J. C. S. Files

No. 1288
Memorandum by the United States Chiefs of Staff1
top secret
C. C. S. 895

Participation of Two French Colonial Infantry Divisions in Far Eastern Operations

There are attached (Enclosure “A”) a memorandum in which the French propose to place a French corps of two infantry divisions under American command in the Pacific war and (Enclosure “B”) a reply proposed by the United States Chiefs of Staff. Since the British Chiefs of Staff may have views as to the areas in which these French troops should be employed, though perhaps not under United States command, their comment or concurrence is requested. General MacArthur proposes, if the French corps is assigned to him, to use it in the main effort against Japan in late spring of 1946.

[Page 1342]
[Enclosure A]
The Chief of the French Military Mission in the United States (Brossin de Saint Didier) to the Chief of Staff, United States Army (Marshall)
top secret
No. 432/EM

Memorandum for General George C. Marshall

Subject: French participation in Far Eastern operations

During conversations between President Truman and Mr. Bidault, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the French Provisional Government,2 on the one hand, and President Truman, General Marshall and General Juin on the other, the principle of a French participation in the war against Japan was viewed favorably.

Following these conversations, the French Government puts at the entire disposal of the American command, for operations in the Far East, an army corps comprising two divisions, besides corps-supporting and service units.

This army corps should include:—

1) The 9th Colonial Infantry Division, already well trained, having taken a brilliant part in the French and German campaigns.

In order to be able to operate in the Pacific war zone, this division would only require certain transfers of personnel (replacement by volunteers of men unfit for overseas duty).

The above will be ready to be shipped by the end of June.

It seems advisable that the 9th Division receive its equipment in the theater of operations.

2) The 1st Colonial Infantry Division of the Far East, planned several months ago. This division, whose colored troops will be replaced by trained European volunteers, from the French 1st Army, will be ready by the end of July, provided it receives its equipment on time.

It is to be expected that the latter unit, in view of the previous training of its personnel, will be ready for combat duty a month after receipt of its equipment.

To save time, immediate delivery of its equipment is therefore suggested.

In case the above is delivered only in the theater of operations, a corresponding delay would be needed by the 1st Division, from the time of receipt of its equipment, to participate in actual combat.

3) Supporting units and services of the army corps would also be ready by the end of July. Details of its equipping will have to be worked out in accord with the American command.

This army corps being put at the entire disposal of the American command, it seems logical to the French General Staff to give its units [Page 1343] an organization similar to that of corresponding American units in the Far East.

It is therefore requested, in regard to divisions as well as to supporting army corps units and services, that the types of units to be organized, be exactly defined.

It is finally suggested, in order to facilitate further negotiations, that Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, be authorized to deal directly with the French command in what concerns details of the matters herewith referred to.

A. M. Brossin de Saint Didier
[Enclosure B]
top secret


Memorandum for the Chief of the French Military Mission to the United States

With reference to your memorandum of 29 May 19453 addressed to the Chief of Staff, U. S. Army, the United States Chiefs of Staff accept in principle that portion of your proposal whereby the French Government puts at the entire disposal of the American command a French army corps of two infantry divisions, with corps-supporting and service units on the U. S. scale, for operations in the war against Japan. This acceptance in principle is with the understanding that the agreement on this matter with the French Government will include the following provisions:—
This French corps will be, both during the period of hostilities and in the post-hostilities readjustment period until released by the United States, subject to the complete command and control of the United States command in the same manner as a U. S. army corps.
Movement of the corps from France will be contingent upon the French corps having, in the opinion of the United States command, a combat efficiency based on United States standards.
Assurance that adequate trained replacements will be provided by the French Government as necessary.
Maximum use will be made of equipment provided under the North African and Metropolitan Rearmament Programs.
The implementation of this agreement including matters such as accompanying supporting and service units, provisions for equipment, and the planning and timing for the movement and employment of the corps will be in accordance with plans and arrangements to be determined by the United States military authorities who will deal directly with the French military authorities.
Pressing requirements for operations in the Pacific during the coming months make certain that it will not be possible to move this corps from France for at least several months after the dates you suggest, and it appears unlikely that this corps will be committed to operations prior to the spring of 1946.
The United States Chiefs of Staff will advise you further in this matter subsequent to the conclusion of a governmental agreement.
  1. Considered by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at their 196th Meeting, July 19. See ante, p. 113.
  2. See Department of State Bulletin, vol. xii, p. 927.
  3. Enclosure A, supra.