Defense Files

Report by the Planning Committee of the United States and British Chiefs of Staff 1
United States: ABC–4/1
British: WW(JPC)1

Priorities for United States and United Kingdom Overseas Expeditions in the Atlantic Ocean

One of the directives to the Joint Planning Committee issued by the Chiefs of Staff Committee on December 24, 1941,2 may be summarized as follows:—
Study and report outline plans for the overseas employment of United States and British troops in the Atlantic region, indicating recommended relative priorities of importance:
The relief by United States troops of British troops in Iceland and North Ireland.
The occupation by invitation of the following positions:
The Azores.
The Cape Verde Islands.
The Canary Islands.
French West Africa.
French North Africa.
Diego Suarez in Madagascar.
Curaçao and Aruba.
Northeast Brazil.
The Joint Planning Committee recommends that the initial occupation by invitation of the foreign positions indicated in the directive should be allocated as follows:
To the United States—the occupation of the Cape Verde Islands, French West Africa, Curaçao and Aruba, Northeast Brazil.
To the United Kingdom—the occupation of the Azores, the Canary Islands, and Diego Suarez in Madagascar.
To the United States and the United Kingdom acting jointly—the occupation of French North Africa.
If the operation in French North Africa as submitted in our plan (U.S. Serial ABC–4/2, British Serial WW[(JPC)2])3 is undertaken, we see no prospect of any other major movements being carried out in the Atlantic area for at least three months, and normal reinforcements to the eastward from the United Kingdom will be severely curtailed. The reason is lack of an adequate amount of troop transport, in [Page 247] view of the heavy reinforcements being sent to Hawaii, Samoa, and Australia, and requirements for the continuous support of outlying United States and United Kingdom field armies, garrisons, and naval forces. Furthermore, minimum requirements for naval protection of new lines of naval communications will seriously reduce the protection now being afforded the trade routes in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
No major overseas operations can be performed by the United States unless adequate shipping is immediately made available for preparation as troop transports.
  1. The source text was Annex 1 to JCCSs–5; see ante, p. 137.
  2. See the discussion on December 24, ante, p. 82.
  3. Ante, p. 240.