740.00119 EW/10–1344

The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of State

top secret

My Dear Mr. Secretary: It is understood that the immediate disposition of units of the German fleet in connection with the imposition of surrender terms upon the defeat of Germany is presently under advisement in the European Advisory Commission, and that it has been tentatively agreed that the ultimate disposition of the units of the German fleet will be a matter for decision by the governments of the United Nations concerned.

It is the view of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that, except for the retention of a limited number of ships for experimental and test pur poses, the German fleet should be completely destroyed.

In the event that agreement cannot be reached with the Russians and the British on this basis, the United States should press for either:

A one-third share of each category of ships in the German fleet; or
Agreement that all capital ships, such as battleships, pocket battleships and heavy cruisers, and submarines be destroyed, while smaller craft and more lightly armed vessels be shared equally by the United States, Russia, and Great Britain.1

Sincerely yours,

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
William D. Leahy

Admiral, U.S. Navy
Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy
  1. For action taken on this memorandum by Roosevelt after the Second Quebec Conference, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. i, p. 356.