Arnold Papers

Notes by Lieutenant General Arnold1

The first subject discussed was Super-Gymnast and it was agreed that this is not so imperative now. We can have at least three weeks after arrival before Germany can cause any disturbance.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the Army which has arrived at Tripoli to help Rommel makes the British problem more acute. The President asked about shipping.

General Marshall then told of the anticipated departure of 24,000 men to Iceland by March. This will release three ships to England for the round-trip, Cairo to Malaysia, which arrangements will permit [Page 192] the transportation of 21,000 men to Australia. Approximate dates of departure and arrival as follows:

  • Leave January 20—arrive about February 14th about 14,000 to New Caledonia.
  • Via air and air auxiliary—about 11,800 to Australia.
  • Planes, cargo and 4 million 5 hundred thousand gallons of gasoline on freighters.

The following involvements arise in connection with these movements:

Cancel Ireland & Iceland.
Confusion at Port of Embarkation.
Delay relief of the Marines in Iceland.
Require 20 cargo vessels and gasoline.
Delay in crating B–26’s.
Must use some vessels from South Africa run.
British loan us 2 ships for Ireland in February.

Troop Movements to Ireland:

4,100 January 19th
7,100 February 1st
6,100 February 15th
4,100 February 24th
Total   21,400

Troop Movements to the Far East:

21,800 January 20th

These ships will make 17 to 20 knots an hour, averaging 15 as a convoy.

Admiral Land says that this will involve 30 per cent Lend-Lease to Russia by Archangel and Basra.

The Prime Minister wanted to know what part the Queen Mary, Queen Elisabeth and Aquitania would play in the scheme of transportation. General Marshall stated that the Queen Elizabeth and Aquitania will carry 12,000 troops to the Far East in February. The schedule of troop movements is:

January 12 —7,000
January 27 —13,000
February —11,500

It will take 3 to 4 weeks to assemble necessary freight boats.

The Prime Minister expressed an opinion that this plan had been prepared very suddenly and there followed a general discussion of the disadvantages of unloading, disorder, and delayed shipments to Russia (who will probably yell like hell and they are inflicting heavy casualties on Nazi troops.)

[Page 193]

General Marshall expressed the opinion that if Russian aid must be maintained then we would have to cut out New Caledonia. The Prime Minister asked Admiral Pound if this matter had been threshed out by the 2 staffs. Admiral Pound replied that the people back in England would need a little time to work out the details but we should know by noon tomorrow.

Admiral Pound also wanted to know if we gave up New Caledonia would we still have enough shipping to carry out our shipments to Russia. Mr. Hopkins expressed his concern over the fact that the allocation of 30 per cent of the ships to Russia means only 7 ships, and that he could not conceive of our being that short in ships when we have 2400 ships.

The Prime Minister wanted to know if there was any other way to do it. He felt that the priorities should be:

Fighting forces.

General Arnold stated that on the other hand we must have that equipment out in the Far East; that there is no use sending out planes out to the Far East unless we send out the necessary supplies.

The President wanted to know if there was not some way to find ships to take care of Russia—if we couldn’t scare up 7 ships from somewhere.

Lord Beaverbrook stated that he would be very sorry to see ships taken from the Atlantic.

The Prime Minister asked if this whole thing, as a matter of fact, was not caused by the air activities of General Arnold.

General Arnold replied in the affirmative.

Admiral Pound pointed out that the lack of 7 cargo ships a month would appear to be stopping this.

The Prime Minister stated that he put the Far East requirements ahead of Ireland.

Mr. Hopkins wanted to know if this would have been approved if the Russian question had not been brought up by General Marshall.

The Prime Minister stated that it would.

Mr. Hopkins then asked the President why he, with the Prime Minister, didn’t take the responsibility to secure these 7 ships.

The President again requested confirmation of the fact that it was only a question of 7 ships a month which was stopping air activities.

Mr. Hopkins stated that this would amount to 2 or 3 months delay in air activities, when actually we are going to launch 40 ships this month.

[Page 194]

The Prime Minister stated that if that was the consensus of opinion, we should accept it and find the 7 ships.

The President advised that he thought he knew where he could find the ships. (The Prime Minister told him that if he couldn’t find the ships he would have to talk to the Russians, to which the President replied, “How do you get that way, we will both do it.”)

The Prime Minister then said that he agreed on the necessity for this movement to the Far East; that it will have a very bad effect if one Asiatic power runs wild over the Far East; that it is very urgent to have General Arnold’s planes sink their bottoms.

The President then wanted to know if we did go ahead with this could Mr. Churchill give him a time on which we could go ahead with Super-Gymnast.

The Prime Minister stated that a plan had been agreed to that fixed D–28 on March 1st for simultaneous arrival at Casablanca, that if we accepted this then the staff must rework the Super-Gymnast plan.

Admiral King said that 0–Day would be April 15, 1942.

  1. Arnold’s notes, headed “Conference in the Federal Reserve On the Afternoon of January 12, 1942 (5:30 P.M.)actually relate primarily to the 5:30 meeting at the White House rather than to the 4 p.m. meeting at the Federal Reserve building. Arnold lists Admiral Land and Captain Belben as also present.