Hopkins Papers

Prime Minister Churchill to President Roosevelt 1


Pencil No. 400. Present Aerial Person to President Roosevelt. Most Secret.

General Marshall has himself prepared the following version of the approved decisions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to be sent to Russia. [Page 383] C.I.G.S.2 and I agree with every word of it, and strongly hope that it can be sent to Stalin as the statement by the Chief of the United States Staff, concurred in by the C.I.G.S., and that it has our (President and Prime Minister’s) joint approval. If you agree, will you kindly implement without further reference to me.

W[inston] S. C[hurchill]


Draft Message From President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to Marshal Stalin 3

In general, the overall strategy agreed upon is based upon the following decisions:
To give first priority to the control of the submarine menace and the security of our overseas lines of communication.
Next in priority to employ every practicable means to support Russia.4
To prepare the ground for the active or passive participation of Turkey in the war on the side of the Allies.
To maintain an unremitting pressure against Japan for the purpose of continually reducing her Military power.
To undertake such measures as may be practicable to maintain China as an effective Ally and as a base for operations against Japan.
To prepare the French forces in Africa for active participation in the assaults on Axis Europe.
With reference to (a) above regarding submarines, the immediate results of the recent deployment of long-range aircraft with new [Page 384] equipment and special attack groups of naval vessels give great encouragement, better than one enemy submarine a day having been destroyed since May 1. If such a rate of destruction can be maintained it will greatly conserve, therefore increase, available shipping and will exert a powerful influence on the morale of the German submarine armada.
With reference to the support of Russia, agreement was reached as follows:
To intensify the present air offensive against the Axis Powers in Europe. This for the purpose of smashing German industry, destroying German fighter aircraft and breaking the morale of the German people. The rapid development of this air offensive is indicated by the events of the past three weeks in France, Germany and Italy, Sicily and Sardinia, and by the growth of the United States’ heavy bomber force in England from some 350 planes in March to approximately 700 today with a schedule calling for 900 June 30, 1, 150 September 30 and 2,500 April 1. The British bomber force will be constantly increasing.
In the Mediterranean the decision was taken to eliminate Italy from the war as quickly as possible. General Eisenhower has been directed to prepare to launch offensives immediately following the successful completion of Husky the assault on Sicily, for the purpose of precipitating the collapse of Italy and thus facilitating our air offensive against Eastern and Southern Germany as well as continuing the attrition of German fighter aircraft and developing a heavy threat against German control in the Balkans. General Eisenhower may use for the Mediterranean operations all those forces now available in that area except for three British and four American Divisions which are to participate in the concentration in England, next to be referred to.
It was decided that the resumption of the concentration of ground forces in England could now be undertaken with Africa securely in our hands and that while plans are being continuously kept up to date by a joint U.S. British Staff in England to take instant advantage of a sudden weakness in France or Norway, the concentration of forces and landing equipment in the British Isles should proceed at a rate to permit a full-scale invasion of the Continent to be launched at the peak of the great air offensive in the Spring of 1944. Incidentally, the unavoidable absorption of large landing-craft in the Mediterranean, the South-West Pacific and the Aleutian Islands has been our most serious limiting factor regarding operations out of England.
We have found that the undertakings listed utilize our full resources. We believe that these operations will heavily engage the enemy in the air and will force a dispersion of his troops on the ground to meet both actual attacks and heavy threats of attack which can [Page 385] readily be converted into successful operations whenever signs of Axis weakness become apparent.
G. C. M[arshall]

  1. According to the account in Churchill, Hinge of Fate, pp. 812–813, this letter and the enclosed draft message from the President and the Prime Minister to Premier Stalin were flown to Washington from Botwood, Newfoundland, where Churchill’s aircraft stopped for refueling en route from Washington to Algiers.
  2. General Sir Alan Brooke.
  3. A memorandum of May 28, 1943, to the President by Lt. Col. Chester Hammond, Assistant to the President’s Military Aide, Maj. Gen. Edwin M. Watson, indicates that this draft message and the covering letter from Churchill were received in the White House Map Room on May 28, 1943. The memorandum transmits the suggestion by Rear Adm. Wilson Brown, the President’s Naval Aide, that the President might discuss with General Marshall the advisability of sending the message to Stalin by officer courier in order to avoid the dangerous risk of sending it to Moscow by any of the existing codes (Hopkins Papers).

    With the exception of the changes indicated in the following footnote and certain minor typographical alterations, this text is identical with the message ultimately sent to Stalin on June 2, 1943; see the telegram from Roosevelt to Stalin, June 2, post, p. 387.

  4. In the text of this communication as ultimately transmitted to Stalin, subparagraphs (a) and (b) were combined to read as follows:

    “(a) To give first priority to the control of the submarine menace, the security of our overseas lines of communication, and to employ every practicable means to support Russia.”

    Sub-paragraphs (c), (d), (e), and (f) were accordingly relettered (b), (c), (d), and (e), respectively, in the communication transmitted to Stalin.