J. C. S. Files

Joint Chiefs of Staff Minutes2

top secret

General Antonov asked General Marshall if he would preside at the meeting.

General Marshall said that he appreciated the honor but under the circumstances he suggested General Antonov preside and he hoped that he would accept.

General Antonov asked if General Marshall had had an opportunity to become acquainted with the answers to the five questions General Marshall had given him at the meeting on 24 July3 (See Annex to these minutes).4 He said that Generalissimo Stalin had handed the written answers to President Truman yesterday at eleven o’clock a.m.

[Page 409]

General Marshall said that he was sorry that he had not seen the answers which had been prepared by General Antonov.

General Antonov then read the answer to the first question as follows:—

The Soviet Command agrees to establish in Petropavlovsk and Khabarovsk radio stations for transmitting weather data in accordance with the request made in a letter from President Truman delivered on 23 July 1945.5 The Soviet Command is ready to accept and use the radio stations and equipment proposed in that letter for the above purpose.

As regards the personnel for maintaining and operating the stations, we consider it wiser to use Soviet personnel which already has a great deal of experience in working with American radio stations.

In addition to these two stations we shall increase the network of local stations in order to give better information on weather.

When the reading of the answer to the first question was completed, General Antonov asked if he should proceed to read the answers to the remaining questions. General Marshall replied that the United States Chiefs of Staff would prefer to discuss the answer to each question as it was read.

Admiral King said that the United States Chiefs of Staff were disappointed that American personnel was not acceptable for liaison purposes at the central weather stations, since they felt that it would increase the efficiency of the Russian effort as well as our own. He thought, therefore, that we should request reconsideration of this point. If American personnel were used, he said that it was the intention to have 18 officers and 42 enlisted men at Khabarovsk and 9 officers and 24 enlisted men at Petropavlovsk. He had a memorandum relating to the details of equipment and personnel6 which he thought the Russian High Command should have for use in connection with the reconsideration requested.

General Antonov said that Russian personnel had had experience in the use of the equipment and in the communication procedure in the vicinity of Sevastopol and Odessa as well as near Murmansk. The proposal to use Russian personnel had been made because it had been considered that the operation of these stations would then be more simple. However, if the United States Chiefs of Staff insisted on American personnel at these stations, there would be no objection to employing them.

Admiral King then gave General Antonov the memorandum he had previously mentioned.

[Page 410]

General Antonov pointed out that he had not received an answer as to whether the United States Chiefs of Staff insisted on the use of American personnel.

General Marshall said that the United States Chiefs of Staff would prefer to use American personnel and pointed out that the major service rendered by this personnel would be to U. S. naval forces and to the strategic air forces. For this reason he thought that American personnel would be more satisfactory.

General Antonov said that the first question could then be considered solved and American liaison personnel would be employed at the stations under discussion.

General Antonov then read the answer to the second question as follows:—

Separate zones of naval and air operations are to be set up for the United States and the U. S. S. R. in the Sea of Japan. The boundary between these zones will be along the lines connecting Cape Boltina on the coast of Korea to point 40° north 135° east to point 45° 45’ north 140° east thence along the parallel 45° 45’ north to the line connecting Cape Crillon (Kondo) (on the southern tip of southern Sakhalin) with Cape Soya Missaki (Soyasaki) (on the northern tip of Hokkaido).

The U. S. S. R. naval and air forces will operate north of this line. United States naval and air forces will operate to the south of this line. This line shall be the limiting line of operations for surface and submarine craft and for aviation.

Depending upon circumstances in the future, this boundary line may be subject to change.

United States naval and air operations north of this boundary line and Soviet naval and air operations south of this boundary line will be subject to coordination.

In the Sea of Okhotsk there shall be a zone of mutual operations for the naval and air forces of the United States and the Soviet Union. Operations in the Okhotsk Sea will take place in accordance with mutual agreements.

In the Bering Sea there shall be a zone of mutual operations of our Pacific Fleet and aviation and the United States Fleet and aviation bounded on the north, east and south by a line going from Cape Dezhnev to Diomede Island and thence along the boundary of the territorial waters of the U. S. S. R. and the United States to parallel 51° 30’ north and thence through 50° 35’ north 157° east; thence to 49° 50’ north 156° 20’ east and thence along the parallel 49° 50’ north to the Fourth Kurile Strait.

The remainder of the Bering Sea as well as bordering regions of the Pacific Ocean shall be the zone of operations of the United States Fleet.

General Marshall said that the line of demarcation for sea and air operations in the Sea of Japan was acceptable.

Admiral King said that he desired to confirm the proposed conditions in the Sea of Okhotsk. He said he understood that this sea [Page 411]would be free for operations of both the United States Navy and the Navy of the Soviet Union and that coordination would be arranged through mutual understanding and cooperation. He asked also if the area to the north of the red line shown on the chart7 prepared by the Russian Chiefs of Staff, and described in the answer to the second question, was subject to joint control by the United States and the Soviet Navies, in the same manner as in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Admiral King’s understanding was confirmed by Admiral Kuznetsov.

General Marshall said that with this understanding, the proposals by the Russian Chiefs of Staff were acceptable.

General Antonov repeated that the areas as set forth in answer to the second question were for both sea and air operations, and there was agreement on this answer.

General Antonov then read the answer to the third question as follows:—

The boundary line between operational zones of the United States and Soviet air forces in Korea and Manchuria shall be as follows: Cape Boltina, Changchun, Liaoyuan, Kailu, Chihfeng, Peking, Tatung and thence along the southern boundary of Inner Mongolia.

United States aviation will operate south of this line including all the above-named points. U. S. S. R. aviation will operate north of this line. Depending upon future conditions this line is subject to change. United States air operations north of this line and Soviet air operations south of this line must be coordinated.

General Arnold said he would like to call attention to the fact that the boundary line as proposed by the Russian Chiefs of Staff would deprive the United States air forces of certain railroad centers and lines of communication north of the line as targets unless each individual mission were arranged for separately. He asked if the United States air forces could send missions north of the boundary line within 24 hours after application had been made to the local Russian authorities. He thought that if his understanding as to local coordination was correct, the desired operations of the United States air forces could be worked out satisfactorily. He called the attention of the Russian Chiefs of Staff to the range of the heavy bombers, medium bombers, and light bombers, as indicated on a map which he presented,7 and pointed out where the United States bombing effort could be made effective to the north of the boundary line.

Air Marshal Fallalev said that the boundary line suggested by the Russian Chiefs of Staff was to the northward of the principal railroad junctions. These junctions would therefore be available to [Page 412]attack by the United States air forces. If it became necessary to attack targets to the north of the line, reliable communications would permit arrangements to be made within 24 hours. Since, however, the communication might not always be reliable, this question might involve some difficulties.

General Marshall said that with the understanding that if the means of communication for coordinating attacks north of the boundary line were too slow, the question of its position would be discussed again, the proposals made by the Russian Chiefs of Staff were acceptable. However, he said, there was an additional matter he would like to raise in regard to both the second and third questions previously discussed. This concerned the flight of individual reconnaissance aircraft, and he asked that the Russian Chiefs of Staff comment on this point.

Air Marshal Fallalev said that it was considered that as a general rule, the boundary proposed should apply to reconnaissance aircraft as well as to bombing flights. When necessary to fly reconnaissance aircraft beyond the boundary line, the flight should be coordinated through the liaison officers.

General Antonov then read the answer to the fourth question as follows:—

The Soviet Command agrees that beginning with military operations of the Soviet Union against Japan, to establish liaison groups between the American and Soviet commanders in the Far East. To accomplish this liaison it is suggested that there be Soviet liaison groups with General Mac Arthur, with Admiral Nimitz, and in addition, in Washington, to have a Soviet Military Mission.

American liaison groups will be located with the Soviet High Commander in the Far East, Marshal Vassilievski, in Khabarovsk; and with the commander of the Soviet Pacific Fleet, Admiral Yemashev, in Vladivostok.

The Soviet Command is ready to accept the radio-teletype equipment for installation at the indicated points.

General Marshall said that the proposal of the Russian Chiefs of Staff appeared entirely acceptable, but he wished to ask if it was the intention that the liaison groups to be provided should make it possible for immediate coordination of operations. He asked if operations in the Sea of Okhotsk, for example, or in any other special area, would normally be referred to Washington and Moscow, or whether the necessary decisions would be made in the field with the minimum delay.

General Antonov replied that Marshal Vassilievski is the commander in chief of all forces of the Soviet Union in the Far East. Marshal Vassilievski had authority to solve all questions of local coordination [Page 413]which were included in the tasks assigned him by the High Command of the Soviet Union. He said that similarly Admiral Yemashev is the commander in chief of all Russian naval forces in the Pacific. He said that these two officers would be able to solve the questions of coordination of action within the limits of the questions and answers which were being discussed here.

General Marshall said that the statement of General Antonov made the answer to the fourth question entirely acceptable.

General Antonov then referred back to the third answer and asked if the question of liaison was now clear.

General Marshall replied that his question had concerned the employment of reconnaissance aircraft and that he considered the question of liaison as provided for in the fourth answer entirely satisfactory. He said, moreover, that as the operations proceeded he hoped that there would develop such an intimacy in liaison that we would find later that the commanders in the field would develop an even greater intimacy. This would of course depend on them.

General Antonov read the answer to the fifth question as follows:—

The Soviet Command agrees to select ports and airfields for ships and planes in need of repairs and to make available, as far as possible, repair facilities and medical assistance to the personnel of the above-mentioned ships and planes.

For this purpose we can designate:—

a.
Naval ports:
In the Japanese Sea, Port Nakhodka (America Strait); in the Okhotsk and Bering Sea regions—Nikolaevsk, on the Amur, and Petropavlovsk, on Kamchatka.
b.
Airfields:
In the region of Vladivostok, in the region of Alexandrovsk on Sakhalin Island and in the region of Petropavlovsk on Kamchatka.

General Marshall said that the proposals of the Russian Chiefs of Staff were entirely acceptable.

General Arnold asked if the matter of identification of aircraft at the Russian airbases which would be available to United States aircraft would be handled as a local matter. He said that sometimes a plane was so disabled that it was necessary to come into a landing field from any direction, identifying itself by radio signal only.

Air Marshal Fallalev said that the names of airfields, methods of approach, corridors and other details would be furnished and that the requirements of the aircraft and personnel upon landing would be provided. He said that a disabled aircraft, after making a certain signal, could land from any direction without other formality. Aircraft crews should be instructed, however, not to fly over such ports as [Page 414]Vladivostok, because of the danger of being fired upon by anti-aircraft batteries.

General Arnold pointed out that his inquiry was in regard to whether arrangements of this nature would be made locally, to which Air Marshal Fallalev replied that the principle was being established here, and that the details would be determined on the spot by the commanders in the field.

General Antonov said that he now considered that the five questions given him by General Marshall on 24 July had been answered. He wished, however, to make an additional statement in regard to them. He said that he considered that all of the arrangements provided for under the five questions would come into being on the entry of Russia into the war against Japan.

General Marshall asked if it would be possible to get the communication equipment discussed in the first question into Siberia before that date, or if it would be necessary to wait until after Russia had entered the war.

General Antonov said that preliminary arrangements for the liaison wireless stations could be made beforehand, and that agreements could be reached with reference to each particular question raised.

General Antonov said that at the meeting on 24 July, Admiral King had pointed out that after the seizure of Kyushu communications might be opened from Kyushu to Vladivostok.8 This line of communications was very important, since the Straits of Tsushima could be used throughout the year, whereas the route through the Kuriles and through La Perousse Strait was closed during part of the year by ice. He asked General Marshall when the invasion of Kyushu would take place and when the opening of the sea route from the south could be expected.

General Marshall said that the occupation of Kyushu depended on three factors. The first was the movement of troops from Europe. This was being done as rapidly as possible, and engineering troops were being moved first in order to prepare the way for the full application of air power. The movement involved two oceans and one continent, and although we could not be certain of carrying out the entire movement on schedule, and were now somewhat behind on both personnel and cargo, he hoped that all difficulties would be overcome. The second factor was the movement of large amounts of supplies from the Solomons, New Guinea, and Halmahera, north to the Philippines and Okinawa, to be loaded on assault ships for the tremendous amphibious effort against Kyushu. The third factor was the recent withdrawal of our divisions engaged in the Philippines and Okinawa [Page 415]from heavy fighting, and the problem of rehabilitation and training for the next operation.

Finally, he said, the weather conditions in the area made landings in September and early October too hazardous to undertake, although this was not a controlling factor as to date. At the present time he expected the landing on Kyushu to take place the last part of October.

General Marshall said further that the assault on Japan by naval and air forces which would extend also to Korea and the Liaotung Peninsula would be continued and increased. By these means he anticipated that by the time of the landing on Kyushu we will have destroyed Japanese oil, other material production, and communications, and will have virtually destroyed the Japanese air force. He said that Admiral King has added that the Japanese Navy would be destroyed as well. He said that all plans for the operation against Kyushu were complete, shipping was being assembled, the construction of bases was proceeding at top speed, and the operations of the United States Fleet and all air forces would proceed with increased vigor from now on. He thought, however, that the Tsushima Strait could not be opened before the end of October. The difficulties of opening Tsushima Strait would involve the sweeping of the passage for mines. The most serious threat to these operations would be from Japanese suicide planes which had caused us so much difficulty in previous operations.

General Antonov said that he would be much pleased if the route to Vladivostok via Tsushima Strait could be opened in October since by that time communications through the Kuriles and La Perousse Strait would be closed by ice.

General Marshall said he understood and appreciated the urgent necessity to the Russian Chiefs of Staff of opening the southern route and said that we would do all in our power to clear the straits as early as possible. General Marshall said that Admiral King had pointed out that the operations to open Tsushima Strait could not take place until after the landing in Kyushu and until after our air forces were established in northwestern Kyushu. It would be necessary, of course, for our minesweepers to have adequate air cover during their operations in clearing the straits of mines. The time required to establish the necessary airfields would depend to a large degree on Japanese resistance in Kyushu and the straits might not be opened until the middle of December or about six weeks after the first landing on Kyushu. He pointed out that we would make every effort to expedite the operation for the benefit of our forces as well as for the benefit to the Russians. He wanted to make this point clear since he desired to avoid any misunderstanding as to our capabilities in clearing Tsushima Strait for traffic to Vladivostok.

[Page 416]

General Marshall then read a memorandum9 which he said related to this discussion and which gave the progress, from partial reports, covering the last ten days of naval and air action against Japan.

General Antonov expressed his appreciation for the information contained in the memorandum read by General Marshall.

General Marshall said that the United States Chiefs of Staff were prepared to furnish to the Russian Chiefs of Staff, until operations against Japan were commenced by the Soviet Union, a weekly report of operations similar to that contained in the memorandum, through General Deane or his naval associate. Thereafter, reports of such operations would be furnished through the commanders in the field.

General Antonov said that he would be glad to receive this information and asked if there were any other questions to be considered at this meeting.

General Marshall said that directions had been given to furnish the Russian Chiefs of Staff with copies of the minutes of this meeting in order to provide a means of determining if there was a mutual understanding of the conversations which had taken place. In the absence of comment by the Russian Chiefs of Staff, it would be assumed that the record was a correct basis for understanding and guidance.

General Antonov said that he would examine the minutes and if he had any comment he would inform the United States Chiefs of Staff thereof.10

General Marshall said that it was planned that he, Admiral King and General Arnold would leave for the United States tomorrow. Admiral Leahy would remain until the conference was completed. He said that the principal assistants of the Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Cooke, General Hull and General Norstad would remain at the conference to handle any matters that might arise. He said that if he, Admiral King and General Arnold leave tomorrow as planned, he desired to take this occasion to express for the United States Chiefs of Staff their appreciation for the opportunity afforded to discuss these important matters with the Russian Chiefs of Staff. He was gratified that they had been able to reach decisions so satisfactory to all.

[Page 417]

General Antonov also expressed his pleasure and satisfaction over the results of the conference and said that he hoped that his close contact with General Marshall would be continued in the future so that all questions that might arise might be settled promptly. He then gave General Marshall a map showing the areas which had been considered in the discussion.11

General Marshall said that he regretted that through a misunderstanding the United States Chiefs of Staff had not received the answers to the five questions and were, therefore, not well prepared for the afternoon’s discussion. He thanked General Antonov for his patience in reading the answers which he had presented.

  1. The papers of the Joint Chiefs of Staff indicate that “These minutes were transcribed from notes taken by the United States Secretaries.”
  2. See ante, p. 352.
  3. Document No. 1279, post.
  4. Document No. 1278, post.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Not printed.
  8. See ante, p. 352.
  9. Not printed.
  10. In conformity with Marshall’s statement, a copy of the minutes of this meeting was transmitted to the Soviet Chiefs of Staff the next day, July 27, under a memorandum which repeated the observation that in the absence of comment by the Soviet Chiefs of Staff their approval would be assumed. There is no evidence that any reply was made.
  11. Not printed.