J. C. S. Files

Memorandum by the United States Chiefs of Staff1


Global Strategy of the War

1. It would appear that the first steps in an approach to our problem should cover the broad field of global strategy. Our two principal enemies, widely separated and constituting threats to our home theaters that differ in imminence and gravity, present problems that are inextricably interrelated. We are compelled, therefore, to view the problem as a whole, and in that light to test all proposals.

2. The United States concept of the global strategy of the war, reduced to its simplest terms, is to win the war as decisively and speedily as possible. We have stated this more formally, as follows:

In cooperation with Russia and the lesser Allies, to force an unconditional surrender of the Axis in Europe.
Simultaneously, in cooperation with our Allies, to maintain and extend unremitting pressure against Japan in the Pacific and from China.
Thereafter, in cooperation with the other Pacific Powers and if possible with Russia, to combine the full resources of the United States and Great Britain to force the unconditional surrender of Japan.

3. The United States accepts the strategic concept that the war will be won most speedily by first defeating Germany, and thereafter by completing the defeat of Japan.

From our standpoint the concept of defeating Germany first involves making a determined attack against Germany on the Continent at the earliest practicable date; and we consider that all proposed operations in Europe should be judged primarily on the basis of the contribution to that end. Similarly, we believe that all proposed operations now or later in the Pacific should be judged primarily on the basis of their contribution to defeating Japan in the shortest practicable time.

[Page 223]

It is the opinion of the United States Chiefs of Staff that a cross-Channel invasion of Europe is necessary to an early conclusion of the war with Germany, and that an early opening of communications with China is necessary in order to keep China in the war and to bring to a successful conclusion the war with Japan.

4. We recognize that we have before us a difficult problem in how best to employ our resources in support of these concepts. Any major course of action against one enemy has a direct effect upon the timing, scope, and objective of action against the other. The global concept must, therefore, be kept constantly in mind.

5. We believe that keeping Russia and China actively in the war effort is essential to our successful conclusion of the war in any reasonable time.

6. We are confident that this Conference will find common ground upon which to reach sound solutions for this basic global problem, and the more specific problems which will appear in connection therewith.

  1. Read by Leahy in the course of the meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff on May 13; see ante, p. 35. This memorandum comprised annex A to the minutes of that meeting.