J. C. S. Files
Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes
Report to the President and the Prime Minister (CCS. 776/2)1
The Meeting had before them the draft of the final report to the President and the Prime Minister, containing the results of the Combined Chiefs of Staff Argonaut discussions (CCS. 776/2).
The report was accepted and approved by the President and the Prime Minister without amendment.
In the course of the ensuing discussion, the following matters were touched on briefly:
a. There was a discussion of possible developments after the defeat of Germany and the possible action of Russia at that time.
1 The text of this report, renumbered C. C. S. 776/3 after its approval by Roosevelt and Churchill, follows these minutes.[Page 826]
The Prime Minister expressed the opinion that it would be of great value if Russia could be persuaded to join with the United States, the British Empire, and China in the issue of a four-power ultimatum calling upon Japan to surrender unconditionally, or else be subjected to the overwhelming weight of all the forces of the four powers. Japan might ask in these circumstances what mitigation of the full rigour of unconditional surrender would be extended to her if she accepted the ultimatum. In this event it would be for the United States to judge the matter; but there was no doubt that some mitigation would be worth while if it led to the saving of a year or a year and a half of a war in which so much blood and treasure would be poured out. Great Britain would not press for any mitigation but would be content to abide by the judgment of the United States. Whatever the decision, Great Britain would see the matter through to the end.
The President thought that this was a matter which might well be mentioned to Marshal Stalin. He doubted whether the ultimatum would have much effect on the Japanese, who did not seem to realize what was going on in the world outside, and still seemed to think that they might get a satisfactory compromise. They would be unlikely to wake up to the true state of affairs until all of their islands had felt the full weight of air attack.
b. The Prime Minister expressed his thanks to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for the work which they had accomplished. He said that the Combined Chiefs of Staff was a wonderful institution which smoothed out so many difficulties, issued clear directions to the commanders in the field and would without doubt be held up in years to come as a model of cooperation between Allies. He hoped very much that the Combined Chiefs of Staff could be kept in being for three or four years more. There would be many problems affecting the security of the two nations in this period, the solution of which would be greatly facilitated if the Combined Chiefs of Staff could continue to operate.
The President agreed that there would be many matters affecting the two countries, such as the use of bases, which would have to be effectively handled.
In response to an inquiry by the Prime Minister, General Marshall expressed his personal opinion that the continuance of the Combined Chiefs of Staff would be advantageous. Its existence had certainly simplified the solution of the problems which had confronted the two nations during the war.
c. There was a short discussion upon the provision of intelligence to the Russian armies, and the President and the Prime Minister were informed of certain steps which had been agreed in discussion between General Marshall and Field Marshal Brooke.
The Meeting then adjourned.
- The text of this report, renumbered C. C. S. 776/3 after its approval by Roosevelt and Churchill, follows these minutes.↩