Roosevelt Papers: Telegram
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to Marshal Stalin1
Number 66, top secret and personal to Marshal Stalin from the United States Government and His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom.
1. In our Conference at Quebec just concluded we have arrived at the following decisions as to military operations.
Operations in North West Europe
2. It is our intention to press on with all speed to destroy the German armed forces and penetrate into the heart of Germany. The best opportunity to defeat the enemy in the west lies in striking at the Kuhr and Saar since it is there that the enemy will concentrate the remainder of his available forces in the defence of these essential areas. The northern line of approach clearly has advantages over the southern and it is essential that we should open up the northwest ports, particularly Antwerp and Rotterdam, before bad weather sets in. Our main effort will therefore be on the left.
Operations in Italy
3. As a result of our present operations in Italy
- 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; or
- Kesselring’s army will succeed in effecting an orderly withdrawal, in which event we may have to be content with clearing the Lombardy Plains this year.
Our future action depends on the progress of the battle. Plans are being prepared for an amphibious operation on the Istrian Peninsula to be carried out if the situation so demands.
Operations in the Balkans
4. Operations of our air forces and Commando type operations will continue.
Operations Against Japan
5. We have agreed on further operations to intensify the offensive against the Japanese in all theaters, with the ultimate objective of invading the Japanese homeland.
6. Plans for the prompt transfer of power to the Pacific theater after the collapse of Germany were agreed upon.
Sent to the White House Map Room at Washington, which transmitted it on September 18, 1944, to the United States Naval Attaché, Moscow, via Navy channels. It was preceded by the following telegram of instructions from the President’s Naval Aide (Brown) to the Naval Attaché: “My immediately following message is top secret. It should be seen only by Alusna, a decoder appointed by him and the Ambassador [Harriman] who is then requested to deliver it to the British Ambassador [Clark Kerr]. If possible it should then be delivered by the British and American Ambassadors jointly to Marshal Stalin. Message should be carefully paraphrased before delivery. Acknowledge receipt and delivery.” (J.C.S. Files) Harriman reported in telegram No. 3664, September 25, 1944, that he and Clark Kerr had jointly delivered the message to Stalin on September 23. (740.0011 EW/9-2544)
A first draft of the message to Stalin had been prepared by the Combined Secretariat of the Combined Chiefs and circulated as the enclosure to C.C.S. 681, “Message to Marshal Stalin To Be Sent at the Conclusion of Octagon”, September 14, 1944 (not printed). For the discussion and amendment of the message by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at their 175th Meeting, September 15, 1944, see ante, p. 355. The revised message was then incorporated into enclosure A to C.C.S. 681/2, “Communication offensive the Results of ‘Octagon’ Conference to Marshal Stalin and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek”, September 15, 1944 (not printed), and was approved by Roosevelt and Churchill during their meeting with the Combined Chiefs of Staff on September 16 (see ante, p. 382).↩