740.00119 EW/4–3045: Telegram

The British Prime Minister ( Churchill ) to President Truman

24. There can be little doubt that the liberation of Prague and as much as possible of the territory of western Czechoslovakia by your forces might make the whole difference to the post-war situation in Czechoslovakia, and might well influence that in nearby countries. On the other hand, if the western Allies play no significant part in Czechoslovakian liberation, that country will go the way of Yugoslavian.

Of course, such a move by Eisenhower must not interfere with his main operations against the Germans, but I think the highly important political considerations mentioned above, should be brought to his attention. The British Chiefs of Staff have, therefore, on my instructions, asked the United States Chiefs of Staff to agree to the dispatch of a message to Eisenhower in order that he should take advantage of any suitable opportunity that may arise to advance into Czechoslovakia.75 I hope this will have your approval.76

  1. For an outline of the proposals of the British Chiefs of Staff and a discussion of the reaction to these proposals by the United States Chiefs of Staff and by General Eisenhower, see Pogue, The Supreme Command, p. 468.
  2. On May 1 President Truman sent Prime Minister Churchill the following reply:

    “General Eisenhower’s present attitude, in regard to operations in Czechoslovakia, which meets with my approval, is as forces.

    “‘The Soviet General Staff now contemplates operations into the Vltava Valley. My intention, as soon as current operations permit, is to proceed and destroy any remaining organized German forces.

    “‘If a move into Czechoslovakia is then desirable, and if conditions here permit, our logical initial move would be on Pilsen and Karlsbad. I shall not attempt any move which I deem militarily unwise.’” Harry S. Truman, Memoirs, vol. i, Year of Decisions (Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday & Company, 1955), pp. 216–217.

    For a more detailed description of General Eisenhower’s plans, referred to by President Truman, for military operations into Czechoslovakia, see Pogue, The Supreme Command, p. 469, and the message from General Eisenhower to the United States Military Mission, Moscow, April 30, 1945, Department of State Bulletin, May 22, 1949, p. 666.