Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

Prime Minister Churchill to President Roosevelt 1


Number 219, December 3, 1942. Former Naval Person to President personal and secret.

[Page 496]
Your 224. I am delighted at your proposal which is the only way of making a good plan for 1943. At present we have no plan for 1943 which is on the scale or up to the level of events. It is grand of you to come and I will meet you anywhere. I am telegraphing Stalin to reinforce your invitation.2
Meanwhile I deprecate sending our military representative to Moscow. It will only lead to a deadlock and queer the pitch. We still think that Marshall, King and Arnold should come here in advance, so that at least we have some definite plans as a basis for discussion when we all meet in January “somewhere in Africa”. Otherwise Stalin will greet us with the question “Have you then no plan for the second front in Europe you promised me for 1943?”
Khartoum is at your disposal and would be most satisfactory as regards weather, security and communications. I will report on accommodation tomorrow. We should be honoured to be the hosts. I am not informed, though quite ready to learn, about the Oasis south of Algiers. Marrakesh I can personally vouch for as regards accommodation, climate and, barring any extraordinary lapse, weather.
A supreme war conference, as this would be, ought to have the necessary staffs. For ourselves I should like to bring Eden from the War Cabinet with me and three Chiefs or Vice-Chiefs of the Staff, supported by a powerful secretariat, cypher staff, map room, etc., say about twenty-five.
As to timing, the sooner the better. Every day counts. We may reasonably expect that Tunis will be settled by the end of December and Tripolitania by the end of January. We ought not to be dependent on the actual working out of these operations. All prospect of attack in Europe in 1943 depends on early decision.
However everything hangs on whether “Barkis is willin”.
  1. Transmitted via War Department channels.
  2. For text of Churchill’s telegram of December 3, 1942, to Stalin, which was received by Stalin on December 4,1942, see Churchill, The Hinge of Fate, p. 665, and Stalin’s Correspondence, vol. i, p. 81.