Roosevelt Papers: Telegram
The Commanding General, United States Military Mission in the Soviet Union (Deane), to the Joint Chiefs of Staff
[Received 18 October—6:50 a. m.]
To AGWAR for Joint Chiefs of Staff for their eyes only topsec M 21412. Tonight Mr Harriman and I had a meeting with Marshal Stalin, Mr Molotov, General Antonov and another general officer from the General Staff. Marshal Stalin first handed us a list of the supplies that would be needed from America for the build up of a two months stockage in the Far East. It included petroleum products, the biggest items of which were 120,000 tons of 100 octane gasoline, 70,000 tons of automobile gasoline, 12,000 tons of collapsible storage tanks; a list of food stuffs totalling about 180,000 tons; items of clothing and hospital supplies, totalling 14,500 tons; 500 amphibious jeeps; 1,000 dukws; 30,000 trucks; miscellaneous airdrome equipment such as snow plows and bull dozers; 400 C–47 aircraft; 100 C–54 aircraft; engineer and signal equipment of all types totalling 20,000 tons; 10 escort vessels, frigate; and 20 escort vessels, corvette; 2 mine layers; 30 mine sweepers, 50 sub chasers 110 ton, and numerous other boats.
In railroad equipment they need 500 locomotives and 5 or 6,000 cars of various types as well as about 800 kilometers of rail.
Marshal Stalin emphasized that this equipment would have to come by the Pacific route as the Soviets will be using all of the east-bound capacity of the trans-Siberian railroad for the build up in the Far East starting at once with the movement of ammunition and bombs. The total tonnage involved in the list given us is 1,056,000 tons. I will have the entire list translated and cabled to you and in addition the Ambassador will bring you copies. Of the total tonnage, 850,000 tons is dry cargo and 206,000 tons is liquid cargo.
Mr. Harriman and I had gone over the subjects that we wished to draw the Soviets out on and he did a great job in directing the discussion with a view to getting the information we wanted.[Page 372]
He first asked if the strategic objectives we had given, those suggested by you, met with Marshal Stalin’s concurrence. Marshal Stalin replied that they did except that he thought that the offensive ground operations that we envisaged were limited too much to Manchuria. He said that their plan as worked out now is to put on the direct pressure in Manchuria but making an envelopment from the southern part of Lake Baikal through Kalgan and Peking with a view to cutting off and encircling Japanese Manchurian forces and preventing them from being reinforced from China. He plans to do this as soon as he has built up his ground strength to 60 divisions, which he estimated could be done in three months.
Marshal Stalin said that he would give equal priority to his ground and air forces and to the Soviet and American strategic air forces. He said that the tonnages that he had asked for in the build up included the gasoline and oil requirements for the United States Strategic Air Force. However, when these figures are reviewed I think you will find they are low for a two months reserve.
He is prepared to start the flow of aircraft for the build up of their strategic air force as soon as fields are prepared to receive the airplanes. Meanwhile, he feels that we should deliver the first 20 airplanes which would be used for training purposes and the training thus acquired would facilitate in delivery of the flow once it starts. He said that he would let us know in about two weeks when the flow of planes should be started. He is prepared to start a training program with our instructors for the training in the operation of a strategic air force.
Marshal Stalin is greatly concerned about secrecy in connection with all of our preparations even to the point of having nothing in writing concerning them. He feels that if the Japanese were aware of our plans they would immediately attempt to take the Vladivostok area which would be unfortunate for all of the Allies. He agreed heartily to a suggestion from the Ambassador that a cover plan should be developed which will cover delivery of the aircraft to the Soviet Union. He suggested that the aircraft be flown at night over Canada, possibly with Soviet crews. He was prepared to guarantee the secrecy once the aircraft arrived in the Soviet Union.
He seems to fear a premature Japanese attack but repeated several times that once the build up is accomplished he will remove most of the restrictions of secrecy. I gained the impression that he wanted to start the build up at once. He thinks that stock piling would be safe in a valley about 150 miles north of Vladivostok and also in the Komsomolsk area.
In speaking of the Japanese intentions he said that their first and major effort would be against Valdivostok and expected both a land [Page 373]and sea attack. He said the Soviets have strong defenses in the area but that it was possible that they might lose Vladivostok if the attack occurred before they were fully prepared. He put Kamchatka as the Japanese second objective and particularly Petropavlovsk, a third objective Sakhalin. He did not venture an opinion as to when or under what conditions the Japanese would take the offensive except as noted above that they probably would attack if information of our plans leaked out. He did say that the Japanese were usually inclined to take the initiative.
Marshal Stalin emphasized the importance of the Pacific supply and spoke of the Kuriles as being the key of the situation. He agreed that we should have a naval base at Petropavlovsk and that our Naval staffs should get busy in the planning at once. He was particularly anxious that we have an operation against the north Kuriles of sufficient magnitude to insure passage through them. He thought it would be desirable if we could control the Kuriles before the Soviet Government was at war with Japan, as it would greatly decrease their chances of a successful attack against Kamchatka, which he listed as their second priority objective. He agreed that we could send naval officers there with great secrecy to make a survey of our requirements for airports and a naval air base. He said he would be willing to have us put air bases on Kamchatka for super-fortresses if we wished to.
Stalin said he planned great improvements of port facilities at Sovietskaya-Gavan and that they are already at work on the railroad from that port to Konsomolsk. It is on this railroad that much of the railway supplies that he is asking for are to be used.
I told Marshal Stalin that our present thought for the build up of the Soviet Air Force, depending, of course, on the concurrence of the Soviets, called for providing them with four groups of heavy bombers with 200 operational and a 50 per cent reserve, or a total of 300 heavy bombers; also 300 long range fighters with a 50 per cent reserve, or a total of 450. I emphasized that once Germany is defeated the size of the air force that we would be prepared to put into the Soviet Union would be limited only by the fuel that could be made available for their operation and by the number of airfields that could be made available. He agreed that fuel was certainly a limiting factor and seemed satisfied as to the size of the air force outlined. I also called attention to the fact that Soviet ground operations against the Japanese forces as the situation looked now would be closely timed with our plan of invasion of the Japanese Islands and indicated the great advantage that our combined effort would have to both [Page 374]of us in preventing the shift of Japanese reserves. He agreed that the operations should be coordinated as to time.
The Ambassador then pressed Marshal Stalin for indication as to how we would go about planning of all details and initiation of all arrangements. Marshal Stalin replied that in the first place he was most anxious to have the list of requirements studied in Washington quickly with a view to starting prompt delivery. I recommend that this be given a high priority and that work on the list be expedited in Washington. Stalin then said that Mr. Hopkins, with the approval of the President, had talked with Mr. Gromyko and he had indicated that the President was anxious to meet with Marshal Stalin somewhere in the Black Sea area. He said unequivocally that he would be delighted to meet the President and was prepared to so do toward the end of November. He said that undoubtedly they would discuss the Far East situation and that they would come to definite agreements. He said, however, that the build up of supplies, the delivery of aircraft, the training of crews, should proceed. He also said that his Army, Navy and Air people and perhaps Mr. Mikoyan for Foreign trade should meet with me and other representatives from the Mission and work out the details or plans that could be presented for the President and himself when they meet. It was arranged that I would get in touch with General Antonov and we would work out a method of procedure.
Inasmuch as note taking was “Taboo” I have dictated this from memory. However, our interpreter did take notes and as soon as I obtain a copy of them I may be able to supplement this cable. In any case, the Ambassador will be in Washington at the end of the week and will go into more detail.
I feel most encouraged by the meeting tonight and would like to add that I feel the trip of the Prime Minister has resulted in expediting the discussions. The British have done everything possible to assist us in presenting the matter in the way we thought best.
Action: Gen McFarland (JCS)
Info: Adm Leahy
C of S