J. C. S. Files

Joint Chiefs of Staff Minutes
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Admiral Leahy said there were two matters which the Chiefs of Staff considered it desirable to have settled at the tripartite meeting [Page 565] scheduled for 1700 today. The first was to get Marshal Stalin to instruct the Red General Staff to participate in full, free and frank discussions with the U. S. and British Staffs. It was also desirable to get agreement to effect the needed coordination and exchange of information between General Eisenhower, Field Marshal Alexander and the Soviet General Staff by having them deal with each other directly through the Heads of the U. S. and British Military Missions in Moscow.

General Marshall said that the establishment of direct liaison for day to day communication between the Allied commanders and the Russians was highly desirable. In his opinion the important thing was to obtain agreement to the general idea as early as possible and leave the detailed procedure to be worked out later. The difficulty had been, not with the Russians but with the British who wish to effect the liaison through the Combined Chiefs of Staff. General Marshall pointed out that with the Russians within 40 miles of Berlin there was not time enough to go through the Combined Chiefs of Staff. He thought the British reluctance to agree to direct liaison was probably due to the objection which the Russians had raised to the presence of General Burrows on the proposed tripartite liaison committee and to the fear that General Eisenhower would become involved in the settlement of matters which would be more appropriate for consideration on a higher level.

Mr. Harriman said with reference to discussions between the Russian and Allied staffs that Marshal Stalin’s formal approval of the discussions would be necessary before it would be possible to get any information of value from the Russian General Staff.

At this point, a memorandum from the President to the Prime Minister enclosing a memorandum requesting Marshal Stalin to agree to the proposed method of liaison through the Military Mission in Moscow was presented to the President, signed by him and dispatched at once to the Prime Minister.1

The President considered the agendas contained in Appendices “A” and “B” of J. C. S. 1227/3.2

In answer to the President’s question with reference to item e, General Marshall explained that Milepost requirements and progress was not a matter for discussion with the British but with the Russians only.

In reply to the President’s question as to whether the British troops released from Burma would go into China, General Marshall said that the British had not raised this point. He thought it more likely that the British troops would be used in Thailand.

[Page 566]

The President asked if any material and supplies would be stockpiled in Petropavlovsk.

General Marshall replied that the Russians wanted some of it there but the bulk of it was desired at Vladivostok.

General Marshall then read to the President a telegraphic report summarizing the situation on all war fronts and explained it on the map.

The President stated any action in Indochina which resulted in damage to the Japanese was satisfactory to him. He had no objection to any U. S. action which it was considered desirable to take in Indochina as long as it did not involve any alignments with the French.

Mr. Stettinius informed the President that there were seven major topics which he thought the President should be prepared to discuss with the Prime Minister and Marshal Stalin. The first was the question of the post-war international organization. The matter of immediate interest was the question of who was to be invited to attend the next conference on this subject and where the conference was to be held. He indicated a number of locations which would be suitable and stated that he had options on all of the desirable places in the United States if this country should be selected as the site.

The second topic was the matter of the creation of an emergency European high commission to function during the interim period between the end of the war and the setting up of the permanent organization.

The President indicated that he preferred periodic meetings between Mr. Stettinius, Mr. Eden and Mr. Molotov to the creation of a formal commission.

The third topic was the treatment of Germany, political and economic.

Mr. Stettinius stated that the Russians were interested in taking this up as the first subject to be discussed by the tripartite conference. The fourth topic was the subject of Poland.

The fifth topic was the Allied Control Commissions in Rumania, Bulgaria and Hungary. The attitude manifested by the Russians toward the U. S. and British delegations on these commissions made necessary an early clarification of the situation.

The sixth subject was the question of Iranian relations.

Mr. Stettinius stated that the British were willing to withdraw troops in Iran in June.

The seventh topic was China. It was desirable to seek Soviet and British assistance in composing the relations between the Chinese Government and the Communists.

[Page 567]

Mr. Stettinius stated that papers have been prepared by the Department of State on all of the subjects listed and would be available for the President’s information.

Mr. Harriman stated that Marshal Stalin would very likely wish to raise the question of what the Russians would get out of the Pacific war. He stated they would want the southern half of Sakhalin, and the Kuriles. They would wish to maintain the status quo in Outer Mongolia and to obtain control over the railroad running to Dairen.

The President said he wished to have the views of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek before discussing the status quo in Mongolia but was ready to go ahead on the other questions.

At this point Mr. Matthews and Mr. Hiss entered the meeting to discuss the papers prepared by the Department of State for the President.3

  1. Not found.
  2. See ante, p. 563, footnotes 3 and 4.
  3. Cf. Stettinius, pp. 84 ff.