could be calculated.

Sir Alan Brooke said that it was estimated that further operations in the Mediterranean would only result in some three to four fewer U.S. divisions being available in the United Kingdom.

General Marshall said that the Combined Chiefs of Staff had last year considered the necessity of undertaking Operation SLEDGEHAMMER to relieve pressure on the Russian Front, but the situation there was now very different. The landing of 25 divisions in France at that time might have been suicidal, but now there was the possibility of concentrating our vast air superiority in direct support of the land forces in the bridgehead, thereby materially altering the balance of force in our favor.

Sir Alan Brooke agreed that our air power could be withdrawn from attacks on German industry and transferred to the direct aid of our land forces, but even if the area of ground operations could thereby be isolated, the penetration of these forces inland could not be assisted since the British Air Force was not yet fully on a mobile basis.

General Marshall said that certain U.S. fighter units in the U.K. were on a fully mobile basis. He stressed the psychological effect of a landing in France. He did not believe that the effect of overwhelming air superiority on the Continent had been appreciated, whereas great stress had been laid on its value in the Mediterranean.

Sir Alan Brooke said that in considering the results to be expected from air support of ground operations, it must be remembered that, in North Africa, though we had had air superiority since El Alamein, Rommel had been able to move his army back into Tunisia relatively intact. Similarly in Tunisia the enemy had been able to reinforce by some 100,000 men.

General Marshall pointed out the outstanding results achieved by the use of air power in Tunisia as soon as the weather had improved.

Sir Charles Portal pointed out with regard to air power that fighter cover was essential.

General McNarney agreed but said that he believed that a bridgehead in France would enable us to move forward the necessary fighter cover. Air power must be related to our ground power. For instance, it might well be that the correct application of air power might halve the number of divisions required to overcome a given resistance, The seizure of the bridgehead would insure that the fighter line could be advanced and air power applied at the correct moment in support of ground operations.

Sir Charles Portal said that he entirely agreed in the abstract with General McNarney’s last statement but it was important that in considering the seizure of, say, the Brest Peninsula, the Planners should carefully work out the rate at which fighter cover could be developed in that area in order that the plan could be assessed on a sound tactical and logistic basis.

Sir Alan Brooke pointed out the further limitations of port capacity in the bridgehead.

Admiral Leahy agreed to the study suggested by Sir Charles Portal. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff had prepared a brief outline plan for ROUNDUP which would be circulated for the information of the British Chiefs of Staff. He believed that the results expected from the air bombardment of Germany should be taken into consideration both, in connection with cross-Channel and Mediterranean operations.

Sir Charles Portal said that one of the main features of the air plan outlined by General Eaker was not only its tremendous effect both on production and morale, but also, and perhaps most important, the elimination of the German fighter force. This would have an immense effect on any operations against Germany, whether across the Channel, in the Mediterranean, or on the Russian Front. He did not maintain that the utmost priority should continuously be accorded to SICKLE, but it must be realized that its value was fundamental. The longer the destruction of the German fighter force was delayed, the longer would the ultimate defeat of Germany be delayed.

Admiral King said that Operation ROUNDUP must be carefully examined. While it had originally been believed that cross-Channel operations could be undertaken in 1943, April of 1944 now appeared to be the earliest possible date. This must be fixed as a firm date, or we should never come to grips with Germany by cross-Channel operations in 1944. He appreciated the value of operations in the Mediterranean, but they would, he believed, render cross-Channel operations in 1944 impossible.

Sir Alan Brooke said that only by Mediterranean operations to draw off and hold German forces could a situation be achieved in which a successful ROUNDUP is possible. Otherwise at best only SLEDGEHAMMER could be undertaken and we should then be committed in France and pinned down to a bridgehead.

Sir Charles Portal said that all were agreed that ROUNDUP was essential and that a strategy should be adopted which would produce the earliest possible successful invasion of the Continent. The British believed that Mediterranean operations were first necessary, whereas the United States Chiefs of Staff believed in piling up forces in the United Kingdom to give more strength to the blow. The British Chiefs of Staff believed that the balance of force on the Continent would alter more rapidly in our favor if Mediterranean operations were undertaken.

Admiral King said that he did not believe it would be possible to build up sufficient forces in the United Kingdom if Mediterranean operations were undertaken, since these would cause a vacuum into which our forces would be sucked.

Sir Charles Portal said it must be remembered that this vacuum would suck in not only Allied Forces, but also Axis Forces.

With regard to General Morgan’s plans, General Marshall said that these, without forces to implement them, were of little value. He feared that unless we concentrated on the United Kingdom buildup, we should lack the necessary punch to undertake cross-Channel operations when the critical moment arose.

Sir Alan Brooke undertook to circulate a note giving an estimate of the shipping commitment to meet the economic situation that would arise in the event of an Italian collapse.

Admiral King drew attention to the dangers of tying down forces and equipment to await eventualities. If a definite date was not decided on for ROUNDUP, valuable equipment, such as landing craft, which was urgently required in the Pacific, would be lying idle in England.

Sir Charles Portal said that this also applied to airborne forces which were also essentially offensive and absorbed much air power which might well be used in active attack, but he believed that both with landing craft and airborne troops their use was so essential to achieve success at the critical moment that their inactivity until this moment arrived must be accepted.

General McNarney said that he regarded SLEDGEHAMMER as a preliminary to ROUNDUP. Even a bridgehead was valuable in that it would bring ground and air forces into active contact with the enemy, diverting German forces from the Russian Front and inducing attrition. When, during Operation TORCH, it had been obvious to the Germans that no cross-Channel operations were possible, they had sent part of their garrison from Western France to the Eastern Front at a critical moment.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the commitment of our forces to a bridgehead such as the Brest Peninsula would enable the enemy to concentrate rather than force him to disperse.

General Marshall said that on two previous occasions the forces which it had been believed would be available for cross-Channel operations had dwindled to very small numbers due to the demands of Operations TORCH and HUSKY, which had exceeded expectations. Unless BOLERO buildup was now given priority over operations in the Mediterranean, similar results might be expected and no forces would be available to undertake the operation at the critical moment.

Sir Charles Portal pointed out that it had always been agreed that the buildup in the United Kingdom should take place subject to the requirements of the agreed operations in North Africa and the Mediterranean. These requirements had not greatly exceeded expectations but rather the availability of shipping had not proved so large as had been expected.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Agreed that the Combined Staff Planners should prepare for consideration on Monday morning, 17 May, two papers as follows:
i) A plan for the defeat of Germany (showing the course of operations and their feasibility) by concentrating on the biggest possible invasion force in the U.K. as soon as possible. This paper to be prepared by the U.S. planners in consultation with the British.

ii) A plan for the defeat of Germany (showing the course of operations and their feasibility) which accepts the elimination of Italy as a necessary preliminary. This paper to be prepared by the British Planners in consultation with the U.S.

In the preparation of the above plans, cognizance should be taken of the effects of a full-scale SICKLE.

In submitting the above two papers, the Combined Staff Planners should make such recommendations as they feel able to on the respective plans.

b. Took note that a paper which had been prepared by the British Chiefs of Staff on the economic results of the defeat of Italy would be circulated to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

Directive to Allied Authorities in the Far East

The Combined Chiefs of Staff discussed the terms of a directive to the U.S. and British authorities in the Far East on the expansion of the capacity of the air route to China.

In the course of discussion, General Marshall outlined certain steps which General Wheeler, in cooperation with the British authorities concerned, was taking for the improvement of these facilities. He mentioned the difficulties with which General Stilwell was faced, and in this connection paid tribute to the outstanding success achieved by Sir John Dill on his visit to Chungking, in convincing the Chinese of British good will.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed That the following telegram should be despatched forthwith by the appropriate Chiefs of Staff to the appropriate Commanders in Chief:

Give first priority to effort to prepare Assam airfields in order that not less than 7,000 tons per month may be transported to China by 1 July 1943.

It is considered essential that facilities for the monthly transportation of 10,000 tons should be provided at the earliest practicable date and not later than 1 September, and that adequate defensive measures for the airfield area must be maintained.

The Azores

Admiral King, in stressing the urgency of action with regard to the Azores as a vital factor in the battle of the Atlantic, asked if any further developments had taken place.

General Ismay stated that the British Chiefs of Staff had prepared a paper on this subject which had been submitted to the Prime Minister and which he had invited them to discuss with the United States Chiefs of Staff. This paper will be circulated. The military desirability of obtaining these islands was generally agreed. He believed that the Prime Minister and President were discussing means of achieving our object.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
Agreed that the paper on the Portuguese Atlantic Islands, by the British Chiefs of Staff, which is now being circulated to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, should be considered at the meeting on Monday, 17 May.

The Pittsburgh Press (May 15, 1943)

Churchill, Roosevelt try to restrain overoptimism

Prime Minister warns that danger from Axis remains until its unconditional surrender

Washington (UP) –
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill are trying today to restrain enthusiasm over recent Allied military successes lest a wave of overconfidence slow the forward movement of the war effort.

Both men have made obvious efforts to prevent runway optimism as a result of the Tunisian victory. Mr. Churchill’s radio speech to the British people yesterday was an example.

He said:

People who note our growing mastery of the air, not only over our island, but penetrating into ever-widening zones on the continent, ask whether the danger of invasion has not passed away.

Let me assure you of this, that until Hitler and Hitlerism are beaten into unconditional surrender, the danger of invasion will never pass away.

He admitted that the news was predominantly good, but he reminded that the drive for victory is still in its early stages.

Mr. Roosevelt followed the same theme recently, incorporating into his public statements such warnings as “the war is not over” and “the war has not been won.” He has stressed to me after time the necessity for still greater individual effort if final victory is to go to the United Nations.

War Information Director Elmer Davis also warned that this is not the end, although admitting that “this has been a glorious week.”

In his weekly radio review, Mr. Davis said that the mass surrender of Germans in Tunisia was proof that:

The master race will quit when it coincides that it is licked; and someday, that will happen in Germany itself.

But it won’t happen, he added, “until they have taken some more lickings.”

With their eyes “fixed upon the future,” as Mr. Churchill put it, he and the President planned to spend a weekend in uninterrupted conference. Late yesterday, they met for the second time this week with their full military, naval and air staffs and ranking government leaders closely related to the war effort.

To address Congress

They canvassed the developments since the arrival of the Churchill party and may have made4 some interim decisions which were reported to the President and the Prime Minister.

The public will have a better view of the war planning sessions next week when they are explained at a joint press conference by the President and the Prime Minister, and again when Mr. Churchill addresses a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

Who are the “Planners”? Who and how many men and women did it take to plan these major operations? What resources did they have to plan the operations? Based on the success of these operations I must conclude that the “Planners” had a critical role which lead to the successes.


During the Casablanca Conference, “Combined Staff Planners” referred to:

…the body of officers duly appointed by the Combined Chiefs of Staff to make such studies, draft such plans, and perform such other work as may from time to time be placed on the “Combined Chiefs of Staff Agenda” by that Body, and duly delegated by them to the Combined Staff Planners.

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