Defense Files

Report by the United States and British Chiefs of Staff1
United States: ABC–4/3
British: WW–4

Supporting Measures for the Southwest Pacific (The Far East Area and Adjacent Regions) Until Establishment of Unified Command

The United States and British Chiefs of Staff approved the Joint Planning Committee report of December 29 [28], 1941, on “Supporting Measures for the Southwest Pacific”2 as appropriate action to be taken in the interim prior to the establishment of the unified command of the forces in that region.

The United States and British Chiefs of Staff agreed to send immediately to the United States and British Commanders-in-Chief in the Far East Area the following telegram:

“The general strategic policy for operations in the Far Eastern theatre which has been agreed upon by the United States and British Chiefs of Staff is as follows:—

To hold the Malay Barrier, defined as the line Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, and North Australia, as the basic defensive position in that theatre and to operate sea, land, and air forces in as great depth as possible forward of the Barrier in order to oppose the Japanese southward advance.
To hold Burma and Australia as essential supporting positions for the theatre, and Burma as essential to the support of China, and to the defense of India.
To reestablish communications through the Dutch East Indies with Luzon and to support the Philippines’ Garrison.
To main essential communications within the theatre.

In disposing of the reinforcements arriving in that theatre, you should be guided by the above policy and consider the needs of the theatre as a whole. To this end, close co-operation among the British, Dutch and United States Commanders is essential, and you should continue to concert measures accordingly.

The British Commander-in-Chief, Far East, will inform the Dutch and request their cooperation.”

  1. This report was Annex 2 to JCCSs–7; see ante, p. 146.
  2. Ante, p. 280.