J. C. S. Files

Memorandum by the Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet (King)

top secret

J. C. S. 1176/2

Joint Chiefs of Staff

Operations in the Kuriles

References:

a.
J.C.S. 11761
b.
J.C.S. 1176/12

Memorandum by the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, and Chief of Naval Operations

10 December 1944.

1. Reference (a) presents various aspects of prospective Russian participation in the war against Japan. In this paper possible operations in the Kuriles and the necessity therefor are considered. In reference (b), General Arnold points out a number of specific problems in connection with operations in the Northwestern Pacific. It is my understanding that these are under study by the joint Staff Planners and other joint agencies. I am in agreement that the time has arrived for more concrete action in developing our plans for this area.

2. I have previously expressed my view that we must broaden the base for operations leading to the accomplishment of the first phase of our overall objective in the Pacific Theater. Insofar as our capabilities will permit, it will be to our advantage to keep the Japanese spread out. To this end, diversionary operations, particularly those which keep his air power from being concentrated, I believe will be found most helpful. From this standpoint, as well as from others which have been examined in connection with the establishment of an alternate sea route to the Maritime Provinces, it appears that an operation in the Kuriles, preferably in the month of May, should be planned.

3. It is recognized that unless the war in Europe ends at an early date, we probably shall not have the resources to conduct a Kuriles operation unless we depart from the concept of operations which we have adopted for planning purposes. This applies particularly to ground and service troops (it appears probable that the Naval forces, including amphibious craft, and probably air forces could be found). However, it is my opinion that we should make a decision now to carry out an operation in the Kuriles in the month of May on the [Page 378]assumption that the European war will be concluded in time to make possible the provision of the required forces. Such an operation, diversionary in character, would, I believe, have the following effect.

(a)
Threaten the Japanese from the northward, causing diversion from our main line of advance of Japanese air forces and possibly ground forces.
(b)
Encourage the Russians to enter the war.
(c)
Facilitate the provision of an alternate sea route to the Maritime Provinces.
(d)
Broaden the base for air operations against Japan in furtherance of the first phase of our overall objective in the Pacific.

  1. Not printed as such, but see J. C. S. 1176/6, post pp. 388 394, and the memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the President, January 23, 1945, post, pp. 396 400.
  2. Supra.