The Combined Chiefs of Staff to President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill 1
Enclosure to C.C.S. 341/2
Report by the Combined Chiefs of Staff to the President and Prime Minister
1. The Combined Chiefs of Staff have reviewed Quadrant decisions in the light of the situation created by the Italian collapse, and of the minute addressed to the President by the Prime Minister (Annex).2[Page 1291]
2. The Combined Chiefs of Staff agree that it is most desirable that a powerful British battle squadron should proceed at the earliest possible date to the Indian Ocean via the Panama Canal and the Pacific. They have directed the British Admiralty and U.S. Navy Department to examine the project with particular reference to:
- The balanced composition of the squadron;
- The date on which it should sail; and
- The character of its employment in Pacific waters.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff have taken note that Admiral King has already asked for the proposals of Admirals Carpender, Halsey and Nimitz on this point.
3. The Combined Chiefs of Staff have directed that the British Admiralty should forthwith examine the possibility of sending a certain number of the British submarines at present operating in the Mediterranean to the Far East and Pacific.
4. The Combined Chiefs of Staff have directed that the British Admiralty and the U.S. Navy Department should forthwith examine the whole future of the Italian Fleet as soon as it has passed into our hands. The points which require specific consideration are:
- The manning of the Fleet;
- Its operational use.
In this connection the possibility of using the Italian naval units for transport purposes in the Mediterranean area should be explored.
5. The Combined Chiefs of Staff have invited the appropriate authorities to undertake a similar inquiry into the use of the Italian mercantile marine.
Italian Armed Forces
6. The Combined Chiefs of Staff fully agree that the maximum use should be made of the Italian armed forces. They point out, however, that it would be unwise to place much reliance on their fighting value owing to:
- The low state of their morale.
- The difficulties of supply, observing that industry on which they are almost entirely dependent is in the Plains of Lombardy.
Strategy in Italy
7. The Combined Chiefs of Staff are in agreement with the general conception of future operations in Italy and have directed the Combined [Page 1292] Intelligence Committee to report as a matter of urgency on the possible rate of the German build-up south of the Alps.
8. The Combined Chiefs of Staff attach great importance to the Balkan situation. The situation which was envisaged at Quadrant 3 has now materialized. Every effort should be made to augment by sea the supplies which are being sent to the patriot armies by air.
9. The Combined Chiefs of Staff consider that the responsibility for these operations should remain with the Commander in Chief, Middle East, working in the closest cooperation with General Eisenhower. They propose to direct General Wilson not only to increase the scale of supplies to the patriot force by all possible means, but also to assume more active direction of their operations by the supply of Officers, Agents, etc.
10. The Combined Chiefs of Staff have already directed O.S.S. and S.O.E. to undertake maximum activities in Sardinia.4 The question of sending help to the Italians to procure the disarmament of German units there must await developments in the situation.
11. The Combined Chiefs of Staff consider it most desirable that French forces should be used for the capture of Corsica, provided the general situation allows. General Eisenhower already has plans for this operation.
12. The Combined Chiefs of Staff think that Turkey’s future action will be guided more by the course of events in the Russo-German Theater than by events in the Balkans and Italy. They adhere to their decision that the Commander in Chief, Middle East, should be free to draw upon supplies destined for Turkey for dispatch to the Balkans.
13. The Combined Chiefs of Staff have taken note of the action which the Commander in Chief, Middle East, is taking in respect of Rhodes and other islands in the Dodecanese. They approve this action, and are considering what further can be done.
- Approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at their 118th Meeting, September 10, 1943. See ante, p. 1223. The text of this report was circulated by the Secretaries of the Combined Chiefs of Staff as the enclosure to C.C.S. 341/2, September 10, 1943.↩
- Ante, p. 1287.↩
- See ante, p. 1124.↩
- See ante, p. 1069.↩