Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

President Roosevelt to Prime Minister Churchill 1

top secret

Number 616. Personal and top secret. From the President for the Prime Minister.

Your Number 774.2

I share your confidence that the Allied divisions we have in Italy are sufficient to do the task before them and that the battle commanders will press the battle unrelentingly with the objective of shattering the enemy forces. After breaking the German forces on the Gothic Line, we must go on to use our divisions in the way which best aids General Eisenhower’s decisive drive into the enemy homeland.

As to the exact employment of our forces in Italy in the future, this is a matter we can discuss at Octagon . It seems to me that American forces should be used to the westward but I am completely open-minded on this and, in any event, this depends on the progress of the present battle in Italy and also in France where I strongly feel that we must not stint in any way the forces needed to break quickly through the western defenses of Germany.

The credit for the great Allied success in southern France must go impartially to the combined Allied force, and the perfection of execution of the operation from its beginning to the present belong[s] to General Wilson and his Allied staff and to Patch and his subordinate commanders. With the present chaotic conditions of the Germans in southern France, I hope that a junction of the north and south forces may be obtained at a much earlier date than was first anticipated.

  1. Sent via the White House Map Room to the United States Naval Attaché, London, via Navy channels. This message was based on a draft which Leahy had sent to Hyde Park in telegram No. Red 357 of September 3, 1944, which had been approved by Roosevelt with the insertion of the words “but I am completely open-minded on this and” in the second substantive paragraph.
  2. Ante, p. 223.