J.C.S. Files

Memorandum by the Secretary of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Deane)1


Minutes of Meeting Held at the White House Between the President and the Chiefs of Staff on 10 August 1943 at 14152

The President Admiral E. J. King
The Secretary of War3 General H. H. Arnold
Admiral W. D. Leahy Brig. Gen. J. R. Deane
General G. C. Marshall

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2. Far East Operations

Admiral Leahy suggested that the President endeavor to persuade the Prime Minister to use his best efforts to stimulate and hasten the Burma operation.

The President said that as yet a commander in chief had not been selected.

Admiral King pointed out that the Burma operation was now only two and one half months distant and the planning was still in the hands of General Auchinleck.

General Marshall, in reply to a question by the President, said that the British would probably make another attempt to designate General Sholto Douglas as in command. If they did insist upon him as the commander, they would have to take the responsibility for the difficulties that might result.

Admiral King said that the British had issued a “standfast” order [Page 435] with regard to moving ships and other munitions from the Mediterranean that were needed in the Burma operations. As the matter now stood, they suggested that Bullfrog be set for 1 January. If this were done, it would mean that air coverage for the north Burma operations would be lacking.

The President then asked Admiral King if he thought the Prime Minister still had an invasion of Sumatra in mind, to which Admiral King replied in the affirmative.

General Arnold pointed out that it was essential that an early decision be made as to what our ultimate plans were in southeastern Asia in order that he could provide for the preparation of airfields that would be necessary to carry out such plans.

General Marshall then read a report from the U.S. Planners4 which gave the impressions that they had obtained from the British Planners as follows:

The British do not appreciate the value of China as an ally in the war.
The British feel that if we lose China we can still obtain air bases for an attack against Japan by amphibious operations on the east coast of China.
The British look on Burma as a combined operation and not just a British operation. They also feel that eventually the British and Americans should pool their resources for an attack from Singapore to Hongkong.
The British anticipate a possible partial demobilization upon the defeat of Germany which will mean that more U.S. troops will be necessary to carry on the operations in the Far East.

The President said he had heard from several sources that the British did plan to demobilize many of their ground forces, but lie anticipated that we would receive all-out help from their air and naval forces.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  1. For the portion of this memorandum relating to the war in Europe and the Mediterranean, omitted here, see post, p. 498.
  2. i.e., at 2:15 p.m.
  3. Henry L. Stimson.
  4. Cf. the memorandum by the Joint War Plans Committee, August 9, 1943, supra.