J. C. S. Files

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

1. Conclusions of the Minutes of the 90th and 91st Meetings

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the conclusions of the Minutes of the 90th Meeting [Page 144] subject to substituting the words “an outline plan” for the words “a plan” in paragraph b, Item 3.4
Approved the conclusions of the 91st Meeting.5

2. Selection of Code Names

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Agreed that for purposes of the Trident Conference only, the word Roundhammer should be used to designate cross-Channel operations.
Directed the Secretaries to obtain recommendations from appropriate military security agencies in the U.S. and U.K. regarding code names for all operations agreed upon in the Trident Conferences.

3. Military Supplies for Turkey

Sir Alan Brooke said that at the Anfa Conference (C.C.S. 63rd Meeting), it was agreed that Turkey lay within a theater of British responsibility and that all matters connected with Turkey should be handled by the British.6 It was also agreed that the British should be responsible for framing and presenting to both Assignments Boards all bids for equipment for Turkey. He pointed out that no decision has been recorded by the Combined Chiefs of Staff as to the priority to be accorded to the supply of equipment for Turkey as compared with other commitments and no instructions have yet been issued by the American Chiefs of Staff to their representatives on the various Assignments Committees in Washington as to the attitude to be adopted towards British bids for equipment on behalf of Turkey. As a result, there had been some inclination to treat Turkish requirements as unimportant.

Sir Alan Brooke said that in C.C.S. 206, dated 30 April, the representatives of the British Chiefs of Staff informed the American Chiefs of Staff of the British view with regard to the provision of equipment for Turkey, and enclosed a list of the proposed supplies.7 This list has recently been somewhat increased.

General Marshall questioned what was included in the words “important commitments” in the conclusion proposed by the British. He said the proposal was acceptable to him with the understanding that requirements for training of U.S. forces and the rearmament of French forces were considered as “important commitments.”

[Page 145]

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note of the action already taken or proposed by the British Chiefs of Staff with regard to the provision of military supplies for Turkey.
Agreed that, with due regard to other important commitments, the assignment of the equipment as proposed by the British Chiefs of Staff should be made with the least possible delay.

(At this point the following entered the meeting:

  • Field Marshal Dill
  • General Ismay
  • Admiral Noble
  • Admiral Macready
  • Air Marshal Welsh
  • Field Marshal Wavell
  • Admiral Somerville
  • Air Chief Marshal Peirse
  • Captain Lambe
  • Brigadier Porter
  • Air Commodore Elliot
  • Commander Long)

4. Operations in the Pacific and Far East in 1943–44

Admiral King first related C.C.S. 2398 to C.C.S. 1689 and C.C.S. 155/1,10 and then gave a statement of the proposed strategy in the Pacific.

Admiral King stated that the remarks he would make would give a general outline of the situation in the Pacific and the scope of the operations visualized in the paper which had been submitted for consideration (C.C.S. 239).

During the past 30 or 40 years, since acquisition of the Philippines, the United States had been studying the possible courses of action which might have to be undertaken in the Pacific. A great number of studies prepared at the Naval War College had been premised on the necessity for supporting or recovering the Philippines. Briefly, there were three routes, one straight through from the Hawaiian Islands, the others detouring to the north or south of that line. The increase in the capabilities of aircraft had necessitated a revision of some of the previous plans. In any case, decisive action against the Japanese Fleet and the seizure of the Marianas Islands were of primary importance.

On December 30, 1941, when he took office as Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet, there were numerous plans in existence for operations in the Pacific. He had, however, immediately sent a dispatch to the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet stating that his mission was first to hold the Hawaiian–Midway line and the communications [Page 146] with the Pacific Coast, and, secondly, to hold the remainder of the line of communications to Australia and New Zealand.11 Prior to the fall of the Philippines and the Netherlands East Indies, plans for the employment of naval forces presumed fueling in that area; however, with their loss, it was essential to establish safe bases elsewhere. One of the most urgent uses of naval forces during the early stages of the war in the Pacific had been in the support of the lines of communication from Hawaii to Australia. The U.S. Navy had, therefore, established refueling points in Bora Bora, in the Fijis and in New Caledonia. Ground forces had been sent for the protection of these bases. Operations during the recent months had rendered these lines of communication to Australia relatively safe, except in the case of Samoa, which was still exposed to some possibility of attack.

All operations in the Pacific should be directed toward severing the Japanese lines of communication and the recapture of the Philippines. The Philippines could be captured by a flank action, whereas the capture of the Netherlands East Indies must of necessity be the result of a frontal attack. The intermediate objectives should be Rabaul, Truk and thence to the Marianas. Regardless of which route might be taken, the Marianas are the key to the situation because of their location on the Japanese lines of communication.

In referring to the situation in the Aleutians, he stated that the United States had bided its time in undertaking the operation against Attu. He considered that there was little danger to Alaska or the western part of the North American continent unless the Japanese should succeed in reaching Kodiak Island. This probability, in his opinion, was remote. An effort on our part to reach Japan by way of the northern route and the Kurile Islands would be beset with difficulties because of the rugged nature of the latter. According to reports received from our submarines, the Japanese were now actively engaged in fortifying the Kurile Islands.

The ultimate defeat of Japan would be accomplished by blockade, bombing, and assault. Of these measures, attacks on warships and shipping along enemy lines of communication were inherent in all offensive operations. It has been our purpose to work toward positions of readiness from which Japan can be attacked. Allied offensive measures comprise continued and intensified attacks on enemy ships and shipping, in cutting or threatening to cut enemy lines of communication between Japan and Japanese holdings and in attack on enemy sea, air, and ground forces, thereby obliging them to fight to retain [Page 147] their holdings and retain their lines of communication. The scope and intensity of the Allied war effort in the Pacific must insure that the means at hand are actively employed to the best advantage.

The general capabilities of the Allied effort comprise:

Keep Japan from further expansion and from consolidating and exploiting her current holdings.
Maintain the vital Midway–Hawaii line (key to the Pacific).
Secure the lines of communication to Australia and New Zealand.
Block the enemy approaches to Australia from the northward by way of Rabaul and from the northwestward by way of the Malay barrier.
Attain positions which menace enemy lines of communication with the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, and the South China Sea.
Open the line of communications with China by way of Burma.
Make ready to support Russia in case of war with Japan.
Continue to intensify attrition of enemy strength by land, air, and sea (including submarine) action.

In referring to Japan’s potentialities for offensive action, he listed as possibilities:

The Maritime Provinces, Eastern Siberia–Russia.
Alaska by way of the Aleutians.
Midway–Hawaii line (key to the Pacific).
The Hawaii–Samoa–Fiji–New Caledonia line which covers the line of communication to Australia and New Zealand.
Australia and New Zealand—by way of the Bismarck Archipelago and/or the Solomons.
Australia by way of Malay barrier.
India—by way of Burma.

He summed up his comments on Japan’s potentialities and their probable courses of action with the general statements:

That there was an impending threat to the Maritime Provinces; why action had not been precipitated only the Japanese could answer.
That the developing situation may dictate that the Japanese undertake completion of the conquest of China.
That it was unlikely that the Japanese would undertake major operations against Alaska.
That, since the decrease in the scale of activity in the Solomon[s] area, Japan had not given any definite indication of where she would strike next. Her reserve potentialities were certainly great enough to permit offensive action. It was, therefore, necessary that the United Nations be alert to anticipate the direction of this attack.

He stated that it was necessary to maintain and extend unremitting pressure against Japan, particularly by intensifying action to cut her lines of communication and to attain positions of readiness from which [Page 148] a full-scale offensive could be launched as soon as the full resources of the United Nations could be made available. The yardstick which must be used in measuring any operation undertaken in the Pacific was:

Would it further threaten or cut Japanese lines of communication;
Would it contribute to the attainment of positions of readiness from which a full-scale offensive could be launched against Japan.

It was with these objects in mind that the conclusions reached in C.C.S. 239 have been set out; namely, offensive operations in the Pacific and Far East in 1943–44 have the following objectives:

Conduct of air operations in and from China.
Operations in Burma to augment supplies to China.
Ejection of the Japanese from the Aleutians.
Seizure of the Marshalls and Caroline Islands.
Seizure of the Solomons–Bismarck Archipelago and Japanese held New Guinea.

To these should be added: “Intensification of operations against Japanese lines of communication.”

Admiral King, in response to several questions, explained briefly the methods used by the Japanese in employing their submarines and the results which had been attained by the United States submarines operating against Japanese shipping.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved C.C.S. 239 subject to the following amendments:

Deletion of the word “retain” on pages 1 and 2;

Deletion of subparagraph 2b (6) on page 2 and substitution for it of:

“(6) Intensification of Operations Against Enemy Lines of Communication

“All the foregoing operations are essential to the attainment of positions which enable the intensification and expansion of attacks on the enemy lines of communication in the Pacific.”

Addition of subparagraph 3 a (6) as follows:

“(6) Intensification of Operations Against Enemy Lines of Communication.”

(At this point the following withdrew from the meeting:

  • Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell
  • Admiral Sir James Somerville
  • Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Peirse
  • Captain C. E. Lambe, RN
  • Brigadier W. Porter
  • Air Commodore W. Elliot)

[Page 149]

5. Report to President and Prime Minister

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Directed the Secretaries to prepare a report to the President and Prime Minister on the results of the Conference thus far.12

  1. Ante, p. 126.
  2. Ante, p. 142.
  3. See Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Washington, 1941–1942, and Casablanca, 1943, p. 659.
  4. C.C.S. 206, April 30, 1943, proposed that the policy with regard to military supplies for Turkey be referred to the Combined Munitions Assignments Board with the advice from the Combined Chiefs of Staff that requests for Turkey were to be met “insofar as other important commitments allow.” (J.C.S. Files)
  5. Not printed; for the amended version of this paper, circulated as C.C.S. 239/1, May 23, 1943, see post, p. 302.
  6. For text of C.C.S. 168, January 22, 1943, see Morton, Appendix H, p. 627.
  7. C.C.S. 155/1, January 19, 1943, memorandum by the Combined Chiefs of Staff entitled “Conduct of the War in 1943”; see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Washington, 1941–1942, and Casablanca, 1943, p. 774.
  8. King’s despatch of December 30, 1941, to Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, is described in King, pp. 353354.
  9. The report prepared in response to this directive is C.C.S. 242, May 21, 1943, post, p. 346.