J. C. S. Files

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

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At the suggestion of General Antonov, Field Marshal Brooke agreed to take the chair.

Coordination of Offensive Operations

Sir Alan Brooke suggested that the meeting should begin by considering the coordination of the Russian and U. S.-British offensives. At the Plenary Meeting on the previous day, General Antonov had put forward certain Russian requirements. He had asked, first, that during the month of February the Allied armies in the West should carry out offensives. As General Marshall had explained, the Allied offensive in the West would start in the North on the eighth of February and some eight days later the Ninth U. S. Army would also start an offensive. These operations would be carried out during most of February. In addition to these operations in the North, operations were now being carried out by United States and French armies to push the Germans back to the Rhine in the Colmar area. It was therefore clear that the immediate coordination of Allied and Russian offensives was already being carried out. It was necessary, however, to look into the matter of coordination of offensives in the spring and summer months. As far as operations in the West were concerned these would be more or less continuous throughout the spring. There were, of course, bound to be intervals between operations, though such intervals would not be of long duration. For instance, after clearing the western bank of the Rhine on the northern part of the front, preparations [Page 596]would have to be made for the final crossing of the Rhine. From a study of conditions of the river it was hoped to effect a crossing during the month of March. After establishing the crossing it would have to be widened and improved before the final advance into the heart of Germany could be undertaken.

Should operations in the North aimed at the Ruhr be held up, it was the intention to carry out further operations in the South. It was safe to say, therefore, that during the months of February, March and April, active operations would be in progress during almost the entire time.

The actual crossing of the Rhine presented the greatest difficulties and it was during the period of this crossing that the Allies were anxious to prevent a concentration of German forces against the armies in the West. It was therefore hoped that during March operations on the Eastern Front would be able to continue. Sir Alan Brooke said he appreciated the difficulties in March and early April due to the thaw and mud which would interfere with communications. He also realized that after their present great advances the Russian armies would want to improve their communications. He would much like to hear General Antonov’s views on what operations could be undertaken by the Soviet armies during March and April.

General. Marshall said that during the Tripartite Plenary Meeting on the previous day the number of divisions, the amount of artillery, and the number of tanks on the Eastern Front had been enumerated. In considering the Western Front it was important to bear in mind that operations must be conducted to meet the special conditions existing. In the West there was no superiority in ground forces. There were delicate lines of sea communications, particularly in the Scheldt Estuary. The Allies, however, did enjoy a preponderance of air power, but in this connection the weather was an important consideration. If the Allies were unable to take full advantage of their air superiority they did not have sufficient superiority on the ground to overcome enemy opposition. Operations must therefore be conducted on this basis. Another restriction arose from the fact that there were only a small number of favorable locations for crossing the Rhine. It was therefore most important to insure that the enemy could not concentrate strongly at the point of attack.

The enemy were now operating behind the Rhine and the Siegfried line and therefore had great freedom of maneuver. We must therefore arrange to occupy the Germans as much as possible to prevent them from concentrating against us on the very narrow bridgehead area available to us.

With regard to air forces, on the Western Front some 3,000 to 4,000 fighter-bomber sorties could be undertaken each day. There was [Page 597]about one-third of this strength on the Italian Front. This did not include the power of the great four-engine bombers with their escorting fighters.

General Antonov said that, as Marshal Stalin had pointed out, the Russians would continue the offensive in the East as long as the weather permitted. There might be interruptions during the offensive and, as Sir Alan Brooke had said, there was the need to reestablish Russian communications. The Soviet Army would, however, take measures to make such interruptions as short as possible and would continue the offensive to the limit of their capacity.

In connection with the western offensive in February, it was not believed that the Germans could transfer forces from the Eastern Front to the West in large numbers. The Soviet Staff, however, was also interested in the Italian Front, from where the Germans had the opportunity of transferring troops to the Eastern Front. In view of this, the Soviet General Staff would like to know the potentialities of the Allied armies now fighting the Germans in Italy.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the situation on the Italian Front was being carefully examined as it developed. Kesselring’s forces had now been driven into northern Italy where the country was very well suited for defense or for systematic retirement. There was a series of rivers which could be used for rear-guard actions while withdrawing his forces gradually. The enemy would have to retreat through the Ljubljana Gap or the passes of the Alps. The coast in the Bay of Venice was not suitable for amphibious operations, and therefore outflanking operations in the Adriatic did not appear fruitful. So far there had been continuous offensive operations which had driven the enemy out of the Apennine line and into the Valley of the Po. Winter weather and floods had, however, brought these offensive operations almost to a standstill.

At present our troops were preparing for further offensive action when the weather improved. It had, however, been decided that it would be better to transfer some of the forces now in Italy to the Western Front, where at present we did not have sufficient superiority in ground forces. Five divisions were therefore now to be transferred from Italy to France and certain air forces would accompany them. The forces remaining in Italy had been instructed to carry out offensive operations and to seize every opportunity to inflict heavy blows on the enemy. Their object was to retain as many of Kesselring’s forces as possible by offensive action. However, owing to the topography of the country, it was believed that Kesselring could carry out a partial withdrawal without the Allies being able to stop it. The rate of withdrawal was estimated at some one and one-half divisions per week. Thus, any withdrawal which he did undertake could only be gradual.

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To sum up, it was proposed to take what action was possible to stop the German withdrawal in Italy, though it was not thought that this could be entirely prevented. For this reason, it had been decided to withdraw certain forces from Italy to the vital front in Northwest Europe.

General Marshall said that he agreed with Sir Alan Brooke’s summary of the position but felt that a reference should be made to the value of our air power in Italy.

General Antonov asked the number of German troops believed to be in Italy.

Field Marshal Alexander said that at present the German forces in Italy consisted of 27 German divisions and 5 Italian divisions.

Sir Alan Brooke said that all these forces could not be held down in Italy by offensive action. If the Germans decided to retire to the line of the Adige, it was estimated that they would be able to withdraw some ten divisions from Italy.

Sir Charles Portal said that on the Western and Italian Fronts together the United States and British air forces consisted of some fourteen thousand aircraft. This figure did not include the reserve behind the front line. Should the land campaign have to halt, the war in the air would continue, so far as weather permitted, even more strongly than before. Everything possible would be done, as General Marshall had stated, to bring the greatest possible air assistance to the vital points of attack in the land offensive. Such air assistance included the operations of a number of airborne divisions, for which the necessary transport was available.

So far as the requirements of the land battle permitted, it was the intention to concentrate the strategic bomber forces on the enemy’s oil supply. Evidence was available almost daily that the destruction of his oil production capacity was imposing limitations on the enemy’s operations. It was believed that the destruction of enemy oil was the best contribution which the air forces could make, both to the offensive on land and in the air. Much had been done and would continue to be done to disorganize the enemy’s rail communications, but it was our experience that an attempt to cut all railways in the middle of Germany to stop troop movements would produce disappointing results in view of the relative ease with which the enemy could repair such destruction.

It was known that the Germans intended to assemble a strong force of jet-propelled fighters during the course of the present year. It had therefore been decided that, in order to maintain our air superiority into the summer, a proportion of our air effort must be devoted to attacks on the German jet-propelled fighter manufacturing plants. Nevertheless, it was an agreed principle that when the land offensive [Page 599]began, everything in the air that could contribute to its success should be so used.

Before the advance of the Soviet armies, Allied air power had been brought to bear as far afield as Koenigsberg, Danzig, Posen and Warsaw. The great range of our strategic air forces made it most necessary that Allied air operations should be coordinated with the advance of the Soviet armies both to prevent accidents and to obtain the best value from our bomber effort.

General Marshall invited Field Marshal Alexander to comment on the capability of air forces in Italy to prevent a German withdrawal.

Field Marshal Alexander said that it had been his experience in Italy that our greatly superior air forces were a most powerful weapon while the enemy was withdrawing, if it was possible to force the pace of his withdrawal. If, however, he was in a position to withdraw at his own pace the air forces were less effective since the withdrawal could be undertaken mostly under cover of darkness.

In the Valley of the Po there was a series of extremely strong holding positions and it would therefore be difficult to force the enemy to withdraw faster than he planned. Nevertheless, when the weather improved from May onwards, considerable damage could be done to the withdrawing German forces and to their lines of communication. However, in February, March and April the weather was bad, with low clouds, which hindered the air effort to a great extent. Further, the Germans had destroyed nearly all the bridges over the River Po and had replaced them with some 30 to 40 pontoon bridges which were not kept in position during the day but were hidden along the banks. The destruction of these bridges was therefore extremely difficult.

To sum up, the better the weather the more damage could be done to the enemy by air action but however successful the air action, he did not believe that it would be possible entirely to prevent a German withdrawal by this means.

General Marshall said that at the Tripartite Plenary Meeting on the previous day the desire had been expressed that every effort should be made to stop the movement of German forces from west to east by air action and, in particular, to paralyze the vital rail junctions of Berlin and Leipzig. In this connection a report he had received that day summarizing Allied air operations in the last few days was of interest. On Friday, the second of February, the Royal Air Force had flown 2,400 sorties, concentrating on rail and road targets in Euskirchen and Coblenz. The latter, in particular, was of vital importance in the transfer of German forces to the East. Similar destruction of rail targets had taken place east of Alsace. On the same night a thousand of our bombers had attacked Wiesbaden, Karlsruhe [Page 600]and synthetic oil plants elsewhere. On the following day, Saturday, the third of February, four-engined United States bombers had attacked Marienberg railway yards and 550 RAF bombers had attacked targets in the same area.

In relation to the destruction of communications and the interference with enemy movements the following data had been received relating to the effect of air attacks carried out on the 22d and 23d of January: On these two days alone 2,500 motor cars and trucks had been destroyed and 1,500 damaged; a thousand railway cars had been destroyed and 700 damaged; 93 tanks and self-propelled guns had been destroyed and a further 93 damaged; 25 locomotives had been destroyed and 4 damaged; 50 horse-drawn vehicles had been destroyed and 88 damaged. In addition, 62 known gun positions had been wiped out and 21 marshalling yards damaged. These very large results had been obtained on the two days he had referred to, but similar attacks were carried out on almost every fine day by the Allied air forces. He had referred on the previous day to the thousand-bomber attack on Berlin carried out on the third of February. There was also ready a plan to carry out a similar attack on Leipzig.

Marshal Khudyakov said that, as Marshal Stalin had pointed out, more than 8,000 Soviet planes were being used in the main thrust. In spite of weather conditions, between the 12th of January and the first of February 80,000 sorties had been flown in support of the Russian advance. More than a thousand enemy planes had been captured on airfields which had been overrun by the Russian troops. These aircraft had been prevented from flying away by bad weather. In addition, 560 planes had been shot down in air combat. If better weather prevailed air operations could be carried out on objectives further in the enemy rear but fog at this time of year rendered such deep operations to the west of Berlin almost impossible. He agreed with Sir Charles Portal that there were too many railroads in Germany to destroy all of them. He hoped that Field Marshal Alexander’s operations could be aimed at hampering the movement of German divisions from Italy to the Eastern Front.

Field Marshal Alexander said that this object was contained in his directive.

Marshal Khudyakov said that he was glad to hear of this. In Italy there were fewer railways to assist the enemy withdrawal.

Field Marshal Alexander explained that the Germans in Italy largely used roads for their withdrawals.

General Antonov said that in addition to the Soviet offensives in the North, offensives would also continue in the direction of Vienna and west of Lake Balaton. It was for this reason that Allied action in Italy was of importance to the Soviets. It seemed to him expedient [Page 601]that Allied land offensives should be directed toward the Ljubljana Gap and Graz. He now understood that this was not possible.

Sir Alan Brooke said that it must be remembered that the Allies had no great superiority in land forces. They had come to the conclusion that in conjunction with the vital death blows being dealt by the Soviet armies in the East, the correct place for the western death blow was in Northwestern Europe. For this reason it had been decided to transfer divisions from Italy to the Western Front and to limit operations in Italy to holding as many German forces in that theater as possible. In the event of a German withdrawal from northern Italy, we had forces strong enough to take advantage of such a withdrawal, and possibly at a later date to be able to operate through the Ljubljana Gap. Such action, however, must remain dependent on the withdrawal of a proportion of the German forces at present in the north of Italy.

2. Movement of German Forces From Norway

General Antonov said that the Germans were transferring forces from Norway to Denmark. He asked if there was any way in which such a movement could be stopped.

Sir Andrew Cunningham said as far as was known, these movements were being carried out by rail and road to Oslo and not by sea. The troops were then being moved across the short sea passage to Denmark. It was not possible in view of heavy mining to operate surface forces in the Skagerrak and thus prevent the enemy making this short sea passage.

Sir Charles Portal said that the action of the air forces in this connection could be divided into two parts: firstly, by such attacks as could be made on shipping in the Kattegat, and with four-engined bombers operated on almost every fine night in an endeavor to bomb enemy ships. Several ships had recently been set on fire in this area. The second form of air action was by mine-laying aircraft. Approximately 1,000 mines were being laid by this method each month. Each aircraft carried some six mines. Sir Andrew Cunningham had just told him that recently these mines had sunk or damaged four enemy transports. German minesweepers did endeavor of course to sweep up our mines but it was now planned to increase the number of air attacks made on these minesweepers. However, there were so many varying tasks for the air forces to carry out that all could not be undertaken equally well.

Sir Alan Brooke said an examination had also been made of the possibility of stopping the movement of German forces from Norway by land action in Norway itself. There were, however, insufficient forces to undertake this without weakening our main effort on the Western Front.

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3. Use of Artillery and Air in Future Operations

General Antonov said he felt it would be interesting to exchange information with regard to the method of carrying out operations in the autumn, winter and spring when, by reason of weather, it was not always possible to make use of air power. On these occasions the role of artillery became one of particular importance. As Marshal Stalin had said on the previous day, the Russians were establishing special artillery divisions of some 300 to 400 guns each, which were used for breaking through the enemy line. This method enabled a mass of artillery of some 230 guns of 76 millimeters and upwards to be concentrated on a front of one kilometer. He would be very glad to know what degree of artillery density would be used on the Western Front when the February offensive commenced.

General Bull said that the northern army group, which would take part in the next offensive, possessed some 1,500 guns of 105 millimeters and upwards, and the United States Army group which would also take part in the offensive, had some 3,000 guns of similar calibers. The army commanders concerned, by concentrating their artillery power on a narrow front, would be able to use some 200 guns to the mile in the area of the break-through. To this offensive power should be added the power of the air forces. In the three days preceding the attack on the eighth of February, it could be expected that some 1,600 heavy bombers would be used, capable of delivering 4,500 tons of bombs on the first day. For the remaining two days before the offensive, a slightly less weight of bombs could be dropped, but closer to the point of attack. Not only would communications behind the front be bombed, but also positions known to be strongly held.

On the day of the attack itself, “carpet bombing” would be used, and some 4,000 tons could be dropped on an area two miles square. He felt the effect of the air attack and the artillery concentration should produce a break-through, thus allowing our armor to operate in the enemy’s rear. A similar pattern of attack had been used on previous occasions with great success.

Marshal Khudyakov asked what action would be taken if it was found that weather prohibited the air [forces.?] from operating on the day of attack.

General Bull explained that the attack was normally timed for a day on which it was predicted that the weather would enable “carpet bombing” to be carried out. During the actual attack the bombing was carried out some 2,000 yards ahead of our own front line, but earlier bombing on targets further behind the line could be undertaken through overcast.

Marshal Khudyakov explained that all Russian operations in winter were planned on the supposition that bad weather would exist, [Page 603]and no air operations would be possible. He felt that the Allies should bear this point in mind in planning their own operations.

General Marshall said that he had endeavored to explain that the Allies did not possess the same superiority in ground forces as did the Russians. The Allies did not have 300 divisions, nor was it possible to produce them. It was therefore essential to make full use of our air superiority. He would like to point out the advance across France had, in fact, been accomplished with the same number of divisions as the enemy himself had. This was made possible by a combination of ground and air power.

General Antonov said that he now had a very clear picture of Allied offensive intentions. Were there any questions which the British or United States Chiefs of Staff would like to ask?

4. Liaison Arrangements

Admiral Leahy said that in view of the very frank discussion of plans which was taking place, he would like to bring up the question of liaison between the Eastern and Western Fronts. The distance between the two armies was now so short that direct liaison was a matter of great importance. He had been directed by the President to bring up this question of liaison before the British, Russian and United States Chiefs of Staff. It was the opinion of the United States Chiefs of Staff, who had not yet discussed it with their British colleagues, that arrangements should be made for the Allied armies in the West to deal rapidly with the Soviet commanders on the Eastern Front through the Military Missions now in Moscow. He would be glad to take back to the President the views of the Soviet and British Chiefs of Staffs on this matter.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Chiefs of Staff were equally anxious to have the necessary liaison in order that plans could be concerted. They felt that such liaison required organizing on a sound basis. Military Missions were already established in Moscow, and these should, he felt, act as a link on a high level between the United States, British, and Soviet Chiefs of Staffs. In addition to this, closer liaison was required between the commanders of Allied theaters with the commanders of the nearest Russian armies. For example, on the Italian Front, Field Marshal Alexander required direct liaison with the Russian commander concerned.

In the case of the Supreme Commander on the Western Front, he would require direct liaison with the commanders of the Russian, armies in the East. Thus there would be coordination between the high commands dealing with future action and in addition, direct coordination between the Allied and Soviet armies, who were closely in contact, on such matters as the employment of air forces and the coordination of day-to-day action.

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General Antonov said that the question of liaison between the general staffs was very important and, as had already been mentioned, could be undertaken through the Missions in Moscow. In the present state of the offensives, this should be perfectly satisfactory until the forces came closer into contact with each other. Later, as operations advanced, the question of liaison between Army commanders could be reviewed and adjusted. These proposals would be reported to Marshal Stalin.

General Marshall said that he had not entirely understood the necessity for limiting liaison.

General Antonov explained that his proposal was to limit liaison to that through the General Staff in Moscow and the U. S. and British Missions. Such arrangements, however, could be revised and adjusted later to meet changing conditions.

General Marshall pointed out that difficulties and serious results had already occurred in air operations from Italy over the Balkans. Such operations were directed from day to day and even from hour to hour, depending on weather and other conditions. If contact had to be maintained between the armies concerned through Moscow, difficulties would be certain to arise.

If this round-about method of communications through many busy people had to be adopted, there was a risk that our powerful air weapon could not be properly used.

General Antonov said that the accident to which General Marshall referred had occurred not because of lack of liaison but due to the pilots concerned losing their way. They had, in fact, made a navigational mistake with regard to the correct point for bombing.

General Marshall said that he recognized this. However, the bombline at that time excluded roads crowded with retreating Germans who could not be bombed by the Allied forces without an approach being made through Moscow. A powerful air force was available and good weather existed but the Allied air force was unable to act and the Germans profited thereby.

Sir Alan Brooke said he entirely agreed with General Marshall that, through lack of liaison, we are losing the full force of the air power at our disposal.

General Antonov said that at the present time no tactical coordination was required between Allied and Russian ground forces. We should, he believed, aim at planning the strategic requirements of our air forces. The use of all Soviet air forces was dictated by the Soviet General Staff in Moscow. It was for this reason that the coordination of the air effort should, in his view, be carried out through the Soviet General Staff in Moscow, who alone could solve the problems. It was possible to agree on the objectives for strategic bombing irrespective of a bombline.

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Sir Charles Portal said that in the British view there were two distinct problems with regard to liaison. The first was the necessity for the form of liaison referred to by General Antonov, i.e., the coordination of the Allied long-range bomber effort over eastern Germany and its relation to the advance of the Red Army. The Allied long-range strategic bomber force was not controlled by the Supreme Commander in the West except when it was undertaking work in close cooperation with the ground forces but was controlled by the United States and British Chiefs of Staff. It was right, therefore, that the United States and British Chiefs of Staff or their representatives should deal direct with Moscow on this matter.

The second problem was in respect to the constant air operations out from Italy in relation to Russian operations in the Balkans and Hungary. In that theater liaison was required, not so much on policy as on an interchange of information. The British Chiefs of Staff entirely agreed with the United States view that it was inefficient for liaison between Field Marshal Alexander and the Russian commanders to be effected through Moscow. It was, therefore, essential that some machinery should be set up to deal with day-to-day liaison between General Alexander and the Russian headquarters which controlled the southern front. Without such direct liaison it was impossible to take advantage of the many opportunities presented to hit the Germans from the air.

Marshal Khudyakov said that concerning air action into Germany itself, this could be done through the General Staff in Moscow as suggested by Sir Charles Portal, using the U. S. and British Military Missions. This liaison on policy was one which took time to arrange and was not a matter for great speed. With regard to direct liaison between Field Marshal Alexander and the Russian left wing he felt this was a matter which should be reported to Marshal Stalin.

General Antonov asked if it could not be agreed that a bombline should be established running from Berlin to Dresden, Vienna and Zagreb, all these places being allotted to the Allied air forces. Such a line could, of course, be changed as the front changed.

Admiral Leahy and Sir Alan Brooke asked that this matter be deferred one day for consideration.

5. Naval Operations in Support of the Land Offensive

Admiral Kuznetsov asked if plans had been made for any naval operations in direct assistance to the land attack which was shortly to be carried out. He referred not so much to the normal naval operations in the defense of communications and day-to-day operations of the fleet to control the seas but rather to direct operations in support of a land offensive.

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Sir Andrew Cunningham explained that projected operations were too far inland to be directly affected by any operations which could be carried out by the fleet except the routine operations of keeping open communications. He asked if Admiral Kuznetsov had any particular operations in mind.

Admiral Kuznetsov said he had no particular operation in mind but rather the possibility of some operation in the neighborhood of Denmark that would not have any direct tactical connection with the army operations but would have a strategic connection.

Sir Andrew Cunningham said that possible operations to outflank the Rhine had been studied. However, landing on the coast of Holland would prove extremely difficult and the necessary land forces were not available to enable an operation against Denmark to be undertaken.

Sir Alan Brooke said that owing to the difficulty of forcing a crossing of the Rhine when that river was in flood, a very detailed examination had been carried out of the coastline from the Scheldt to the Danish coast, but operations in this area had not been found practicable since: firstly, large areas of Holland could be flooded and, secondly, operations further to the north would be too far detached from the main thrust to be of value.

Admiral King asked if Admiral Kuznetsov would outline the successes which the Soviet Fleet had been able to obtain in amphibious operations or operations to interfere with the transport of troops from the Baltic states to Germany.

Admiral Kuznetsov said that operations of the Soviet Fleet to cut German communications in the Baltic had been undertaken by submarines and naval aircraft. When the area of Memel was reached, it became possible to transfer torpedo boats to augment Russian naval activity in that area. However, all operations were at present hampered by ice conditions and, further, the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Riga were heavily mined by the enemy, and mine clearance was hampered by weather conditions and ice.

Admiral King said that he appreciated that ice conditions were now limiting operations but had asked this question in view of earlier Soviet communiqués mentioning the damage or destruction of German shipping.

Admiral Kuznetsov said that the earlier destruction of German shipping had been carried out by naval air forces and submarines.

6. Date of the End of the War With Germany

Admiral Leahy said that the United States Chiefs of Staff were engaged in making logistic plans for that phase of the war following the collapse of Germany. It had been suggested that such plans should now be based on a probable date of the first of July for the [Page 607]earliest possible collapse of Germany. Before deciding on such a date he was anxious to have the views of the Soviet Staff on this matter.

General Antonov said that until the eastern and western offensives developed it was difficult if not impossible to predict the date of the collapse of Germany.

Admiral Leahy said he entirely appreciated the uncertainty but for planning purposes he would be glad to know if the Soviet Staff regarded the first of July as the earliest date as a reasonable assumption.

General Antonov said he regarded such assumptions as being difficult to make. He could assure Admiral Leahy that the Soviet General Staff would concentrate every effort on the earliest possible defeat of Germany.

General Marshall explained that a year ago it had been necessary to assume a date for the defeat of Germany on which to base calculations on such matters as production and the construction of shipping. It was necessary to revise this date from time to time, particularly in connection with the handling of shipping throughout the world. It had been proposed to take two target dates, one the earliest and one the latest likely date for the defeat of Germany. Such dates were now under consideration between the United States and British Chiefs of Staff who were in agreement that the first of July was the earliest likely date but differed by two months with regard to the latest likely date. The United States assumption in this connection was the 31st of December. Did General Antonov regard the first of July as improbable as the earliest likely date?

General Antonov said that he regarded the summer as the earliest date and the winter as the latest. The first of July should be a reasonably certain date for the defeat of Germany if all our efforts were applied to this end.

7. Future Business

A brief discussion took place on future business.

Sir Alan Brooke suggested that a meeting should be held on the following day at 12 noon in the Soviet Headquarters, and that the following subjects should be discussed: (1) Coordination of Air Operations; (2) Shuttle Bombing; and (3) A Short Discussion on the War in the Far East.

Admiral King said he would be prepared to make a statement on operations taking place in the Pacific and his conception of the future development of the war in that theater. He would welcome any questions which the Soviet Staff might wish to ask on this subject.

General Antonov said he would be glad to listen to a description of the situation in the Far East and operations in that area, but as far [Page 608]as discussion of the matter was concerned the Soviet General Staff would prefer that this should take place after the war in the Far East had been considered by the Heads of Government.