J. C. S. Files

Kuter Minutes
top secret

General Antonov opened the meeting with the statement that he had discussed all of the points raised at the previous meeting with Marshal Stalin. Whereas his comments at the first meeting represented only his personal views, he was prepared for the second meeting to give definite and official replies to each of the points. General [Page 835] Antonov continued then to present brief statements on each of the questions that had been raised:2

There is no change in intent and only minor change in the plans of operations in the Far East from those described to Mr. Harriman and General Deane in October. In October, it had been planned to begin the movement of units to the Far East in early 1945. The units which it had been proposed to move are now involved in the center of the line on the Russian front. The only change in the basic plan is therefore a delay in the movement of units eastward until they can be disengaged from the fighting now going on.
These Soviets will require specific supply routes after Soviet Japanese hostilities start. Sea routes are needed to provide food and all types of gasoline and other petroleum products. Air routes also will be required.
Agreement is given for the operation of U. S. Air Forces in the Komsomolsk-Nikolaevsk area. Advance reconnaissance and survey parties may be sent to that area without delay.
Due to the great distance from the bulk of Soviet military strength “U. S. assistance will be very useful” for the defense of Kamchatka.
Pre-hostility preparations, including construction, reception, and storage of U. S. stock piles in Eastern Siberia (Komsomolsk-Nikolaevsk) and in Kamchatka, will be prepared by the Soviets for the U. S. air units to be based in Soviet territory. Final decision must naturally await decision as to the air base requirements. Material assistance may be needed from the United States. Knocked-down fuel storage tanks (and probably pumps, pipes, etc) will be required. These requirements are in addition to all current requisitions. Supplies in the Milepost project have been computed as requirements for Soviet forces exclusively.
The departure of a survey party from Fairbanks to Kamchatka must be deferred “until the last moment.” In explanation for this decision considerable discussion ensued as to the fact that the presence of an American survey party in Kamchatka could not be kept a secret from the Japs.
After the beginning of hostilities the Soviets will take Southern Sakhalin unassisted by the United States. Although detailed plans are not yet firm, Soviet operations against Southern Sakhalin will be one of their first operations. Admiral King stated that his discussion with Admiral Kuznetsov was an adequate reply to our question concerning the La Perouse Strait. (See Appendix “A” of the notes on the meeting held 8 February 1945)3
We had asked to be assured that combined planning in Moscow would be vigorously pursued. In his reply General Antonov replied: “We shall fulfill on our side the plan which was made”. General Marshall explained that we were not questioning Soviet good faith or ability to carry out plans. General Antonov then stated that combined planning in Moscow will proceed vigorously.
Our request for additional weather reporting stations in Siberia is approved. The details are to be handled by Military Mission in Moscow.

General Antonov then asked for a statement as to our airbase requirements in the Kamchatka-Nikolaevsk area. It was decided to have the Air Staffs (Marshal Khudyakov and General Kuter) continue with the discussion of air matters after the major meeting was completed.

General Marshall asked if the Soviets agreed that a high order of security was necessary in handling all Far Eastern matters because the Japs may attack if they learn of So viet-American plans or of the movement of Soviet units. General Antonov agreed with this view.

General Marshall asked how many weeks it would be after the movement of Soviet units to the East began that the Soviets would be strong enough to meet a Jap attack. General Antonov replied that it would be “not less than three months.”

General Marshall asked when these movements Eastward would begin. General Antonov replied that the Soviets were initiating the movements of supplies at this time and stated that “units of troops, in any size, cannot be moved without attracting notice by the Japs.”

General Marshall asked if divisional equipment would precede the divisions. General Antonov stated that divisional armor and equipment would move with the divisions. However, supplies (ammunition, food, etc.) would precede the movement of divisions.

General Marshall asked how many divisions per week could be moved from the German to the Japanese front. General Antonov replied that a three month period would be required to move the necessary forces.

General Marshall stated that Field Marshal Brooke will expedite and will extend the flow of information from London to Moscow concerning German movements and intentions.

The principal meeting was adjourned with an exchange of statements of pleasure at the free, frank, clear, and definite interchange of information achieved in these conferences between the Russian and American military staffs.

Marshal of Aviation Khudyakov and Major General Kuter continued to discuss the air side of the Soviet-American business for [Page 837]about two hours. The principal items covered in the discussion follow:

a. General Kuter gave to Marshal Khudyakov a prepared statement of our detailed requirements in expanding the weather reporting establishment in Siberia. He explained that Admiral Olsen was equipped with the same information and that further arrangements would be made in Moscow through the Military Mission.

b. General Kuter gave to Marshal Khudyakov a detailed statement of our requirements to permit the U. S. Strategic Bombing Survey to operate on strategic air objectives which have already been captured by the Russians and those which might be captured in the future. It was agreed that further details would be arranged in Moscow with the Military Mission. Marshal Khudyakov requested that Soviet experts on bomb damage assessment would be permitted to accompany our survey parties. General Kuter stated that this was entirely acceptable, and furthermore, our reports of this survey would be made available to the Soviets on each of the targets within the Soviet area if those reports were desired.

c. General Kuter stated that our broad requirement in the Komsomolsk-Nikolaevsk area was for two large air bases, each to accommodate one group of very heavy bombers (B–29 Superfortresses). He stated the requirement for 8500 foot take-off strips with good approaches, and the heavy construction needed for landing, take-off, and dispersed parking by 150,000 pound aircraft. General discussion followed on the heavy bomb tonnages and very heavy 100-octane gasoline requirements of B–29 groups. Marshal Khudyakov appeared somewhat shaken by the magnitude of the air base requirement to handle our very heavy bombers. He repeated the probable necessity that we provide the materials to handle aviation gasoline storage and distribution, bomb trailers, and steel planking. Marshal Khudyakov stated that it might be difficult to find sufficient personnel to do the necessary construction and asked if American aviation engineers could be provided if needed for building. General Kuter replied that American aviation engineers would be available.

d. General Kuter stated that our request for air bases asked for the Komsomolsk-Nikolaevsk area or some more suitable area. He explained the fact that two groups of B–29’s in the far North in the Komsomolsk-Nikolaevsk area could pour far fewer bombs on Japan than would be possible if much larger numbers of heavy bombers (B–17 and B–24) were based in the Vladivostok area within range of Japanese targets. General Kuter made it clear that he would not prejudice the Komsomolsk-Nikolaevsk decision by raising the issue of the bases in the Vladivostok area, and further that it was appreciated that supply difficulties and the requirement to base extensive [Page 838]tactical air forces in the Vladivostok area would probably postpone consideration of that area until after progress had been attained in the ground battle West from Vladivostok. Air Marshal Khudyakov clearly understood the desire not to prejudice other decisions and that Vladivostok probably could not be used as strategic air base area until the Russian ground war with the Japs in Manchuria had progressed, but stated that he was anxious to have heavy bombers attacking Japan and that he would initiate action toward making two bases on the scale of Poltava available to U. S. strategic air units in the Vladivostok area.

e. Marshal Khudyakov stated his requirement for C–54 type transport aircraft and acknowledged the reply that General Kuter could see no chance of providing that type transport. Discussion of C–47’s followed and it was agreed that the Army Air Forces would cut down on proposed provision of C–47’s to our troop carrier units in order to make additional C–47’s available to the Red Air Force. (General Deane has been informed that we can provide an additional 100 C–47’s to the Soviets during the first six months of 1945 and can provide 40 per month thereafter. This will more than double any scheduled flow of C–47’s to the Red Air Force, and in my opinion, will tax their capacity to absorb transports.)

f. Marshal Khudyakov stated a requirement for four to five hundred single and twin engine trainers, plus 1500—200 to 400 horsepower trainer engines. The engines are for installation in Russian trainers. This was a surprise request. General Kuter replied that single engine primary trainers could be provided if shipping is available and that sympathetic consideration would be given to the request when received in Washington.

g.The current tour of the Army Air Forces Band in the European Theater, and General McNarney’s suggestion that this band might be available to play in Moscow and the Balkan capitals was presented. General Kuter stated that if the Soviets wished to have the band, we would make it available and would request a visit to American bases by a Russian military choral group as a reciprocal gesture. Air Marshal Khudyakov voiced his personal hope that such arrangements could be made and requested that General Deane initiate the matter in writing in Moscow. General Deane will take this action.

h.General Kuter handed to Marshal Khudyakov a formal written statement of the U. S. Chiefs of Staff rejection of the Soviet’s proposal to prohibit strategic air attack on targets near the Russian front without Soviet-American agreement.4 Marshal Khudyakov [Page 839]inferred that he had pressed the adoption of the agreement reached in the Khudyakov-Portal-Kuter meeting but had been overridden by the General Staff. This matter also will be handled by the Military Mission in Moscow.

This meeting concluded in a friendly tone with the statement that the airmen can get along all right, but whatever the nationality, the airmen cannot guarantee agreement by General Staffs.

(Dictated to and transcribed by S/Sgt. Arthur Miller. General Kuter’s notes and Sgt. Miller’s shorthand notes have been destroyed.)

L. S. Kuter ,
Major General, U. S. A.

Three (3) copies originally prepared, with distribution made to the individuals indicated below:

Admiral Leahy-No. 1

General Hill–No. 2

General Kuter–No. 3

Three (3) additional copies prepared, with distribution to the individuals indicated below:

General Marshall–No. 4

Admiral King–No. 5

General Hull–No. 6

  1. See ante, pp. 758, 762 763.
  2. Ante, pp. 761 762.
  3. See ante, p. 801.