J. C. S. Files

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

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1. Approval of the Minutes of the C. C. S. 194th Meeting

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the conclusions of the C. C. S. 194th Meeting and approved the detailed report of the meeting subject to the substitution in the first paragraph on page 3 of the words “dispatch of a corps commander and staff to the Pacific” for “above”2 and subject to any-later minor amendments.

2. French and Dutch Participation in the War Against Japan

(C. C. S. 842,3 842/1,4 and 842/25)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the memorandum in the enclosure to C. C. S. 842/2 and directed the Secretaries to forward it separately to the French and Netherlands Representatives to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

3. Staff Conversations With Portugal

(C. C. S. 462/25 and 462/266)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the letter to the Department of State and Foreign Office in the Enclosure to C. C. S. 462/25, as amended in C. C. S. 462/26.

4. Southeast Asia and Southwest Pacific Area

(C. C. S. 890/27)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff considered paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 of C. C. S. 890/2.

In regard to paragraph 2, General Marshall asked the British Chiefs of Staff if they would express their reaction to dividing Indo-China into two parts, leaving the northern part in the China Theater.

Admiral Cunningham pointed out that the line dividing Indo-China would be dependent to some extent on contemplated operations through Thailand.

Admiral King stated that the division of Indo-China along the latitude of 15 degrees north was an arbitrary division and might be changed to suit contemplated operational requirements.

[Page 84]

The British Chiefs of Staff expressed the view that they should like to study the question of the dividing line before making any proposals in regard to the matter.

The proposals contained in paragraph 3 were accepted by the Combined Chiefs of Staff without discussion.

In the discussion of paragraph 4, Sir Alan Brooke explained that the British Chiefs of Staff were in doubt as to the commitment which they would be undertaking if they agreed to the transfer on a particular date. They did not know when the operations in Borneo were scheduled to be completed nor what sort of liability they would be accepting in the form of maintenance and support for those operations.

In reply, General Marshall referred to the United States Chiefs of Staff reply to the questionnaire which the British Chiefs of Staff had submitted (C. C. S. 852 and 852/1),8 and described the extent to which the United States Chiefs of Staff were proposing to support operations in the new British command. He said that most of the U. S. troops had been withdrawing from the area of the proposed new British command and that no further operations were scheduled in Borneo. He added that in any event there would be no question of “leaving the Borneo operations in the lurch.”

General Marshall then went on to point out that it would be a great advantage to the United States Chiefs of Staff if the transfer of the area to Admiral Mountbatten could take place at an early date. General MacArthur is fully occupied with operations to the northward and it would be a considerable benefit to him if he could be relieved of these responsibilities as soon as possible.

Sir Charles Portal said that Admiral Mountbatten also was fully occupied in his present and contemplated operations in the Southeast Asia Command, and since General MacArthur was familiar with and is dealing with the Australians at the present, it might be best to continue that procedure until Admiral Mountbatten was in a better position to undertake these new responsibilities.

The British Chiefs of Staff agreed that it was desirable to effect a transfer of command in the Southwest Pacific Area at an early date, but considered that it would be necessary for them to study the matter before a definite time could be agreed upon.

General Marshall suggested that as Admiral Mountbatten was about to visit General MacArthur in Manila, that he and General MacArthur might discuss the timing of the transfer of command.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

a.
Agreed in principle that that part of the present Southwest Pacific Area lying south of the boundary proposed in paragraph 2 of C. C. S. 852/1, should pass from United States to British command as soon as possible.
b.
Took note that the British Chiefs of Staff would investigate and report to the Combined Chiefs of Staff the earliest possible date on which the transfer of the above area could be effected.
c.
Took note that the British Chiefs of Staff would consider where the dividing line might lie in the event that approximately half of French Indo-China should be included in the new British command.

(At this point the Combined Chiefs of Staff went into closed session.8a)

5. Command and Control in the War Against Japan

(Paragraphs 5 and 6, C. C. S. 890/29)

General Marshall said that he wished to explain the point of view of the United States Chiefs of Staff.

He pointed out that the general concept of operations in the Pacific had been approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff and that the control of operational strategy lay with the United States Chiefs of Staff. He recognized that in the past the British Chiefs of Staff had not had all the information that they wanted and assured them that this would be remedied in the future. He felt, however, that the operational strategy in the Pacific must remain the responsibility of the United States Chiefs of Staff. He explained the extensive difficulties in the conduct of the strategy of the Pacific arising from the great distances involved and the enormous land, sea, and air forces employed. He said that the United States Chiefs of Staff felt that they could not, in addition to these problems, shoulder the burden of debating the “pros” and “cons” of operational strategy with the British Chiefs of Staff.

The United States Chiefs of Staff would be glad to give the British Chiefs of Staff timely information of U. S. plans and intentions and to hear their comments. But they felt bound to retain freedom to decide ultimately what should be done. If then the British Chiefs of Staff felt that they could not commit British troops to the operations decided upon, then they would of course be at liberty to withdraw British forces from those operations; but he desired to make it clear that if this were done, it would be necessary for the United States Chiefs of Staff to be given ample warning of British intentions so that plans of United States Chiefs of Staff could be adjusted accordingly.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Chiefs of Staff had felt that they had been rather left out of the picture but confirmed that the British Chiefs of Staff entirely supported the strategy which the United States Chiefs of Staff had so far developed. For the future, they hoped that they would be consulted on the further development [Page 86]of strategy but had no wish to suggest that they should interfere in any way with the operational strategy.

Admiral Cunningham asked if the British Chiefs of Staff would be consulted in regard to the strategy that would be adopted in the event of the Russians coming into the war.

General Marshall said that the strategy to be adopted in these circumstances would be considered on a tripartite basis.

Admiral King said that the United States Chiefs of Staff would consult with the British Chiefs of Staff, of course, but must reserve the final decision to themselves.

General Marshall said that in the event of any disagreement, the British Chiefs of Staff would certainly be given the opportunity of convincing the United States Chiefs of Staff that they were wrong.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Agreed that with respect to the strategic control of the war against Japan:—

a.
The control of operational strategy in the Pacific Theater will remain in the hands of the United States Chiefs of Staff.
b.
The United States Chiefs of Staff will provide the British Chiefs of Staff with full and timely information as to their future plans and intentions.
c.
The United States Chiefs of Staff will consult the British Chiefs of Staff on matters of general strategy, on the understanding that in the event of disagreement, the final decision on the action to be taken will lie with the United States Chiefs of Staff.
d.
In the event the British Chiefs of Staff should decide that they cannot commit British troops in support of a decision made by the United States Chiefs of Staff as indicated in c. above, the British Chiefs of Staff will give to the United States Chiefs of Staff such advance notice of their decision as will permit them to make timely rearrangements.
e.
In the event the U. S. S. R. enters the war against Japan, the strategy to be pursued should be discussed between the parties concerned.

  1. This amendment has been made in the minutes of the 194th Meeting as printed ante, pp. 48 51.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Document No. 617, printed in vol. i .
  4. Document No. 1289, post.
  5. Documents Nos. 1296 and 1297, post, respectively.
  6. Document No. 1268, post.
  7. Neither printed.
  8. This is presumably the occasion on which General Marshall reported to the Combined Chiefs of Staff the successful results of the test of the atomic bomb on July 16. See The Memoirs of General Lord Ismay (New York, 1960), p. 401; A Sailor’s Odyssey: The Autobiography of Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope (London, 1951), p. 646.
  9. Document No. 1268, post.