J. C. S. Files

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes 2
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1. Approval of the Minutes of the 186th Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the conclusions of the minutes of the C. C. S. 186th Meeting and approved the detailed record of the meeting subject to later minor amendments.

2. Levels of Supply of All Petroleum Products in All Theaters

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

3. Over-all Review of Cargo Shipping
(C. C. S. 746/11)3

Admiral Leahy said that the United States Chiefs of Staff had examined this paper and it was acceptable to them with one amendment. They would like to change the date referred to in the first sentence of paragraph 4b. (1) (d) on Page 4 of the enclosure from 30 April to 1 April.4

Lord Leathers said that this amendment would suit him personally very well if the staffs concerned could prepare the study in time.

Admiral Leahy said that the United States staffs believed this would be possible.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Chiefs of Staff were quite prepared to accept the first of April as a target date for the report concerned.

Continuing, Sir Alan Brooke suggested that paragraph 4b. (1) of the enclosure required clarification as to the order of priority in which the tasks referred to were to be undertaken. For instance, the fixing of priorities for the continuance of the war against Japan referred to in paragraph 4b. (1) (b) might well have to take place before the preparation of the combined redeployment plan or at least concurrently with it.

General Somervell explained that the tasks referred to in paragraph 4b. (1) were not set out in the sequence in which they would necessarily be undertaken.

[Page 751]

Sir Alan Brooke suggested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should decide on the agencies to undertake the preparation of a combined redeployment plan, and the fixing of priority for continuance of the war against Japan. He felt that the Combined Staff Planners and the Combined Administrative Committee, in consultation, would be the best bodies to undertake this work. They would, of course, as set out in paragraph 4b. (1) (c) confer with the Combined Military Transportation Committee and the appropriate shipping authorities.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

a. Approved C. C. S. 746/11, subject to the change of the date in the third line on Page 4 from 30 April to 1 April 1945.

b. Directed the Combined Staff Planners, in collaboration with the Combined Administrative Committee, to take the action outlined in paragraph 4b. (1).

c. Invited the combined shipping authorities to take the action outlined in paragraph 4b (2).

4. Reciprocal Agreement on Prisoners of War
(C. C. S. 777/1)5

Sir Alan Brooke said there were two points the British Chiefs of Staff would like to make. With regard to Article 6, certain of the Dominion Governments had raised objections to the conclusion of an agreement whereby their prisoners of war should work for the Russians on any but a voluntary basis. He suggested therefore the insertion of the words “on a voluntary basis” after the words “They may also be employed” in the second sentence of Article 6.

As he saw it, the proposed agreement was susceptible to alteration by the State Department or Foreign Office, and all that was required was the assurance of the Combined Chiefs of Staff that they saw no objection to it in principle.

Admiral Leahy said that he had understood the Combined Chiefs of Staff should agree on the wording of the document and recommend its acceptance to the State Department and Foreign Office as a basis for discussion with the Russians.

Replying to a question by General Marshall, Sir Charles Portal explained that the Dominion Governments concerned had pointed out that their forces were enrolled on a voluntary basis and were not conscripts. For political reasons, therefore, they felt it important that such troops who might be prisoners of war, should not be made to work by the Russians except on a voluntary basis.

Admiral Leahy said the proposed amendment was acceptable.

[Page 752]

Continuing, Sir Alan Brooke said that the second point which the British Chiefs of Staff wished to put forward was with regard to Article 8. They felt that this article introduced a new subject which had not previously been considered and might not be acceptable to the Russian authorities who might well object to agreeing that their prisoners of war falling into the hands of United States or British troops should, without their consent, be transferred by one of these powers to the other.

Admiral Leahy pointed out that such transfers might be operationally necessary.

Sir Charles Portal said that as he read it, there was nothing in the remainder of the agreement which prohibited such transfers but he regarded it as a matter more for mutual arrangement between the United States and British authorities concerned than for discussion with the Russians.

General Marshall said that he was prepared to agree that paragraph 8 should be deleted.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved C. C. S. 777/1 subject to the following amendments:

Article 6: In the fifth line, after “employed,” insert “on a voluntary basis.”

Article 8: Delete this article and renumber the succeeding article as Article 8.

(Amended paper subsequently circulated as C. C. S. 777/2.)

5. Equipment for Greek Forces
(C. C. S. 185th Mtg., Item 2; C. C. S. 768/1;6 NAF 8417)

Sir Alan Brooke reminded the Combined Chiefs of Staff that at their 185th Meeting, 2 February 1945, it had been agreed that the British would undertake the equipment of an additional 60,000 Greek forces upon receipt from London of certain assurances. The British Chiefs of Staff were now in a position to assure the United States Chiefs of Staff that the implementation of the proposals contained in NAF 841:

a.
Would not interfere with the equipment for Allied and liberated forces in Northwest Europe; and
b.
Would not result in subsequent direct or indirect charges against United States resources.

The British would therefore go ahead with the equipping of the forces concerned. The British Chiefs of Staff would also formalize [Page 753]this matter by putting out a memorandum on the lines he had just mentioned.

General Marshall said that these assurances were satisfactory.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

a.
Took note of the assurance of the British Chiefs of Staff that the implementation of NAF 841 would not:
(1)
Interfere with the equipment for Allied and liberated forces in Northwest Europe;
(2)
Result in subsequent direct or indirect charges against U. S. resources.
b.
Pursuant to the above, agreed to the implementation of the proposals in NAF 841.

6. Final Report to the President and Prime Minister
(C. C. S. 776/1)8

Admiral Leahy raised the question of the preparation of the final report to the President and Prime Minister. He understood that such a report would be ready for consideration on the following morning. He understood also that the Prime Minister had suggested a plenary meeting at noon, on Friday, 9 February. He would seek the wishes of the President in this matter.

Sir Alan Brooke suggested that it might be well for the Combined Chiefs of Staff to meet an hour before the plenary meeting in order to clear any final points with regard to the report itself or any other matters which might arise.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

a.
Agreed to request a plenary meeting for 1200 hours on Friday, 9 February 1945.
b.
Agreed to meet one hour prior to the plenary meeting, whatever the hour selected, to consider the final report.

7. Operations on the Western Front

General Marshall read out the latest information available on the course of ground and air operations on the Western Front. He felt it of particular interest to note that at the present time there were 49 Allied divisions in the line with 33 in reserve.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Took note with interest of the above statement.

  1. C. C. S. 187th Meeting.
  2. Not printed.
  3. For previous discussion of the paragraph under consideration, see ante, pp. 730731.
  4. As amended and approved, this document became C. C. S. 777/2, printed infra.
  5. See under Malta Conference, ante, pp. 522524.
  6. Not printed.
  7. As amended and approved this document became C. C. S. 776/3, which is printed post, pp. 827833.