The Combined Chiefs of Staff to President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill1
Enclosure to C.C.S. 680/2
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 Germany and Japan.2[Page 470]
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 Germany.3
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.
5. Upon the defeat of Germany,4 in cooperation with other Pacific Powers and with Russia,5 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:
- Maintain the security and war-making capacity of the Western Hemisphere and the British Isles.
- Support the war-making capacity of our forces in all areas.
- Maintain vital overseas lines of communication.
- Continue the disruption of enemy sea communications.6
- Continue the offensive against Germany.7
- Undertake such measures as may be necessary and practicable to aid the war effort of Russia to include coordinating the action of forces.
- 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.
- Continue assistance to the French and Italian forces to enable them to fulfill an active role in the war against Germany and/or Japan.8 Within the limits of our available resources, to assist other cobelligerents to the extent they are able effectively to employ this assistance against the enemy Powers9 in the present war.
- 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.
- Continue operations leading to the earliest practicable invasion of Japan.
iv. execution of the over-all strategic concept
Defeat of Germany10
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 RAF Bomber Command, passed to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force.11 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 Europe shall be exercised by the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force12 and the Commanding General, United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe13 acting jointly for the Chief of the Air Staff, RAF14 and the Commanding General, United States Army Air Forces,15 the latter acting as agents of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. A directive (C.C.S. 520/6)16 has accordingly been issued to the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, RAF and the Commanding General, United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe.
Operations in Northwest Europe
8. The Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force has reported (Scaf 7817) 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 be18 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.[Page 472]
10. We have approved General Eisenhower’s proposals and drawn his attention (Facs 7819):
- To the advantages of the northern line of approach into Germany, as opposed to the southern, and,
- 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 77420) on operations within his theater. In so far as the battle in Italy is concerned he considers that operations will develop in one of two ways:
- 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,
- 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.
12. We have agreed:
- That no major units should be withdrawn from Italy until the outcome of General Alexander’s present offensive is known;
- 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.
- 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 41521).
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:
- 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. [Page 473]
- The small land forces in the22 Adriatic which are being actively used primarily for commando type operations.
Command of “Dragoon” Forces
14. Command of the Dragoon forces operating from southern France has been transferred as from the 15th September to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force (Facs 7623).
15. Adjustments of the ground and air forces 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 in Moscow24 suggested that improvement should be 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 Moscow25 to initiate action at once with the Soviet General Staff with a view to the setting up in Moscow of a Tripartite Military Committee consisting of senior representatives of the Russian General Staff, of the United States Chiefs of Staff and of the British Chiefs of Staff.26
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 be military in its character and27 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 United States 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 United States and British sides the heads of the present missions would represent the United States and British Chiefs of Staff respectively, each being responsible to his own Chiefs of Staff.[Page 474]
The War Against Japan
Over-All Objective in the War Against Japan
21. We have agreed that the over-all objective in the war against Japan should be expressed as follows:
To force the unconditional surrender of Japan by:
- Lowering Japanese ability and will to resist by establishing sea and air blockades, conducting intensive air bombardment, and destroying Japanese air and naval strength.
- Ultimately28 invading and seizing objectives in the industrial heart of Japan.
Operations in the Pacific Area
22. We believe that operations must be devised to accomplish the defeat of Japan at the earliest possible date and to that end our plans should retain flexibility, and provision should be made to take full advantage of possible developments in the strategic situation which may permit taking all manner of short cuts. We propose 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 the enemy ships 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 those 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 practical support for the campaign in the Pacific.
23. Pursuant to the above, the operations in the Pacific Theater are being conducted to effect the reconquest of the Philippines and the opening of a seaway to China.
24. We have noted that British operations against Japan, not yet approved, will require the allocation of resources. In planning production these requirements will be borne in mind.
British Empire Participation in the Pacific29
25. We have agreed that the British Fleet should participate in the main operations against Japan in the Pacific, with the understanding that this Fleet will be balanced and self-supporting. The method of the employment of the British Fleet in these main operations in the Pacific will be decided from time to time in accordance with the prevailing circumstances.
26. We have invited the British Chiefs of Staff to put forward, as a basis for planning, an estimate in general terms of the contribution [Page 475]the Royal Air Force will be prepared to make in the main operations against Japan.
27. Canadian participation is accepted in principle.30
Operations in Southeast Asia
28. We have agreed that our object in Southeast Asia is the recapture of all Burma at the earliest date, it being understood that operations to achieve this object must not prejudice the security of the existing air supply route to China, including the air staging base at Myitkyina, and the opening of overland communications.
29. We have approved the following operations:—
- Stages of Operation Capital necessary to the security of the air route and the attainment of overland communications with China;
- Operation Dracula.
We attach the greatest importance to the discharge of the task under paragraph 2931 and to the execution of Operation Dracula before the monsoon in 1945 and with a target date of 15 March. If Dracula has to be postponed until after the monsoon of 1945, it is our intention to exploit Operation Capital as far as may be possible without prejudice to preparations for the execution of Operation Dracula in November, 1945. Our directive to the Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia is attached. (See Annex)
Redeployment After the End of the War in Europe
30. We consider that the whole problem of the redeployment of forces after the end of the war in Europe, including repatriation, needs combined study in order to assure the optimum use of the resources involved, including personnel and cargo shipping, and to make certain that the forces required for operations against Japan will reach the theater of war at the earliest date. We have accordingly instructed the combined staffs in consultation with the combined shipping authorities to study and report on this problem, submitting to the Combined Chiefs of Staff such questions as may require decision before completion of the study.
Duration of the War Against Japan
31. We feel that it is important to agree and promulgate a planning date for the end of the war against Japan. This date is necessary for the purpose of planning production and the allocation of manpower.
32. We recommend that the planning date for the end of the war against Japan should be set at 18 months after the defeat of Germany; [Page 476]this date to be adjusted periodically to conform to the course of the war.
allocation of zones of occupation in germany32
33. Upon the collapse of organized resistance by the German Army the following subdivision of that part of Germany not allocated to the Soviet Government for disarmament, policing, and the perservation of order is acceptable from a military point of view by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
34. For disarmament, policing and preservation of order:
- The British forces under a British Commander will occupy Germany west of the Rhine and east of the Rhine north of the line from Koblenz following the northern border of Hessen and Nassau to the border of the area allocated to the Soviet Government.
- The forces of the United States under a United States Commander will occupy Germany east of the Rhine, south of the line Koblenz-northern border of Hessen-Nassau and west of the area allocated to the Soviet Government.
- Control of the ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven, and the necessary staging areas in that immediate vicinity will be vested in the Commander of the American Zone.33
- American area to have in addition access through the western and northwestern seaports and passage through the British controlled area.
- Accurate delineation of the above outlined British and American areas of control can be made at a later date.
W[inston] S C[hurchill]34
- At their meeting with the Combined Chiefs of Staff on September 16, 1944 (see ante, p. 377), Roosevelt and Churchill had before them a draft of this report (C.C.S. 680/1 (Octagon), “Report to the President and Prime Minister”, September 15, 1944). This draft is not printed as such, but the changes which Roosevelt and Churchill made in it are described in the footnotes below.↩
- C.C.S. 680/1 read “the unconditional surrender of the Axis Powers”.↩
- C.C.S. 680/1 read “the unconditional surrender of the Axis in Europe”.↩
- C.C.S. 680/1 read “defeat of the Axis in Europe”.↩
- C.C.S. 680/1 read “and, if possible, with Russia”.↩
- C.C.S. 680/1 read “Axis sea communications”.↩
- C.C.S. 680/1 read “against the Axis Powers in Europe”.↩
- C.C.S. 680/1 read “against the Axis Powers”.↩
- C.C.S. 680/1 read “Axis Powers”.↩
- C.C.S. 680/1 read “Defeat of the Axis in Europe”.↩
- General Dwight D. Eisenhower.↩
- Air Marshal Sir Norman Bottomley.↩
- Lieutenant General Carl Spaatz.↩
- Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Charles Portal.↩
- General Henry H. Arnold.↩
- Ante, p. 432.↩
- Ante, p. 234↩
- The additional word “one” appears at this point in C.C.S. 680/1.↩
- Ante, p. 428.↩
- Ante, p. 230.↩
- See ante, p. 430, fn. 2.↩
- The words “in the” did not appear in C.C.S. 680/1.↩
- See ante, p. 428, fn. 1.↩
- W. Averell Harriman.↩
- Major General John R. Deane and Lieutenant General Montagu Brocas Burrows, respectively.↩
- See ante, p. 403.↩
- The word “ultimately” did not appear in C.C.S. 680/1.↩
- The words “be military in its character and” did not appear in C.C.S. 680/1.↩
- C.C.S. 680/1 read “British Participation in the Pacific”.↩
- This paragraph did not appear in C.C.S. 680/1. Its introduction in C.C.S. 680/2 necessitated the renumbering of all the following paragraphs of C.C.S. 680/1. Concerning acceptance of Canadian participation in the Pacific war, see ante, pp. 349, 364, 379.↩
- C.C.S. 680/1 read “We attach the greatest importance to the vigorous prosecution of Operation Capital”.↩
- This final section did not appear in C.C.S. 680/1. Concerning the decision at Quebec by Roosevelt and Churchill with respect to allocation of the zones of occupation in Germany and the conversion of that decision to documentary form through the machinery of the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff, see ante, pp. 365, 373, 375, 391– 392.↩
- The map facing this page was prepared in Washington, shortly after the Quebec Conference, to reflect the lines described here and was annexed to C.C.S. 320/27. See ante, p. 392.↩
- According to Leahy, p. 264, Roosevelt and Churchill affixed their signatures to the final report of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, as amended and approved, at Hyde Park on September 18, 1944. On that date the Secretaries of the Combined Chiefs of Staff circulated a new cover page for the final report (C.C.S. 680/2, “Report to the President and Prime Minister”, September 16, 1944) which read as follows: “The Final Report of the Combined Chiefs of Staff on the Octagon Conference, as approved by the President and Prime Minister, is enclosed.”↩
- The annex to C.C.S. 680/1 read “Your object is the recapture of all Burma at the earliest date.”↩
- The annex to C.C.S. 680/1 read “attach the greatest importance to the vigorous prosecution of Operation Capital”.↩