J. C. S. Files

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes1
top secret

1. Approval of the Minutes of the 187th Meeting of C. C. S.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the conclusions of the minutes of the C. C. S. 187th Meeting and approved the detailed record of the meeting subject to later minor amendments.

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2. Draft Final Report to the President and Prime Minister

(C. C. S. 776/2)2

The Combined Chiefs of Staff considered those paragraphs of the draft final report which had been added since they had approved C. C. S. 776/1.

Sir Alan Brooke drew attention to the directive to the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean, contained in Appendix “A” of C. C. S. 776/2. He pointed out that in paragraph 4 c. of the directive it was stated that, “The nomination of ground formations to be withdrawn and the arrangements for their transfer will form the subject of a separate instruction/’ In order to avoid any possible delay in the movement of these forces he suggested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should send an instruction to the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean repeated to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force in the following sense:

“Reference paragraph 4 c. of the directive issued to you . . .3 The move of two Canadian and three British divisions should proceed under plans to be agreed between yourself and SCAEF, without awaiting any further instructions from the Combined Chiefs of Staff.”

General Marshall said that this proposal was acceptable.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Approved the text of the report to the President and Prime Minister on the Argonaut Conference (C. C. S. 776/2).
Approved the dispatch of the . . . [instruction] proposed by Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke. . . .

3. Liaison With the Soviet High Command With Regard to Strategic Bombing in Eastern Germany

(C. C. S. 778, C. C. S. 186th Mtg., Item 7, Two Tripartite Military Meetings)4

Sir Charles Portal referred to the discussions which had been taking place between himself and General Kuter and Marshal of Aviation Khudyakov. At the meeting a draft agreement5 had been drawn up and agreed and submitted to the three High Commands. It was acceptable to the British and, he understood, to the United States Chiefs of Staff. However, on the previous evening identical letters had been received by General Kuter and himself from Marshal Khudyakov setting out a considerably revised draft agreement.5

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General Kuter said he had redrafted the Russian proposals in such a way as to make them acceptable to the U. S. and British; he proposed putting this new draft6 to the Russians. If this were not acceptable to the Russians, it would probably be wisest to inform them that we planned to continue with the previous arrangements.

Sir Charles Portal explained the main difference between the Russian proposals and the draft which had been agreed at the meeting of the Heads of Air Staffs. In the original draft the Allied air forces could bomb a target to the east of the line, provided 24 hours’ notice was given to the Soviet High Command and no objection was raised. In the Russian proposal, however, it was necessary to obtain agreement for any Allied bombing east of the line 24 hours before the attack was to take place. It had been his understanding in conversations with Marshal Khudyakov, that the Russian Staff was more interested in preventing incidents between Allied and Soviet aircraft than they were in protecting their ground forces.

General Kuter pointed out that there was one further important change in the Russian proposals. The Soviet Staff had now proposed that a rigid line should exist which would be moved from time to time by the Soviet Staff whereas in the original agreement the bomb-line was to move forward automatically at a given distance from the Russian front line. An example of the difficulties which would arise under Marshal Khudyakov’s proposals had recently occurred. Marshal Tito had asked that the town of Brod be bombed on a certain day and a request for permission to do so had been made by General Deane in Moscow. General Deane had written letters to the Staff on this subject four consecutive days without receiving any reply and in fact no answer had yet been received. In his view the present Russian proposal was an entirely unworkable procedure.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff then discussed the best method of handling further action with regard to the Russian proposals.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:—

Agreed that Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Charles Portal and General Kuter should each reply separately to Marshal of the Soviet Air Force Khudyakov, making it clear that the revised agreement proposed by the Soviet High Command differed substantially from that which it was thought had been agreed between the Heads of the three Air Forces on 6 February; that these differences made acceptance of the revised agreement impracticable; and that the British/United States High Command therefore intended to continue with the arrangements in force prior to the Crimean Conference.

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4. Concluding Remarks

Admiral Leahy said he would like to express on behalf of the United States Chiefs of Staff their appreciation for the cooperation and assistance received from the British Chiefs of Staff during the present conference. He felt that progress had been made on the general plans of the war as a whole, and that much had been accomplished.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he would like to reciprocate on behalf of the British Chiefs of Staff the feelings expressed by Admiral Leahy. He was convinced that great progress had been made during the present conference.

  1. C. C. S. 188th Meeting.
  2. Following acceptance of this paper by the President and the Prime Minister at their meeting with the Combined Chiefs of Staff later on February 9, 1945, the report was recirculated as C. C. S. 776/3, which is printed post, pp. 827833.
  3. The directive embodied in Appendix “A” of the final C. C. S. report (see post, pp. 832833).
  4. See ante, pp. 637, 640641.
  5. Not printed.
  6. This was unacceptable to himself and to General Kuter.
  7. Not printed.