J. C. S. Files

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes2
top secret

1. Approval of Minutes of C. C. S. 183d Meeting3

General Marshall said that he would like the first statement attributed to him in item 1 of the minutes amended to read as follows:—

General Marshall said that in recent discussions General Eisenhower had explained that he would have to take a decision by 1 February as to whether to continue with General Bradley’s operations or to stop them and start the movement of troops preliminary to launching Grenade.”

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the conclusions of the minutes of the C. C. S. 183d Meeting, and approved the detailed record of the meeting, subject to the amendment proposed by General Marshall and to later minor amendments.

2. Strategy in the Mediterranean
(C. C. S. 773/1 and 773/2)3a

Field Marshal Brooke referred to the amended draft directive contained in C. C. S. 773/1. He suggested that paragraph 4 b. of this directive should read as follows:—

“Further complete formations as the forces now in Greece are released from that country.”

It was explained that this amendment was consequent upon the reduction of the number of divisions to move to Northwest Europe from six to five. Three divisions would go from Italy and therefore it would only be necessary for two of the three divisions in Greece to follow them.

Sir Charles Portal referred to paragraph 5 of the draft directive. He felt that Field Marshal Alexander might well prefer to retain the Twelfth Air Force, since he was losing three divisions at once, in order to enable him to carry out that part of his directive contained in paragraph 7 c., which instructed him to be prepared to take immediate advantage of any weakening or withdrawal of the German forces. He might also require it to maintain the security of his front, though it might well be possible to release it after the Germans had withdrawn to the Adige. A further point was that since it was proposed to move the first three divisions quickly, it might not be possible to transfer air forces at the same time.

[Page 517]

In reply to a question, Sir Charles Portal confirmed that it was his view that the Twelfth Air Force should remain in the Mediterranean in the event that the German forces did not retire.

General Marshall said that in his view it was important to transfer such air forces as was possible to the decisive theater.

Sir Charles Portal suggested that the remainder of the directive should be approved and, in lieu of paragraph 5, the Supreme Commander should be informed that the question of the transference of parts of the Twelfth Air Force was still under consideration.

General Marshall said he was not in favor of this proposal.

General Kuter suggested that General Eisenhower might require parts of the Twelfth Air Force before the ground troops which were being transferred to him.

General Smith said that General Eisenhower’s first requirement, before any of the land forces, was for two groups of fighter-bombers. These were urgently required in view of the lack of such types on the southern part of the front. The move of these two groups could, he believed, be very quickly accomplished.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Deferred action on this subject until their next meeting.

3. Equipment for Allied and Liberated Forces
(C. C. S. 768/1)4

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Deferred action on C. C. S. 768/1 until their next meeting.

4. a. Operations in Southeast Asia Command
(C. C. S. 452/35, C. C. S. 452/36)5

b. Allocation of Resources Between the India-Burma and China Theaters
(C. C. S. 747/7 ( Argonaut )6

The Combined Chiefs of Staff discussed the wording of the final sentence of paragraph 2 of C. C. S. 452/36.

General Marshall said that he understood that the British Chiefs of Staff wished to delete the words “British forces engaged in.” This he felt fundamentally altered the sense of the sentence. It implied that operations rather than forces should not be placed in jeopardy. It might result in lengthy discussions each time the question of the possibility of moving forces to China arose.

[Page 518]

Sir Charles Portal explained that the British Chiefs of Staff were asking only that discussion should take place before such a move was ordered. He felt that the crowning success of an approved operation might well be jeopardized by the withdrawal of United States forces without the British Chiefs of Staff or the Supreme Commander having an opportunity of laying before the Combined Chiefs of Staff the full consequences of such a withdrawal.

After further discussion, The Combined Chiefs of Staff agreed on the following wording of the final sentence of paragraph 2 of C. C. S. 452/36:

“Any transfer of forces engaged in approved operations in progress in Burma which is contemplated by the United States Chiefs of Staff and which, in the opinion of the British Chiefs of Staff, would jeopardize those operations, will be subject to discussion by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.”

Sir Alan Brooke said that in the light of this redrafting, the British Chiefs of Staff would withdraw C. C. S. 747/7 ( Argonaut ).

General Marshall said that the United States Chiefs of Staff accepted the draft directive put forward by the British Chiefs of Staff in C. C. S. 452/35, subject to the communication to the Supreme Commander of the policy recorded in C. C. S. 452/36 and amended in the course of discussion.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

a. Approved the policy set out in the first and second paragraphs of C. C. S. 452/36, subject to the amendment of the last sentence of the second paragraph as agreed above. (The policy, as amended and approved, subsequently circulated as C. C. S. 452/37.7)

b. Approved the directive to the Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia contained in C. C. S. 452/35, subject to the addition of a paragraph drawing his attention to the policy set out in C. C. S. 452/37.

c. Took note that the British Chiefs of Staff withdraw C. C. S. 747/7 (Argonaut).

5. Pacific Operations
(C. C. S. 417/11)8

At the request of Sir Alan Brooke, General Marshall and Admiral King explained the future course of operations in the Pacific and various plans and projects which were under examination by the United States Chiefs of Staff. Plans had been prepared aiming at an attack on Kyushu in September of 1945 and the invasion of the [Page 519] Tokyo Plain in December of 1945. However, these operations involved the use of forces which would have to be redeployed from Europe after the defeat of Germany. The actual dates of these operations were therefore dependent on the date of the defeat of Germany. The length of time required for redeployment varied between four and six months, depending on whether the troops involved had actually been committed in Europe. At the present time all ground forces allocated to the Pacific were already in that theater and there would be no additional formations which could be moved there until the end of the German war. It was important, however, that during the necessary interval before the attack on the Empire itself could be carried out that the Japanese should be given no respite. It was intended to use this interval to obtain positions designed to assist in the final defeat of Japan. There were various possible courses of action after the capture of the Ryukyus and Bonins to achieve this object. The possible operations now under consideration were:—

An attack on the Island of Hainan. This had the advantage not only of securing an air base to assist in cutting Japanese sea and land communications but also afforded a new airway into the heart of China, thereby assisting the Chinese to take a more active part in operations.
An attack on North Borneo. The advantages of such an operation were that it secured to the United Nations the valuable oil supplies in that area. In this connection it was interesting to note that certain of these oil wells afforded fuel which required but little refinement before it was ready for use.
An operation against the Chusan-Ningpo area. This operation was extremely valuable in broadening the base for air attack against the Island Empire. In addition, it had the great merit of throttling Japanese communications up the Yangtze River. The area concerned contained a series of islands and a peninsula and was therefore one in which operations against the Japanese could be undertaken without permitting the enemy to deploy large land forces against us.

When Okinawa had been seized a decision could be taken as to which of the courses of action outlined above was likely to afford the most valuable results. At the same time it might be found desirable to capture additional islands in the Ryukyus either to the north or south of Okinawa.

In general, future operations in the Pacific were designed to avoid full-scale land battles against Japanese forces, involving heavy casualties and slowing up the conduct of the campaign.

With regard to operations in the Philippines it was not visualized that major United States forces would be used in mopping-up operations nor that the island of Mindanao and others to the south would be assaulted by United States forces. Rather, it was hoped that [Page 520] with U. S. troops holding certain key positions, the rearmed Philippine Army and guerillas would be able to carry out the necessary mopping-up operations.

In view of the above considerations it was hoped to avoid an assault on Formosa and to isolate and bomb Japanese forces in the island from positions in the Ryukyus and Luzon.

The dates on which any of the possible alternative operations could be undertaken and the choice of such operations was dependent on the results of present operations in Luzon and on the date of the termination of the war in Europe. It was unlikely that both Hainan and North Borneo could be undertaken.

The importance of adequate bases and staging points was stressed. A fleet base was being developed on the southeast tip of Samar and it was estimated that three months’ work could be achieved on this base before any work could be done to render Manila available to the fleet. It might, in fact, be decided not to recondition the Manila base at all. A base had also been developed in Ulithi9 which was some 1100 miles to the westward of Eniwetok10 which had previously been used as a base and staging point.

The difficulties of developing the northern sea route to Russia were emphasized. The two divisions which had been earmarked for an assault on the Kuriles had now been diverted to Europe and it was unlikely that further forces would be available for this operation. Further, the sea lane to Russian ports was rendered difficult and in certain instances impossible during the winter months due to ice conditions.

The Russians had asked for some 85 additional ships to enable them to stock up their eastern armies. The provision of such ships would of course affect the course of operations elsewhere. In order to make a sea route safe and effective it would be necessary to seize an island in the Kuriles from which air cover could provide safe passage either to the north or south of it. Unless such an operational base was seized by the first of July its value would be lost due to ice conditions preventing the passage of ships. At present ships flying the Russian flag were convoying “civilian-type” supplies to the Maritime Provinces.

[Page 521]

To sum up, it was unlikely that the operation against Kyushu could be undertaken until four months after the defeat of Germany. In the period intervening before such an operation could be under-taken, further operations would be carried out with the forces available. These operations would be designed to secure positions best calculated to assist the final attack on the Empire.

In further discussion the shortage of service troops was stressed. These forces would be the first to be redeployed from Europe. They were in short supply throughout the world and additional commitments were caused by the inability of the French to provide service forces to maintain their own troops.

With regard to the employment of Australian troops, it was explained that these forces were relieving United States divisions wherever possible. They were carrying out mopping-up operations in New Guinea and were garrisoning such points as Bougainville and the Admiralty Islands. Two Australian divisions had also been included in a plan to assault Mindanao, which might not now be used.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note of the plans and operations proposed by the United States Chiefs of Staff in C. C. S. 417/11.

6. a. U-Boat Threat
(C. C. S. 774/1 and 774/2)11

b. Bombing of Assembly Yards and Operating Bases
(C. C. S. 774)11

General Marshall said the United States Chiefs of Staff suggested that C. C. S. 774/1 should be noted and the situation with regard to estimated shipping losses should be reviewed on the first of April.

Sir Andrew Cunningham agreed with General Marshall.

Sir Charles Portal, referring to C. C. S. 774, said that he felt the proposals contained in the memorandum by the United States Chiefs of Staff would not be implemented by the suggested directive to the air forces. He felt that if persistent bombing of U-boat assembly yards was now undertaken the effect of this action on the attacks on the vital oil targets would be unacceptable. Both the oil targets and the submarine targets necessitated visual bombing and there were very few days in the month available for such operations in Northwest Europe at the present time of year. His proposal was that the “marginal effort” should be used against submarine targets and explained that such a decision would mean that, when an attack against an oil target had been ordered and it was found that the weather over the oil target prevented visual bombing, the aircraft concerned would [Page 522] divert their efforts to a submarine target if one existed with clear weather over it.

He felt it right to point out that the issuance of the draft directive proposed by the United States Chiefs of Staff would not materially increase the weight of bombs dropped on submarine targets.

General Kuter said that some directive on the subject of the submarine menace would be valuable in focusing attention upon it.

Admiral King said that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should record their views with regard to the submarine menace and issue a directive on the action to be taken to counter it.

Sir Andrew Cunningham said that the Naval Staff would have liked to see some additional emphasis being placed on the bombing of submarine targets. He had, however, been convinced that the attacks on oil targets would in fact pay a more valuable dividend.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff then considered the summary of countermeasures set out in C. C. S. 774 and 774/2. It was agreed that the action proposed in paragraph 10 of this paper should be communicated to the appropriate authorities in the form of a directive.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

a. Took note of C. C. S. 774/1 and agreed to review this paper on 1 April 1945.

b. Directed the Secretaries to draft and circulate for approval a directive based on C. C. S. 774 and C. C. S. 774/2.

7. Strategy in Northwest Europe
(C. C. S. 761/5 and 761/6)

In closed session,

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note of SCAF 180, as amended by SCAF 194 of 31 January, and as amplified by Message No. S–77211 of 31 January to General Smith.12

  1. C. C. S. 184th Meeting.
  2. Ante, pp. 485490.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Post, pp. 522524.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Post, pp. 524525.
  7. Not printed. The text of this paper was incorporated in the report of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to the President and the Prime Minister at Yalta, post, p. 830.
  8. Ante, pp. 395396.
  9. Ulithi or Mackenzie Islands, in approximately 10°6' north latitude and 139°50' east longitude, a large coral atoll with a cluster of low, sandy islands surrounding a central lagoon, toward the western extremity of the Caroline Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. Occupied by United States forces on September 20–21, 1944, Ulithi was subsequently developed into a base for the United States fleet operating against Japan.
  10. A large, nearly circular, coral atoll consisting of about thirty islets of varying size surrounding a lagoon, at the northwest end of the Marshall Islands, in approximately 11°21' north latitude and 162°20' east longitude. Seized by United States forces in February 1944 and converted into an air and naval base, Eniwetok has been used by the United States since 1948 as a testing ground for atomic experiments.
  11. These three papers are not printed herein, but see coverage of these subjects in the report of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to the President and the Prime Minister at Yalta, post, p. 828.
  12. These three papers are not printed herein, but see coverage of these subjects in the report of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to the President and the Prime Minister at Yalta, post, p. 828.
  13. See ante, p. 464, footnote 8.