740.0011 (European War 1939)/12–2741

Draft Joint Declaration by the United States of America, China, Great Britain, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Australia Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Poland, Union of South Africa, and Yugoslavia31


The Governments signatory hereto,

Having subscribed to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in the Joint Declaration of the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of Great Britain dated August 14, 1941, known as the Atlantic Charter,

Having determined that the effective prosecution of warfare against their enemies imperatively requires the creation of a Supreme War Council,

Being convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice not only in their own lands but everywhere, and that the struggle in which they are now engaged is a common defense against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world, Declare:

Each Government pledges itself to employ its full resources against those Axis forces of conquest with which it is at war. Each Government pledges itself to continue such employment until these forces have been finally defeated;
Each signatory Government pledges itself to cooperate with the others to the entire extent of its capacity to effect full coordination of military effort and use of resources against the common enemies or any of them.


Supreme War Council32

With a view to the more effective prosecution of warfare against Germany, Italy and Japan, the Chiefs of State or of Government of [Page 17] the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Republic of China, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in respect of warfare against those countries with which it is at war, shall constitute a Supreme War Council. They may designate a member of their government with full power to represent them on the Council.
The members of the Council pledge themselves not to cease hostilities against or conclude a separate armistice with the common enemies or any of them, except by common agreement.
It shall be the function of the Council to supervise and coordinate the general conduct of the war and to provide for its successful prosecution.
The Council may determine theatres of war and may provide for representation of any other government actively engaged in war against a common enemy in such theatres.
It will be responsible for coordinating distribution of available resources of all categories between various theatres of war.
It shall be charged with effecting unified command in any theatre of war determined by it.
The Supreme War Council will create a Staff responsible to it and consisting of representatives of the armed forces of each of the members of the Council, who may be the highest ranking officers of the different branches of the respective armed forces.
The Staff may draw up general war plans, and shall review general war plans drawn up by the competent authorities of each country. It shall follow the execution by each country of the part allotted to it in any general operation or undertaking, but shall not exercise any of the powers of the commanders-in-chief in the field. It shall perform such other functions as may be assigned to it by the Council.
The members of the Staff shall receive from the government and the competent authorities of their respective countries all proposals, information and documents relating to the conduct of the war. They shall watch, day by day, the situation of the armed forces and the means of all kinds of which the armed forces and the enemy armed forces dispose.
By direction of the Supreme War Council, the Staff may designate a Staff Division to serve in respect of any theatre of war and may provide for representation of the armed forces of any other power engaged in active war against any of the common enemies in such theatre.
The general staffs and military, naval and air commands of the armed forces of each power charged with the conduct of military operations remain responsible to their respective governments, subject to the creation of any unified command which may be agreed upon.
The Staff shall sit continuously and shall establish headquarters for itself or for any Staff Division at such place or places, or in any region, as may be approved by the Supreme War Council.
The foregoing declaration may be adhered to by other nations which are, or which may be, rendering material assistance and contributions towards the defeat of the members of the Tripartite Pact.
  1. This draft was prepared in the Department of State on December 27, 1941, and carried to the White House by the Secretary of State about 6 o’clock that evening.
  2. Secretary Hull indicates in his Memoirs that the proposal for the Supreme War Council met with opposition from Prime Minister Churchill. He records that in a telephone conversation with President Roosevelt on December 31, 1941, “the President said, with respect to the memorandum on the creation of a Supreme War Council, that it seemed desirable to work on a regional basis for the time being, with the possibility that eventually it might be feasible to create an over-all Council. A Supreme War Council such as we at the State Department had suggested was not set up, but the President and the Prime Minister took a major step in that direction during Mr. Churchill’s visit by creating the Combined Chiefs of Staff, with headquarters in Washington, to integrate the strategy of the two countries. They also established combined Anglo-American boards to deal with the assignment of munitions, the supply of raw materials, production and resources, shipping and food. Subsequently, unified commands were agreed upon for the Mediterranean, European, Southwest Pacific, and Southeast Asia theaters.” (The Memoirs of Cordell Hull, vol. ii, pp. 1121, 1124.)