J. C. S. Files

Note by the Secretariat of the Combined Chiefs of Staff

C.C.S. 83/1

Offensive Operations in 1942 and 1943

The attached memorandum, prepared by General Ismay, states the conclusions reached during a meeting held on 21st June, 1942, at the White House. It has the concurrence of Generals Marshall and Brooke, and is circulated for the information of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
Decisions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff will be required on how the planning for the various operations mentioned in the memorandum is to be carried out, i.e.
Can it be assumed that Operation Gymnast is to be planned by the U. S. Joint Planners? Up to date this Operation has been in the hands of the Combined Staff Planners.
Are the studies for the operations in Norway and the Iberian Peninsula to be prepared by the Combined Staff Planners, or by the U.S. Joint Planners, or by the British Joint Planners?
It should be noted that the report by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, prepared after the 28th Meeting on the 20th June, 1942,1 and circulated as C.C.S. 83,2 was not formally presented to the President and Prime Minister.
  • V. Dykes,
  • W. B. Smith

Combined Secretariat

Memorandum by Prime Minister Churchill’s Chief Staff Officer (Ismay)3



The following are the conclusions of a meeting held at the White House on the 21st June, between the President and the Prime Minister. Mr. Harry Hopkins, General G. C. Marshall, General Sir Alan Brooke, and Major General Sir Hastings Ismay attended.

Plans and preparations for the Bolero operation in 1943 on as large a scale as possible are to be pushed forward with all speed and energy. It is, however, essential that the United States and Great Britain should be prepared to act offensively in 1942.
Operations in France or the Low Countries in 1942 would, if successful, yield greater political and strategic gains than operations in [Page 479] any other theatre. Plans and preparations for the operations in this theatre are to be pressed forward with all possible speed, energy, and ingenuity. The most resolute efforts must be made to overcome the obvious dangers and difficulties of the enterprise. If a sound and sensible plan can be contrived, we should not hesitate to give effect to it. If on the other hand detailed examination shows that despite all efforts, success is improbable, we must be ready with an alternative.
The possibilities of operation Gymnast will be explored carefully and conscientiously, and plans will be completed in all details as soon as possible. Forces to be employed in Gymnast would in the main be found from Bolero units which had not yet left the United States. The possibility of operations in Norway and the Iberian Peninsula in the autumn and winter of 1942 will also be carefully considered by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
Planning of Bolero will continue to be centred in London. Planning for Gymnast will be centred in Washington.


  1. For the meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff on June 20, 1942, see ante, p. 429.
  2. Ante, p. 465.
  3. This memorandum went to Roosevelt and Churchill under cover of the following memorandum, dated June 22, 1942, from Marshall and Brooke: “Herewith is a memorandum prepared by General Ismay, in which we concur, covering the conclusions arrived at during the meeting of June 21, 1942 at the White House.” (J.C.S. Files) For the original version of Ismay’s memorandum, see ante, p. 434. For an American staff paper by Smith and Handy on the June 21 White House meeting, see ante, p. 468.