J. C. S. Files

Report by the Joint Staff Planners

top secret

(special distribution)

J. C. S. 1176/6

Joint Chiefs of Staff

Russian Participation in the War Against Japan

Reference: J. C. S. 1176 Series

Note by the Secretaries

1. The attached report (Enclosure “A”), prepared by the Joint Staff Planners on their own initiative, is submitted for consideration by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

2. A memorandum by the Commanding General, Army Air Forces is attached as Enclosure “B.”2

A. J. McFarland ,
E. D. Graves , Jr.,
Joint Secretariat
[Page 389]
Distribution Copy No. Distribution Copy No.
Adm. Leahy 1 Capt. Campbell 14
Gen. Marshall 2 & 24 Col. Lincoln 15
Adm. King 3 Adm. McCormick 16
Gen. Arnold 4 Adm. Cassady 17
Adm. Edwards 5 Gen. Wood 18
Gen. Handy 6 Gen. Tansey 19
Gen. Somervell 7 Capt. Tobin 20
Adm. Horne 8 Col. Benner 21
Adm. Cooke 9 Secy., JCS 22
Gen. Hull 10 Secy., JPS 23
Gen. Kuter 11 Secy., JSSC 25
Adm. Duncan 12 Secy., JWPC 26
Gen. Lindsay 13
Enclosure A

Russian Participation in the War Against Japan

1. The coming Allied staff conference offers a favorable opportunity for advancing U. S. planning based on Russian participation in the war against Japan. In recent negotiations between General Deane and Soviet representatives to obtain much needed information and agreements for planning, it has not been possible to reach a solution on a number of important points. Further agreements are needed, and in view of the difficulties experienced in talks between General Deane and General Antonov, it appears that it would be advantageous for the President to present certain questions to Marshal Stalin for agreement.

2. A summary of important statements attributed to the Russians, briefed from messages from our military mission in Moscow, is contained in Appendix “C” (page 90).3

3. In the Enclosure to J. C. S. 1176,4

a. Paragraph 32 states:

“32. It is concluded that:

“Basic principles regarding our policy toward Russia’s entry into the war against Japan are:

  • a. We desire Russian entry at the earliest possible date consistent with her ability to engage in offensive operations and are prepared to offer the maximum support possible without prejudice to our main effort against Japan.
  • b. We consider that the mission of Russian Far Eastern Forces should be to conduct an all-out offensive against Manchuria [Page 390]to force the commitment of Japanese forces and resources in North China and Manchuria that might otherwise be employed in the defense of Japan, to conduct intensive air operations against Japan proper and to interdict lines of communication between Japan and the mainland of Asia.”

b. Paragraph 33 states:

“33. In furtherance of these principles we should adopt the following courses of action to assist the Russians in preparations for war:

  • a. Deliver maximum possible supplies to Russia.
  • b. Provide full assistance to the creation and training of a Russian strategic air force and the provision and preparation of adequate bases for strategic air forces in eastern Siberia and Kamchatka.”

c. Paragraph 34 states:

“34. We should enter into immediate negotiations with Russia to determine the feasibility, practicability, desirability and necessity for undertaking any or all of the following courses of action:

  • a. To establish air and naval forces in Kamchatka, including the naval base at Petropavlovsk.
  • b. To base U. S. Strategic Air Forces in Kamchatka and the Maritime Provinces.
  • c. To develop an air transport route from Kamchatka to eastern Siberia.
  • d. To seize one or more positions in the Kurile Islands.
  • e. To permit Russian submarines and light naval craft to operate from our bases in the Aleutians.”

4. The special planning group headed by General Roberts has gone to Moscow under arrangements to meet with a corresponding special planning group from the Red General Staff. However, no meeting has yet been scheduled by the Russians. This group should obtain much needed information as to Russian intentions and capabilities so that realistic planning can go forward rapidly. A U.S. party will leave shortly to make a technical survey of southern Kamchatka.

5. Previous staff studies have developed the following factors in regard to any operations on our part in the northwestern Pacific.

a.
Any Russian act of war or suspicion thereof by the Japanese or any operations of ours to occupy Kamchatka or seize positions in the Kuriles would cause the Japanese to prohibit the free access of Lend-Lease or Milepost cargoes to Siberian ports. Thus any operations on our part in the above areas should not be undertaken until Russia’s entry is imminent.
b.
The routes to Sea of Okhotsk-Amur River ports are probably the only ones which will be available for continued use after hostilities begin. Any shipping to the Sea of Okhotsk is possible only during the months of June through October due to ice conditions. The amount of post-hostility shipping required over such routes cannot at present be estimated. It depends on Russian needs beyond the [Page 391]capacity of the trans-Siberian routes and also as to whether or not the United States is to operate air forces from eastern Siberia.
c.
In regard to the latter the Russians have recently taken the stand, contrary to previous statements, that their own requirements preclude basing any United States air or naval forces in the Maritime Provinces. However, efforts should continue towards securing Russian agreement to the principle of eventual U.S. strategic air operations from eastern Siberia, following which detailed discussions should be undertaken.
d.
In order to open a sea route to the Sea of Okhotsk it is necessary to secure control of one of the northern Kurile straits. In spite of strong Japanese forces in Paramushiro-Shimushu it may be that this control can be achieved from air and naval forces based on Kamchatka without the necessity of undertaking the difficult and costly amphibious operations incident to the seizure of key points in the Kuriles. Should the results of current studies including the report of the Kamchatka survey party, indicate that Kamchatka alone will not secure the straits then, in any event, we should first develop air bases in Kamchatka before attempting an assault in the Kuriles. In this connection any assistance that Russia could render in regards to developing housing, airfields and communications in Kamchatka before her entry in the war and without arousing Japanese suspicions would make our task much easier. Finally in this connection it should be noted that considering the extreme winter weather and extensive summer fogs, by far the most favorable period for an assault on the Kuriles is May-June.
e.
The state of the war in Europe and our lack of resources in the Pacific render it most doubtful that we can undertake a Kuriles operation during 1945, although establishment of our forces in Kamchatka after the defeat of Germany remains a possibility depending upon the amount of assistance Russia would require for defense and development.
f.
It might be possible to base B–29’s in Kamchatka to assist in the stragetic bombing of Japan. However, the poor weather, distances involved (1500 statute miles from the Petropavlovsk area to Tokyo) and difficulties of airdrome construction indicate that Kamchatka is the least desirable as a possible very heavy bomber (VHB) base area of all those within range of Japan.
g.
Further plans and information may show that the total requirements across a Pacific line of communications to Siberia may turn out to be beyond the capacity of a route across the Sea of Okhotsk. In this event major operations would be required to open the straits north of Hokkaido. This would involve a complete change in our concept of operations and is unacceptable.

conclusions

“6. We conclude that:

a. In negotiations with the Russians we should determine as soon as possible:

(1)
Any new factors as to the optimum timing from the Russian viewpoint of her entry into the war against Japan, particularly with respect to her logistic capabilities.
(2)
Latest information as to the concept of Russian operations after hostilities are opened.
(3)
The extent to which Russian operations on the mainland of Siberia will depend on a Pacific supply route after outbreak of war.
(4)
Whether or not the Russian estimate of air forces to be based in the Maritime Provinces includes a Russian stragetic air force, and if so, its strength and composition and Russian plans for pre-hostility base development.
(5)
Potentialities of Kamchatka for the basing of defensive ground forces, air and light naval forces, and Russia’s capabilities and intentions toward the developing of bases for such forces prior to her entry into the war.
(6)
Russian requirements, if any, for United States assistance in the defense of Kamchatka, particularly as regards ground forces.

b. We should:

(1)
State the basic principles as to Russian entry into the war against Japan as follows:
(a)
Basic principles regarding our policy toward Russia’s entry in the war against Japan are:
(i)
We desire Russian entry at the earliest possible date consistent with her ability to engage in offensive operations and are prepared to offer the maximum support possible without prejudice to our main effort against Japan.
(ii)
We consider that the mission of Russian Far Eastern forces should be to conduct an all-out offensive against Manchuria to contain Japanese forces and resources in North China and Manchuria that might otherwise be employed in the defense of Japan; to conduct, in conjunction with U. S. strategic air forces based in Siberia, intensive air operations against Japan proper; and to interdict lines of communication between Japan and the mainland of Asia.
(b)
In furtherance of these principles, we should deliver the maximum possible supplies without detriment to our own war effort.
(c)
We should enter into immediate negotiations with Russia to determine the feasibility, practicability, desirability and necessity for undertaking any or all of the following courses of action:
(i)
To establish air and naval forces in Kamchatka, including the naval base at Petropavlovsk.
(ii)
To base U. S. strategic air forces in Eastern Siberia.
(iii)
To develop an air transport route from Kamchatka to Eastern Siberia.
(iv)
To open a North Pacific line of communication to Siberia.
(v)
To permit Russian submarines and light naval craft to operate from our bases in the Aleutians.
(2)
Indicate to the Russians that any operations by us to open sea routes to Sea of Okhotsk-Amur River ports will be extremely costly and at the expense of our own efforts toward Japan from the south; that because of limitation of means, the probability of amphibious operations in the North Pacific in 1945 is remote.
(3)
Emphasize that if we are to conduct a difficult campaign to open a sea route of only limited capacity the U. S. and U. S. S. R. should insure that the use made of the route will be that which will bring about earliest defeat of Japan.
(4)
Indicate clearly that if a supply route is opened and maintained by the diversion of U. S. forces and resources, in order to gain full advantage of this effort, we expect Russian agreement to the basing of U. S. strategic air forces in eastern Siberia.

c. The points discussed above have to do with U. S.-U. S. S. R. matters essentially, and should be taken up if possible in U. S.– U. S. S. R. meetings; details should be worked out between U. S. and U. S. S. R. staff representatives. If taken up at the tripartite meetings they should be covered only in the broadest terms. (A proposed message to General Deane is attached as Appendix “B”; its purpose is to set before the Russians the points we propose to discuss bilaterally and to give them opportunity to make additions or amendments to these subjects.)”

recommendations

7. It is recommended that the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

a.
Present to the President the memorandum in Appendix “A.”5
b.
Dispatch to General Deane the message in Appendix “B.”
c.
Approve the conclusions in paragraph 6 above and note the summary of important statements in Appendix “C.”

Appendix “B”

Draft

Message from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Commanding GeneralU. S. Military Mission to U. S. S. R.

In WAR *, U. S. proposals for the agenda for the U. S.–British– U. S. S. R. tripartite military conference were furnished to you. The United States Chiefs of Staff propose the following subjects for discussion between the U. S. and U. S. S. R. staffs at the time of the tripartite conference:

a.
Timing, general plan, and requirements for U. S. assistance for Russian operations in Manchuria, eastern Siberia, Kamchatka and Sakhalin.
b.
Use by U. S. forces including strategic air forces of bases in Kamchatka–eastern Siberia areas, and Soviet capabilities of providing bases and logistic support to these forces.
c.
Provision of weather and communication facilities in Siberia for the United States.
d.
Milepost requirements and progress.
e.
Requirements for trans-Pacific supply of Russian and U. S. forces operating in Siberia.

The United States Chiefs of Staff would welcome Soviet suggestions as to additions or modifications to the above.6

  1. The text here printed is as amended and approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on January 24.
  2. Not printed. This memorandum dealt with technical aspects of the locations of weather stations.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed as such, but the present paper is a revised version thereof.
  5. For the text of appendix A, see the memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the President, January 23, 1945, post, pp. 396 400.
  6. Appendix “B” to J. C. S. 1227/2. [Footnote in the source paper. The paper in question is not printed herein.]
  7. An endorsement below this paragraph indicates that the message was sent on January 23, 1945. The agenda was presented by Deane to Antonov on January 24.