J. C. S. Files

Joint Chiefs of Staff Minutes1
top secret

1. a. Approval of Minutes of the J. C. S. 185th Meeting2

General Kuter stated that his remarks on British participation in the VLR bombing of Japan had been omitted from the minutes of the preceding Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting. Since then he had received a letter on this subject from Sir Charles Portal, Chief of the British Air Staff, which he had forwarded to General Arnold with certain comments of his own. He requested for the purpose of record, that his message to General Arnold (Cricket 55, dated 1 February 1945), less the last sentence, be attached as an annex to the minutes of the J. C. S. 185th Meeting.3

The Joint Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the minutes of the J. C. S. 185th Meeting, subject to the attachment requested by General Kuter.

b. Approval of Minutes of the C. C. S. 184th Meeting4

The Joint Chiefs of Staff:—

Agreed to recommend that the Combined Chiefs of Staff approve the conclusions of the C. C. S. 184th Meeting and approve the detailed record of the meeting, subject to later minor amendments.

2. Strategy in the Mediterranean
(C. C. S. 773/1 and 773/2)5

General Marshall said that the principal issue in this item was the transfer of the Twelfth Air Force. Air Marshal Portal had stated that he was opposed to leaving the adjustments to the theater commanders. General Marshall felt that it was undesirable to allow this matter to lapse and thus delay action on the transfer of ground forces. He proposed the substitution for paragraph 5, page 3 of C. C. S. 773/1 of the following:

“5. Two fighter groups of Twelfth Air Force will be moved to France at once. Combined Chiefs of Staff intend to move to France in the near future as much of the Twelfth Air Force as can be released without hazard to the accomplishment of your mission. Your recommendations are desired at once.”

General Marshall said that he felt the Combined Chiefs of Staff should decide the overall strength that should be withdrawn from the Twelfth Air Force for use in France and that the details of the withdrawal should be left to negotiations between SCAEF and [Page 527] SACMED. He felt that it might be necessary to debate the necessity for a larger part of the air force remaining in an inactive theater.

Admiral King felt that the Supreme Commander, Mediterranean was considering the use of air in as great strength as possible in the event of a German withdrawal.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff:—

Agreed to recommend the substitution in the directive to SACMED of the new paragraph 5 proposed by General Marshall.

3. Provision of LVTs for Mediterranean

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4. Equipment for Allied and Liberated Forces
(C. C. S. 768/1)6

General Marshall said that this subject had been discussed in the preceding J. C. S. meeting (185th Meeting, 1 February 1945). General Smith had exhibited charts which showed that very little progress had been made in the provision of equipment for the approved figure of 460,000 liberated manpower. He recalled that a possible reduction in this figure had been mentioned and invited any further remarks on the subject.

General Somervell said that General Smith had informed General Riddell-Webster that a figure of 400,000 liberated manpower instead of 460,000 would be acceptable. The British had found that certain items of equipment, particularly shoes, were in short supply. They would, however, be able to provide for the lower figure. The overall problem of supply was extremely difficult. The figure of 172,000 liberated manpower agreed at Octagon had gradually increased to an overall of 1,000,000. The British had increased their commitments which included the equipment of Yugoslavs, Greeks, and some of the liberated manpower. The supply can be accomplished but not in a reasonable length of time.

General Bull felt that the only satisfactory solution to the problem was to reduce the requirements to fit the supplies available. This was especially desirable in order to avoid the bad feeling which would result from the arousing of false hopes.

General Somervell added that it might be possible to meet the requirements in phases starting with the figure of 300,000 and completing the remainder subject to the availability of equipment.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note of the foregoing statements.

5. U-Boat Threat

General Marshall said that the directive before the Joint Chiefs of Staff on countermeasures to the U-boat threat had been [Page 528] prepared by the Secretaries of the Combined Chiefs of Staff in accordance with Item 6, C. C. S. 184th Meeting.7

The Joint Chiefs of Staff:—

Agreed to recommend approval by the Combined Chiefs of Staff of the directive drafted by the Secretaries.

6. Review of Cargo Shipping
(C. C. S. 746/7,8 746/8,9 746/9, and 746/1010)

General Marshall said that the Combined Military Transportation Committee and the Combined Shipping Adjustment Board11 had on their own initiative submitted in C. C. S. 746/10 a supplementary report to C. C. S. 746/6. He recommended approval subject to the deletion of the word “other” in the fourth line of paragraph 5 b.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff:—

Agreed to recommend approval of C. C. S. 746/10 by the Combined Chiefs of Staff subject to the amendment proposed by General Marshall.

7. Levels of Supply of Petroleum Products in U. K. and Northwestern Europe

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

8. Basic Undertakings
(C. C. S. 775)12

General Marshall said that in C. C. S. 775 the British Chiefs of Staff recommend that the basic undertakings agreed upon at Octagon and set out in C. C. S. 680/213 be reaffirmed subject to the amendment of paragraph h as indicated in this paper.

Admiral Duncan said that the Joint Staff Planners recommended the amendment of the first and last sentences of the paragraph in order to prevent the supply of liberated areas from being placed in the same category as the supply of allies such as France, Russia or China.

General Somervell explained that unless the last sentence of the proposed new paragraph is altered or deleted altogether, it will if [Page 529] accepted have the effect of giving first priority to shipping requirements for liberated areas. This would place shipments of civilian requirements ahead of British and American military requirements which, of course, could not be accepted. He recommended that the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that the Combined Chiefs of Staff accept the substitute paragraph subject to deletion of the last sentence. If the British would not accept deletion of the last sentence, the amendments proposed by Admiral Duncan might then be put forward as a compromise.

General Marshall suggested that the first line of the last sentence be deleted and that the phrase “without prejudice to the fulfillment of other basic undertakings” precede the words “to provide” in the remainder of the sentence.

After further discussion,

The Joint Chiefs of Staff:—

Agreed to recommend to the Combined Chiefs of Staff that paragraph h be modified to read:

“Provide assistance to each of the forces of the liberated areas in Europe as can fulfill an active and effective role in the war against Germany and/or Japan. Within the limits of our available resources to assist other co-belligerents to the extent they are able to apply this assistance against the enemy powers in the present war. Without prejudice to the fulfillment of the other basic undertakings to provide such supplies to the liberated areas as will effectively contribute to the war-making capacity against Germany and Japan.”

  1. J. C. S. 186th Meeting.
  2. Ante, pp. 492496.
  3. Ante, pp. 496497.
  4. Ante, pp. 516522.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Ante, pp. 522524.
  7. Ante, pp. 521522.
  8. Post, pp. 536537.
  9. Not printed as such. For the Hopkins-Law “Memorandum of Agreement” of January 14, 1945, and the supplementary letter of Law to Hopkins of the same date, copies of which were enclosures to C. C. S. 746/8, see ante, pp. 420422. See also the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the President, January 30, 1945, post, pp. 534538.
  10. Not printed.
  11. In January 1942 the United States and the United Kingdom formed the Combined Shipping Adjustment Board for the purpose of utilizing as effectively as possible the vessels under the control of the Allied nations. The Board consisted of two panels, one in Washington, with officials of the War Shipping Administration, under Admiral Land, primarily responsible for vessels operating in the American pool, and the other in London, with the British Ministry of War Transport, under Lord Leathers, responsible for the British pool of vessels.
  12. Post, p. 539.
  13. See post, p. 539, footnote 1.