Editorial Note

This chapter presents, in chronological order, papers relating to the convening of the Casablanca Conference of January 1943. These papers begin with the correspondence between Roosevelt and Churchill in November and December 1942 leading to the decision to hold a major Allied conference on the urgent strategic problems for 1943. Also included are those papers regarding the final arrangements for the selection of a meeting site, the determination of the composition of the delegations, and the attempt to define topics to be considered at the meeting. During November and December 1942, Roosevelt also corresponded with Stalin in an unsuccessful effort to make the Conference a tripartite meeting. These messages (Roosevelt’s of November 19, December 2, and December 8, and Stalin’s of November 27, December 5, and December 13) are not included here but are printed in Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. III, pp. 662676, passim.

Urgent high-level strategic decisions regarding the conduct of the war in 1943 had been necessitated by the march of military events since the Second Washington Conference of June 1942. The successful Allied landings in Northwest Africa and the impending victory over Axis armies in the African desert decisively altered the American-British posture vis-à-vis the European continent. A re-examination of strategy was required, while the critical relationship between strategy and logistics necessitated a careful consideration of the problems of production, allocation, and shipping.

Narrative accounts of the military-logistical background of the Conference will be found in the appropriate volumes cited in the list of published sources, ante, p. xvii .

Although the Conference was intended to be predominantly a military meeting, a number of political questions came up for discussion and decision. The urgent question of leadership among French factions led to a broader consideration of French problems. The general background of these French problems Will be found in Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. II, pp. 123722. The diplomatic background of negotiations with the Soviet Union will be found ibid., vol. III, pp. 406757.