J.C.S. Files

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes
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1. Approval of the Minutes of the 174th Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff

Admiral Leahy said that the United States Chiefs of Staff recommend an alteration to the conclusion of Item 5 of the minutes.2 It was suggested that this should read:

“Agreed to recommend that for planning production and for allocation of manpower the date for the end of the war against Japan. . . .”3

Sir Alan Brooke said that this proposal was entirely acceptable.

Continuing, Admiral Leahy said there was one other alteration which should be made in the final sentence to General Arnold’s statement [Page 355] in Item 6. The number of B–29’s which had been diverted to tankers should read 20 and not 40.

Sir Charles Portal said that on page 7 of the minutes his statement, as to the date on which the ground echelons for the aircraft from Europe for use in the war against Japan would have to be taken out, should read “by” December and not “in” December.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Agreed to amend the conclusion to Item 5 of C.C.S. 174th Meeting to read as follows: “Agreed to recommend that the date for the end of the war against Japan, for planning production and for allocation of manpower should be set at 18 months after the defeat of Germany; this date to be adjusted periodically to conform to the course of the war.”
Approved the conclusions of the 174th Meeting as amended above. The detailed record of the meeting was approved subject to the amendments agreed during discussion and to later minor amendments.

2. Final Report to the President and Prime Minister

(C.C.S. 6804)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff discussed and accepted certain amendments to the report.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the final report to the President and Prime Minister, as amended in discussion. (Subsequently circulated as C.C.S. 680/1.5)

3. Communication of the Results of “Octagon

(C.C.S. 681;6 681/17)

Admiral Leahy suggested the insertion in the draft letter to Marshal Stalin in C.C.S. 681 of a final paragraph (paragraph 6) to read:

“Plans for the prompt transfer of power to the Pacific Theater after the collapse of Germany were agreed upon.”

Sir Alan Brooke accepted this amendment.

With reference to the two draft messages to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in C.C.S. 681/1, Sir Alan Brooke said that on balance he preferred the shorter draft in Enclosure “B.”

Admiral Leahy said that the United States Chiefs of Staff had certain deletions to suggest to the longer draft in Enclosure “A” which he would like to put forward.

[Page 356]

Admiral Leahy read out these suggestions.

Sir Alan Brooke said that these amendments were acceptable.

Continuing, Admiral Leahy proposed that a new sentence should be added to the draft in Enclosure “A” to read as follows:

“We have agreed on future operations to intensify the offensive against the Japanese in the Pacific Theater, including the opening of a seaway into China.”

Sir Alan Brooke said that this amendment was acceptable.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Subject to the amendments agreed in discussion, approved draft messages to Marshal Stalin and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek reporting the results of the Octagon Conference. (Subsequently circulated as C.C.S. 681/2.8)

4. Redeployment of Forces After the End of the War in Europe

(C.C.S. 6799)

Sir Alan Brooke said that the recommendation of the United States Chiefs of Staff contained in C.C.S. 679 was acceptable. He would like the words “the combined shipping authorities” inserted after the words “Combined Military Transportation Committee” in paragraph 3.

Admiral Leahy accepted this amendment.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved C.C.S. 679 subject to insertion in the third line of paragraph 3 of the words “combined shipping authorities” after the word “Committee.”

5. Combined Personnel Movement Problem Arising the First Year After the Defeat of Germany

(C.C.S. 675/210)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff had before them a memorandum by Lord Leathers and General Somervell indicating the magnitude of the combined shipping movements which might be required during the first year after the defeat of Germany.

Sir Alan Brooke said that Lord Leathers had explained to him that the paper was designed merely to show the magnitude of the problem rather than to give entirely accurate figures.

General Somervell confirmed that this was the case.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note of C.C.S. 675/2.

[Page 357]

6. Operation “Highball

(C.C.S. 68211)

Sir Charles Portal and Sir Andrew Cunningham gave a description of Operation Highball. They undertook to send the United States a film on this operation.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note:

That Operation Highball would be available in the Eastern Theater at the end of November 1944.
That the British Chiefs of Staff would send an informational film and technical data to the United States Chiefs of Staff.

7. Release to the Press of Information on “Mulberry

(Scaf 7912)

Sir Alan Brooke said that it had been suggested that information with regard to Mulberry should be released to the press. General Eisenhower was not, however, prepared to make such a release unless he was instructed to do so by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

Admiral King said that base facilities in the Pacific were limited and it might well be that Mulberry would be required in that theater, in which case it would be obviously disadvantageous if the Japanese were informed as to their potentialities.

Sir Andrew Cunningham agreed with Admiral King that if there was any chance of using them in the Pacific it was far wiser to release nothing to the press on Mulberry for the present.

Sir Alan Brooke said that in view of the potentialities of Mulberry for the war against Japan he agreed that security on these should be retained.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Agreed that security implications affecting other theaters precluded the release of information on Mulberry.13

[Page 358]

8. Possible Statement To Be Made to the Press by the President and Prime Minister

General Marshall suggested that there might be advantages in a statement being made, possibly by the President and Prime Minister, to the effect that the only difficulty encountered at the Conference was the problem of providing employment for all the Allied forces who were eager to participate in the war against Japan. The difficulty had arisen as a result of the keenness of the competition to employ the maximum possible forces for the defeat of Japan. This was a fact and issued to the press should help to undermine Japanese morale.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note that General Ismay would prepare a suitable statement for consideration.14

9. Progress of the Campaign in the Pacific

Admiral King outlined the extremely successful operations recently undertaken by Admiral Halsey’s Task Force 38 and the Fifth Air Force against the Japanese in the Leyte area, where some 500 Japanese aircraft had been destroyed. In view of the success of these operations it had been decided, after consultation with Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur, to advance the date of subsequently planned operations by about two months.15

General Marshall said that he felt that the success of recent operations, particularly against the Japanese air, and the decision to advance the dates for future operations would have a decisive effect on what the Japanese could do in Burma.

General Arnold pointed out that the Japanese Air Force was no longer fighting with the will to win. The pilots lacked determination [Page 359] and even in the Philippines it seemed that the Japanese Air Force had neither the will nor the wherewithal to act offensively.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note with interest of Admiral King’s remarks on the progress of the campaign in the Pacific.

10. Hour of Next Meeting

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Agreed tentatively to meet at 1000 on Saturday, 16 September.

  1. The amendments suggested in this section of the minutes of the 175th Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff have been incorporated in the minutes of the 174th Meeting as printed ante, p. 331.
  2. Ellipsis in the source text.
  3. Post, pp. 434, 454.
  4. “Report to the President and Prime Minister”, September 15, 1944. This paper is not printed as such, but the text of its enclosure can be reconstructed from the enclosure to C.C.S. 680/2, post, p. 469, and the footnotes thereto.
  5. “Message to Marshal Stalin To Be Sent at the Conclusion of ‘Octagon’” September 14, 1944; not printed. For the text of the message sent to Stalin, see post, p. 478.
  6. Post, p. 460.
  7. For the messages dispatched to Stalin and Chiang, see post, pp. 478, 479.
  8. Post, p. 453.
  9. Post, p. 457.
  10. Post, p. 462.
  11. Telegram No. Scaf 79 from SHAEF Forward to the War Department, September 11, 1944 (relayed to Quebec as telegram No. 29208 and received there as Octagon–in–62, September 12), reads as follows:

    “Consider time is approaching when there would be no objection on the part of this headquarters to the release of Mulberry stories to the press, but we are aware there may be security implications affecting other theaters, and we shall not release unless so instructed by you.

    “No evidence that details [of] construction, operation or capacity have been compromised and all steps have been taken to continue to safeguard security.”

  12. This decision was communicated to SHAEF in telegram No. Facs 79 (Octagon–out–41), September 16, 1944.
  13. For Ismay’s draft statement, dated September 15, and for his covering note to Leahy of the same date, see post, pp. 457 and 456, respectively.
  14. Cf. the following paragraphs from a memorandum of September 18, 1944, from Marshall to the Chief Signal Officer with regard to Octagon communications:

    “The complete communications service installed by Brigadier General F. E. Stoner for the Octagon Conference in Quebec facilitated to an unusual degree the transaction of business during the meeting. The direct teletype communications to all theaters were especially helpful.

    “At one time it became necessary to exchange views with General MacArthur in Hollandia, New Guinea, and to issue instructions to take advantage of a favorable strategic situation which had suddenly developed. A message was received from General MacArthur at Octagon at 8:17 P.M. E.W.T. September 15th [14th] which was carried by hand to General Handy who drafted a reply. This was, in turn, delivered to the Joint Chiefs of Staff who were then some distance away. The reply, including time consumed by couriers, was sent an hour and a half later, at 9:47 P.M. General MacArthur’s answer came through at 9:49 P.M., or two minutes later.” (Department of the Army Files)

    This incident is mentioned also in Arnold, pp. 527–528, and King, pp. 570–572, and is described in some detail in Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, July 1, 1943 to June 80, 1945, to the Secretary of War (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1945), p. 71.