J. C. S. Files

No. 1271
Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff1
top secret
C. C. S. 890/3

Command in Indo-China

We agree that as a first step in reorganising command in Indo-China, there is advantage in dividing the country into two, leaving the northern portion in China Theatre and allotting the southern portion to Southeast Asia Command. This organisation of command should be subject to review in the light of the development of operations in that area.
We have examined the run of communications in Indo-China and suggest that the most satisfactory dividing line would be latitude 16° N.
We, therefore, recommend that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should include in their final report to the Prime Minister and President, a statement on the following lines:—

“We consider it important that there shall be unity of control of major operations in the Indo-China–Siam area when they develop and of previous subversive and para-military operations. As the first step in securing this unity of control, we are agreed that the best arrangement would be to include that portion of Indo-China lying south of latitude 16° North in Southeast Asia Command. This arrangement would continue General Wedemeyer’s control of that part of Indo-China which covers the flank of projected Chinese operations in China, and would enable Admiral Mountbatten to prepare the ground in the southern half of Indo-China where any initial operations by him would develop.

“We recommend that the President and the Prime Minister should approach the Generalissimo to secure his agreement to this arrangement.”

  1. Considered by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at their 199th Meeting, July 23. See ante, p. 294. Cf. document No. 1381, paragraph 14.