J. C. S. Files

Memorandum by the Chief of Naval Operations ( King )1
top secret


Subject: Questions posed by Admiral Kuznetsov at the U. S.–Russian Chiefs of Staff Meeting Thursday Afternoon, February 8th.

1. (a) Question. What has been determined about the transfer of ships to the Russians (presumably with reference to the Milepost program).

(b) Answer. It is difficult to be definite until we know more about the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic. However, it would seem practicable to work out a schedule of deliveries on a step-by-step basis in which the later deliveries may have to be delayed because of the U-boat situation in the Atlantic.

2. (a) Question. If Dutch Harbor is not a suitable place for the transfer of ships to the Russians and for the training of Russian crews, the second preference would be Kodiak. What is your view?

(b) Answer. After thorough review of all considerations, it has been decided that Cold Bay is the best place to effect the delivery of ships to the Russians and the training of Russian crews.

Note: Admiral Kuznetsov was unfamiliar with Cold Bay but when the location was pointed out to him he accepted it.

3. (a) Question. We wish to transfer crews from Murmansk by utilizing convoys returning from Murmansk to the United States, thence by rail across the United States to the West Coast, and thence to Cold Bay. Can you manage this?

(b) Answer. It would seem practicable to move Russian crews as far as the West Coast of the United States in the manner you describe, but it will be extremely difficult to move them from the West Coast to Cold Bay because of the very bad shipping situation in the Pacific. The matter will require the closest examination and the answer must be understood to be very uncertain at this time.

Note: Admiral Kuznetsov made no offer for the movement of the Russian crews from the West Coast to Cold Bay in Russian ships, which matter should be taken up further with the Russians.

Note: After the Staff meeting adjourned, I asked the Russian Admiral how many men, total, they wish to move from Murmansk to Cold [Page 762] Bay. His reply was about 3,000. I suggested if they were moved in detachments suitable to the accommodations in the ships of the convoys returning from Murmansk, it would make the problem more easy of solution—and, as well, it would facilitate their transfer by rail across the United States and, further, their transfer from the West Coast of the United States to Cold Bay. I added that such an arrangement would fit in well with the proposed schedule of delivery of ships on a step-by-step basis.

4. Copies of this memorandum will be given to the distribution list below. All agencies that are involved are urged to pursue this matter to an acceptable solution.

E. J. King

Fleet Admiral, U. S. Navy

Distribution List

  • Chief of Staff, U. S. Army
  • General Somervell
  • General Kuter
  • General Deane
  • Admiral Olsen
  • Admiral Horne
  • Admiral Edwards
  • Admiral Cooke
  • Admiral Duncan
  • Admiral McCormick
  • Admiral Land

  1. A copy of this memorandum was attached as Appendix A to the preceding Kuter minutes.