740.0011 P.W./8–2944

The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of State

top secret

My Dear Mr. Secretary: The Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the views of the British Chiefs of Staff regarding a request by the French Committee of National Liberation that the French should take a more active part in the war against Japan as set out in the enclosure.1

Indo-China is in the China theater of war, and therefore is an area of United States strategic responsibility. The question of the boundaries of the Southeast Asia Command were discussed at Sextant and while no affirmative action was taken, the discussion indicated that the President and the United States Chiefs of Staff were in general agreement with the views expressed by the Generalissimo,2 as follows:

  • a. When the time comes for two theaters to launch assaults upon the enemy in Thailand and Indo-China, the Chinese troops will attack from the north, and the troops under the command of the Southeast Asia Theater, Mountbatten, are expected to make full use of facilities afforded by the ports and air bases under its control and attack from the south. If the troops are landed in those countries, the boundaries between the two theaters are to be decided at the time in accordance with the progress of advances the respective forces made.
  • b. All matters of a political nature that arise during operations will be dealt with at a Chinese-British-American Committee which is to be located in the headquarters of the Supreme Commander of the China theater.”3

Admiral Mountbatten was willing to accept the suggestion of the Generalissimo in so far as the boundaries were concerned but objected to the political commissions.

It would seem that in view of our arrangements with the Dutch relative to the Dutch East Indies, and of our impending conversations with the Portuguese concerning Timor, we should recognize, in so far [Page 253] as they are consistent with our national policies, the French desires concerning Indo-China. The extent and timing of such arrangements should be under continuing examination with the view of best serving our over-all interests.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, from a military point of view, concur with the British views set forth in the enclosure except that they believe French participation in the planning of political warfare (paragraph 2 (iv) of the enclosure) should be restricted to the area of the Southeast Asia Command.4

Sincerely yours,

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
William D Leahy

Admiral, U.S. Navy
Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy
  1. Concerning the enclosure, C.C.S. 644, see ante, p. 248, fn. 2.
  2. Chiang Kai-shek.
  3. See Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, p. 392.
  4. The text of this letter was communicated to the British authorities in C.C.S. 644/1, August 30, 1944. There was no further action on the C.C.S. 644 series until after the Second Quebec Conference.