J.C.S. Files

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

1. Conclusions of Previous Meeting

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Accepted the conclusions of the 110th Meeting. The detailed record of the meeting was also accepted, subject to minor amendments.2

2. Italian Peace Feelers

Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Representative at the Vatican3 had received a signed document4 from Marshal Badoglio informing him that General Castellano was authorized to speak on his behalf.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note of the above statement.

3. Operations Against Japan From India, 1943–1944
(C.C.S. 305/15)

Sir Alan Brooke pointed out that it appeared from the memorandum (C.C.S. 305/1) prepared by the special committee that from the [Page 882] figures available, the Ledo or Imphal advances might have to be abandoned as a result of the floods. A telegram6 had, however, been dispatched to the Commander in Chief, India,7 offering him certain assistance to improve the capacity of the line of communication. He proposed that further consideration of operations from India should be deferred pending a reply from the Commander in Chief, India.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note of the interim report of the ad hoc committee, set out in C.C.S. 305/1.

4. Production of Landing Craft

Admiral King informed the Combined Chiefs of Staff that he was examining the possibility of increasing the production of landing craft by stopping production of 110 foot submarine-chasers and slowing up production of destroyer escorts. The steps he was examining might produce an increase of 25 percent in the landing craft program, but this must not, however, be taken as a firm figure.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note with interest of Admiral King’s statement.

5. Southeast Asia Command
(C.C.S. 3088)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff were in general agreement with the concepts laid down in Part I of C.C.S. 308.

Sir Alan Brooke said that there were certain specific points which he would like to discuss with regard to Part II. It had been found difficult to cut the Southeast Asia Command from India, since the former was dependent on India as its main base. However, there were constitutional difficulties in linking the two. The logistic and administrative side of the command set up was most important and a new post of Chief Administrative Officer to the Commander in Chief, India had been set up in order that the Chief Administrative Officer of the Southeast Asia Command should have only one individual to deal with in logistic and administrative matters.

With regard to the Deputy Supreme Commander, the British Chiefs of Staff were distressed by the multitude of functions which this officer would have to carry out, necessitating his presence in many widely separated places.

In the course of discussion the following points were made:

It would be difficult for one officer to combine the functions of Deputy Supreme Commander, Chief of Staff to the Generalissimo and Commander of the U.S. and Chinese forces in the area.
The Deputy Commander’s main task must be to insure that the Chinese forces play their part in operations into Burma. This would be no easy task and to insure it, it was essential that General Stilwell, who must control the Chinese forces, should have the standing of Deputy Commander.
The command arrangements might be expected to follow the same pattern as in the North African theater, i.e., there would be ground, air and naval commanders. If General Stilwell commanded the ground forces, difficulties would arise since it was essential that control of all ground forces should be centralized in one commander. Only thus could the various operations be effectively controlled and coordinated. On the other hand, it was highly unlikely that the Chinese forces could be under the direct control of a British officer, and it was, therefore, necessary that General Stilwell should, at least nominally, control these forces and that all orders to these forces shonld pass through him.
General Marshall said that he visualized this necessarily abnormal organization working on the following lines: General Stilwell’s function as Deputy Supreme Commander would be limited, since his other functions would occupy the majority of his time. It must be his major task, and that not an easy one, to insure not only that the Chinese forces played their part in the operations, but also that, to the maximum extent possible, the 14th Air Force should cooperate in operations in Burma. It must be remembered that politically, all U.S. forces in China, or in the Southeast Asia Command, were regarded as being there for the sole purpose of supporting China, and therefore a system must be evolved whereby, while retaining this political principle, the maximum support could be obtained for operations into Burma.
Sir Charles Portal said that he appreciated that while the 10th Air Force was regarded as a source of reinforcement to the 14th Air Force, it also had possibilities for offensive action in the Burma theater. Its operations in Burma must, however, be coordinated with those of the Royal Air Force by the Air Commander, Southeast Asia Command. It was therefore essential that these two commanders should occupy the same headquarters.
General Arnold pointed out a further complication in that the operation of the air ferry route into China was under a separate command. It was not controlled either by General Chennault, by the commander of the 10th Air Force, or by General Stilwell, though the latter decided what supplies were flown into China.
It would seem to be necessary, once operations were in progress, for General Stilwell or his representative to be situated at the Army [Page 884] Commander’s headquarters with United States officers attached to each Chinese force through whom he could issue instructions to the Chinese forces concerned, in accordance with the policy of the army commander.
Finally it was pointed out that the proposals for the employment of Chinese forces and the command arrangements would still have to be negotiated with the Generalissimo.

General Arnold and Sir Charles Portal then presented draft proposals covering the command arrangements on the lines discussed. Certain amendments put forward by Admiral Leahy to paragraph 8 (b) were discussed and agreed to.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Directed the Combined Staff Planners to revise paragraph 8 (a) and paragraph 8 (b) of Part II of the paper, on the basis of the suggestions put forward during the course of the meeting.9

6. Deception Plan for the War Against Japan
(C.C.S. 284/3/D10)

Sir Alan Brooke said that C.C.S. 284/3/D set up the machinery for deception planning for the war against Japan. It remained to prepare plans. The responsibility for the formulation, for the approval of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, of overall deception plans for the war against Japan had been accepted by the United States Chiefs of Staff.

Admiral Leahy said that the United States Staff was now engaged on this matter. They felt, however, that plans could not be finalized until the decisions taken at the present Conference were known. It was hoped that the plan would be ready for consideration by the Combined Chiefs of Staff by 15 September.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note that the U.S. Planners were engaged in preparation of an overall deception plan for the defeat of Japan but that it would have to be premised to some extent in the Quadrant decisions and therefore would not be ready for submission to the Combined Chiefs of Staff prior to 15 September.

7. The U–Boat War
(C.C.S. 272/111)

Sir Dudley Pound referred to a report by the Anti-Submarine Survey Board, putting forward certain recommendations with regard to the mobility of air units. He was in general agreement with the proposals [Page 885] of the United States Chiefs of Staff, though he would like to examine further the detailed proposals put forward in the report itself.

Admiral King gave a brief résumé of the present position with regard to the anti-submarine war. His latest information went to show that 429 U–boats were operating, of which 166, including 23 in far northern waters, were in the Atlantic. Of the original 12 refueling U–boats, 10 had been sunk and one or two were working up in the Baltic, but there were undoubtedly others under construction. The United States was now operating five auxiliary carriers. To meet new U–boat tactics of fighting it out on the surface, aircraft were being equipped with heavier forward mountings. The United States Army Air Corps had recently made a much appreciated loan of B–25’s fitted with 75-millimeter cannon. It might be found that the best weapon was the 37-millimeter cannon, which could carry more rounds. There were a very large number of anti-submarine weapons and projects in the course of experiment and development.

Sir Charles Portal mentioned the rocket weapon which could fire eight projectiles in one salvo, and which was particularly effective.

Sir Dudley Pound said that at present U–boats were operating largely in the Central Atlantic, off the Cape, and in the Indian Ocean. It was possible to divert escort vessels from the North Atlantic only as far as the Bay of Biscay since it was essential that any craft diverted should be capable of rapidly reinforcing the North Atlantic route should the Germans decide to concentrate in that area. He believed that the U–boats now in the Baltic were refitting with new antiaircraft weapons and radar equipment and that the Germans might, when these were ready, revert to pack attacks in the North Atlantic, having fought their way out of the Bay on the surface in groups, using their new and heavier antiaircraft weapons.

Sir Dudley Pound then outlined the steps which were being taken to reinforce the escorts in the Cape of Good Hope area.

In reply to a question by Sir Dudley Pound, Admiral King said that the proposals, to which he had earlier referred, with regard to increasing the output of landing craft would not have any material effect on the production of anti-submarine craft. It was not proposed to stop the building of any anti-submarine craft except for the 110 foot submarine-chasers. Destroyer escorts already laid down would be completed and only a proportion of new construction foregone to allow for stepping up the production of landing craft. Thus no effect on important anti-submarine craft output would be felt for at least six months.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the recommendations of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff contained in C.C.S. 272/1.

[Page 886]

8. Operation “Alacrity
(C.C.S. 270/512–270/613)

Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Chiefs of Staff had only received the United States Chiefs of Staff’s views as set out in C.C.S. 270/6 after their arrival at Quadrant . Negotiations undertaken by the Foreign Office in consultation as necessary with the British Chiefs of Staff were then almost reaching a conclusion. The British Cabinet had given a ruling that the facilities required must, if possible, be obtained on the basis of our treaty with Portugal14 (our oldest Ally) and not by force. Negotiations had been very protracted. Portugal’s main fear was an attack by Spain. They asked for assistance and guarantees for their defense against such an attack and had suggested that a Portuguese Staff should proceed to London to discuss these terms. This would obviously have taken too long. The Portuguese had felt strongly that our initial entry into the Islands in too great strength would produce reactions from the Spaniards and that it must therefore be on a small scale. It had been felt possible to give the guarantee required by the Portuguese since the risk of invasion of that country appeared to be remote. The Portuguese had now agreed to the entry of a small British force into the Azores on the 8th of October.15 The Prime Minister had informed him that the President had agreed to this arrangement. As soon as the British were in the Islands the policy would be to build up and arrange for the necessary facilities for United States forces.

General Arnold stressed the importance of the ferry route through the Azores, particularly during the coming winter months when weather conditions will greatly restrict ferrying operations over the northern route, forcing a transfer of these operations to the South Atlantic crossing—5,400 miles longer to the U.K. than the Azores route would be. It was expected that by early 1944 some 1,800 aircraft per month would be ferried across the Atlantic. During 1944 it is estimated that air transport Atlantic crossings will reach 3,500 per month. The use of the Azores for these operations would effect a monthly saving of approximately 15,000,000 gallons of gasoline, and substantially expedite the movement of aircraft and air cargo to the European-Mediterranean, Middle East and Far Eastern areas. Grave inconvenience will be caused if this ferry route is not available by the [Page 887] winter. Negotiations by Pan-American Airways had almost achieved the desired result but had been discontinued when British negotiations got under way.

Sir Charles Portal said that the original decision of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to obtain the use of the Azores had been based on their value in the anti-submarine war. The air facilities available were limited and he believed that ‘anti-submarine requirements must take priority. He fully appreciated, however, the value of these Islands as a staging point in the air ferry route. A clause in the agreement allowed for further development and General Arnold could be assured that every effort would be made, and pressure put upon the Portuguese, to afford the use of all facilities to the United States as soon as possible.

Admiral Leahy said that he felt that once an entry had been effected, the required facilities for United States aircraft might be made available without reference to the Portuguese, but it was generally felt by the British Chiefs of Staff that some reference would be necessary.

After further discussion,

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note:

That the negotiations with the Portuguese regarding the use of the Azores had been brought to a successful conclusion as regards their use by the British, with effect from October 8th.
That the President had agreed that the negotiations between the British and Portuguese Governments with regard to the use of facilities in the Azores should not be prejudiced by insisting that the facilities be made immediately available to the United States.
That the British Chiefs of Staff gave an assurance that everything would be done by the British as soon as possible after entry had been gained into the Azores, to make arrangements for their operational and transit use by U.S. aircraft.

  1. The amendments referred to have been incorporated in the minutes of the 110th Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff as printed ante, p. 875.
  2. Sir D’Arcy Osborne.
  3. Not found in United States files.
  4. Post, p. 972.
  5. Not printed.
  6. General Sir Claude Auchinleck.
  7. Post, p. 968.
  8. The Arnold and Portal proposals and the Leahy amendments are not printed as such, but see fn. 2 to C.C.S. 308/3, post, p. 1001.
  9. Ante, p. 415.
  10. Ante, p. 509.
  11. Ante, p. 610.
  12. “Land Airport Facilities in the Azores”, August 11, 1943; not printed. See Hull’s telegram No. 4856 to Winant, August 12, 1943, ante, p. 612.
  13. The Anglo-Portuguese alliance had its roots in the Treaty of London of June 16, 1373, and the Treaty of Windsor of May 9, 1386. See British and Foreign State Papers, vol. i, pp. 462, 468.
  14. For the text of the Anglo-Portuguese agreement of August 17, 1943, see ibid., vol. cxlvi, p. 447; Documentos relatives aos acordos entre Portugal, Inglaterra, e Estados Unidos da América para a concessão de facilidades nos Açores durante a guerra de 1939–1945, p. 19.