J.C.S. Files

Draft Report by the Combined Chiefs of Staff to President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill 1

top secret
Enclosure to C.C.S. 680

Report to the President and Prime Minister of the Agreed Summary of Conclusions Reached by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at the “Octagon” Conference

1. The agreed summary of the conclusions reached at Octagon Conference is submitted herewith:—

i. over-all, objective

2. In conjunction with Russia and other Allies, to bring about at the earliest possible date the unconditional surrender of the Axis Powers.

ii. over-all strategic concept for the prosecution of the war

3. In cooperation with Russia and other Allies, to bring about at the earliest possible date the unconditional surrender of the Axis in Europe.

4. Simultaneously, in cooperation with other Pacific Powers concerned, to maintain and extend unremitting pressure against Japan with the purpose of continually reducing her military power and attaining positions from which her ultimate surrender can be forced. The effect of any such extension on the over-all objective to be given consideration by the Combined Chiefs of Staff before action is taken.

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5. Upon the defeat of the Axis in Europe, in cooperation with other Pacific Powers and, if possible, with Russia, to direct the full resources of the United States and Great Britain to bring about at the earliest possible date the unconditional surrender of Japan.

iii. basic undertakings in support of over-all strategic concept

6. Whatever operations are decided on in support of the over-all strategic concept, the following established undertakings will be a first charge against our resources, subject to review by the Combined Chiefs of Staff in keeping with the changing situation:

a.
Maintain the security and war-making capacity of the Western Hemisphere and the British Isles.
b.
Support the war-making capacity of our forces in all areas.
c.
Maintain vital overseas lines of communication.
d.
Continue the disruption of Axis sea communications.
e.
Continue the offensive against the Axis Powers in Europe.
f.
Undertake such measures as may be necessary and practicable to aid the war effort of Russia to include coordinating the action of forces.
g.
Undertake such measures as may be necessary and practicable in order to aid the war effort of China as an effective Ally and as a base for operations against Japan.
h.
Continue assistance to the French and Italian forces to enable them to fulfill an active role in the war against the Axis Powers. Within the limits of our available resources, to assist other co-belligerents to the extent they are able effectively to employ this assistance against the Axis Powers in the present war.
i.
Reorient forces from the European Theater to the Pacific and Far East as a matter of highest priority having regard to other agreed and/or inescapable commitments as soon as the German situation allows.
j.
Continue operations leading to the earliest practicable invasion of Japan.

iv. execution of the over-all strategic concept

Defeat of the Axis in Europe

Control of Strategic Bomber Forces in Europe

7. Prior to the launching of Overlord an air plan was developed by the Supreme Commander in preparation for and in support of Overlord , and in April, 1944, control of the air operations out of England of all the Air Forces involved including the Strategic Air Force and the R.A.F. Bomber Command passed to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force. We have now decided that the special conditions which made it desirable that the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force, should control all forces operating out of the United Kingdom no longer carry their original force. We have therefore agreed that the control of the Strategic Bomber Force in [Page 436] Europe shall be exercised by the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force and the Commanding General, United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe acting jointly for the Chief of the Air Staff, R.A.F. and the Commanding General, United States Army Air Forces, the latter acting as agents of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. A Directive (C.C.S.___2) has accordingly been issued to the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, R.A.F. and the Commanding General, United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe ( Facs ____).

Operations in North West Europe

8. The Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force, has reported ( Scaf 783) on the course of operations in France and the Low Countries and has given us a review of his future intentions.

9. The Supreme Commander’s broad intention is to press on with all speed to destroy the German armed forces and occupy the heart of Germany. He considers his best opportunity of defeating the enemy in the west lies in striking at the Ruhr and Saar since he is convinced that the enemy will concentrate the remainder of his available forces in the defense of these essential areas. The Supreme Commander’s first operation will be one to break the Siegfried Line and seize crossings over the Rhine. In doing this his main effort will be on the left. He will then prepare logistically and otherwise for a deep thrust into Germany.

10. We have approved General Eisenhower’s proposals and drawn his attention ( Facs 784):

a.
to the advantages of the northern line of approach into Germany, as opposed to the southern, and
b.
to the necessity for the opening up of the northwest ports, particularly Antwerp and Rotterdam, before bad weather sets in.

Operations in Italy

11. We have examined a report by General Wilson ( Naf 7745) on operations within his theatre. In so far as the battle in Italy is concerned he considers that operations will develop in one of two ways:

a.
Either Kesselring’s forces will be routed, in which case it should be possible to undertake a rapid regrouping and a pursuit towards the Ljubljana Gap (and across the Alps through the Brenner Pass) leaving a small force to clear up northwest Italy, or
b.
Kesselring’s Army will succeed in effecting an orderly withdrawal, in which event it does not seem possible that we can do more than clear the Lombardy Plains this year. Difficult terrain and severe weather in the Alps during winter would prevent another major offensive until spring of 1945.

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12. We have agreed:

a.
that no forces should be withdrawn from. Italy until the outcome of General Alexander’s present offensive is known.
b.
that the desirability of withdrawing formations of the United States Fifth Army should be reconsidered in the light of the results of General Alexander’s present offensive and of a German withdrawal in northern Italy and in the light of the views of General Eisenhower.
c.
to inform General Wilson that if he wishes to retain for use in the Istrian Peninsula the amphibious lift at present in the Mediterranean he should submit his plan therefor to the Combined Chiefs of Staff as soon as possible, and not later than 10th October. We have instructed the Supreme Allied Commander accordingly ( Fan 4156).

Operations in the Balkans

13. General Wilson considers that a situation can be anticipated in which the bulk of the German forces south of a line Trieste-Ljubljana-Zagreb and the Danube will be immobilized and will so remain until their supplies are exhausted, in which case they would be ready to surrender to us or will be liquidated by Partisans or the Russian forces. We have noted that as long as the battle in Italy continues there will be no forces available in the Mediterranean to employ in the Balkans except:

a.
the small force of two British brigades from Egypt which is being held ready to occupy the Athens area and so pave the way for the commencement of relief and establishment of law and order and the Greek Government.
b.
the small Adriatic land forces which are being actively used primarily for commando type operations.

Command of “Dhagoon” Forces

14. Command of the Dragoon forces operating in Southern France has been transferred as from the 15th September to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force ( Facs 767).

15. Initial adjustments to the command of the air forces operating in support of Dragoon forces have been made. Further adjustments, on which the decision of the Combined Chiefs of Staff will be required, are dependent on the development of the campaign in Italy.

16. Logistic support for the Dragoon forces will for the present continue to be supplied from the Mediterranean area.

Machinery for Coordination of United States-Soviet-British Military Effort

17. Some two months ago Marshal Stalin in conversation with the U.S. Ambassador to Moscow8 suggested that improvement should be [Page 438] made in the system of military coordination between the U.S.S.R., U.S. and the United Kingdom.

18. We have examined the possibility of improving the coordination with the U.S.S.R. and have instructed the heads of the U.S. and British Military Missions in Moscow9 to initiate action at once with the Soviet General Staff with a view to the setting up in Moscow of a Military Committee consisting of Senior Representatives of the Russian General Staff, of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff and of the British Chiefs of Staff.10

19. We have instructed them to make it clear that this Committee will be purely consultative and advisory, with no power to make decisions without reference to the respective Chiefs of Staff and the Russian General Staff and further, that it must not impinge upon the work at present being done by the European Advisory Commission such as civil affairs, et cetera.

20. In our instructions we have stressed that to eliminate the delays now existent in dealings between the Russians and the U.S. and British Military Missions, it is essential that the Russian representative on the Committee should be a senior member of the Russian General Staff. On the U.S. and British sides the heads of the present missions would represent the U.S. and British Chiefs of Staff respectively, each being responsible to his own Chiefs of Staff.11

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  1. Submitted for consideration by the Combined Chiefs of Staff under cover of a note by the Secretaries of the Combined Chiefs of Staff (C.C.S. 680, “Report to the President and Prime Minister”, September 14, 1944). Concerning the discussion of this draft report by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at their 175th Meeting, September 15, 1944, see ante, p. 355. For the text of the final report submitted by the Combined Chiefs of Staff to Roosevelt and Churchill at the conclusion of the Second Quebec Conference, see post, p. 469.
  2. The blanks in this paragraph appear in the source text. The directive referred to was the enclosure to C.C.S. 520/6, supra.
  3. Ante, p. 234.
  4. Ante, p. 428.
  5. Ante, p. 230.
  6. See ante, p. 430, fn. 2.
  7. See ante, p. 428, fn. 1.
  8. W. Averell Harriman.
  9. Major General John R. Deane and Lieutenant General Montagu Brocas Burrows, respectively.
  10. See ante, p. 403.
  11. For the remaining paragraphs of this draft report, which dealt with the war in the Pacific, see post, p. 454.