740.0011 (European War 1939)/12–1941

Memorandum for the Secretary of State by Mr. Carlton Savage,2 Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State (Long)

The Joint Declaration prepared today contains the two principal features customarily found in a military alliance. These are (1) a pledge of full support and cooperation in conducting the war against a common enemy, and (2) a pledge not to cease hostilities against the common enemy except by mutual agreement. Military alliances usually stipulate that the participating parties shall not conclude peace except by a mutual agreement. This Joint Declaration may be an improvement in this connection as it provides that the signatory governments shall not “cease hostilities against or conclude a separate armistice” except by common agreement. The present alliance between Great Britain and the Soviet Union3 provides that the signatories will “neither negotiate nor conclude an armistice or treaty of peace except by mutual agreement”. In this connection I think you will [Page 2] find useful some of the information contained in my memorandum of December sixteenth on the subject of military alliances, a copy of which is attached hereto.4
The Supreme War Council envisaged in the memorandum prepared today presumably would be far more effective than the Supreme War Council of 1917–1918 because the United States would have a political representative actively participating, whereas then the participation was principally military in the person of General Bliss.5 Furthermore, this plan for a Supreme War Council envisages representation on the staff, responsible to the Supreme War Council, of members of the naval and air forces of the participating governments whereas the earlier one provided only for a permanent military representative. One of the greatest arguments in favor of the plan envisaged here is that it would probably result in unified command in many theatres of the war. One of the greatest achievements of the earlier Supreme War Council was that it did greatly assist in bringing about a unified command on the Western Front.
Carlton Savage
  1. Mr. Savage was technically Assistant to Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long but was working with the Secretary of State.
  2. The British-Soviet Agreement and Protocol for Joint Action in the War Against Germany was signed at Moscow on July 12, 1941; for text, see League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cciv, p. 277, or Department of State Bulletin, September 27, 1941, p. 240.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Gen. Tasker H. Bliss, Chief of Staff, United States Army.