The Acting Assistant Chief of Staff ( Gerow ) to the Secretary of State

Subject: Far Eastern Situation.

War Plans Division has made a hasty study from a military viewpoint of your tentative “Outline of Proposed Basis for Agreement Between the United States and Japan,”56 and perceives no objection to its use as a basis for discussion. The adoption of its provisions would attain one of our present major objectives—the avoidance of war with Japan. Even a temporary peace in the Pacific, would permit us to complete defensive preparations in the Philippines and at the same time insure continuance of material assistance to the British—both of which are highly important.

The foregoing should not be construed as suggesting strict adherence to all the conditions outlined in the proposed agreement. War Plans Division wishes to emphasize it is of grave importance to the success of our war effort in Europe that we reach a modus vivendi with Japan.

War Plans Division suggests the deletion of Par. B.–5. The proposal contained in that paragraph would probably be entirely unacceptable [Page 631] to Russia. The geographical lay-out in the Manchurian–Siberian area is such that military time and space factors are all in favor of Japan. Furthermore, it would be most difficult to reach an agreement as to what are “equivalent forces” and the measures to be taken to insure that no unauthorized increases are made in those forces. Such an arrangement would increase the vulnerability of the Russian position, particularly in the Maritime Provinces, and at the same time remove the very real threat to Japanese cities of the Russian Air based therein. From the U. S. viewpoint, it is greatly to our advantage to have the possibility of access to Siberian airfields securely guarded by a potential ally.

The paper has been considered as a whole. If major changes are made in its provisions, it is requested that the War Department be given an opportunity to consider the military aspects of such changes.

The Chief of Staff is out of the city and consequently this paper has not been presented for his consideration. War Plans Division believes that he would concur in the views expressed above.

L. T. Gerow

Brigadier General
  1. Ante, p. 623.