Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

Prime Minister Churchill to President Roosevelt 1

top secret

Prime Minister to President Roosevelt. Personal and top secret. Number 774.

Your No. 6112 SOP.

Now all operations in Italy are conceived and executed by General Alexander in accordance with his general directives from the Supreme Commander. You will see that he is now in contact for twenty miles on the Adriatic flank with the Gothic line, and a severe battle will be fought by the Eighth Army. Also General Clark with the Fifth Army has made an advance from the direction of Florence. I have impressed most strongly upon General Alexander the importance of pressing with his utmost strength to destroy the enemy’s armed forces as well [Page 224] as turn his line. It will not be easy for the Germans to effect a general retreat from the Gothic line over the Alps especially if we can arrive in the neighbourhood of Bologna. The western passes and tunnels into France are already blocked by your advance into the Rhone Valley. Only the direct route to Germany is open. We shall do our utmost to engage, harry and destroy the enemy. The decisive battle has yet, however, to be fought.

In view of the fact that the enemy on the Italian front has been weakened by four of his best divisions, we no longer ask for further American reinforcements beyond the 92nd Division, which I understand will shortly reach us. On the other hand, I take it for granted that no more will be withdrawn from Italy, i.e., that the four divisions of Clark’s army and the elements remaining with them will continue there: and that General Alexander should make his plans on that basis. So much for the present.
As to the future: continuous employment against the enemy will have to be found for the Eighth and Fifth Armies once the German armies in Italy have been destroyed or unluckily made their escape. This employment can only take the form of a movement first to Istria and Trieste and ultimately upon Vienna. Should the war come to an end in a few months, as may well be possible, none of these questions will arise. Anyhow, we can talk this over fully at Octagon .
I congratulate you upon the brilliant success of the landings in Southern France. I earnestly hope the retreating Germans may be nipped at Valence or Lyons and rounded up. Another mob of about 90,000 is apparently streaming back from the south via Poitiers.
  1. Sent by the United States Military Attaché, London, via Army channels.
  2. Supra.