Defense Files

Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff1

Proposed Method of Handling Matters Concerning the Southwest Pacific Theater

It is assumed that the chief matters on which decisions would have to be given would be:
The provision of reinforcements.
A major change in policy.
Departure from the Supreme Commander’s directive.
It is suggested that no special body should be set up for this purpose because it would tend to clog the machine for the following reasons:
It would be necessary to have Dutch, Australian, and New Zealand representatives on this body.
Each representative in a would probably wish for time to consult his government before giving an opinion.
It is proposed, therefore, that existing machinery should be used in the following manner:
The Supreme Commander would telegraph to the Chiefs of Staff Committee, both in London and in Washington, his proposal, whatever it might be.
The Chiefs of Staff Committee in London would immediately telegraph to the British Mission in Washington to say whether or not they would be telegraphing any opinions.
On receipt of these opinions, the United States Chiefs of Staff and the Representatives in Washington of the British Chiefs of Staff would meet and consider the problem and would submit their recommendations to the President and by telegraph to the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence. The Prime Minister would then inform the President whether he was in agreement with their recommendations.
As the Dutch Government is in London, and as the principal representatives of the New Zealand and Australian Governments are also in London, it is proposed that the agreement of these Governments to any proposal should be obtained by the British Government and this would be included in the final telegram to Washington.
Agreement having been reached between London and Washington, the orders to the Supreme Commander would then be dispatched from Washington.
  1. This memorandum was accepted by the United States Chiefs of Staff at the meeting on December 29; the source text was Annex 2 to JCCSs–5; see ante, p. 138.