Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to Marshal Stalin 1
operational priority

Secret and personal to Marshal Stalin from the United States Government and His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom.2

In our conference at Quebec, just concluded, we have arrived at the following decision as to military operations to be carried out during 1943 and 1944.

The bomber offensive against Germany will be continued on a rapidly increased scale from bases in the United Kingdom and Italy. The objectives of this air attack will be to destroy the German air combat strength, to dislocate the German military, industrial, and economic system, and to prepare the way for a cross channel invasion.

A large-scale buildup of American forces in the United Kingdom is now under way. It will provide an initial assault force of British and American divisions for cross channel operations. A bridgehead in the continent once secured will be reenforced steadily by additional American troops at the rate of from three to five divisions per month. This operation will be the primary British and American ground and air effort against the Axis.

The war in the Mediterranean is to be pressed vigorously. Our objectives in that area will be the elimination of Italy from the Axis [Page 1160] alliance, and the occupation of that country as well as Sardinia and Corsica as bases for operations against Germany.

Our operations in the Balkans will be limited to the supply of Balkan Guerrillas by air and sea transport, to minor raids by Commandos, and to the bombing of strategic objectives.

We shall accelerate our operations against Japan in the Pacific and in Southeast Asia. Our purposes are to exhaust Japanese air, naval, and shipping resources, to cut the Japanese communications and to secure bases from which to bomb Japan proper.

  1. Sent to the White House Map Room at Washington as telegram No. Black 9, and forwarded on August 25, 1943, to the United States Naval Attaché, Moscow, via Navy channels. It was preceded by the following telegraphic instruction from Roosevelt’s Naval Aide (Brown) to the Naval Attaché:

    “My immediately following message is most secret.

    “It should be seen only by Alusna , a decoder appointed by him and the Ambassador who is then requested to deliver it to the British Ambassador. If possible it should then be delivered by the British and American Ambassadors jointly to Marshal Stalin. Message should be carefully but closely paraphrased before delivery. Acknowledge receipt and delivery.” (J.C.S. Files)

    A message drafted from a paraphrase of the telegram here printed was delivered jointly by the British and American Ambassadors at Moscow to the Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union (Molotov) on August 26, 1943, for transmittal to Stalin (Embassy Moscow Files). For the text of the message as delivered to Molotov, see Stalin’s Correspondence, vol. i, pp. 150–151, vol. ii, p. 86.

  2. As received in Washington from Quebec, this passage read “from the President and the Prime Minister”. On telephonic instructions from the Assistant to the President’s Military Aide (Hammond), the White House Map Room changed the message before dispatch to Moscow to read “from the United States Government and His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom.” (Roosevelt Papers)