J. C. S. Files

No. 1268
Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff
1
top secret
C. C. S. 890/2

Control and Command in the War Against Japan

1.
The British Chiefs of Staff have considered the memorandum by the United States Chiefs of Staff (C. C. S. 890/1)2 on Control and Command in the War against Japan. They have the following comments to make.
2.
They fully understand that it will ultimately be necessary to obtain the agreement of the Generalissimo to the inclusion of Indo-China in Southeast Asia Command. They are anxious, however, that the United States Chiefs of Staff should support them in recommending to the President and the Prime Minister that they should press the Generalissimo to agree to this transfer. They suggest, therefore, that a recommendation to this effect should be included in the final report of the Terminal Conference.
3.
The British Chiefs of Staff note that the United States Chiefs of Staff consider it necessary to retain control of the Admiralty Islands. They, therefore, withdraw their proposal for the inclusion of these islands in the Australian command. They also agree not to press for the eastward extension of the present boundary of the Southwest Pacific Area until United States activities are cleared from the area. They note that the United States Chiefs of Staff would offer no objection to British operations against Ocean and Nauru Islands.
4.
The British Chiefs of Staff realize the advantages of an early transfer of the Southwest Pacific Area but are up against two difficulties. The first is the fact that Admiral Mountbatten is now fully [Page 1316]engaged on planning further operations. The assumption of further responsibilities at this particular stage must inevitably embarrass him. Secondly, we have no idea what degree of assistance the United States Chiefs of Staff are at present providing to the Borneo operations nor when those operations are due to be completed. On present information, therefore, we cannot assess the commitment we should be undertaking if we agree to the transfer on any particular date. We should like, therefore, to discuss this further with the United States Chiefs of Staff.
5.
On the question of the higher strategic control of the war against Japan, the British Chiefs of Staff wish to reiterate and amplify their view that they should now be given a larger share of control of strategy on the lines suggested in C. C. S. 890.3 They desire to bring to the notice of the United States Chiefs of Staff the following particular considerations:—
a.
The United States and Great Britain are the two major powers allied against Japan, and thus jointly responsible for the prosecution of the war. It is most desirable that they should consult freely on all matters of major strategic importance relating to the conduct of the war.
b.
The British Chiefs of Staff have an inescapable responsibility to advise His Majesty’s Government on the use to which British forces are put in all theatres of war.
c.
Although the United States are of course providing the major share, the war against Japan, like that against Germany, is being fought with pooled United States and British resources, particularly shipping. It is right, therefore, that the British should have full understanding and knowledge of the proposed methods of applying these resources.
6.
The British Chiefs of Staff wish to make it clear that the full extent of what they are asking is that they should be consulted on major strategic policy. They have no intention of suggesting interference with the operational control now accorded to General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz in whom they have the utmost confidence.
The British Chiefs of Staff ask, therefore, that the United States Chiefs of Staff should reconsider their attitude on this question.
  1. Considered by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at their 195th Meeting, July 18. See ante, p. 83.
  2. Document No. 1267.
  3. Document No. 604, printed in vol. i .