740.0011 (European War 1939)/12–1941

Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt

Herewith I send you two documents, viz: (1) a draft joint declaration based on the Atlantic Charter17 predicated on the assumption that the declaring governments have subscribed to its principles; (2) a draft memorandum agreement constituting a supreme war council.

The four chief nations now fighting together, as well as any others who will join with them, should forthwith sign a common declaration of principle, which should embody a pledge to employ their entire resources and their full military effort to defeat the common enemy, and should include a pledge to coordinate these efforts, and should include also a pledge by all of them not to cease hostilities nor conclude a separate armistice with the common enemies or any of them until these enemies are finally defeated.

[Page 4]

Second, it seems essential to provide machinery which will effectively coordinate the use of resources and the military effort, making suitable allocation between theatres of war, keeping continuous check on the execution of war plans and, if possible, achieving unified command in theatres where this is feasible.

[Enclosure 1]

Draft Joint Declaration by the United States of America, China, Great Britain, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Other Signatory Governments

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,

Being convinced that complete and world-wide victory of all of them is essential to defend life, liberty and independence, and to preserve human freedom 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 signatory Government pledges itself to employ its full resources against the Government or Governments which signed the Tripartite Pact on September 27, 1940,18 with which it is or may be at war, and to continue such employment until that Government or those Governments have been filially 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;
Each signatory Government pledges itself not to cease hostilities against or conclude a separate armistice with the common enemies or any of them, except by common agreement.

[Enclosure 2]

Draft Memorandum of Agreement: Supreme War Council


With a view to the more effective prosecution of warfare against Germany, Italy, and Japan, a Supreme War Council is created, composed of the heads of the governments of Great Britain, the United [Page 5] States of America and China; and the head of government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in respect of warfare against those countries with which the Soviet Union is at war.
The head of any government may designate a member of his government with full power to represent him.
The function of the Supreme War Council is to supervise and coordinate the general conduct of the war and to provide for its successful prosecution.
The Supreme War 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.
The Council will be responsible for coordinating distribution of available resources of all categories between various theatres of war.
The Supreme War Council 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.
  1. Joint statement by President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill, August 14, 1941, Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. i, p. 367.
  2. Concluded between Germany, Italy, and Japan; for text, see League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cciv, p. 386.