J. C. S. Files

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes3
top secret

1. Approval of Minutes of C. C. S. 184th Meeting4

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the conclusions of the minutes of the C. C. S. 184th Meeting and approved the detailed record of the meeting, subject to later minor amendments.

2. Equipment for Allied and Liberated Forces
(C. C. S. 768/1)5

Sir Alan Brooke said that he understood that the question of equipment for Allied and liberated forces had been under discussion by General Somervell and General Riddell-Webster. It was understood that the requirement for internal security for mobile military labor and miscellaneous units could be cut from a total commitment of 460,000 to 400,000 and equipped on the scale of British forces rather than a United States scale—a commitment which he believed that the British could undertake. It would however be necessary to confirm this with the War Office, which would be done as quickly as possible.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

a. Took note that SCAEF’s requirements in liberated manpower could be reduced from 460,000 to 400,000.

b. Agreed to the implementation of the proposals in NAF 8416 upon assurance by the British Chiefs of Staff that, subject to confirmation from London, this implementation would not:—

Interfere with the provision already affirmed in principle of equipment, on the scale for British forces, for Allied and liberated forces in Northwest Europe, nor
Result in subsequent direct or indirect charges against U. S resources.

3. Review of Cargo Shipping
(C. C. S. 746/87 and C. C. S. 746/106)

Sir Alan Brooke suggested the substitution of the word “some” for the word “present” in the first sentence of paragraph 4 of the enclosure to C. C. S. 746/10. With regard to paragraph 6 d., he felt that it should be made clear that the shipping and resources annex to the final report by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at Argonaut should [Page 531] be completed before the conference ended. To enable this to be achieved it would be necessary for the shipping team to go to Magneto unless it could be definitely decided that the conference would be continued at Cricket after the Magneto discussions had been concluded. It was generally agreed that the shipping staffs should remain at Cricket .

General Marshall suggested the deletion of the word “other” before the word “programs” in paragraph 5 b.

Turning to C. C. S. 746/8, Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Chiefs of Staff accepted the proposals put forward by the United States Chiefs of Staff, provided that a sentence could be added to paragraph 4 to make it clear that coordination should also be effected with the Combined Shipping Adjustment Board.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

a. Approved C. C. S. 746/10 subject to the substitution of “some” for “present” in the first line of paragraph 4 and the deletion of “other” in the fourth line of paragraph 5 b.

b. Approved the recommendation of the United States Chiefs of Staff in paragraph 4 of C. C. S. 746/8 subject to the addition to that paragraph of the following:

“Coordination should also be effected with the Combined Shipping Adjustment Board.”

c. Agreed that during the absence of the Combined Chiefs of Staff in Argonaut , the shipping staffs would continue their studies at Cricket with a view to the submission of a report to the Combined Chiefs of Staff prior to the conclusion of Argonaut .8

4. Levels of Supply of Petroleum Products in U. K. and Northwest Europe

5. Transfer of Tactical Air Forces From SACMED to SCAEF
(C. C. S. 773/1 and 773/2)9

General Marshall said that as he saw it the British proposal left the matter of the transfer of aircraft open for consideration later. He felt that the two commanders concerned should be allowed to negotiate direct. He considered that the Twelfth Air Force should [Page 532] move to Northwest Europe, which was the decisive theater in which additional air power would produce the most valuable results. A move of the tactical air force to the southern part of the line in France was complementary to the British Chiefs of Staffs desire to strengthen the northen thrust.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he felt that the offensive on the Western Front would be assisted by action on the Italian Front.

General Marshall pointed out that there was considerable air strength in Italy. He agreed that the final decision on moves should be taken by the Combined Chiefs of Staff but felt that the commanders should consult and put up agreed proposals.

Sir Charles Portal said that he felt a valuable opportunity might be afforded us in Italy if the enemy started to withdraw. In such an event the United States’ P–47’s would be of the utmost help in cutting communications beyond the limits of the shorter ranged British fighters. He pointed out that the tactical air forces comprised 4,300 aircraft on the Western Front as opposed to 1,950 in the Mediterranean; including strategic air forces there were 9,000 aircraft on the Western Front as opposed to 3,580 in the Mediterranean.

There was another point involved: the move of the tactical air force to France might interfere with the agreed troop movement. The commander concerned must of course say which he required first, but there were also political factors involved. The public were more impressed with the number of divisions taking part in a battle than with the number of aircraft. It seemed to him that to withhold a movement of the tactical air force for the present fitted in well with this political consideration since the divisions could move to France first, thus leaving the tactical air force in Italy to exploit any opportunity which arose. However, to meet the views put forward by the United States Chiefs of Staff he was prepared to accept a liberal interpretation of the words “substantial reduction” in paragraph 2 of C. C. S. 773/2. This he felt should not be allowed to rule out the immediate move of the two fighter-bomber groups particularly required by General Eisenhower. He understood that such a move was agreeable to Field Marshal Alexander and would leave three fighter-bomber groups in Italy. He understood, however, that it was important that the headquarters of the Twelfth Air Force should remain in Italy since they administered and controlled the medium bombers and troop carriers of the Twelfth Air Force.

General Marshall said he understood that the 6th Army Group was inadequately supplied with air staffs and that the headquarters of the Twelfth Air Force was important to them.

General Kuter said that he personally felt that the whole of the Twelfth Air Force should be transferred to France to assist in the [Page 533] main effort. All this force should be made available to General Eisenhower to move when he required it.

General Marshall said that the French forces in the South were inadequately provided with air support and the air forces in question were urgently required for the reduction of the Colmar pocket.

Sir Alan Brooke felt that when this pocket had been eliminated the Allied line in this sector would be very strong.

Field Marshal Alexander said he was anxious to retain the Twelfth Air Force headquarters but he had many able officers in the theater from among whom he would be glad to provide General Eisenhower a new air headquarters in southern France.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the directive to the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean, contained in C. C. S. 773/1 subject to the substitution of the following for the existing paragraph 5:

“5. Two fighter groups of the Twelfth Air Force will be moved to France at once. The 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 your mission. You should consult with SCAEF and submit agreed proposals for confirmation by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.”

6. Provision of LVTs for the Mediterranean

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

7. U-Boat Threat

The Combined Chiefs of Staff had before them a draft directive prepared by the Secretariat in accordance with Conclusion 6 b. of the C. C. S. 184th Meeting.10

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the draft directive submitted by the Secretaries and invited the United States and British Chiefs of Staff to dispatch it to all appropriate commanders. (Subsequently circulated as C. C. S. 774/3.11)

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

In reply to a question from Sir Alan Brooke, General Marshall outlined the strategic reasons which rendered the maintenance of Russian goodwill of such vital importance. He appreciated, however, the importance of insuring also that a state of affairs did not arise in France which would hinder our operations based on that country.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff then discussed the effect of various proposals to amend the basic undertakings contained in paragraph [Page 534] 6 h. of the interim report to the President and Prime Minister (C. C. S. 77613).

General Marshall explained that the British proposal would introduce a new category of basic undertakings which would affect the availability of shipping for military operations. He recalled the difficult decision which had been necessitated when, in considering the timing of operations against the Bonins and Ryukyus, a deficiency of some forty sailings had arisen. Simultaneously, a demand for an additional forty ships to increase the bread ration in Italy had been put forward.

General Somervell pointed out that requirements to prevent disease and unrest and requirements to implement the U. S. military manufacturing programs in liberated areas were already included under the military shipping requirements.

After further discussion,

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Deferred action on this subject.

9. Interim Report to the President and Prime Minister
(C. C. S. 776)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff agreed that paragraph 6 h. of C. C. S. 776 should be left blank with a notation to the effect that it was still under discussion.

Sir Alan Brooke pointed out that the paragraph dealing with cargo shipping could not yet be inserted since British acceptance of C. C. S. 746/1014 was conditional upon the rewording of paragraph 6 h. of the interim report along the lines indicated in C. C. S. 775.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the draft interim report as amended during the discussion.

  1. C. C. S. 185th Meeting.
  2. Ante, pp. 516522.
  3. Ante, pp. 522524.
  4. Not printed.
  5. See ante p 528, footnote 9.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Admiral Land and Lord Leathers were both present at the Malta Conference, where they discussed problems of shipping. Although no minutes or other firsthand record of their discussions has been found, Prime Minister Churchill referred to the importance and the difficulties of their negotiations in an address to the House of Commons on February 27, 1945 (Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 5th ser., vol. 408, cols. 1268–1269). The final decisions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff on shipping were set forth in the report at Yalta to the President and the Prime Minister, post, p. 831.
  8. Not printed.
  9. Ante, pp. 521522.
  10. Not printed.
  11. Post, p. 539.
  12. Not printed as such. For the text as it appeared in the final report, see post, p. 828.
  13. Not printed.