Hull Papers

Mr. Savage to the Secretary of State 1

Mr. Secretary: In view of the experience of the United States and the Allies during the first World War, and in view of the circumstances of the present war, there is set out below a suggested outline for a Supreme War Council designed to provide for the most effective use of available human and material resources in the prosecution of the war against the Axis powers.

  • Supreme War Council
    • Military Council
    • Naval Council
    • Aviation Council
    • Shipping Council
    • Economic Council
      • Food Committee
      • Munitions Committee
      • Raw Materials Committee
      • Petroleum Committee

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Some of the principal problems in connection with the establishment and operation of a Supreme War Council and subordinate bodies are listed below with a suggested solution.

Representation: The Supreme War Council and subordinate bodies would be composed of representatives of the United States, British Empire, Soviet Union, China, and possibly the Netherlands, The Soviet Union, in view of its neutrality agreement with Japan, would be announced as participating only in discussions of problems relating to the conduct of the war against Germany and Italy; however, in actual practice it would probably work out that most of the problems would relate directly or indirectly to this aspect of the war. Representation on the Supreme War Council and subordinate bodies would be limited to four or five powers because an organization composed of representatives of all the nations arrayed against Germany would be too large to be effective.
Decisions: The decisions of the Supreme War Council and the various subordinate bodies would be unanimous.
Seat of Council: The circumstances of this war would seem to make it desirable that the Supreme War Council and subordinate bodies be located at Washington.
Unity of Command: There would be no general unity of command of the armed forces throughout the world which are pitted against the Axis powers, except in so far as the Supreme Council itself would constitute a unity of command. However, the Supreme War Council, with the approval of the represented governments, might decide on unity of command in certain theatres of war as for example in the Far East or in the Near East.
Carlton Savage
  1. Savage was technically Assistant to Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long but at this time he was working directly with Secretary Hull in developing plans for the Joint Declaration and a Supreme War Council. A copy of this memorandum was sent to Roosevelt on December 22; see post, p. 58.