Draft Message From President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to Marshal Stalin 1
Draft of Message From the President and the Prime Minister to Premier Stalin
Upon the conclusion of the conferences which we have been holding in Washington with our combined military staffs, we think it proper that the following comprehensive report concerning our decisions2 should be sent to you.[Page 380]
Throughout our conferences full recognition was given to the most important part which the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is playing in the defeat of the European Axis Powers. Nearly all of the decisions enumerated below were made only after they had been measured against the yardstick of their aid3 to your country’s war effort. Briefly, our decisions may be summarized as follows:
1. overall objective
In conjunction with Russia and other allies to bring about at the earliest possible date, the unconditional surrender of the Axis Powers.
2. overall strategic concept for the prosecution of the war
- In cooperation with Russia and other allies to bring about at the earliest possible date, the unconditional surrender of the Axis in Europe.
- Simultaneously, in cooperation with other Pacific Powers concerned, to maintain and extend unremitting pressure against Japan with the purpose of continually reducing her Military power and attaining positions from which her ultimate surrender can be forced. The effect of any such extension on the overall objective to be given consideration by the Combined Chiefs of Staff before action is taken.
- Upon the defeat of the Axis in Europe, in cooperation with other Pacific Powers, to direct the full resources of the United States and Great Britain to bring about at the earliest possible date the unconditional surrender of Japan.
3. basic undertakings in support of overall strategic concept
- Maintain vital overseas lines of communication, with particular emphasis on the defeat of the U–boat menace.
- Intensify the air offensive against the Axis Powers in Europe.
- Concentrate maximum resources in a selected area as early as practicable for the purpose of conducting a decisive invasion of the Axis citadel.
- Undertake such measures as may be necessary and practicable to aid the war effort of Russia.
- To prepare the French Forces in Africa4 to fulfill an active role in the war against the Axis Powers.
4. specific operations for 1943–44 in execution of overall strategic concept5
a. Certain detailed operations were decided upon to combat the U–boat menace. These operations, we feel certain, will enable us to [Page 381] increase our capacity to transport troops and supplies to active theaters and to our allies.
b. Combined Bomber Offensive.
We have approved a plan to accomplish, by a combined U.S.6-British air offensive, the progressive destruction and dislocation of the German Military,7 industrial, and economic system, and the undermining of the morale of the German people to a point where their capacity for armed resistance is fatally weakened.
The plan will be accomplished in four phases between now and 1 April 1944. In each successive phase our increased strength will allow a deeper penetration into enemy territory. An intermediate objective of particular importance is the continuing reduction of German fighter8 strength.
c. Cross-Channel Operations.
We have resolved:
That forces and equipment shall be established in the United Kingdom with the object of mounting a large scale operation with target date 1 May 1944 to secure a lodgment on the Continent from which further offensive operations can be carried out. French forces from North Africa may be represented in the initial assault or in the immediate build-up.
The expansion of logistical facilities in the United Kingdom will be undertaken immediately,9 and after the initial assault the seizure and development of Continental ports will be expedited in order that the build-up forces may be augmented by follow-up shipments from the United States and elsewhere of additional divisions and supporting units at the fastest possible rate.
Meanwhile preparations will be continuously kept up to date to take advantage of a collapse in France or, alternatively, for the occupation of Norway in case of a German withdrawal.
d. Operations in the Mediterranean.
We have resolved to conduct such operations in exploitation of the forthcoming operation, of which you are aware, as are best calculated to eliminate Italy from the war and to contain the maximum number of German forces. Alternative plans are to be prepared at once. Specific operations will be determined upon in the light of the situation developing from the coming operations. The Allied Commander in Chief in North Africa may use for these operations all those forces available in the Mediterranean Area except for four American and [Page 382] three British divisions which will be held in readiness from 1 November onward for withdrawal to take part in operations from the United Kingdom.10
e. Operations for the Defeat of Japan.11
Our plans also provide for extensive operations against Japan in the Far Eastern and Pacific Theaters. While these operations will, of necessity, have repercussions on our efforts in the European Theater, they are within the scope of the overall strategic concept for the prosecution of the war as set forth above.12
5. availability of resources to meet the requirements of our specific undertakings
After full and careful examination we have found that the above operations utilize our resources to the full. It has been our earnest desire to make the utmost use of our resources wherever they can be brought to bear upon the enemy and we believe that our object has been fulfilled in the statement of operations as set out above.13
This draft message, prepared by the Secretaries of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, was transmitted to Roosevelt under cover of the following memorandum from Deane, dated May 25, 1943:
“Attached hereto is a draft report prepared by the Secretariat for submission to Mr. Stalin.
“A questionable part may be the paragraph on U–boat warfare (par. 4 a) which might be taken as a promise to deliver more supplies to Russia. On the other hand it presents a hopeful outlook. I therefore left it in the draft but call your attention to it.
“An identical draft has been sent to the Prime Minister.”
The changes written in by Roosevelt on this draft message are indicated in footnotes. Roosevelt and Churchill worked at revising this message during their meeting on the evening of May 25, 1943; see the editorial note, ante, p. 220.
- The word “decisions” was crossed out and replaced by the word “plans”.↩
- The phrase “against the yardstick of their aid” was crossed out and replaced by the phrase “in relation”.↩
- The phrase “in Africa” was crossed out.↩
- The phrase “In execution of overall strategic concept” was crossed out.↩
- The words “United States” were spelled out.↩
- The “m” in military was reduced to lower case.↩
- The word “aircraft” was inserted after the word “fighter”.↩
- The phrase “will be undertaken immediately” was crossed out and replaced with the phrase “has long been in progress”.↩
- This paragraph was extensively revised to read as follows: “We have resolved to exploit the forthcoming ( Husky ) operation, of which you are aware, as are best calculated to eliminate Italy from the war and to contain the maximum number of German forces. Specific operations are to be determined upon in the light of the developing situation. The Allied Commander in Chief in North Africa may use for these purposes all those forces available in the Mediterranean Area except for four American and three British divisions which will be held in readiness from 1 November onward for withdrawal to take part in the main attack from the United Kingdom.”↩
- This heading was revised to read “The defeat of Japan”.↩
This paragraph was revised to read as follows:
“Our plans also provide for waging war against Japan in the Far Eastern and Pacific Theaters. These operations will, of necessity, have repercussions on our efforts in the European Theater.”
- The revisions of this paragraph seem to be incomplete and tentative. The word “operations” was crossed out and replaced by the word “undertakings”. The following words are indicated as a possible substitution for the second sentence: “It is our earnest desire to engage the enemy to the utmost. We believe this object will be obtained by our proposed actions”.↩