Roosevelt Papers

Prime Minister Churchill to President Roosevelt 1

Mr. President: I enclosed [enclose] unparaphrased version of my telegram and the reply about the dates and scales of Baytown and Avalanche respectively. The position is still far from satisfactory.

As these telegrams are unparaphrased will you please burn them after you have read them.

W[inston] S C[hurchill]

28. 8. 43
[Enclosure 1—Telegram]

Prime Minister Churchill to the Deputy Commander in Chief, Allied Force Headquarters (Alexander)2

secret, private
and confidential
General Whiteley, who has been here, has told us the dates and scales of Baytown and Avalanche respectively. He has made the statement that it is expected “that six Divisions will be through Calabria by December 1st” and “that six other Divisions will be ashore at Avalanche by December 1st”. This has filled me with the greatest concern and I hope you will be able to reassure me. Assuming that our landings are successful and that we are not defeated in the subsequent battles I cannot understand why 2½ months or more will be required “to get ashore”, or why it would be necessary, once we have obtained an effective port and bridgehead at Avalanche to march all the Bay-town Divisions through Calabria instead of sending some at least of them round by sea.
Moreover the rate of build-up to 12 Divisions on the mainland by December 1st seems to me to open dangers of the gravest kind. First, no effective help can come to enable the Italians in Rome to turn against the Germans, and the dangers of a German Quisling Government being installed or alternatively sheer anarchy supervening will be aggravated and prolonged. Secondly, if your rate of build-up is no more than 12 Divisions by December 1st, and these only in Naples area, what is to prevent the Germans in the same time from bringing far [Page 1187] larger forces against them? They are at present said to have 16 Divisions in the Italian Peninsula. I am not myself convinced that these are in fact complete divisions. On the contrary it would seem likely that they are the leading elements and headquarters in several cases. But if the liberation of Rome and the gaining of the important political and military advantages following therefrom is to be delayed for more than three months from now no one can measure the consequences.
I am most anxious to hear from you before I leave America as the President was also much distressed by the day mentioned, and if it is really the kind of time-table that is being worked to it would be better for us to face the worst in consultation. I hope however that you will chase these clouds away.
[Enclosure 2—Telegram]

The Head of the Planning Staff, Fifteenth Army Group (Richardson) to the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (Brooke)3

most secret

Cgs 53 26 August. Bigot . Personal for C.I.G.S. from Eichardson. Ref. 62930 (C.I.G.S.) dated 26 ( Welfare 423).

General Alexander is visiting formations of 5th U.S.A. Army. The slow rate of build up due to length of turn round and limited resources in craft caused some re-examination here. The following steps to speed build up were decided upon at a meeting in Algiers on 23rd August.
The withdrawal of the craft from Baytown after (? initial4) assault, thus giving fullest priority Avalanche .
The allocation of 45 U.S.A. Division in Sicily to 5th U.S.A. Army, so shortening the turn round from Naples.
The examination of use of 2 U.S.A. Armoured Divisions from Sicily with a view to shortening turn round.
There is no intention to march all Baytown Divisions through Calabria if situation permits them to be sent by sea and the resources in shipping and (? destroyers4) make a sea move more profitable.
I cannot give you now the exact rate of build up we are hoping to achieve but it is considerably greater than that stated by General Whiteley. The Air Force commitment is very large and this has to be set against any requirements in allocating the total lift available.
I will send estimated rate of build up as soon as this has been finally worked out. The build up figure has to be obtained from A.F.H.Q. as so much depends upon loading facilities.
  1. Delivered to the White House by special messenger. Texts of this message (omitting the final paragraph) and of the two enclosures were forwarded by the White House Map Room to Roosevelt, who was then at Hyde Park, in telegram No. White 143, August 29, 1943.
  2. Sent as telegram No. Welfare 423 to the War Cabinet Office at London for transmission to Alexander.
  3. Sent to London; forwarded by the Air Ministry to Brooke in Canada in telegram No. Concrete 597, August 27, 1943.
  4. This parenthetical queried clarification of a garble in the message appears in the source text.
  5. This parenthetical queried clarification of a garble in the message appears in the source text.