J. C. S. Files
Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes
1. Employment of the Poles
The Prime Minister said that he had had a strong appeal from General Sikorski for the employment of the Polish troops in battle in the near future. He hoped that these good troops could be made use of.
Sir Alan Brooke said that the Polish troops in the United Kingdom, which amounted to one armored division and one brigade, had been included in the forces earmarked for Roundhammer ; and the two Polish Divisions and certain minor formations now in Iraq had been included in the 19 British and Allied Divisions available for further operations in the Mediterranean.1
2. Final Report by the Combined Chiefs of Staff to the President and Prime Minister (C.C.S. 242/4); and Amendments Thereto Suggested by the Prime Minister (C.C.S. 242/5)2
The Combined Chiefs of Staff reported that they were in entire agreement with the amendments proposed by the Prime Minister and would incorporate these in the final edition of the report.[Page 204]
The Prime Minister suggested that it would be necessary to give a version of the report to the Russians. This version could be drawn up in suitable form for handing to the Russians through the normal official channels. This would obviate the necessity for an explanatory telegram from the President and himself. The message could simply be sent saying that a full report would be reaching them through the American and British representatives in Moscow.
The President and the Prime Minister:—
- Gave final approval to the report by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, as amended in accordance with the Prime Minister’s suggestions.
- Instructed the Secretaries to prepare for their approval a version of the report suitable for communication to the Russians through the normal official channels.3
3. Communication of Certain Decisions to the Chinese
The Conference had before them a suggested phraseology to be employed in communicating to the Chinese the decisions regarding operations in the Burma–China Theater, which had been suggested by the Prime Minister. (Shown in the Annex to these Minutes.)4
General Marshall said that the Combined Chiefs of Staff had certain minor modifications to propose (which he read to the President and the Prime Minister), apart from which they were in entire agreement with the Prime Minister’s suggestion.
After further discussion, it was agreed:—
That the President and General Marshall should make use of the form of words contained in the Annex to these minutes in conversation with Dr. Soong and General Chu respectively, and should hand them copies of the document for their retention.5
4. Official Statement for the Press
The President said that it would be necessary to consider the terms of a statement to be given to the Press at a suitable moment after the Prime Minister had left Washington.
Mr. Harry Hopkins said that he had drafted a statement, and he proceeded to read his draft to the Conference.6
General agreement was expressed with the terms of the draft, and Mr. Hopkins was asked to prepare it in final form for issue.7[Page 205]
5. Visit of General Stilwell and General Chennault to the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister said that it would be of very great value if General Stilwell and General Chennault, with their unrivaled knowledge of the Burma–China Theater, could return to their posts via London. He understood that the route through London was actually three days shorter than the route across the Southern Atlantic; and since Field Marshal Wavell and Admiral Somerville would also be going to London, the visit of the two generals would serve to give a great impetus to the work necessary to enable the decisions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff for operations in the Burma–China Theater to be implemented.
General Marshall said that he was entirely agreeable to this suggestion and would issue the necessary orders.8
6. Post-Husky Operations
The President said that the Prime Minister would shortly have an opportunity of talking to the Commanders in Chief in North Africa on post- Husky policy, and had suggested that it would be of great value if General Marshall could accompany him.9 He (the President) had accordingly spoken to General Marshall,10 and asked whether he could defer his visit to the Southwest Pacific in order to fall in with the Prime Minister’s request. General Marshall had said that he was perfectly willing to do this.
The Prime Minister explained that he would feel awkward in discussing these matters with General Eisenhower without the presence of a United States representative on the highest level. If decisions were taken, it might subsequently be thought that he had exerted undue influence. It was accordingly a source of great gratification to him to hear that General Marshall would accompany him; and he was sure that it would now be possible to arrange everything satisfactorily [Page 206] in Algiers, and for a report to be sent back to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for their consideration.11
7. Code Names for Future Operations
Admiral Leahy said that the Combined Chiefs of Staff recommended the adoption of certain code names, a list of which he handed to the President.
In discussion, certain modifications to the list were agreed upon.
The final list as approved has been given to those immediately concerned.12
8. The Plough Scheme
General Marshall read to the Conference a report which he had received upon the state of training and readiness for action of the force which had been specially set aside and trained for the Plough scheme. It was the firm opinion of all the United States and British officers concerned in the matter that this force, which numbered some 2,500 men, should be given battle experience as soon as possible. The force, which had been given amphibious training in addition to the special training for the Plough scheme, had been worked up to a high pitch of readiness, and provided it were not uselessly dissipated, it would greatly benefit by coming into action. It could be reassembled for its proper role before the winter. There were a number of possible places where the force might be utilized, such as the Aleutians, or post- Husky operations, or for commando raids from the U.K. or even in the Azores. It was perhaps a pity that they had not been employed in the operations against Attu, but an opportunity might occur for using them in another operation in that area.
Sir Alan Brooke agreed that the value of the force would be greatly increased by early participation in battle.
General McNarney said that the improved type of vehicle for use by the force would be ready about the middle of October.
The Prime Minister said that this force had been designed for a particular type of warfare and it would be a great pity to dissipate it if there were a chance of its real role coming to the fore. Nevertheless, he thought that it would be quite easy to create an opportunity for its employment if it was sent to the United Kingdom. It might be possible, for example, to repeat a raid on the coast of Norway of the type of the raid on the Lofoeten Islands.
The President suggested that it would be necessary also to consider the utilization of the Norwegian battalion now in the United States.[Page 207]
The Prime Minister agreed. He suggested that the British Chiefs of Staff should consider this matter immediately and make specific proposals to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
This suggestion was agreed to.
9. Consultations With the Russians
The President asked whether any steps had been taken to concert measures with the Russians in case of an attack by Japan on Russia.
General Marshall said that an attempt had been made to discuss this eventuality with the Russians, and General Bradley had been sent to Moscow for the purpose. After three months’ negotiation, it had been agreed that he should survey the air fields in Siberia, but the Russians had then reversed the decision and the whole proposal had fallen to the ground.13
The President said that the Russians naturally did not wish to permit any act which might compromise them in the eyes of the Japanese. Nevertheless, it would be a pity if the occasion arose and no plans had been made. It might be desirable, for example, to send forces to help the Russians to hold Kamchatka.
The Prime Minister agreed, but thought the Russians would be unlikely to be forthcoming. He suggested that one way of making progress would be to say to the Russians that we would be prepared to send them so many squadrons of aircraft so many days after the outbreak of the war with Japan. We could tell the Russians that they could count on this reinforcement in making their plans. This might lead them on to discussion.
General McNarney said that this proposal had in fact been made, but the only Russian response had been to suggest that the aircraft should be given to them so that they could fly them themselves.
Admiral King said that a running study was in existence of the possibilities presented by a Russo-Japanese war, and this had been reviewed three months previously. Little, however, could be done without additional data.
The Conference took note of the above discussion.
10. Adjournment of the Conference
The Trident Conference then adjourned, the Prime Minister expressing his gratitude for the warm welcome which he had received and his appreciation of the work which had been accomplished.14
- For documentation regarding the interest of the United States in the evacuation of Polish troops and civilians from the Soviet Union to Iran in the spring of 1942, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iii, pp. 100–185, passim. ↩
- C.C.S. 242/3, May 24, 1943, post, p. 359, as considered and revised during the meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff with Roosevelt and Churchill on May 24 (ante, p. 189), was circulated as C.C.S. 242/4, not printed. C.C.S. 242/5, May 25, 1943, is printed post, p. 363. C.C.S. 242/6, May 25, 1943, post, p. 364, the approved version of the Final Report to the President and Prime Minister, incorporated the amendments suggested by Churchill as well as the revisions of C.C.S. 242/4 made by the Combined Chiefs of Staff during their meeting on the morning of May 25 (supra).↩
- For the draft report for transmission to Stalin, prepared by the Secretaries of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, see post, p. 379.↩
- Text of the proposed communication to the Chinese authorities is printed post, p. 378. For the original text of the proposed communication to the Chinese, prior to revision by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, see C.C.S. unnumbered memorandum. May 25, 1943, post, p. 377.↩
- Regarding the Roosevelt–Soong and Marshall–Chu meetings, see the editorial notes, post, p. 208.↩
- For text of the draft statement referred to here, see post, p. 373.↩
- For revised draft statement, see post, p. 374.↩
- According to the account in Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 227, Churchill had earlier invited Chennault to return with him to England for a visit, but Chennault’s anxiety over the operations in China had forced him to decline the invitation. On his return trip to China, Stilwell did stop at London, where he conferred with British officials regarding future operations in the China–Burma area. Stilwell’s undated summary of the events of the Conference in Washington are printed in Joseph W. Stilwell, The Stilwell Papers (New York: William Sloane Associates, 1948), pp. 204–206.↩
- Churchill’s request that Marshall accompany him to North Africa was made during the meeting with Roosevelt on the evening of May 24; see the editorial note, ante, p. 198.↩
- According to the President’s Appointment Calendar (Roosevelt Papers), Marshall met with Roosevelt at 11:20 a.m., just prior to this meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff with Roosevelt and Churchill.↩
- For accounts of the Algiers Conference, May 20–June 3, 1943, see Matloff, pp. 153–155, and Garland and Smyth, chapter ii.↩
- C.C.S. 249, not printed.↩
- For an account of the Bradley Mission to the Soviet Union, July–November 1942, see Matloff and Snell, pp. 339–346. For documentation regarding the Mission, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iii, pp. 607–622 and 720–726, passim. ↩
- After the conclusion of the meeting, a luncheon was held at the White House for the participants in the Conference and for other high-ranking officials. The guest list is given in Sherwood, pp. 729–730.↩