Memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee 46

The Joint Chiefs of Staff present the following comments, from a military point of view, on the memorandum by the Acting Chairman [Page 97] of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee which was circulated as SWNCC 159:

Every effort should be made to have this question considered for settlement in conjunction with all other territorial changes arising from war and thereby avoid piecemeal settlement of Russian demands in order to preserve the bargaining position on world-wide United States security requirements.
If, notwithstanding, it is necessary to discuss and possibly decide these questions, then we should oppose the Russian proposals, not only as untimely, but as unnecessary for Soviet security and contrary to long-range and over-all security considerations from our point of view. This war has been fought to prevent an aggressive nation from dominating Europe, and ultimately threatening the Western Hemisphere. From the long-range security point of view, and until the post-war situation and Soviet policy can be seen more clearly, we should, in so far as practicable, resist demands and policies which tend to improve Soviet position in Western Europe.
If it is not practicable to successfully oppose the Soviet proposals, then we should insist that the Soviets in return agree to the following:
No objection to the United States obtaining exclusive base rights in Iceland and Greenland.
Remove all Soviet troops from and renounce military control of Northern Norway.
Make no bids for Jan Mayen Island.
Agree that Norwegian coal and economic rights in Spitsbergen be preserved.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
A. J. McFarland

Brigadier General, U.S.A. Secretary
  1. This memorandum was designated SWNCC 159/3, 26 July 1945 and was circulated for the consideration of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee at Potsdam in connection with their consideration of SWNCC 159. On July 26 the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee panel at Potsdam approved SWNCC 159/3.