J. C. S. Files
Memorandum by the United States
Chiefs of Staff
C. C. S. 877/5
Basic Objectives, Strategy, and Policies
- The United States Chiefs of Staff having considered the proposals concerning the “Basic Objectives, Strategy and Policies” made by the British Chiefs of Staff in C. C. S. 877/4, wish to make their position clear. They consider that the basic undertakings should be confined to broad statements concerning the military conduct of the war. As a result of the changed circumstances arising from the defeat of Germany and the practical capability of the British Commonwealth to support its own forces in the field, they are operating on the basis that approval of the issue to allied governments of lend-lease munitions [Page 1305]of war and military and naval equipment will be limited to that which is to be used in the war against Japan and which will not be used for any other purpose. They do not propose to subscribe to any statements which deviate from this principle. They consider that occupation forces are not a subject for combined military commitments. Matters relating to post-war armies are also not susceptible to combined military commitments. Any arrangements which the British wish to make on these subjects are beyond the purview of the United States Chiefs of Staff and should be taken up on the governmental level.
- Considering in detail the proposed changes, the United States Chiefs of Staff have understood that throughout the entire period of the two-front war the combined commitment limited to supporting the war-making capacity of the British Isles has been satisfactory to the British Chiefs of Staff. In light of the limited information available to the United States Chiefs of Staff, it appears that the war effort of the British Commonwealth in the future is going to be less than that generated over the period when the commitment as previously worded was satisfactory; also certain portions of this war-making capacity will be devoted to other than the war effort against Japan. Since it is realized that certain parts of the British Commonwealth will make a contribution to the war against Japan there is no objection to a statement which confines the combined military commitment to matters clearly connected with the prosecution of the war against Japan. Therefore the United States Chiefs of Staff propose to substitute in their paragraph III 4 b. the words “British Commonwealth” for “British Isles” and substitute “the war against Japan” for “this war.”
- The change proposed by the British Chiefs of Staff in paragraph 4 c. to include forces “destined for combat areas” is acceptable if rephrased to indicate clearly that it applies only to forces specifically designated for employment in combat areas against Japan. The United States Chiefs of Staff propose that the subparagraph 4 c. read in part “…2 those forces in or designated for employment in combat areas in the war against Japan.” The proposal contained in paragraph III 6 c. that the United States make a military commitment to support forces engaged in other than the prosecution of the war against Japan is unacceptable for reasons indicated in the first paragraph of this memorandum.
- The proposal to strike out the last sentence of paragraph III 6 c. is acceptable. However, the United States Chiefs of Staff are willing [Page 1306]to retain it in view of the fact they do not accept the inclusion in the basic undertakings of paragraph 7 proposed by the British.
- The proposed paragraph 7 is beyond the purview of the United States Chiefs of Staff. They are not in a position to make military commitments on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the United Kingdom or on the matter of supplies for liberated Allies. Furthermore, the inclusion of terms concerning a specific resource such as cargo shipping in the basic undertakings is unacceptable. The purpose of the basic undertakings includes provision of a guide to the operating agencies for the allocation and the determination of priorities concerning all resources, not only cargo shipping, but forces and munitions of war. The United States Chiefs of Staff, however, will accept the inclusion in the final report to the President and Prime Minister, but not in the basic undertakings[,] of a statement concerning cargo shipping which is limited to matters within their purview. The statement proposed by the British Chiefs of Staff changed as indicated below is acceptable to the United States Chiefs of Staff:—
“Present estimates of the requirements for cargo shipping indicate the position to be sufficiently manageable to provide for the maximum effort in the prosecution of the war against Japan, for the maintenance of the war-making capacity of the British Commonwealth of Nations and the Western Hemisphere, insofar as it is connected with the prosecution of the war against Japan, and for an additional amount for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the United Kingdom, and for supplies to liberated areas civilian requirements. Should further military demands arise for maintaining the maximum war effort which would bring about a substantial conflict arise with British rehabilitation and reconstruction plans, and supplies to liberated areas, the shipping situation will be examined a matter for examination by the two Governments at the time and in the light of changed conditions.”*
- For purposes of ready reference the statement of policy concerning strategy and basic undertakings is included in the Enclosure using the redraft of the British Chiefs of Staff in C. C. S. 877/4 and with the changes indicated above shown by italicizing and underlining.
- It is recommended that the Combined Chiefs of Staff approve the statement in the Enclosure.