J.C.S. Files

Memorandum by the United States Chiefs of Staff1

top secret
C.C.S. 417/8

Operations for the Defeat of Japan, 1944–45

References: a. C.C.S. 417 Series2
b. C.C.S. 426 Series3

1. The agreed over-all objective in the war against Japan has been expressed as follows:

To force the unconditional surrender of Japan by:

Lowering Japanese ability and will to resist by establishing sea and air blockade, conducting intensive air bombardment and destroying Japanese air and naval strength.
Invading and seizing objectives in the industrial heart of Japan.

[Page 266]

2. Pursuant to the above, the United States Chiefs of Staff have evolved a course of action for planning purposes. The schedule of major operations comprising this course of action follows:

Target Date Objective
15 October 1944 Talaud
15 November 1944 Sarangani Bay
20 December 1944 Leyte–Surigao Area
1 March 1945 Formosa–Amoy Area
20 February 1945 Luzon

If the Formosa operation is undertaken, the following operations have been approved for planning purposes:

April 1945 Bonins
May 1945 Ryukyus
March to June 1945 China coast
(Foochow–Wenchow Area)
October 1945 Southern Kyushu
December 1945 Tokyo Plain

A course of action to follow the Luzon operation, if undertaken, is under study.

3. It is believed that operations should be devised to accomplish the defeat of Japan at the earliest possible date and to that end plans will retain flexibility and provision will be made to take full advantage of favorable developments in the strategic situation which may permit taking all manner of short cuts. It is proposed to exploit to the fullest the Allied superiority of naval and air power and to avoid, wherever possible, commitment to costly land campaigns. Unremitting submarine warfare against enemy shipping will be continued. Very long range bomber operations against Japan proper will be continued from China bases and will be instituted from bases being established in the Marianas and from bases to be seized in the future. The air forces in China will continue to support operations of the Chinese ground forces and will also provide the maximum practicable support for the campaign in the Pacific.

4. It is agreed that every effort should be made to bring the U.S.S.R. into the war against Japan at the earliest practicable date and planning for such contingency is continuing.

5. The views of the United States Chiefs of Staff on British participation in the war against Japan and operations in the Southeast Asia Command are contained in C.C.S. 452/214 and C.C.S. 452/25.5

6. It is recommended that the Combined Chiefs of Staff note the foregoing.

  1. For the discussion of this paper by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at their 173d Meeting, September 13, 1944, see post, p. 321. Although the schedule of operations defined in this paper was accepted as a basis for planning, certain of the target dates were overtaken by events during the Quebec Conference and the Combined Chiefs of Staff therefore omitted the schedule from their report to Roosevelt and Churchill (J.C.S. Files).
  2. For C.C.S. 417, “Over-All Plan for the Defeat of Japan”, December 2, 1943, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, p. 765. Concerning C.C.S. 417/1, see ibid., p. 736n. C.C.S. 417/2, December 23, 1943, circulated the text of C.C.S. 417 as amended by C.C.S. 417/1. In C.C.S. 417/3, July 11, 1944, the United States Chiefs of Staff proposed a redefinition of the over-all objective in the war against Japan (this proposed redefinition is quoted in paragraph 1 of C.C.S. 417/8, printed here). Marshall explained privately that this new definition was designed to allow for an invasion of the Japanese home islands (see Ehrman, p. 498). In C.C.S. 417/4, July 29, 1944, the British Chiefs of Staff agreed to the proposed redefinition, subject to certain assurances. These assurances were given by the United States Chiefs of Staff in C.C.S. 417/5, August 4, 1944, in the following terms: “The proposed amendment to the over-all objective in the war against Japan is in consonance with the Over-all Objective and with the Over-all Strategic Concept for the Prosecution of the War, as expressed by C.C.S. 426/1 [see fn. 3, below]. The United States Chiefs of Staff reaffirm the existing agreements relative to the priority of operations Overlord and Dragoon. They also reaffirm existing agreements relative to the effect on the over-all objective of extension of operations in the Pacific.” C.C.S. 417/6 and 417/7 are not printed. For the action taken at the Second Quebec Conference on the proposed redefinition, see C.C.S. 417/9, post, p. 440.
  3. For C.C.S. 426/1, “Report to the President and Prime Minister” on the conclusions of the Second Cairo Conference, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, p. 810.
  4. “Plans for Operations in Burma”, August 31, 1944, not printed.
  5. Ante, p. 257.