Sent on January 5, 1943
Both your messages received. Thank you for notifying me about the forthcoming meeting with the President.40 I shall be grateful for a report about the outcome of the meeting.
The December convoy has now been fought through successfully and you will have received details of the fine engagement fought by our light forces against heavy odds.
2. The Admiralty had intended to run the January convoy in two parts of fifteen ships each, the first part sailing about January 17th and the second part later in the month. Since it is clear from the experience of the last convoy that the enemy means to dispute the passage of further convoys by surface forces it will be necessary immediately to increase our escorts beyond the scale originally contemplated for January. A still further increase will be necessary for later convoys owing to the increased hours of daylight.
3. We have, therefore, had to revise our arrangements. Instead of running the January convoy in two parts we will sail nineteen ships (including two oilers) instead of the fifteen originally contemplated on January 17th. This will be followed on about February 11th by a full convoy of twenty-eight to thirty ships. Thereafter we will do our utmost to sail a convoy of thirty ships on about March 10th, but this is dependent on the Americans assisting us with escort vessels. If they cannot provide this assistance this convoy could not sail until March 19th at the earliest.
January 11th, 1943
Sent on January 16, 1943
Your message of January 11 has reached me. Thanks for the information.
Our operations against the Germans on the fronts are so far making satisfactory progress. We are finishing the destruction of the German group encircled at Stalingrad.
We dropped 142 tons of high explosive and 218 tons of incendiaries on Berlin last night.
17th January, 1943
In last night’s raid we dropped 117 tons of high explosive and 211 tons of incendiary bombs on Berlin.
18th January, 1943
Sent on January 19, 1943
Thank you for the information on the successful bombing of Berlin on the night of January 17. I wish the British Air Force further success, particularly in bombing Berlin.
Received on January 27, 1943
We have been in conference with our military advisers and have decided on the operations which are to be undertaken by the American and British forces in the first nine months of 1943.40 We wish to inform you of our intentions at once. We believe that these operations, together with your powerful offensive, may well bring Germany to her knees in 1943. Every effort must be made to accomplish this purpose.
2. We are in no doubt that our correct strategy is to concentrate on the defeat of Germany with a view to achieving an early and decisive victory in the European theatre. At the same time we must maintain sufficient pressure on Japan to retain the initiative in the Pacific and the Far East and sustain China and prevent the Japanese from extending their aggression to other theatres such as your Maritime provinces.
3. Our main desire has been to divert strong German land, and air forces from the Russian front and to send Russia the maximum flow of supplies. We shall spare no exertion to send you material assistance in any case by every available route.
4. Our immediate intention is to clear the Axis out of North Africa and set up naval and air installations to open:
(1) an effective passage through the Mediterranean for military traffic, and
(2) an intensive bombardment of important Axis targets in Southern Europe.
5. We have made the decision to launch large-scale amphibious operations in the Mediterranean at the earliest possible moment. The preparation for these operations is now under way and will involve a considerable concentration of forces, including landing craft and shipping, in Egypt and the North Africa ports. In addition we shall concentrate within the United Kingdom a strong American land and air force. These, combined with the British forces in the United Kingdom, will prepare themselves to re-enter the continent of Europe as soon as practicable. These concentrations will certainly be known to our enemies but they will not know where or when or on what scale we propose striking. They will, therefore, be compelled to divert both land and air forces to all the shores of France, the Low Countries, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and the Levant, and Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Crete and the Dodecanese.
6. In Europe we shall increase the Allied bomber offensive from the United Kingdom against Germany at a rapid rate and by midsummer it should be double its present strength. Our experiences to date have shown that day bombing attacks result in the destruction of, and damage to, large numbers of German fighter aircraft. We believe that an increased tempo and weight of daylight and night attacks will lead to greatly increased material and moral damage in Germany and rapidly deplete German fighter strength. As you are aware, we are already containing more than half the German Air Force in Western Europe and the Mediterranean. We have no doubt that our intensified and diversified bombing offensive, together with the other operations which we are undertaking, will compel further withdrawals of German air and other forces from the Russian front.
7. In the Pacific it is our intention to eject the Japanese from Rabaul41 within the next few months and thereafter to exploit the success in the general direction of Japan. We also intend to increase the scale of our operations in Burma in order to reopen this channel of supply to China. We intend to increase our Air Forces in China at once. We shall not, however, allow our offensives against Japan to jeopardise our capacity to take advantage of every opportunity that may present itself for the decisive defeat of Germany in 1943.
8. Our ruling purpose is to bring to bear upon Germany and Italy the maximum forces by land, sea and air which can be physically applied.
It was agreed between President Roosevelt and me that I should propose to the Turkish President a meeting between him and me in order to arrange for better and more speedy equipment of the Turkish army with a view to future eventualities. The Turkish President has replied, cordially welcoming this plan for increasing “the general defensive security” of Turkey, and he is willing, if I wish, that our meeting should become public in due course after it has taken place.
You know my views already in this matter from telegrams exchanged between us, and you may be sure I shall keep you promptly and fully informed.
Pray accept my renewed expression of admiration at the continued marvellous feats of the Soviet armies.
27th January, 1943
I should be obliged if you would not contradict any rumour you may hear that I am coming again to Moscow because it is thought important that my real movements, of which I have informed you, should be secret for a few days. All good wishes.
29th January, 1943
Sent on January 30, 1943
Your friendly joint message reached me on January 27. Thank you for informing me of the Casablanca decisions about the operations to be undertaken by the U.S. and British armed forces in the first nine months of 1943. Assuming that your decisions on Germany are designed to defeat her by opening a second front in Europe in 1943, I should be grateful if you would inform me of the concrete operations planned and of their timing.
As to the Soviet Union, I can assure you that the Soviet armed forces will do all in their power to continue the offensive against Germany and her allies on the Soviet-German front. We expect to finish our winter campaign, circumstances permitting, in the first half of February. Our troops are tired, they are in need of rest and they will hardly be able to carry on the offensive beyond that period.
Sent on January 31, 1943
Your message on the forthcoming meeting with the Turkish President received. I shall be grateful for information about the outcome of the meeting, the vital importance of which I appreciate.
Your wish that rumours about your visit be not contradicted will, naturally, be complied with.
Thank you for your telegram about Turkey. I met all the chief Turks at Adana on the 30th January and had long and most friendly talks.42 There is no doubt that they have come a long way towards us both and also that their news from Germany convinces them of a bad condition there. The first thing is to equip them with modern weapons, of which we have so far been able to spare only a few. I have arranged to press forward everything they can take over the Taurus railway, which is the only road, and also to lend them some ships to carry more supplies from Egypt. I am also giving them some German material which we have captured in the desert. We are setting up at Angora a joint Anglo-Turkish military commission to improve communications for the transit of munitions. We are making joint plans to aid them if they are attacked by Germany or Bulgaria.
2. I have not asked for any precise political engagement or promise about entering the war on our side, but it is my opinion that they will do so before the year is out, and that possibly earlier, by a strained interpretation of neutrality similar to that of the United States before she came in, they may allow us to use their air fields for refuelling for British and American bombing attacks on the Ploesti oil wells, which are of vital importance to Germany, especially now that your armies have recovered Maikop. I repeat, I have not asked for or received a definite political engagement and have told them they are free to say so. Nevertheless, their meeting me, their whole attitude and the joint communiqué which I am telegraphing to you range them more plainly than before in the anti-Hitler system, and will be so taken all over the world.
3. They are, of course, apprehensive of their position after the war in view of the great strength of the Soviet Union. I told them that in my experience the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had never broken an engagement or treaty; that the time for them to make a good arrangement was now, and that the safest place for Turkey was to have a seat with the victors as a belligerent at the peace table. All this I said in our common interest in accordance with our alliance, and I hope you will approve. They would, I am sure, be very responsive to any gesture of friendship on the part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I should be very glad to have your candid opinion on all this. I have established very close personal relations with them, particularly with President Inonu.
4. In your recent telegram which you sent to President Roosevelt you asked about the slowing down of the Allied operations in North Africa. So far as the British Eighth Army is concerned we have since then taken Tripoli and Zuara and hope shortly to enter Tunisia in force and drive the enemy from the Mareth and Gabes positions. The clearing and restoring of the harbour at Tripoli is proceeding with all speed. But at present our line of communications runs to Benghazi and partly even to Cairo, 1,600 miles away. Our First Army, reinforced by strong American forces, is bringing its supplies forward and will attack in conjunction with the Eighth Army as soon as possible. The wet weather is a serious factor, as are also communications which, both by road and rail, are slender and 500 miles long. However, it is my hope that the enemy will be completely destroyed or driven from the African shore by the end of April and perhaps earlier. My own estimate, which is based on good information, is that the Fifth German Panzer Army in Tunisia has a ration strength of 80,000 Germans and with them 25,000 to 30,000 Italians. Rommel has 150,000 Germans and Italians on his ration strength, of which perhaps 40,000 only are fighting troops, and is weak in weapons. The destruction of these forces is our immediate aim.
5. I will reply later to your most proper inquiries of me and the President about the concrete operations settled at Casablanca.
6. Pray accept my congratulations on the surrender of Field Marshal Paulus and the end of the German Sixth Army. This is indeed a wonderful achievement.
February 1st, 1943
Inquiries are made of me whether you were informed of Anglo-Turkish meeting beforehand. It would be well, I think, to reply: “Yes. Premier Stalin has been kept fully informed.” Alternatively, you might make some statement in Moscow. In this latter case you do not need to consult me as I am sure what you say will be helpful.
February 2nd, 1943
Sent on February 6, 1943
I received on February 2 and 3 your messages on the subject of Turkey. Thank you for the information on your talks with the Turkish leaders in Adana.
With reference to your statement that the Turks would respond to any gesture of friendship on the part of the Soviet Union I think it opportune to point out that in relation to Turkey we made, both some months before the outbreak of the Soviet-German war and after it had begun, a number of statements the friendly nature of which is known to the British Government. The Turks failed to react, apparently fearing that they might upset the Germans. It can be assumed that they will react in the same way to the gesture you suggest.
Turkey’s international position remains rather ticklish. On the one hand, she is linked to the U.S.S.R. by a treaty of friendship and neutrality, and to Great Britain by a treaty of mutual aid in resisting aggression; on the other hand, she is linked with Germany by a treaty of friendship concluded three-days before Germany attacked the U.S.S.R. I do not know how, in the present circumstances, Turkey expects to square fulfilment of her obligations to the U.S.S.R. and Great-Britain with fulfilment of her obligations to Germany. However, if the Turks want closer and more friendly relations with the U.S.S.R. let them say so. In that case the Soviet Union will meet them half-way.
2. I shall certainly not object to you saying that you informed me of the Anglo-Turkish meeting, although I cannot say the information was complete.
3. I wish you every success in the coming offensive of the First and Eighth British Armies and the U.S. troops in North Africa and speedy expulsion of the Italo-German troops from the African coast.
4. Please accept my thanks for the friendly congratulations on the
surrender of Field Marshal Paulus and the destruction of the enemy
troops encircled at Stalingrad.
Received on February 12, 1943
Your message of January 30th. I have now consulted the President and the matter has been referred to the Staffs on both sides of the Ocean. I am authorised to reply for us both as follows:
(a) There are a quarter of a million Germans and Italians in Eastern Tunisia. We hope to destroy or expel these during April, if not earlier.
(b) When this is accomplished, we intend in July, or earlier if possible, to seize Sicily with the object of clearing the Mediterranean, promoting an Italian collapse with the consequent effect on Greece and Yugoslavia and wearing down of the German Air Force; this is to be closely followed by an operation in the Eastern Mediterranean, probably against the Dodecanese.
(c) This operation will involve all the shipping and landing craft we can get together in the Mediterranean and all the troops we can have trained in assault-landing in time, and will be of the order of three or four hundred thousand men. We shall press any advantage to the utmost once ports of entry and landing bases have been established.
(d) We are also pushing preparations to the limit of our resources for a cross-Channel operation in August, in which British and United States units would participate. Here again, shipping and assault-landing craft will be the limiting factors. If the operation is delayed by the weather or other reasons, it will be prepared with stronger forces for September. The timing of this attack must, of course, be dependent upon the condition of German defensive possibilities across the Channel at that time.
(e) Both operations will be supported by very large United States and British air forces, and that across the Channel by the whole metropolitan Air Force of Great Britain. Together, these operations will strain to the very utmost the shipping resources of Great Britain and the United States.
(f) The President and I have enjoined upon our Combined Chiefs of Staff43 the need for the utmost speed and for reinforcing the attacks to the extreme limit that is humanly and physically possible.
February 9th, 1943
The series of prodigious victories, which tonight brings us news of the liberation of Rostov on the Don, leaves me without power to express to you the admiration and gratitude which we feel to Russian arms. My most earnest wish is to do more to aid you.
14th February, 1943
On February 12 I received your message on the forthcoming Anglo-American military operations.
Thanks for the additional information on the Casablanca decisions. On the other hand, I cannot but state certain considerations with reference to your message, which you tell me is a common reply conveying also the President’s opinion.
It appears from your message that the date – February – which you had fixed earlier for completing the operations in Tunisia is now set back to April. There is no need to demonstrate at length the undesirability of this delay in operations against the Germans and Italians. It is now, when the Soviet troops are still keeping up their broad offensive, that action by the Anglo- American troops in North Africa is imperative. Simultaneous pressure on Hitler from our front and from yours in Tunisia would be of great positive significance for our common cause and would create most serious difficulties for Hitler and Mussolini It would also expedite the operations you are planning in Sicily and the Eastern Mediterranean.
As to the opening of a second front in Europe, in particular in France, it is planned, judging by your communication, for August or September. As I see it, however, the situation calls for shortening these time limits to the utmost and for the opening of a second front in the West at a date much earlier than the one mentioned. So that the enemy should not be given a chance to recover, it is very important, to my mind, that the blow from the West, instead of being put off till the second half of the year, be delivered in spring or early summer.
According to reliable information at our disposal, since the end of December, when for some reason the Anglo-American operations in Tunisia were suspended, the Germans have moved 27 divisions, including five armoured divisions, to the Soviet-German front from France, the Low Countries and Germany. In other words, instead of the Soviet Union being aided by diverting German forces from the Soviet-German front, what we get is relief for Hitler, who, because of the let-up in Anglo-American operations in Tunisia, was able to move additional troops against the Russians.
The foregoing indicates that the sooner we make joint use of the Hitler camp’s difficulties at the front, the more grounds we shall have for anticipating early defeat for Hitler. Unless we take account of this and profit by the present moment to further our common interests, it may well be that, having gained a respite and rallied their forces, the Germans might recover. It is clear to you and us that such an undesirable miscalculation should not be made.
2. I have deemed it necessary to send this reply to Mr Roosevelt as well.
3. Thank you for your cordial congratulations on the liberation of Rostov. This morning our troops have taken Kharkov.
February 16, 1943
I told the Turks about your friendly message.
The Turkish Government have now authorised me to tell you that they are ready with the greatest of pleasure to enter upon exchanges of views with you through the respective Ambassadors. I understand the Turks have been in agreeable contact with your Ambassador in Angora.
2. The Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs has told our Ambassador that his idea is that the exchange of views should start as soon as possible, preferably in Moscow. He suggests that they should have as their starting point the Adana Conference,42 including the point I mentioned about air bases to attack Ploesti, etc., and should, if desirable, include the issue in due course of some joint communiqué.
3. Sir A. Clark Kerr is bringing you fuller information from me about the Adana conversations. Unfortunately he has for a week been held up by bad weather.
4. Pray let me know if there is anything I should put to them, not as coming from you, but on my own.
February 17th, 1943
Much regret I have not been able to answer your last telegram to me. I had the answer all in draft but my fever got so high that I thought it better to leave it for a while. In a few days I hope to send you more information on the whole scene. Meanwhile what you are doing is simply indescribable. The battle in Tunisia is all right. The enemy have shot their bolt and will now be brought into the grip of the vice. Every good wish.
February 25th, 1943
Sent on March 2, 1943
I have received your message of February 17 on the Turkish Government’s desire to enter upon exchange of views with the Soviet Government. On February 24 I also received from you three documents, transmitted by Mr Kerr: (1) a brief record of the statements made by the Prime Minister to President Ismet and the Turkish delegation at the Adana Conference; (2) the agreed conclusions of the Anglo-Turkish conference held in Adana on January 30-31, 1943; and (3) an aide-mémoire on post-war security.44
Thank you for the information.
I find it necessary to inform you that on February 13 the Turkish Foreign Minister advised the Soviet Ambassador in Ankara of his Government’s desire to begin negotiations with the Soviet Government to improve Soviet-Turkish relations. The Soviet Government replied through its Ambassador in Ankara that it welcomed the Turkish Government’s desire to improve Soviet-Turkish relations, and signified its readiness to begin negotiations. We are now waiting for the return to Moscow of the Turkish Ambassador with whom we plan to begin the negotiations.
I take this occasion sincerely to wish you complete recovery and a speedy return to good health.
Last night the R.A.F. dropped over 700 tons of bombs on Berlin. Raid reported most successful. Out of 302 four-engine bombers we lost 19.
March 2nd, 1943
Sent on March 3, 1943
I salute the British Air Force, which successfully raided Berlin last night. I regret that the Soviet Air Force, busy fighting the Germans at the front, is, for the time being, unable to take part in bombing Berlin.
The weather being unsuitable over Berlin we cast over 800 tons with good results last night on Hamburg. These are very heavy discharges especially when compressed into such short periods. We shall increase steadily in weight and frequency during the next few months and I expect the Nazi experiences will be very severe and make them less keen about the war than they used to be. Apart from hampering their production we are drawing an ever-increasing volume of their resources into antiaircraft batteries and other defensive measures.
2. Accept my warmest congratulations on Rzhev. I know from our conversations in August how much importance you attach to the liberation of this place.
3. I am consulting President Roosevelt about an answer to your telegram of the sixteenth and I hope soon to forward it to you from us both.
March 4th, 1943
Sent on March 6, 1943
Your message informing me of the successful bombing of Hamburg received. I salute the British Air Force and welcome your intention to increase the bomber attacks on Germany.
Thank you for your congratulations on our capture of Rzhev. Today our troops have taken Gzhatsk.
I look forward to a reply from you and Mr Roosevelt to my message of February 16.
468 tons of high explosive and 518 tons of incendiary (986 tons altogether) were dropped last night on Essen under good conditions in a short time in an area of about two square miles.
March 6th, 1943
Mr Roosevelt has sent me a copy of his reply to your message of February 16th. I am well enough to reply myself.
2. Our first task is to clear the Axis out of North Africa by an operation, the code name of which is in my immediately following message. We hope that this will be accomplished towards the end of April, by which time about a quarter of a million Axis troops will be engaged by us.
3. Meanwhile all preparations are being pressed forward to carry out the operation “Husky,”45 which is the new code word (see my immediately following message), in June, a month earlier than we had planned at Casablanca.
4. Plans are also being investigated for operations in the Eastern Mediterranean such as:
(a) Capture of Crete and/or Dodecanese, and
(b) A landing in Greece.
The timing of these operations is largely governed by the result of “Husky” and the availability of the necessary assemblage of shipping and landing craft. The assistance of Turkey and the use of Turkish air fields would, of course, be of immense value. At the right time I shall make a request of them.
5. The Anglo-American attempt to get Tunis and Bizerta at a run was abandoned in December because of the strength of the enemy, the impending rainy season, the already sodden character of the ground and the fact that communications stretched 500 miles from Algiers and 160 from Bone through bad roads and a week’s travelling over single-track French railways. It was only possible to get supplies up to the Army by sea on a small scale owing to the strength of the enemy air and submarine attack. Thus it was not possible to accumulate petrol or other supplies in forward areas. Indeed it was just possible to nourish the troops already there. The same was true of the air, and improvised air fields became quagmires. When we stopped attacking there were about 40,000 Germans in Tunisia apart from Italians and from Rommel who was still in Tripoli. The German force in North Tunisia is now more than double that figure, and they are rushing over every man they can in transport aircraft and destroyers. Some sharp local reverses were suffered towards the end of last month, but the position has now been restored. We hope that the delays caused by this setback will be repaired by the earlier advance of Montgomery’s army which should have six divisions (say 200,000 men) operating from Tripoli with sufficient supplies against the Mareth position before the end of March. Already on the 6th March Montgomery’s army repulsed Rommel’s forestalling attack with heavy losses. The British and American armies in the northern sector of Tunisia will act in combination with Montgomery’s battle.
6. I thought that you would like to know these details of the story, although it is on a small scale compared with the tremendous operations over which you are presiding.
7. The British Staffs estimate that about half the number of the divisions which were sent to the Soviet-German front from France and the Low Countries since last November have already been replaced mainly by divisions from Russia and Germany, and partly by new divisions formed in France. They estimate that at the present time there are thirty German divisions in France and the Low Countries.
8. I am anxious that you should know, for your own most secret information, exactly what our military resources are for an attack upon Europe across the Mediterranean or the Channel. By far the larger part of the British Army is in North Africa, in the Middle East and in India and there is no physical possibility of moving it by sea back to the British Isles. By the end of April we shall have five British divisions or about 200,000 men in Northern Tunisia in addition to General Montgomery’s army of some six divisions and we are bringing two specially trained British divisions from Iran, sending one from this country to reinforce them for “Husky,” a total of fourteen. We have four mobile British divisions, the two Polish divisions, one Free French division and one Greek division in the Middle East. There is the equivalent of four static divisions in Gibraltar, Malta and Cyprus. Apart from the garrisons and frontier troops, there are ten or twelve divisions formed and forming in India for reconquering Burma after the monsoon and reopening contact with China (see my immediately following message for the code word of this operation). Thus we have under British command, spread over a distance of some 6,300 miles from Gibraltar to Calcutta, thirty-eight divisions including strong armoured and a powerful proportion of air forces. For all these forces active and definite tasks are assigned for 1943.
9. The gross strength of a British division, including Corps, army, and lines of communication troops, may be estimated at about 40,000 men. There remain in the United Kingdom about nineteen formed divisions, four home defence divisions and four drafting divisions, of which sixteen are being prepared for a cross-Channel operation in August. You must remember that our total population is 46,000,000 and that the first charge upon it is the Royal Navy and Mercantile Marine, without which we could not live. Thereafter comes our very large Air Force, about 1,200,000 strong, and the needs of munitions, agriculture and air raid defence. Thus the entire manhood and womanhood of the country is, and has been, for some time, fully absorbed.
10. The United States had an idea in July last to send twenty-seven divisions, each of a gross strength of between 40,000 and 50,000 men, to the United Kingdom for the invasion of France. Since then they have sent seven divisions to the operation “Torch”29 and three more are to go. In this country there is now only one American division and no more are expected for two months at least. They hope to have four divisions available by August in addition to a strong air force. This is no disparagement of the American effort. The reason why these performances have fallen so far short of the expectations of last year is not that the troops do not exist, but that the shipping at our disposal and the means of escorting it do not exist. There is in fact no prospect whatever of bringing anything more than I have mentioned into the United Kingdom in the period concerned.
11. The bomber offensive from the United Kingdom has been going steadily forward. During February over 10,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Germany and on German-occupied territory, and 4,000 tons have fallen on Germany since the beginning of March. Our Air Staff estimates that out of a German first line strength of 4,500 combat aircraft about 1,780 are now on the Russian front, the remainder being held opposite us in Germany and on the Western and Mediterranean fronts. Besides this, there is the Italian Air Force with a first line strength of 1,385 aircraft, the great bulk of which is opposed to us.
12. With regard to the attack across the Channel it is the earnest wish of the President and myself that our troops should be in the general battle in Europe which you are fighting with such astounding prowess. But in order to sustain the operations in North Africa, the Pacific, and India, and to carry supplies to Russia the import programme into the United Kingdom has been cut to the bone and we have eaten and are eating into reserves. However, in case the enemy should weaken sufficiently we are preparing to strike earlier than August and plans are kept alive from week to week. If he does not weaken, a premature attack with inferior and insufficient forces would merely lead to a bloody repulse, Nazi vengeance on the local population if they rose and a great triumph for the enemy. The actual situation can only be judged nearer the time and in making, for your own personal information, this declaration of our intentions there I must not be understood to limit our freedom of decision.
March 11th, 1943
With reference to my immediately preceding message:
(1) The code name of the operation in paragraph 2 is “Vulcan.”
(2) The operation mentioned in paragraph 3 is against Sicily.
(3) The code name of the operation in paragraph 8 is “Anakim.”
March 11th, 1943
I have just seen and greatly enjoyed an excellent film of the Red Army victories at Stalingrad and of the capture of Paulus. The front line cameramen attached to our Eighth Army have produced a record of their victory in the desert. I have had the commentary translated into Russian and am sending you a copy in the hope you will find time to see it.
The officers and men of the Eighth Army will, I am sure, be proud to know that the record of their victorious struggle will be seen by their Allies, the armies and peoples of the Soviet Union.
March 11th, 1943
With regard to my last message I am anxious that paragraphs 8, 9 and 10 should be considered as a separate message of a military operation addressed under that character to yourself as Marshal and Commander-in-Chief. Let these paragraphs be between you and me.
2. We had another raid of 400 aircraft on Essen last night losing 23 but the results are reported good. This follows upon Stuttgart, Munich, Nuremberg and Essen again almost without intermission. There is no doubt that these increasingly frequent and heavy raids are having an effect on German morale and I expect Hitler will be forced to order the strongest retaliation in his power. He is holding a strong bombing force in the West to be used against the beaches in case we make landings. One of our objects is to compel him to bring this into action against Great Britain where we shall give him a warm reception and also clear the way for future operations.
3. I congratulate you cordially upon Vyazma and I earnestly hope for final success at Kharkov.
March 13th, 1943
Sent on March 15, 1943
On March 12 Mr Standley, the U.S. Ambassador, handed to Mr Molotov the following message from the U.S. Government.
The U.S. Government offers to mediate between the U.S.S.R. and Finland with a view to ascertaining the possibility of a separate peace between them. Asked by Mr Molotov whether the U.S. Government knew that Finland wanted peace and what her attitude was, Mr Standley said he had nothing to say on the matter.
As is known, the Anglo-Soviet Treaty of May 26, 1942, provides that our two countries shall not negotiate a separate peace either with Germany or with her allies other than by mutual agreement. This, for me, is an inviolable provision.
I therefore consider it my duty, first, to inform you of the American proposal and, secondly, to ask your opinion on the matter.
I have no reason to believe that Finland really wants peace, that she has already resolved to break with Germany and is willing to offer acceptable terms. She has probably not yet broken loose from Hitler’s clutches, if she wants at all to do so. The present rulers of Finland, who signed a peace treaty with the Soviet Union and then tore it up and, in alliance with Germany, attacked the Soviet Union, are hardly capable of breaking with Hitler.
Nevertheless, in view of the U.S. proposal, I considered it my duty to advise you of the foregoing.
Your messages of March 6 and 13, informing me of successful air raids on Essen, Stuttgart, Munich and Nuremberg, have reached me. With all my heart I salute the British Air Force, which is stepping up its bombing of German industrial centres.
Your wish that paragraphs 8, 9 and 10 of your message of March 11 be treated as special military information shall be complied with.
Thanks for your congratulations on the capture of Vyazma. I regret to say that we have had to withdraw from Kharkov today.
As soon as we receive your film of the Eighth Army, of which you advised me in a special message of March 11, I shall see it and we shall arrange for our Army and population to see it. I realise how valuable it will be for our fighting alliance. Allow me to send our Soviet film Stalingrad to you personally.
March 15, 1943
I have received your reply to my message of February 16.
It appears from your communication that Anglo-American operations in North Africa are not being hastened, but are, in fact, being postponed till the end of April. Moreover, even this date is given in rather vague terms. In other words, at the height of fighting against the Hitler troops, in February and March, the Anglo-American offensive in North Africa, far from having been stepped up, has been called off, and the date fixed by yourself has been set back. Meanwhile Germany has succeeded in moving from the West 36 divisions, including six armoured ones, to be used against Soviet troops. The difficulties that this has created for the Soviet Army and the extent to which it has eased the German position on the Soviet-German front will be readily appreciated.
For all its importance “Husky”45 can by no means replace a second front in France, but I fully welcome, of course, your intention to expedite the operation.
I still regard the opening of a second front in France as the important thing. You will recall that you thought it possible to open a second front as early as 1942 or this spring at the latest. The grounds for doing so were weighty enough. Hence it should be obvious why I stressed in my previous message the need for striking in the West not later than this spring or early summer.
The Soviet troops fought strenuously all winter and are continuing to do so, while Hitler is taking important measures to rehabilitate and reinforce his Army for the spring and summer operations against the U.S.S.R.; it is therefore particularly essential for us that the blow from the West be no longer delayed, that it be delivered this spring or in early summer.
I have studied the arguments you set out in paragraphs 8, 9 and 10 as indicative of the difficulties of Anglo-American operations in Europe. I grant the difficulties. Nevertheless, I think I must give a most emphatic warning, in the interest of our common cause, of the grave danger with which further delay in opening a second front in France is fraught. For this reason the vagueness of your statements about the contemplated Anglo- American offensive across the Channel causes apprehension which I cannot conceal from you.
March 15, 1943
I am obliged to you for your telegram of March 15th about the American approach to you on the subject of Finland.
2. You can best judge how much military value it would be in the struggle against the Germans on your front to get Finland out of the war. I should suppose it would have the effect of releasing more Soviet divisions than German divisions for use elsewhere Further, the defection of Finland from the Axis might have a considerable effect on Hitler’s other satellites.
3. The exclusion of the most clearly pro-German of the Finnish Ministers from the new government seems to have been a concession to public opinion and to denote a desire to show an independence of German control. It is thus possibly preparatory to a reorientation of Finnish policy when the moment is judged ripe. Although my own information, which is not very full, tends to show that the Finns are probably not yet ripe for negotiations, I feel that events on your front in the next few months will decide the issue for them. I believe them to be dependent on supplies of grain promised by the Germans for delivery between now and May. After these supplies have been received, Finland could probably get along without German food supplies until the end of the year.
4. Generally speaking, I should have thought that the Finns would be anxious to withdraw from the war as soon as they are convinced that Germany must be defeated. If so, it seems to me that it might not be altogether premature for you to ask the United States Government whether they know, or could find out without disclosing your interest, what terms the Finns would be prepared to accept. But you will be the best judge of the right tactics.
March 20th, 1943
Our main battle in Tunisia is now in full swing. The American advance from the West began on March 17th. On the night of March 20th the Eighth Army attacked the fortifications of Mareth and is now driving through them in a north-westerly direction. At the same time the New Zealand Army Corps with strong armoured forces by a circuitous march of over 150 miles has reached a position behind the enemy about 30 miles west of Gabes. This Corps also reports progress towards the Gabes bottle-neck which is its objective. We have about 70,000 Germans and 50,000 Italians inside the closing circle but it is too soon to speculate on what will happen. You will be able yourself to judge from the map the possibilities that are open. I will keep you informed.
2. Ten days of fog on our home landing grounds have held up our air offensive. It will begin again with added strength the moment the weather improves. I am sending you a few reels showing the destruction effected, particularly at Essen. I think you will like the look of these pictures as much as I do. March 23rd, 1943
Sent on March 27, 1943
I have received your communication of the main battle being fought in Tunisia. I wish the British and U.S. troops complete and speedy success. I hope you will now be able to overwhelm and defeat the enemy and expel him from Tunisia.
I also hope that the air offensive against Germany will gain in momentum. I shall be obliged for the reels showing the destruction wrought in Essen.
Dear Marshal Stalin,
I have appointed Lieutenant-General G. le Q. Martel, C.B., D.S.O., M.C., to be Head of the British Military Mission to the Soviet Union.
General Martel is a senior general who has held high appointments in the British Army, having commanded a division in France until Dunkirk and having lately been Commander of the Royal Armoured Corps. I have specially selected him for this appointment, as I consider that he has those qualities both military and personal which will appeal to you and to the Soviet military authorities and will ensure the success of his mission. In sending to the Soviet Union a distinguished officer with a fine record of service, I emphasise the great importance which I attach to close cooperation between our countries and put at your disposal one of my best officers in whom I ask you to place full confidence. He has already in 1936 had the privilege of seeing the Red Army during manoeuvres, and now looks forward to renewing acquaintance with them in the stern test of war. I hope that you will give the necessary instructions to enable him to receive all proper facilities to this end.
March 27th, 1943
Last night 395 heavy bombers flung 1,050 tons on Berlin in fifty minutes. The sky was clear over the target and the raid was highly successful. This is the best Berlin has yet got. Our loss was nine only.
2. After a check the battle in Tunisia has again taken a favourable turn and I have just received news that our armoured troops after an enveloping movement are within two miles of El Hamma.
3. I saw the Stalingrad film last night. It is absolutely grand and will have a most moving effect on our people.
28th March, 1943
I have received your message of March 28.
I congratulate the British Air Force on its latest big and successful raid on Berlin.
I hope the British armoured troops will be able to take full advantage of the improved situation in Tunisia and give the enemy no respite.
Last night I saw, with my colleagues, the film Desert Victory, you have sent us, and was greatly impressed. It splendidly shows how Britain is fighting, and skilfully exposes those scoundrels – we have them in our country too – who allege that Britain is not fighting but merely looking on. I eagerly look forward to another film of the same kind, showing your victory in Tunisia.
Desert Victory will be circulated to all our armies at the front and shown to the public.
March 29, 1943
The Germans have concentrated at Narvik a powerful battle fleet consisting of the Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Lutzow, one 6-inch cruiser and eight destroyers. Thus the danger to the Russian convoys which I described in my message to you of July 17th of last year has been revived in an even more menacing form. I told you then that we did not think it right to risk our Home Fleet in the Barents Sea, where it could be brought under the attack of German shore-based aircraft and U-boats without adequate protection against either, and I explained that if one or two of our most modern battleships were to be lost or even seriously damaged while the Tirpitz and other large units of the German battle fleet remained in action, the whole command of the Atlantic would be jeopardised with dire consequences to our common cause.
2. President Roosevelt and I have, therefore, decided with the greatest reluctance that it is impossible to provide adequate protection for the next Russian convoy and that without such protection there is not the slightest chance of any of the ships reaching you in the face of the known German preparations for their destruction. Orders have, therefore, been issued that the sailing of the March convoy is to be postponed.
3. It is a great disappointment to President Roosevelt and myself that it should be necessary to postpone the March convoy. Had it not been for the German concentration, it had been our firm intention to send you a convoy of thirty ships each in March and again in early May. At the same time we feel it only right to let you know at once that it will not be possible to continue convoys by the northern route after early May, since from that time onwards every single escort vessel will be required to support our offensive operations in the Mediterranean, leaving only a minimum to safeguard our lifelines in the Atlantic. In the latter we have had grievous and almost unprecedented losses during the last three weeks. Assuming that “Husky”45 goes well we should hope to resume convoys in early September, provided that the disposition of German main units permits and that the situation in the North Atlantic is such as to enable us to provide the necessary escorts and covering force.
4. We are doing our utmost to increase the flow of supplies by the southern route. The monthly figure has been more than doubled in the last six months. We have reason to hope that the increase will be progressive and that the figures for August will reach 240,000 tons. If this is achieved, the month’s delivery will have increased eightfold in twelve months. Furthermore, the United States will materially increase shipments via Vladivostok. This will in some way offset both your disappointment and ours at the interruption to the northern convoys. March 30th, 1943
Last night we went back with 370 machines and threw 700 tons upon Berlin. The first reports show excellent results.
March 30th, 1943
Sent on April 2, 1943
I have received your message of March 30 advising me that you and Mr Roosevelt are compelled by necessity to postpone despatch of the convoys to the U.S.S.R. till September. I regard this unexpected step as a catastrophic cut in the delivery of strategic raw materials and munitions to the Soviet Union by Great Britain and the U.S.A., because the Pacific route is limited in shipping and none too reliable, and the southern route has small clearance capacity, which means that those two routes cannot make up for the cessation of deliveries by the northern route. It goes without saying that this circumstance cannot but affect the position of the Soviet troops.
I acknowledge the force of all you say in your telegram about the convoys. I assure you that I shall do my utmost to make any improvement which is possible. I am deeply conscious of the giant burden borne by the Russian armies and of their unequalled contribution to the common cause.
2. We sent three hundred and forty-eight heavy bombers to Essen on Saturday, casting 900 tons of bombs in order to increase the damage to Krupps, which was again effectively hit, and to carry ruin into the south-western part of the city which had previously suffered little. Last night five hundred and seven aircraft, all but one hundred and sixty-six being heavies, carried 1,400 tons to Kiel. This is one of the heaviest discharges we have ever made. Cloud layers were thicker than we expected but we hope the attack got home. The American daylight bombing with Flying Fortresses is becoming most effective. Yesterday they struck at the Renault works near Paris which had begun to spring to life again. Besides the bombing which they do from great altitudes with remarkable precision by daylight, they provoke enemy fighters to attacks in which many are destroyed by the heavy armament of the Flying Fortresses. Four American and about thirty-three British bombers were lost in these three enterprises. I must now emphasise that our bombing of Germany will increase in scale month by month and that we are able to find the targets with much more certainty.
3. This present week the general battle in Tunisia will begin and the British Eighth and First Armies and the American and French forces will all engage according to plan. The enemy is preparing to retire into his final bridgehead. He has already begun demolitions and the removal of coastal batteries from Sfax. Under the pressure about to be renewed upon him he seems likely to retire, perhaps rapidly, to a line he is fortifying from Enfidaville in the Gulf of Hammamet. This new position will run into the main front he now holds in Northern Tunisia facing west and which rests its northern flank on the Mediterranean about thirty miles from Bizerta. At this northern flank also we are striking. I shall keep you informed of how we get on and whether we are able to cut off any large body of the so-called “Rommel’s Army” before they reach the final bridgehead.
4. Hitler, with his usual obstinacy, is sending the Hermann Goering and the 99th German Division into Tunisia, chiefly by air transport in which at least one hundred large machines are employed. The leading elements of both of these Divisions have already arrived. Therefore we must expect a stubborn defence of the Tunisian tip by about a quarter of a million men, less any they lose on the way. Our forces have a good superiority both in numbers and equipment. We are taking very heavy toll of all the ships that go across with fuel, ammunition, vehicles, etc. When we have captured the southern air fields we shall be able to bring very heavy constant air attack to bear upon the ports and we are making every preparation to prevent a Dunkirk escape. This is particularly important in the interest of “Husky.”45 In about a month after we are masters of Bizerta and Tunis we hope to be able to pass store-ships through the Mediterranean, thus shortening the voyage to Egypt and the Persian Gulf.
April 6th, 1943
The High Command in North Africa has just reported to me that General Montgomery’s army has broken through the Akarit line having surprised and overwhelmed the enemy and that all dominating positions in this line are now in his hands. He is now passing his armour through the gap into the far more open country beyond. After only six hours fighting 2,000 prisoners have already been counted and many more are flowing in. Heavy fighting is proceeding and our attacks towards Kairouan, about which I told you in my last message, are doing well.
I know you so much like to hear good news. The hunt is on.
6th April, 1943
Enemy in full retreat northwards, hotly pursued by Montgomery’s armour. Six thousand prisoners so far.
April 7th, 1943
I have received your two messages of April 6, as well as today’s message on the important advance made by your troops in Tunisia. This is a notable success – congratulations. I hope that this time the Anglo-American troops will completely overcome and beat Rommel and the other Hitler bands in Tunisia. That would be of great value to our common struggle as a whole.
I welcome the stepped up bombing of Essen, Berlin, Kiel and other industrial centres of Germany. Every blow delivered by your Air Force to vital German centres evokes a most lively echo in the hearts of many millions throughout the length and breadth of our country.
April 7, 1943
In the two cancelled convoys J.W.54 and J.W.55 there were 375 of your Hurricanes and 285 of your Aircobras and Kittyhawks. The latter were part of the American quota. We are working day and night to make a plan for sending you all these aircraft as rapidly as possible by other routes.
2. The Aircobras and Kittyhawks might go via Gibraltar and North Africa to Abadan. The Hurricanes have not sufficient range to manage the flight to Gibraltar, so they have to go by sea to Takoradi or Casablanca, be assembled there, be tropicalised and fly on to Tehran where we can de-tropicalise them. Alternatively, if Tunis is conquered soon we may be able to pass a number of Hurricanes by sea through the Mediterranean and erect them in Egypt or Basra. Each of these alternatives presents its difficulties. There is also a big problem in transporting the large number of spares which accompany the aircraft. Nevertheless we shall overcome these difficulties.
3. It has also occurred to me that you might like to have some of our 40-mm. cannon fighter Hurricanes for your operations against German armour on the Russian front. During the recent fighting in Tunisia these have met with success against Rommel’s tanks. One squadron of sixteen aircraft destroyed nineteen tanks in four days. The aircraft is known as Hurricane II D and carries two 40-mm. cannon with sixteen rounds of ammunition per gun and two 303 inch machineguns with 303 rounds per gun. In other respects it is similar to Hurricane II C, except that it is 430 pounds heavier and approximately 20 miles per hour slower. I could send you a maximum of sixty of this type of aircraft. Let me know whether you would like them. They would probably have to go via Takoradi and could be worked into the plan which is being made for the Hurricanes, Aircobras and Kittyhawks from the convoys.
4. With the President’s approval Mr Harriman is collaborating with making the plan. I hope to telegraph to you next week giving you our concrete proposals. I am determined that you shall have the aircraft as soon as it is humanly possible to get them to you.
April 10th, 1943
All Nazi-Fascist forces are falling back to the line Enfidaville of which I told you. Our armour has broken through from the West towards Kairouan. The Eighth Army has been pushing northwards and we are preparing to deliver a weighty punch by the First Army. Great pains are being taken for a heavy toll of an escape by sea. I hope to have good news for you soon from Africa. There are still over 200,000 of the enemy in the net, including wounded, and we have 25,000 prisoners so far apart from the killed, of which the number may be put from 5,000 to 10,000.
2. Air. We sent 378 aircraft to Duisburg and repeated with about 100 the next night. Last night 502 went to Frankfurt. We hit both of these places hard but were hampered by heavy cloud. I hope you got the short film of devastations and also the photographs. I am having these sent regularly to you as they might please your soldiers who have seen so many Russian towns in ruins.
3. I am trying to arrange to push some fast ships through the Mediterranean as soon as it is open to carry your priority cargoes to the Persian Gulf. These cargoes will include some of the specially selected drugs and medical appliances purchased by my wife’s fund46 which will shortly reach £3,000,000 and has been raised voluntarily by gifts from both poor and rich. This fund is a proof of the warm regard of the British people for the Russian people.
April 11th, 1943
Your messages of April 10 and 11 have reached me.
The rapid progress of the British and U.S. offensive in Tunisia is an important achievement in the war against Hitler and Mussolini. I hope you finish off the enemy and take as many prisoners and as much booty as possible.
We are delighted that you are giving Hitler no respite. To your vigorous and successful bombings of large German towns we are now adding our own air raids on German industrial centres in East Prussia. Thank you for the film showing the effects of the raids on Essen. Both this and the other films which you have promised us will be shown to the public and the Army.
The fighter aircraft which you have released by cancelling convoys and intend to deliver to us will be of great value. I am also grateful for the offer to send us sixty 40-mm. cannon Hurricane II D aeroplanes. We are badly in need of such aircraft, especially for use against heavy tanks. I hope that the efforts of yourself and Mr Harriman to plan and guarantee the despatch of aircraft to the U.S.S.R. will be crowned with speedy success.
Our people greatly appreciate the warm sentiments and sympathy displayed by the British people expressed in the establishment of the medical relief fund mentioned by you. Please convey my thanks to Mrs Churchill, who heads the fund, for her vigorous work.
Today I received Lieutenant-General Martel, who handed me your letter. He will certainly be afforded every opportunity to acquaint himself with the Red Army and its battle experience. April 12, 1943
In a recent telegram to me you said: “I welcome the bombing of Essen and Berlin and other industrial centres of Germany. Every blow delivered by your Air Force to vital German centres evokes a most lively echo in the hearts of many millions throughout the length and breadth of our country.” The Commander-in-Chief of our bombers wants very much to give this to his squadrons, who would be very pleased with it indeed. Will you allow this? There is always a possibility that it might get into the press. I do not myself see that this could do anything but good. What do you say?
2. We have struck three good blows this week, namely Spezia, Stuttgart and, last night, both the Škoda Works Company at Plzen, and Mannheim. In the first, 174 aircraft dropped 460 tons of bombs but hit the town of Spezia more than the shipping in the harbour owing to haze and smoke. The second, Stuttgart, was a flaming success. 462 bombers took part throwing 750 tons. Last night we sent 598 aircraft on the two targets, and about 850 tons were dropped. Reports about Škoda damage so far received are good though photographs have not yet come in. It was particularly important to go for Škoda as workmen and vital tasks have been transferred from Krupps thither owing to damage at Essen. In these three raids we lost 81 bombers, of which 64 were heavies, with about 500 highly-trained air personnel. I repeat my assurance that attacks will continue throughout the summer on an ever-increasing scale. We are very glad you are also striking at Nazi munition works from your side.
3.A short pause is now necessary in Tunisia while General Alexander regroups his armies in the North and while General Montgomery brings up the mass artillery which he habitually uses in his battles. But very soon the largest battle we have yet fought in this war will begin and, having once begun, will not stop till Africa is cleared of the Axis forces.
April 17th, 1943.
We have a rumour from Spain of the intention of the Germans to use gas on the Russian front and I understand you also have some indications of the same kind. This occurred last year also about the same time. Let me know if you want me to renew the declaration I made last year that any attack by gas on you will be immediately retaliated by us on the largest scale over Germany. We are fully capable of making good any threat we may make.
April 19th, 1943
I have received your message asking my consent to convey to the British bomber squadrons my congratulations on the bombing of Essen, Berlin and other industrial centres of Germany. I have no objection to your proposal, of course, and I leave the matter to you. I am glad you intend to go on bombing German towns on an ever-increasing scale.
Events in Tunisia seem to be progressing favourably. I wish you complete victory.
Your mention of the Germans’ intention to use gas on our front is borne out by our information. It goes without saying that I fully support your proposal to warn Hitler and his allies and to threaten them with powerful chemical retaliation should they undertake a gas attack on our front. The Soviet troops will in their turn prepare for a rebuff.
April 19, 1943
The battle in Tunisia has begun. General Alexander informs me that the Eighth Army will attack tonight (19th-20th) and other Armies will engage in succession in accordance with the general plan of the offensive. These operations will involve large forces, including the British First and Eighth Armies together with limited United States forces, all brought and maintained across enormous sea distances. It is intended to carry matters to a conclusion if possible by continuous pressure.
2. An important air battle has taken place between the Tunis tip and Sicily in which the German transport air fleet has suffered most heavy losses.
April 20th, 1943
The behaviour of the Polish Government towards the U.S.S.R. of late is, in the view of the Soviet Government, completely abnormal and contrary to all the rules and standards governing relations between two allied states.
The anti-Soviet slander campaign launched by the German fascists in connection with the Polish officers whom they themselves murdered in the Smolensk area, in German-occupied territory, was immediately seized upon by the Sikorski Government and is being fanned in every way by the Polish official press. Far from countering the infamous fascist slander against the U.S.S.R., the Sikorski Government has not found it necessary even to address questions to the Soviet Government or to request information on the matter.
The Hitler authorities, having perpetrated a monstrous crime against the Polish officers, are now staging a farcical investigation, using for the purpose certain pro-fascist Polish elements picked by themselves in occupied Poland, where everything is under Hitler’s heel and where no honest Pole can open his mouth.
Both the Sikorski and Hitler Governments have enlisted for the “investigation” the aid of the International Red Cross, which, under a terror régime of gallows and wholesale extermination of the civil population, is forced to take part in the investigation farce directed by Hitler. It is obvious that this “investigation,” which, moreover, is being carried out behind the Soviet Government’s back, cannot enjoy the confidence of anyone with a semblance of honesty.
The fact that the anti-Soviet campaign has been started simultaneously in the German and Polish press and follows identical lines is indubitable evidence of contact and collusion between Hitler – the Allies’ enemy – and the Sikorski Government in this hostile campaign.
At a time when the peoples of the Soviet Union are shedding their blood in a grim struggle against Hitler Germany and bending their energies to defeat the common foe of the freedom- loving democratic countries, the Sikorski Government is striking a treacherous blow at the Soviet Union to help Hitler tyranny.
These circumstances compel the Soviet Government to consider that the present Polish Government, having descended to collusion with the Hitler Government, has, in practice, severed its relations of alliance with the U.S.S.R. and adopted a hostile attitude to the Soviet Union.
For these reasons the Soviet Government has decided to interrupt relations with that Government.
I think it necessary to inform you of the foregoing, and I trust that the British Government will appreciate the motives that necessitated this forced step on the part of the Soviet Government.
April 21, 1943
Ambassador Maisky delivered your message to me last night. We shall certainly oppose vigorously any “investigation” by the International Red Cross or any other body in any territory under German authority. Such investigation would be a fraud, and its conclusions reached by terrorism. Mr Eden is seeing Sikorski today and will press him as strongly as possible to withdraw all countenance from any investigation under Nazi auspices. Also we should never approve of any parley with the Germans or contact with them of any kind whatever and we shall press this point upon our Polish allies.
2. I shall telegraph to you later how Sikorski reacts to the above points. His position is one of great difficulty. Far from being pro-German or in league with them, he is in danger of being overthrown by the Poles who consider that he has not stood up sufficiently for his people against the Soviets. If he should go we should only get somebody worse. I hope therefore that your decision to “interrupt” relations is to be read in the sense of a final warning rather than of a break and that it will not be made public at any rate until every other plan has been tried. The public announcement of a break would do the greatest possible harm in the United States, where the Poles are numerous and influential.
3. I had drafted a telegram to you yesterday asking you to consider allowing more Poles and Polish dependents to go into Iran. This would allay the rising discontent of the Polish army formed there and would enable me to influence the Polish Government to act in conformity with our common interests and against the common foe. I have deferred sending this telegram in consequence of yours to me in hopes that the situation may clear.
April 24th, 1943
I have received your message concerning Polish affairs. Thank you for your sympathetic stand on this issue. I must tell you, however, that the matter of interrupting relations with the Polish Government has already been settled and that today V. M. Molotov delivered a Note to the Polish Government. All my colleagues insisted on this because the Polish official press is not only keeping up its hostile campaign but is actually intensifying it day by day. I also had to take cognisance of Soviet public opinion, which is deeply outraged by the ingratitude and treachery of the Polish Government.
As to publishing the Soviet document on interrupting relations with the Polish Government, I fear that it is simply impossible to avoid doing so.
April 25, 1943
Mr Eden saw General Sikorski yesterday evening. Sikorski stated that so far from synchronising his appeal to the Red Cross with that of the Germans his Government took the initiative without knowing what line the Germans would take. In fact the Germans acted after hearing the Polish broadcast announcement. Sikorski also told Mr Eden that his Government had simultaneously approached Monsieur Bogomolov on the subject. Sikorski emphasised that previously he had several times raised this question of the missing officers with the Soviet Government and once with you personally. On his instructions the Polish Minister of Information in his broadcasts has reacted strongly against the German propaganda and this has brought an angry German reply. As a result of Mr Eden’s strong representations Sikorski has undertaken not to press the request for the Red Cross investigation and will so inform the Red Cross authorities in Berne. He will also restrain the Polish press from polemics. In this connection I am examining the possibility of silencing those Polish newspapers in this country which attacked the Soviet Government and at the same time attacked Sikorski for trying to work with the Soviet Government.
In view of Sikorski’s undertaking I would now urge you to abandon the idea of any interruption of relations.
I have reflected further on this matter and I am more than ever convinced that it can only assist our enemies, if there is a break between the Soviet and Polish Governments. German propaganda has produced this story precisely in order to make a rift in the ranks of the United Nations and to lend some semblance of reality to its new attempts to persuade the world that the interests of Europe and the smaller nations are being defended by Germany against the great extra-European Powers, namely the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United States and the British Empire.
I know General Sikorski well and I am convinced that no contacts or understanding could exist between him or his Government and our common enemy, against whom he has led the Poles in bitter and uncompromising resistance. His appeal to the International Red Cross was clearly a mistake though I am convinced that it was not made in collusion with the Germans.
Now that we have, I hope, cleared up the issue raised in your telegram to me, I want to revert to the proposals contained in my draft telegram to which I referred in my message of April 24th. I shall therefore shortly be sending you this earlier message in its original form. If we two were able to arrange to link the matter of getting these Poles out of the Soviet Union it would be easier for Sikorski to withdraw entirely from the position he has been forced by his public opinion to adopt. I hope that you will help me to achieve this.
April 25th, 1943
I cannot refrain from expressing my disappointment that you should have felt it necessary to take action in breaking off relations with the Poles without giving me time to inform you of the results of my approach to General Sikorski, about which I had telegraphed to you on April 24th. I had hoped that, in the spirit of our treaty of last year, we should always consult each other about such important matters, more especially as they affect the combined strength of the United Nations.
2. Mr Eden and I have pointed out to the Polish Government that no resumption of friendly or working relations with the Soviets is possible while they make charges of an insulting character against the Soviet Government and thus seem to countenance the atrocious Nazi propaganda. Still more would it be impossible for any of us to tolerate inquiries by the International Red Cross held under Nazi auspices and dominated by Nazi terrorism. I am glad to tell you that they have accepted our view and that they want to work loyally with you. Their request now is to have dependents of the Polish army in Iran and the fighting Poles in the Soviet Union sent to join the Polish forces already allowed to go to Iran. This is surely a matter which admits of patient discussion. We think the request is reasonable if made in the right way and at the right time and I am pretty sure that the President thinks so too. We hope earnestly that remembering the difficulties in which we have all been plunged by the brutal Nazi aggression, you will consider this matter in a spirit of collaboration.
3. The Cabinet here is determined to have proper discipline in the Polish press in Great Britain. The miserable rags attacking Sikorski can say things which German broadcasts repeat open-mouthed to the world to our joint detriment. This must be stopped and it will be stopped.
4. So far this business has been Goebbels’ triumph. He is now busy suggesting that the U.S.S.R. will set up a Polish Government on Russian soil and deal only with them. We should not, of course, be able to recognise such a Government and would continue our relations with Sikorski who is far the most helpful man you or we are likely to find for the purposes of the common cause. I expect that this will also be the American view.
5. My own feeling is that they have had a shock and that after whatever interval is thought convenient the relationship established on July 30th, 1941,47 should be restored. No one will hate this more than Hitler and what he hates most is wise for us to do.
6. We owe it to our armies now engaged and presently to be more heavily engaged to maintain good conditions behind the fronts. I and my colleagues look steadily to the ever closer cooperation and understanding of the U.S.S.R., the United States and the British Commonwealth and Empire, not only in the deepening war struggle, but after the war. What other hope can there be than this for the tortured world?
30th April, 1943
I have just read with the utmost satisfaction and admiration your splendid speech on May Day and I particularly appreciate your reference to the united blow of the Allies and you can indeed count on me to do everything in my power “to break the spine of the Fascist beast.”
2. Although photographs show about one-third of Essen in ruins, the enemy are making great efforts to keep their vital Krupps factories going, rather like you did at Stalingrad. We therefore gave them another dose, 800 tons. Also we gave Duisburg 1,450 tons, the heaviest yet launched in a single raid, last week. Stettin got 782 tons and Rostock 117. We executed very heavy but costly mining operations in the Baltic with 226 aircraft. All this is since I last reported to you. This mining helps in various ways: we get a good steady bag from the enemy’s already straitened tonnage, and secondly we force him to build minesweepers in large numbers and to make other diversions of strength. When the weather is bad for land targets we find an outlet in mining. We have been standing by for the last two nights all ready for another heavy operation in the Ruhr, but the weather baffles. In the raid on Plzen we did not hit the Škoda works with any great concentration, but this target will not be forgotten when the exceptional conditions, which alone render it practicable, recur. 3. In the Tunis tip the battle continues at high pitch and with considerable casualties on both sides. Since we entered Tunisia we have taken about 40,000 prisoners; in addition, the enemy have suffered 35,000 dead and wounded. The casualties in the First Army have been about 23,000 and in the Eighth Army about 10,000. The total Allied casualties are about 50,000 of which two-thirds are British. The battle will be maintained along the whole front with the utmost intensity and General Alexander is regrouping for a strong thrust very soon. The enemy have now under 200,000 encircled. They are still steadily reinforcing, but in the last few days our air force, which is growing ever stronger and coming closer, has cut into them well. So many destroyers and transports have been sunk, including several carrying German reinforcements, that all traffic was temporarily suspended. Unless it can immediately be reopened the supply situation of the enemy will be very serious for him. Also his chances of getting away by sea in any numbers are not good. The peculiar character of the country with flat plains commanded by rugged upstanding peaks, each of which is a fortress, aids the enemy’s defence and slows up our advance. I hope, however, to have good news for you before the end of this month. Meanwhile, the whole campaign is most costly to the enemy on account of his additional losses in transit.
May 2nd, 1943
May 4, 1943
In sending my message of April 21 on interrupting relations with the Polish Government, I was guided by the fact that the notorious anti-Soviet press campaign, launched by the Poles as early as April 15 and aggravated first by the statement of the Polish Ministry of National Defence and later by the Polish Government’s declaration of April 17, had not encountered any opposition in London; moreover, the Soviet Government had not been forewarned of the anti-Soviet campaign prepared by the Poles, although it is hard to imagine that the British Government was not informed of the contemplated campaign. I think that from the point of view of the spirit of our treaty it would have been only natural to dissuade one ally from striking a blow at another, particularly if the blow directly helped the common enemy. That, at any rate, is how I see the duty of an ally. Nevertheless, I thought it necessary to inform you of the Soviet Government’s view of Polish-Soviet relations. Since the Poles continued their anti-Soviet smear campaign without any opposition in London, the patience of the Soviet Government could not have been expected to be infinite.
You tell me that you will enforce proper discipline in the Polish press. I thank you for that, but I doubt if it will be as easy as all that to impose discipline on the present Polish Government, its following of pro-Hitler boosters and its fanatical press. Although you informed me that the Polish Government wanted to work loyally with the Soviet Government, I question its ability to keep its world. The Polish Government is surrounded by such a vast pro-Hitler following, and Sikorski is so helpless and browbeaten that there is no certainty at all of his being able to remain loyal in relations with the Soviet Union even granting that he wants to be loyal.
As to the rumours, circulated by the Hitlerites, that a new Polish Government is being formed in the U.S.S.R., there is hardly any need to deny this fabrication. Our Ambassador has already told you so. This does not rule out Great Britain, and the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. taking measures to improve the composition of the present Polish Government in terms of consolidating the Allied united front against Hitler. The sooner this is done, the better. Upon his return from the U.S.A. Mr Eden told Maisky that President Roosevelt’s adherents in the U.S.A. thought that the present Polish Government had no prospects for the future and doubted whether it had any chance of returning to Poland and assuming power, although they would like to retain Sikorski. I think the Americans are not so very far from the truth as regards the prospects of the present Polish Government.
As regards the Polish citizens in the U.S.S.R., whose number is not great, and the families of the Polish soldiers evacuated to Iran, the Soviet Government has never raised any obstacles to their departure from the U.S.S.R.
2. I have received your message on the latest events in Tunisia. Thank you for the information. I am glad of the success of the Anglo-American troops and wish them still greater success. May 4, 1943
Sent on May 8, 1943
I congratulate you and the valiant British and U.S. troops on the
brilliant victory which has resulted in the liberation of Bizerta and
Tunis from Hitler tyranny. I wish you further success.
Personal and most secret for your eye alone.
I am in mid-Atlantic on my way to Washington to settle the further stroke in Europe after “Husky”45 and also to discourage undue bias towards the Pacific, and further, to deal with the problem of the Indian Ocean and the offensive against Japan there. Barring accidents my next cable will be from Washington.
2. You will have heard the good news about Tunis and Bizerta where the British and American armies are pressing hard towards the final goal.
3. I am very glad to hear of your success around Novorossiisk and of the capture of Krymskaya.
4. In a naval convoy action on the sixth we lost thirteen merchant ships sunk but we destroyed five U-boats and five others were damaged or possibly destroyed. We estimate we got at least sixteen U-boats in April against about twenty new ones which have come out.
5. The attack on Dortmund by five hundred and ninety aircraft was one of our heaviest and most successful.
May 10th, 1943
I am much obliged to you for your message about the Polish affair.
The Poles did not tell us what they were going to do and so we could not warn them against the peril of the course which they proposed to take.
The Polish press will be disciplined in future and all other foreign language publications.
I agree that the Polish Government is susceptible of improvement, though there would be a great difficulty in finding better substitutes. I think like you that Sikorski and some others should in any event be retained. If Sikorski were to reconstruct his Government under foreign pressure he would probably be repudiated and thrown out and we should not get anyone so good in his place. Therefore he probably cannot make changes at once, but I will take every opportunity to urge him to this direction as soon as may be. I will discuss this with President Roosevelt.
I note from your intimation that it is not the policy of the Soviet Government to put obstacles in the way of the exit of Polish subjects in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or families of Polish soldiers, and will communicate with you further on this subject through the Ambassador. Many thanks for your message about the occupation of Tunis and Bizerta. The question is now how many we catch.
May 12th, 1943
In my message dated April 10th I told you that we were making plans for sending on to you the Hurricanes, Aircobras and Kittyhawks from J.W.54 and J.W.55.
I can now give you some information about the arrangements we have made.
The number of Hurricanes is now 435, including the 60 Hurricanes II D’s. 235 Hurricanes will be shipped to Gibraltar where they will be assembled and flown on for your collection at Basra (not Tehran as previously suggested). We hope that these Hurricanes will begin to reach Basra during the first half of June.
The remaining 200 Hurricanes, including the 60 Hurricanes II D’s, will be shipped through the Mediterranean and will be handed over at Basra. I previously said that the Hurricane II D’s would probably go via Takoradi but it has now been decided to ship them to Basra as we could not fit extra tanks required for flying them across Africa without removing the guns which would have had to be sent to Tehran.
Mr Harriman is arranging for 285 Aircobras and Kittyhawks to be shipped through the Mediterranean and the Red Sea to Abadan where they will be assembled.
May 14th, 1943
My dear Marshal Stalin,
I am writing this letter to introduce to you Air Marshal Sir John Babington, who is taking up his duties as Head of the Royal Air Force Section of No. 30 Mission.48
Sir John Babington has until recently been Commander-in- Chief of our Technical Training Command. He possesses a wide and varied experience of all aspects of modern air warfare and I feel sure that his appointment will contribute to the strengthening of the already admirable understanding that has been established between the Air Forces of the U.S.S.R. and of Great Britain.
June 9th, 1943
Sent on June 11, 1943
I am sending you the text of my personal message in reply to the President’s message about the decisions on strategic matters which you and Mr Roosevelt adopted in May.
Your message informing me of certain decisions on strategic matters adopted by you and Mr Churchill reached me on June 4. Thank you for the information.
It appears from your communication that the decisions run counter to those reached by you and Mr Churchill earlier this year concerning the date for a second front in Western Europe. You will doubtless recall that the joint message of January 26, set by you and Mr Churchill, announced the decision adopted at that time to divert considerable German ground and air forces from the Russian front and bring Germany to her knees in 1943.
Then on February 12 Mr Churchill communicated on his own behalf and yours the specified time of the Anglo-American operation in Tunisia and the Mediterranean, as well as on the west coast of Europe. The communication said that Great Britain and the United States were vigorously preparing to cross the Channel in August 1943 and that if the operation were hindered by weather or other causes, then it would be prepared with an eye to being carried out in greater force in September 1943.
Now, in May 1943, you and Mr Churchill have decided to postpone the Anglo-American invasion of Western Europe until the spring of 1944. In other words, the opening of the second front in Western Europe, previously postponed from 1942 till 1943, is now being put off again, this time till the spring of 1944.
Your decision creates exceptional difficulties for the Soviet Union, which, straining all its resources, for the past two years, has been engaged against the main forces of Germany and her satellites, and leaves the Soviet Army, which is fighting not only for its country, but also for its Allies, to do the job alone, almost single-handed, against an enemy that is still very strong and formidable.
Need I speak of the dishearteningly negative impression that this fresh postponement of the second front and the withholding from our Army, which has sacrificed so much, of the anticipated substantial support by the Anglo-American armies, will produce in the Soviet Union – both among the people and in the Army?
As for the Soviet Government, it cannot align itself with this decision, which, moreover, was adopted without its participation and without any attempt at a joint discussion of this highly important matter and which may gravely affect the subsequent course of the war.
I have received a copy of your telegram of about the 11th June to the President. I quite understand your disappointment but I am sure we are doing not only the right thing but the only thing that is physically possible in the circumstances. It would be no help to Russia if we threw away a hundred thousand men in a disastrous cross-Channel attack such as would, in my opinion, certainly occur if we tried under present conditions and with forces too weak to exploit any success that might be gained at very heavy cost. In my view and that of all my expert military advisers we should, even if we got ashore, be driven off as the Germans have forces already in France superior to any we could put there this year, and can reinforce far more quickly across the main lateral railways of Europe than we could do over the beaches or through any of the destroyed Channel ports we might seize. I cannot see how a great British defeat and slaughter would aid the Soviet armies. It might, however, cause the utmost ill-feeling here if it were thought it had been incurred against the advice of our military experts and under pressure from you. You will remember that I have always made it clear in my telegram sent to you that I would never authorise any cross-Channel attack which I believed would lead to only useless massacre.
2. The best way for us to help you is by winning battles and not by losing them. This we have done in Tunisia where the long arm of the British and United States sea power has reached across the Atlantic and ten thousand miles around the Cape and helped us to annihilate great Axis land and air forces. The threat immediately resulting to the whole Axis defensive system in the Mediterranean has already forced the Germans to reinforce Italy, the Mediterranean islands, the Balkans and Southern France with land and air forces. It is my earnest and sober hope that we can knock Italy out of the war this year and by doing so we shall draw far more Germans off your front than by any other means open. The attack that is now not far off will absorb the capacities of every port under our control in the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to Port Said inclusive. After Italy has been forced out of the war the Germans will have to occupy the Riviera, make a new front either on the Alps or the Po and above all provide for the replacement of thirty-two Italian divisions now in the Balkans. The moment for inviting Turkey to participate in the war actively or passively will then arrive. The bombing of the Roumanian oilfields can be carried through on a decisive scale. Already we are holding in the West and South of Europe the larger part of the German Air Forces and our superiority will increase continually. Out of a first line operational strength of between four thousand eight hundred and four thousand nine hundred aircraft Germany, according to our information, has today on the Russian front some two thousand compared with two thousand five hundred this time last year. We are also ruining a large part of the cities and munition centres of Germany which may well have a decisive effect by sapping German resistance on all fronts. By this coming autumn this great air offensive should have produced a massive return. If the favourable trend of anti-U-boat warfare of the last few months continues, it will quicken and increase the movement of the United States forces to Europe which is being pressed to the full limit of available shipping. No one has paid more tribute than I have to the immense contribution of the Soviet Government to the common victory and I thank you also for the recognition which you have lately given to the exertions of your two Western Allies. It is my firm belief that we shall present you before the end of the year with results which will give you substantial relief and satisfaction.
3. I have never asked you for detailed information about the strength and dispositions of the Russian armies because you have been, and are still, bearing the brunt on land. I should, however, be glad to have your appreciation of the situation and immediate prospects on the Russian front and whether you think a German attack is imminent. We are already again in the middle of June and no attack has been launched. We have some reason to believe that the unexpectedly rapid defeat of the Axis forces in North Africa has dislocated German strategy and that the consequent threat to Southern Europe has been an important factor in causing Hitler to hesitate and to delay his plans for a large-scale offensive against Russia this summer. It is no doubt too soon to pronounce decidedly on all this but we should be very pleased to hear what you think about it.
4. At the end of your message you complain that Russia has not been consulted in our recent decisions. I fully understand the reasons which prevented you from meeting the President and me at Khartoum whither we would have gone in January and I am sure you were right not to relinquish even for a week the direction of your immense and victorious campaign. Nevertheless the need and advantage of a meeting are very great. I can only say I will go at any risk to any place that you and the President may agree upon. I and my advisers believe Scapa Flow, which is our main naval harbour in the North of Scotland, would be most convenient, the safest and, if secrecy be desired, probably the most secret. I have again suggested this to the President. If you could come there by air at any time in the summer you may be sure that every arrangement would be made to suit your wishes and you would have a most hearty welcome from your British and American comrades.
19th June, 1943
I am concerned to hear through Monsieur Molotov that you are thinking of recognising the French National Committee of Liberation recently set up at Algiers. It is unlikely that the British, and still more that the United States Government, will recognise this Committee for some time and then only after they have had reasonable proof that its character and action will be satisfactory to the interests of the Allied cause.
2. Since he arrived at Algiers, General de Gaulle has been struggling to obtain effective control of the French Army. Headquarters cannot be sure of what he will do or of his friendly feelings towards us if he obtained the mastery. President Roosevelt and I are in entire agreement in feeling that de Gaulle might endanger the base and communications of the armies about to operate in “Husky.”45 We cannot run any risk of this, as it would affect the lives of our soldiers and hamper the prosecution of the war.
3. Originally there were seven members of the Committee but the number has now been expanded to fourteen, and we cannot be sure of its action. General Eisenhower has therefore in the name of both the United States and the British Governments notified the Committee that General Giraud must remain the Commander-in-Chief of the French Army and have effective power over its character and organisation. Undoubtedly this will cause discussion in the House of Commons as well as in the United States, and the President and I will have to give reasons, of which there are plenty, for the course we have taken. If the Soviet Government had already recognised the Committee, the mere giving of these reasons and the explanations would reveal a difference of view between the Soviet Government and the Western Allies, which would be most regrettable.
4. We are very anxious to find a French authority to which all Frenchmen will rally, and we still hope that one may emerge from the discussions now proceeding at Algiers. It seems to us far too soon to decide upon this at present. 23rd June, 1943
Your message of June 19 received.
I fully realise the difficulty of organising an Anglo-American invasion of Western Europe, in particular, of transferring troops across the Channel. The difficulty could also be discerned in your communications.
From your messages of last year and this I gained the conviction that you and the President were fully aware of the difficulties of organising such an operation and were preparing the invasion accordingly, with due regard to the difficulties and the necessary exertion of forces and means. Even last year you told me that a large-scale invasion of Europe by Anglo-American troops would be effected in 1943. In the Aide-Mémoire handed to V. M. Molotov on June 10, 1942, you wrote:
“Finally, and most important of all, we are concentrating our maximum effort on the organisation and preparation of a large-scale invasion of the Continent of Europe by British and American forces in 1943. We are setting no limit to the scope and objectives of this campaign, which will be carried out in the first instance by over a million men, British and American, with air forces of appropriate strength.”Early this year you twice informed me, on your own behalf and on behalf of the President, of decisions concerning an Anglo- American invasion of Western Europe intended to “divert strong German land and air forces from the Russian front.” You had set yourself the task of bringing Germany to her knees as early as 1943, and named September as the latest date for the invasion.
In your message of January 26 you wrote:
“We have been in conference with our military advisers and have decided on the operations which are to be undertaken by the American and British forces in the first nine months of 1943. We wish to inform you of our intentions at once. We believe that these operations, together with your powerful offensive, may well bring Germany to her knees in 1943.”In your next message, which I received on February 12, you wrote, specifying the date of the invasion of Western Europe decided on by you and the President:
“We are also pushing preparations to the limit of our resources for a cross-Channel operation in August, in which British and United States units would participate. Here again, shipping and assault-landing craft will be the limiting factors. If the operation is delayed by the weather or other reasons, it will be prepared with stronger forces for September.”Last February, when you wrote to me about those plans and the date for invading Western Europe, the difficulties of that operation were greater than they are now. Since then the Germans have suffered more than one defeat: they were pushed back by our troops in the South, where they suffered appreciable loss; they were beaten in North Africa and expelled by the Anglo-American troops; in submarine warfare, too, the Germans found themselves in a bigger predicament than ever, while Anglo-American superiority increased substantially; it is also known that the Americans and British have won air superiority in Europe and that their navies and mercantile marines have grown in power.
It follows that the conditions for opening a second front in Western Europe during 1943, far from deteriorating, have, indeed, greatly improved.
That being so, the Soviet Government could not have imagined that the British and U.S. Governments would revise the decision to invade Western Europe, which they had adopted early this year. In fact, the Soviet Government was fully entitled to expect that the Anglo-American decision would be carried out, that appropriate preparations were under way and that the second front in Western Europe would at last be opened in 1943.
That is why, when you now write that “it would be no help to Russia if we threw away a hundred thousand men in a disastrous cross-Channel attack,” all I can do is remind you of the following:
First, your own Aide-Mémoire of June 1942 in which you declared that preparations were under way for an invasion, not by a hundred thousand, but by an Anglo-American force exceeding one million men at the very start of the operation.
Second, your February message, which mentioned extensive measures preparatory to the invasion of Western Europe in August or September 1943, which, apparently, envisaged an operation, not by a hundred thousand men, but by an adequate force.
So when you now declare: “I cannot see how a great British defeat and slaughter would aid the Soviet armies,” is it not clear that a statement of this kind in relation to the Soviet Union is utterly groundless and directly contradicts your previous and responsible decisions, listed above, about extensive and vigorous measures by the British and Americans to organise the invasion this year, measures on which the complete success of the operation should hinge?
I shall not enlarge on the fact that this responsible decision, revoking your previous decisions on the invasion of Western Europe, was reached by you and the President without Soviet participation and without inviting its representatives to the Washington conference, although you cannot but be aware that the Soviet Union’s role in the war against Germany and its interest in the problems of the second front are great enough.
There is no need to say that the Soviet Government cannot become reconciled to this disregard of vital Soviet interests in the war against the common enemy.
You say that you “quite understand” my disappointment. I must tell you that the point here is not just the disappointment of the Soviet Government, but the preservation of its confidence in its Allies, a confidence which is being subjected to severe stress. One should not forget that it is a question of saving millions of lives in the occupied areas of Western Europe and Russia and of reducing the enormous sacrifices of the Soviet armies, compared with which the sacrifices of the Anglo-American armies are insignificant.
June 24, 1943
I have received your message of June 23, 1943, in which you point out that for the present the Governments of Great Britain and the United States of America will refrain from recognising the French National Committee of Liberation. In support of your attitude you say that Headquarters cannot be sure what action General de Gaulle may undertake or of his friendly feelings for the Allies.
We had the impression that the British Government had thus far supported General de Gaulle, which seemed only natural, since from the moment of the French surrender General de Gaulle had headed the anti-Hitler forces of France and the struggle of the French patriots united around Fighting France. Subsequent developments in North Africa, beginning with November 1942, and the part played by French armed forces under Generals Giraud and de Gaulle in the operations carried out by the Anglo-American troops provided the conditions for their union. All the Allies concurred that this union was advisable, and there were no doubts as to this point. Recognition of the existing united agency in the form of the French National Committee of Liberation was to be a result of the aspirations displayed and the efforts made in this matter. All the more so because, after the French National Committee in the persons of Giraud and de Gaulle officially requested Allied recognition of the Committee, the Soviet Government felt that refusal to grant the request would be incomprehensible to French public opinion.
At the moment the Soviet Government has no information that could support the British Government’s present attitude to the French National Committee of Liberation and, in particular, to General de Gaulle.
Since, however, the British Government requests that the recognition of the French Committee be postponed and through its Ambassador has given the assurance that no steps will be taken in this matter without consulting the Soviet Government, the Soviet Government is prepared to meet the British Government half-way.
I hope you will take cognisance of the Soviet interest in French affairs and not deny the Soviet Government timely information, which is indispensable for the adoption of appropriate decisions.
June 26, 1943
I am sorry to receive your message of the 24th. At every stage the information I have given you as to our future intentions has been based upon recorded advice of the British and American Staffs, and I have at all times been sincere in my relations with you. Although until June 22nd, 1941, we British were left alone to face the worst that Nazi Germany could do to us, I instantly began aiding Soviet Russia to the best of our limited means from the moment that she was herself attacked by Hitler. I am satisfied that I have done everything in human power to help you. Therefore the reproaches which you now cast upon your Western Allies leave me unmoved. Nor, apart from the damage to our military interests, should I have any difficulty in presenting my case to the British Parliament and the nation.
2. The views of our Staffs, which I have shared at every stage, have been continually modified by the course of events. In the first place, although all shipping has been fully occupied, it has not been possible to transport the American army to Britain according to the programme proposed in June 1942. Whereas it was then hoped that twenty-seven American divisions would be in Great Britain by April 1943, in fact there is now, in June 1943, only one, and there will be by August only five. This is due to the demands of the war against Japan, the shipping shortage, and above all the expansion of the campaign in North Africa, into which powerful Nazi forces were drawn. Moreover, the landing craft which in January of this year we proposed to make available for a cross-Channel enterprise, have either not fully materialised up to date or have all been drawn into the great operation now impending in the Mediterranean. The enemy’s uncertainty as to where the blow will fall and what its weight will be has already, in the opinion of my trusty advisers, led to the delaying of Hitler’s third attack upon Russia, for which it seemed great preparations were in existence six weeks ago. It may even prove that you will not be heavily attacked this summer. If that were so, it would vindicate decisively what you once called the “military correctness” of our Mediterranean strategy. However, in these matters we must await the unfolding of events.
3. Thus not only on the one hand have the difficulties of a cross-Channel attack continually seemed greater to us and the resources have not been forthcoming, but a more hopeful and fruitful policy has been opened to us in another theatre, and we have the right and duty to act in accordance with our convictions informing you at every stage of the changes in our views imposed by the vast movement of the war.
27th June, 1943
The operation “Husky”45 is now imminent. It comprises the oversea movement of half a million men in which sixteen hundred large ships and twelve hundred special landing vessels are employed. The enemy have three hundred thousand men in “Husky” land. Much depends on the first impact. I will let you know how the battle goes as soon as I can see clearly.
2. Meanwhile we have sunk fifty U-boats for certain in seventy days.
3. I hope all is going well on your battle-front. The German accounts seem confused and embarrassed.
July 8th, 1943
Both British and United States armies seem to be getting ashore all right. The weather is improving.
10th July, 1943
I have just come back from the front and have read the British Government’s message of August 7.49
I agree that a meeting of the three heads of the Governments is highly desirable. The meeting should be arranged at the earliest opportunity and the place and time of the meeting coordinated with the President.
At the same time I must say that, the situation on the Soviet- German front being what it is, I am, unfortunately, unable to leave and lose touch with the front even for one week. Although we have had certain successes at the front lately, it is now that the Soviet troops and the Soviet Command must exert the utmost effort and show particular vigilance towards the new actions which the enemy may undertake. In view of this I am obliged to be with the troops and visit this or that sector of our front more often than usual. Hence I cannot at the moment travel to meet you and the President at Scapa Flow or any other distant point.
Nevertheless, in order not to put off elucidation of the problems which interest our countries, it would be advisable to hold a meeting of authorised representatives of our states, and we could agree on the place and time of meeting in the near future.
Besides, we should agree beforehand on the range of problems to be discussed and on the draft proposals to be approved. Unless this is done the meeting can hardly yield tangible results.
2. I take this opportunity to congratulate the British Government and the Anglo-American troops on their highly successful operations in Sicily, which have already led to the fall of Mussolini and the collapse of his gang.
August 9, 1943
Your telegram of August 9th gives me the opportunity to offer you my heartfelt congratulations on the recent most important victories gained by the Russian armies at Orel and Byelgorod, opening the way to your further advances towards Bryansk and Kharkov. Defeats of the German army on this front are milestones to our final victory.
2. I have arrived at the Citadel of Quebec and start this afternoon to meet the President at his private home. Meanwhile the Staffs will be in conference here and the President and I will join them at the end of the week. I will show the President your telegram about a meeting of our responsible representatives in the near future, which certainly seems to be most desirable. I quite understand that you cannot leave the front at this critical period when you are actually directing the victorious movements of your armies.
3. Thank you for your congratulations on our Sicilian successes, together we shall endeavour to exploit to the full without prejudice to “Overlord.”50 Certainly our affairs are much better in every quarter than when we met in Moscow exactly a year ago.
4. I am sending you a small stereoscopic machine with a large number of photographic slides of the damage done by our bombing to German cities. They give one a much more vivid impression than anything that can be gained from photographs. I hope you will find half an hour in which to look at them. This we know for certain, eighty per cent of the houses in Hamburg are down. It is only now a question of a short time before the nights lengthen and even greater destruction will be laid upon Berlin. This subject only to weather. This will be continued for several nights and days and will be the heaviest ever known.
5. Finally, in the U-boat war, we have in the months of May, June and July destroyed U-boats at the rate of almost one a day while our losses have been far less than we planned for. Our net gain in new tonnage is very great. All this will facilitate the establishment of large-scale Anglo-American fronts against the Germans, which I agree with you are indispensable to the shortening of the war.
August 12th, 1943
On August 15th the British Ambassador at Madrid reported that General Castellano51 had arrived from Badoglio with a letter of introduction from the British Minister to the Vatican. The General declared that he was authorised by Badoglio to say that Italy was willing to surrender unconditionally provided that she could join the Allies. The British representative to the Vatican has since been furnished by Marshal Badoglio with a written statement that he has duly authorised General Castellano. This therefore seems a firm offer.
We are not prepared to enter into any bargain with Badoglio’s Government to induce Italy to change sides; on the other hand there are many advantages and a great speeding up of the campaign which might follow therefrom. We shall begin our invasion of the mainland of Italy probably before the end of this month and about a week later we shall make our full-scale thrust at “Avalanche.”52 It is very likely that Badoglio’s Government will not last so long. The Germans have one or more armoured divisions outside Rome and once they think that the Badoglio Government is playing them false, they are quite capable of overthrowing it and setting up a Quisling Government of Fascist elements under, for instance, Farinacci. Alternatively, Badoglio may collapse and the whole of Italy pass into disorder.
Such being the situation, the Combined Chiefs of Staff43 have prepared, and the President and the Prime Minister approved, as a measure of military diplomacy, the following instructions which have been sent to General Eisenhower for action:
“The President and the Prime Minister having approved, the Combined Chiefs of Staff direct you to send at once to Lisbon two Staff Officers; one United States’, and one British. They should report upon arrival to the British Ambassador. They should take with them agreed armistice terms which have already been sent to you. Acting on instructions the British Ambassador at Lisbon will have arranged a meeting with General Castellano. Your Staff Officers will be present at this meeting.”At this meeting a communication to General Castellano will be made on the following lines:
(a) The unconditional surrender of Italy is accepted on the terms stated in the document to be handed to him. (He should then be given the armistice terms for Italy already agreed and previously sent to you. He should be told that these do not include the political, economic or financial terms which will be communicated later by other means.)53
(b) These terms do not visualise active assistance of Italy in fighting the Germans. The extent to which the terms will be modified in favour of Italy will depend on how far the Italian Government and people do in fact aid the United Nations against Germany during the remainder of the war. The United Nations, however, state without reservation, that wherever Italian troops or Italians fight the Germans, or destroy German property, or hamper German movements, they will be given all possible support by troops of the United Nations. Meanwhile, provided that information about the enemy is immediately and regularly supplied, Allied bombing will so far as possible be directed on targets which affect the movements and operations of German troops.
(c) Cessation of hostilities between the United Nations and Italy will take effect from a date and hour to be notified by General Eisenhower.
(Note: General Eisenhower should make this notification a few hours before Allied troops land in Italy in strength.)
(d) Italian Government must undertake to proclaim the Armistice immediately it is announced by General Eisenhower, and to order their troops and people from that hour to collaborate with the Allies and to resist the Germans.
(Note: As will be seen from 2(c)54 above, the Italian Government will be given a few hours’ notice.)
(e) Italian Government must, at the hour of Armistice, order that all United Nations prisoners in danger of capture by the Germans shall be immediately released.
(f) Italian Government must at the hour of the Armistice order the Italian fleet and as much of their merchant shipping as possible to put to sea for Allied ports. As many military aircraft as possible shall fly to Allied bases. Any ships or aircraft in danger of capture must be destroyed.
2. General Castellano should be told that meanwhile there is a good deal that Badoglio can do without the Germans becoming aware of what is afoot. The precise character and extent of his action must be left to his judgment but the following are the general lines which should be suggested to him:
(a) General passive resistance throughout the country if this order can be conveyed to local authorities without the Germans’ knowing.
(b) Minor sabotage throughout the country, particularly of communications and of air fields used by the Germans.
(c) Safeguard of Allied prisoners of war. If German pressure to hand them over becomes too great they should be released.
(d) No Italian warships to be allowed to fall into German hands. Arrangements to be made to ensure that all of these ships can sail to ports designated by General Eisenhower immediately he gives the order. Italian submarines should not be withdrawn from patrol as this would reveal our common purpose to the enemy.
(e) No merchant shipping to be allowed to fall into German hands. Merchant shipping in northern ports should, if possible, be sailed to ports south of a line Venice-Leghorn. In the last resort they should be scuttled. All ships must be ready to sail for ports designated by General Eisenhower.
(f) Germans must not be allowed to take over Italian coast defences.
(g) Instructions to be put into force at the proper time for Italian formations in the Balkans to march to the coast with a view to their being taken off to Italy by the United Nations.
3. A safe channel of communication between General Eisenhower and the Italian headquarters is to be arranged with General Castellano by General Eisenhower’s representatives.”
(End of General Eisenhower’s message.)
To turn to another subject, following on decisions taken at “Trident,”55 His Majesty’s Government entered upon negotiations with Portugal in order to obtain naval and air facilities in a “life-belt.”56 Accordingly His Majesty’s Ambassador at Lisbon invoked the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance which has lasted 600 years unbroken and invited Portugal to grant the said facilities. Dr. Salazar was of course oppressed by the fear of German bombing out of revenge and of possible hostile moves by the Spaniards. We have accordingly furnished him with supplies of anti-aircraft artillery and fighter aircraft which are now in transit, and we have also informed Dr. Salazar that should Spain attack Portugal we shall immediately declare war on Spain and render such help as is in our power. We have not however made any precise military convention earmarking particular troops as we do not think either of these contingencies probable. Dr. Salazar has now consented to the use of a “life-belt” by the British with Portuguese collaboration in the early part of October. As soon as we are established there and he is relieved from his anxieties we shall press for extensions of these facilities to United States ships and aircraft.
The possession of the “life-belt” is of great importance to the sea war. The U-boats have quitted the North Atlantic where convoys have been running without loss since the middle of May and have concentrated on the southern route. The use of the “life-belt” will be of the utmost help in attacks on them from the air. Besides this there is the ferrying of United States heavy bombers to Europe and Africa which is also most desirable. All the above is of most especially secret operational character.
19th August, 1943
Mr Churchill and I are here,57 accompanied by our staffs, and will confer for a period of perhaps ten days. We are very desirous of emphasising to you again the importance of our all three meeting. We at the same time entirely understand the strong reasons which cause you to be near the fronts of battle, fronts where your personal presence has been so fruitful of victory.
Neither Astrakhan nor Archangel are suitable, in our opinion. We are quite prepared, however, to go with appropriate officers to Fairbanks, Alaska. There, we may survey the entire picture, in common with you.
We are now at a crucial point in the war, a time presenting a unique chance for a rendezvous. Both Mr Churchill and I earnestly hope you will give this opportunity your consideration once more.
If we are unable to agree on this very essential meeting between our three governmental heads, Churchill and I agree with you that we should in the near future arrange a meeting of foreign office level representatives. Final decisions must, of course, be left to our respective Governments, so such a meeting would be of an exploratory character.
In 38 days, General Eisenhower and General Alexander have accomplished the conquest of Sicily.
The Axis defenders amounted to a total of 405,000 men: 315,000 Italians and 90,000 Germans. We attacked with 13 American and British divisions, suffering approximately 13,000 casualties (killed and wounded). The Axis forces lost 30,000 dead and wounded: 23,000 Germans and 7,000 Italians, collected and counted. There were 130,000 prisoners.
Italian forces on Sicily have been wiped out, with the exception of some few who took to the countryside in plain clothes. There is a tremendous amount of booty, guns and planes and munitions of all sorts lying about everywhere, including more than 1,000 aeroplanes captured on the various air fields.
As you have been informed previously, we will soon make a powerful attack on the mainland of Italy.
19 August, 1943
I have received your message on the negotiations with the Italians and on the new armistice terms for Italy. Thank you for the information.
Mr Eden informed Sobolev that Moscow had been kept fully informed of the negotiations with Italy. I must say, however, that Mr Eden’s statement is at variance with the facts, for I received your message with large omissions and without the closing paragraphs.58 It should be said, therefore, that the Soviet Government has not been kept informed of the Anglo- American negotiations with the Italians. Mr Kerr assures me that he will shortly receive the full text of your message, but three days have passed and Ambassador Kerr has yet to give it to me. I cannot understand how this delay could have come about in transmitting information on so important a matter.
2. I think the time is ripe for us to set up a military-political commission of representatives of the three countries – the U.S.A., Great Britain and the U.S.S.R. – for consideration of problems related to negotiations with various Governments falling away from Germany. To date it has been like this: the U.S.A. and Britain reach agreement between themselves while the U.S.S.R. is informed of the agreement between the two powers as a third party looking passively on. I must say that this situation cannot be tolerated any longer. I propose setting up the commission and making Sicily its seat for the time being.
3. I am looking forward to receiving the full text of your message on the negotiations with Italy.
August 22, 1943
Your joint message of August 19 has reached me.
I fully share your opinion and that of Mr Roosevelt concerning the importance of a meeting between the three of us. At the same time I earnestly request you to appreciate my position at a time when our armies are exerting themselves to the utmost against the main forces of Hitler and when Hitler, far from having withdrawn a single division from our front, has already moved, and keeps moving, fresh divisions to the Soviet- German front. At a moment like this I cannot, in the opinion of all my colleagues, leave the front without injury to our military operations to go to so distant a point as Fairbanks, even though, had the situation on our front been different, Fairbanks would doubtless have been a perfectly suitable place for our meeting, as I indeed thought before.
As to a meeting between representatives of our states, and perhaps representatives in charge of foreign affairs, I share your view of the advisability of such a meeting in the near future. However, the meeting should not be restricted to the narrow bounds of investigation, but should concern itself with practical preparations so that after the conference our Governments might take specific decisions and thus avoid delay in reaching decisions on urgent matters.
Hence I think I must revert to my proposal for fixing beforehand the range of problems to be discussed by the representatives of the three states and drafting the proposals they will have to discuss and submit to our Governments for final decision.
2. Yesterday we received from Mr Kerr the addenda and corrections to the joint message in which you and Mr Roosevelt informed me of the instructions sent to General Eisenhower in connection with the surrender terms worked out for Italy during the discussions with General Castellano. I and my colleagues believe that the instructions given to General Eisenhower follow entirely from the thesis on Italy’s unconditional surrender and hence cannot give rise to any objections.
Still, I consider the information received so far insufficient for judging the steps that the Allies should take in the negotiations with Italy. This circumstance confirms the necessity of Soviet participation in reaching a decision in the course of the negotiations. I consider it timely, therefore, to set up the military- political commission representing the three countries, of which I wrote to you on August 22.
August 24, 1943
Received on August 26, 1943
The following is the decision as to the military operations to be carried out during 1943 and 1944 which we have arrived at in our conference at Quebec just concluded. We shall continue the bomber offensive against Germany from bases in the United Kingdom and Italy on a rapidly increasing scale. The objectives of this air attack will be to destroy the air combat strength of Germany, to dislocate her military, economic and industrial system and to prepare the way for an invasion across the Channel. A large-scale building-up of American forces in the United Kingdom is now under way. It will provide an assemblage force of American and British divisions for operations across the Channel. Once a bridgehead on the Continent has been secured it will be reinforced steadily by additional American troops at the rate of from three to five divisions a month. This operation will be the primary American and British air and ground effort against the Axis. The war in the Mediterranean is to be pressed vigorously. In that area our objectives will be the elimination of Italy from the Axis alliance and the occupation of Italy, as well as of Corsica and Sardinia, as bases for operations against Germany. In the Balkans operations will be limited to the supply by air and sea transport of the Balkan guerrillas, minor commando raids and the bombarding of strategic objectives. In the Pacific and in South-east Asia we shall accelerate our operations against Japan. Our purposes are to exhaust the air, naval and shipping resources of Japan, to cut her communications and to secure bases from which Japan proper may be bombed.
Received on August 29, 1943
Just now we are examining your proposals and are almost certain that plans satisfactory to all of us can be made both for a meeting of representatives of the Foreign Ministries and for setting up a tripartite commission. The Prime Minister and I meet again early next week and shall communicate with you again by cable.
Would you be in favour of having representatives of the French National Committee of Liberation on the commission about the negotiations with Italy? If so, I would suggest it here.59 They certainly have a great stake and it would be bringing them more into the limelight.
August 30th, 1943
I am for having the French National Committee of Liberation represented on the commission for negotiations with Italy. If you consider it advisable you may say so on behalf of our two Governments.
August 31, 1943
We have received from General C.51 a statement that the Italians accept and that he is coming to sign, but we do not know for certain whether this refers to the short military terms, which you have already seen, or to the more comprehensive and complete terms in regard to which your readiness to sign was specifically indicated.60
2. The military situation there is at once critical and hopeful. Our invasion of the mainland begins almost immediately, and a heavy blow called “Avalanche”52 will be struck in the next week or so. The difficulty of the Italian Government and people in extricating themselves from Hitler’s clutches may make a still more daring enterprise necessary, for General Eisenhower will need as much Italian help as he can get. The Italians’ acceptance of the terms is largely based on the fact that we shall send an air-borne division to Rome to enable them to hold off the Germans who have gathered Panzer strength in that vicinity and who may replace the Badoglio Government with a Quisling administration, probably under Farinacci. Matters are moving so fast there that we think General Eisenhower should have discretion not to delay settlement with the Italians for the sake of the difference between the short and long terms. It is clear that the short terms are included in the long terms, that they proceed on the basis of unconditional surrender, and Clause 10 in the short term61 places the interpretation in the hands of the Allied Commander- in-Chief.
3. We are therefore assuming that you expect General Eisenhower to sign
the short terms on your behalf if that be necessary to avoid the
further journeying of General C. to Rome and the consequent delay and
the uncertainty affecting military operations. We are, of course,
anxious that Italian unconditional surrender be to Soviet Russia as
well as to Great Britain and the United States. The date of the
surrender announcement must, of course, be fitted in with the military
September 3rd, 1943
The military commission.
I have discussed with the President your suggestion for a military-political commission representative of our three countries. The President is sending you his views.
2. If a formal commission is to be set up I make the following suggestions as to its constitution and scope, from which I think the President would not dissent, but he is telegraphing separately.
3. As to its location I will agree to Sicily if you are set upon it, but I believe that either Tunis or Algiers, which are an established Allied headquarters, would be more convenient. There will be no harm in trying both.
4. I suggest that the members of the commission should be political representatives appointed by the three governments, each reporting to his Government direct. The commission could not, of course, supersede or override the authority of the Governments concerned. The representatives may require to be assisted by military advisers. The political representatives should be kept informed by their governments of military and political developments affecting their work, and would in their turn inform their Governments of local developments. They could make joint representations to their Governments, but would not have the power to take final decisions. They would, of course, not interfere with the military functions of the Allied Commander-in-Chief.
5. I was glad to find that you agreed that a French member might be added. The President to whom I have submitted the idea also seemed inclined to accept it with certain reservations. We must remember that before long the French will presumably have ten or more fully equipped divisions which will certainly be needed in action.
6. There are others, notably the Greeks and the Yugoslavs, who are directly interested, and I suggest that we should devise a procedure for calling them in for consultation when questions of direct concern to them are under examination.
7. As I understand it the commission would, in the first instance, handle the Italian question only. When other cases arise experience should have shown whether this or some other organ would be the best medium for cooperating our views and plans.
8. The President is making to you the different suggestion that you might think it sufficient to send an officer to General Eisenhower’s headquarters. Seeing that the commission, if set up, would meet almost concurrently with the conference of Foreign Ministers, it may be that you will agree that the President’s plan meets the case.
9. In the event of its being decided to establish the commission, I should be grateful to learn whether you agree with the proposals I have made above. The commission, if it is desired, should be set going this month, but see my immediately following telegram.
September 5th, 1943
Reference to my immediately preceding telegram.
Secret, Personal. Operational.
General “C”,51 after a long struggle, signed the short terms last night, September 3rd, and he is now working out with Generals Eisenhower and Alexander the best way to bring them into force. This will certainly lead to immediate fighting between the Italian and German forces and we are going to help the Italians at every possible point as effectively as we can. The next week will show a startling development. The invasion of the toe has been successful and is being pressed, and the operation “Avalanche”52 and the air-borne venture are both imminent. Though I believe we shall get ashore at “Avalanche” in strong force, I cannot foresee what will happen in Rome, or throughout Italy. The dominant aim should be to kill Germans and make the Italians kill Germans on the largest scale possible in this theatre.
2. I am staying over on this side of the Atlantic till this business clears itself. Meanwhile accept my warmest congratulations on your new set of victories and penetrations on your main front.
September 5th, 1943
The conference of Foreign Ministers.
I was glad to get your message of August 25th in which you agree to an early meeting of Soviet, United States and British representatives in charge of foreign affairs. If Monsieur Molotov comes we will send Mr Eden.
2. The conference even thus constituted could not, of course, supersede the authority of all the governments concerned. We are most anxious to know what your wishes are about the future and will tell you our views as soon as they are formed. After that the Governments will have to decide and I hope we may be able to meet personally somewhere. I would if necessary go to Moscow.
3. The political representatives might require to be assisted by military advisers. I would provide a general officer, Sir Hastings Ismay, who is my personal representative on the Chiefs of Staff Committee and conducts the Secretariat of the Ministry of Defence. He could supply arguments and facts and figures on the military questions involved. I believe the United States would send an officer similarly qualified. This I think would be sufficient at this stage for the meeting of Foreign Ministers.
4. If, however, you wish to go in technical detail into the question why we have not yet invaded France across the Channel and why we cannot do it sooner or in greater strength than is now proposed, I should welcome a separate technical mission of your Generals and Admirals coming to London or Washington or both, when the fullest possible exposition of our conjoint resources and intentions could be laid before them and thrashed out. Indeed I should be very glad that you should have this explanation to which you have every right.
5. We are disposed to think that Britain being the midway point would be the most convenient place for the meeting, though it might be preferred to hold it outside London. I have made this proposal to the President but he has not given me a final decision upon it. If England were agreeable to you, I should be glad of your support in the proposal.
6. I hope we can aim at assembling the conference early in October.
September 5th, 1943
I have received your message of September 4. The question which you ask me, namely, whether the Soviet Government would agree to General Eisenhower signing on its behalf the short armistice terms for Italy, should be considered as having been answered in the letter which V. M. Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, wrote to Mr Kerr, the British Ambassador, on September 2. The letter said that the powers which the Soviet Government entrusted to General Eisenhower also extended to his signing the short armistice terms.
September 7, 1943
I have received your messages of September 5.
As I am writing simultaneously to the President, I think the most pressing problem is that of the military-political commission concerning which I wrote on August 22 and 24. After receiving your previous messages I expected the matter of setting up the tripartite military-political commission to be settled positively and without delay. But the solution of this very urgent problem has been delayed. The point is not, of course, this or that detail, which we could easily dispose of. The sending of a Soviet officer to General Eisenhower cannot in any way substitute the military-political commission which should already be at work, whereas it does not yet exist.
I have already informed you of my opinion on having a French representative. However, if the President is doubtful the question of French participation might be postponed.
2. The proposed date for the meeting of the representatives of the Governments – early October – suits me. I suggest that it be held in Moscow. The thing now is for us to agree beforehand on the range of problems and the proposals concerning those problems, in which our Governments are interested. I still think that this is essential for the success of the meeting, which should draft agreed decisions for subsequent adoption by the Governments. As for other matters relating to the convening of the conference I think there will be no difficulty in reaching agreement.
3. About a personal meeting of the heads of the three Governments – I have informed the President that I, too, am anxious for it to be held as early as possible, that the date suggested by him – November or December – suits me, but that it would be advisable to hold it in a country where all three are represented, such as Iran. I made the reservation that the actual date would have to be specified later, with due account to the situation on the Soviet-German front, where more than 500 divisions are engaged on both sides and where the supervision of the Supreme Command of the U.S.S.R. is required almost daily.
4. Thank you for your congratulations on the victories won by the Soviet armies. Please accept my congratulations on the splendid successes of the Anglo-American troops in Italy and my good wishes for further success in fulfilling the plans made for further operations.
September 8, 1943
Messages from General Eisenhower have indicated that the Italians have reason to believe that the Germans may resort to gas warfare against Italy, if she should withdraw from the Axis.
2. The President and I have agreed that General Eisenhower should give a special warning to the Germans as to the retaliatory measures that she may expect if she indulges in this form of warfare.
3. In view of the urgency of the matter there was no time to consult you in advance but in view of your attitude on a previous occasion we feel sure that you will agree.
8th September, 1943
I have received your message of September 8, advising me of the directions which you and the President have given to General Eisenhower to warn the Germans of the retaliation they must expect should they venture on gas warfare against Italy.
For my part I think it was the right thing to do and have no objection to appropriate instructions having already been given by you and the President.
September 8, 1943
At the last minute the Italian Government have backed out of the armistice alleging the Germans will immediately enter Rome and set up a Quisling government. This may well be true. We are, however, announcing the fact of the armistice at the hour agreed, namely 16.30 hours Greenwich Mean Time today, and of course “Avalanche”52 starts tonight.
I hope you will let me know if you have received this telegram. It would also be convenient if you could tell me when you expect to be able to reply to my telegrams regarding the conference of Foreign Ministers and the Mediterranean Commission since all these matters can be so much more easily settled while the President and I are together here.62
September 8th, 1943
Your message of September 8 reached me on September 9. Apparently you had not received my message of September 8 when you wrote yours.
I hope you will have read it by now, for it answers the questions that interest you concerning the meeting of the three Foreign Ministers and the tripartite commission.
September 9, 1943
Your message of September 8th received. The President tells me that he is cabling you separately. His Majesty’s Government agree to the immediate formation of the Three Power Military-Political Commission with headquarters in Sicily or Algiers. We agree that the French National Committee of Liberation shall send a fourth member. I believe that President Roosevelt will also agree to this. His Majesty’s Government’s nominee is Mr Harold Macmillan, my personal representative at General Eisenhower’s headquarters at Algiers, which duties he will continue to discharge. Mr Macmillan is a Member of Parliament and a Minister of the Crown and has acquired a complete knowledge of the entire situation in the Mediterranean. He has the complete confidence of the Foreign Office and constant access to me.
2. I do not propose to appoint a military representative, because Mr Macmillan will be in close contact with the Anglo- American headquarters staff. I shall equip him, however, with a high-grade staff officer with the rank of Brigadier. It seems to me that the American representative will be in much the same position, though I do not know what arrangements they will make. We should quite understand that your representative, being far from home, might require stronger military representation.
3. His Majesty’s Government conceive that the functions of the Commission would be the following. All its members would be kept immediately supplied with all information at the disposal of the three Governments and the French National Committee of Liberation about the present and future relations with the Italian Government or with any other enemy governments who in the future may find themselves in a similar plight. They would meet together as often as they pleased to discuss these matters. They would report to their governments constantly, and could advise them collectively or individually. They would receive instructions from their Governments as to the line they should take, but they would be encouraged to develop their own thoughts. All the above is without prejudice to the ultimate overriding responsibility of the three Governments concerned. There can be no question of the Committee deciding anything or taking executive action. In Great Britain Parliament is supreme and it would never consent to the alienation of any of its powers. This was made clear in my earlier telegram.
4. With respect to the meeting of Foreign Office representatives we defer to your wishes that Moscow should be the scene. Accordingly our Foreign Secretary Mr Eden will proceed thither at an early date in October. He will be attended by a suitable staff.
5. Agenda. His Majesty’s Government declares itself willing to discuss any and every subject with its Russian and United States Allies. We will in a few days furnish you with our ideas. But we should particularly like to know what are the main points you have in mind.
6. This meeting of Foreign Office representatives seems to me a most important and necessary preliminary to the meeting of the three heads of Governments. I am pleased and relieved to feel that there is a good prospect of this taking place between November 15th and December 15th. I have for some time past informed you that I will come anywhere at any time at any risk for such a meeting. I am therefore prepared to go to Tehran unless you can think of a better place in Iran. I should have preferred Cyprus or Khartoum but I defer to your wishes. Marshal Stalin, I wish to tell you that on this meeting. of the three of us, so greatly desired by all the United Nations, may depend not only the best and shortest method of finishing the war, but also those good arrangements for the future of the world which will enable the British and the American and Russian nations to render a lasting service to humanity.
7. Thank you for your congratulations. Badoglio seems to have played straight. The Italian Navy is reported sailing for our ports. The reports from the Salerno area are good so far. We have got a substantial force ashore and are engaging the Germans.
10th September, 1943
Received on September 10, 1943
We are pleased to tell you that General Eisenhower has accepted the unconditional surrender of Italy, terms of which were approved by the United States, the Soviet Republics and the United Kingdom.
Allied troops have landed near Naples and are now in contact with German forces. Allied troops are also making good progress in the southern end of the Italian peninsula.
I have received your message of September 10. I congratulate you on your latest success, particularly the landing in the Naples area. There can be no doubt that the landing in the Naples area and Italy’s break with Germany will be yet another blow to Hitler Germany and considerably facilitate the Soviet armies’ operations on the Soviet-German front.
So far the offensive of the Soviet troops is making good progress. I think we shall have further success in the next two or three weeks. It may be that we shall take Novorossiisk in a day or two.
September 10, 1943
Basically, the point about the military-political commission can be regarded as settled. We have appointed as the Soviet Ambassador A. Y. Vyshinsky, Deputy Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars and Deputy People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, whom you know. A. Y. Bogomolov, the Soviet Ambassador to the Allied Governments in London, has been appointed his deputy. In addition, we are sending a group of responsible military and political experts and a small technical staff.
I think that the date September 25-30 should be fixed for the military-political commission getting down to work. I have nothing against the commission functioning in Algiers for a start and later deciding whether it should move to Sicily or elsewhere in Italy.
The Prime Minister’s considerations regarding the functions of the commission are correct in my view, but I think that later, taking into account the initial experience of the commission, we shall be able to specify its functions in respect of both Italy and other countries.
2. Concerning the meeting of our three representatives I suggest that we consider it agreed that Moscow be the place, and the date, October 4, as suggested by the President. As stated in previous messages, I still believe that for the conference to be a success it is essential to know in advance the proposals that the British and U.S. Governments intend to submit to it. I do not, however, suggest any restriction as far as the agenda is concerned.
3. As regards the meeting of the three heads of the Governments, I have no objection to Tehran, which, I think, is a more suitable place than Egypt where the Soviet Union is not yet represented.
September 12, 1943
Now that Mussolini has been set up by the Germans as head of a so-called Republican Fascist Government it is essential to counter this movement by doing all we can to strengthen the authority of the King and Badoglio who signed the armistice with us and have since faithfully carried it out to the best of their ability, and surrendered the bulk of their fleet. Besides, for military reasons we must mobilise and concentrate all the forces in Italy which anxious to fight or at least obstruct the Germans. These are already active.
I propose therefore to advise the King to appeal on the wireless to the Italian people to rally round the Badoglio Government and to announce his intention to build up a broad-based anti-fascist coalition government, it being understood that nothing shall be done to prevent the Italian people from settling what form of democratic government they will have after the war.
It should also be said that useful service by the Italian Government’s army and people against the enemy will be recognised in the adjustment and working of the armistice; but that while the Italian Government is free to declare war on Germany this will not make Italy an ally but only a co-belligerent.
I want at the same time to insist on the signing of the comprehensive armistice terms which are still outstanding, even though some of those terms cannot be enforced at the present time. Against this Badoglio would be told that the Allied Governments intend to hand over the historic mainland of Italy, Sicily and Sardinia to the administration of the Italian Government under the Allied Control Commission as it is freed from the enemy.
I am putting these proposals also to President Roosevelt and I hope I may count on your approval. As you will readily understand, the matter is vitally urgent for military reasons. For instance, the Italians have already driven the Germans out of Sardinia and there are many islands and key points which they still hold and which we may get.
September 21st, 1943
Your message of September 21 received.
I agree with your proposal for a radio address to the people by the King of Italy. But I think it is absolutely essential that the King’s address should clearly say that Italy, which has surrendered to Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union, will fight against Germany together with Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union.
2. I also agree with your proposal for signing the comprehensive armistice terms. Concerning your reservation that some of the conditions cannot become effective at present, I take this to mean that they cannot be carried out in a territory still under German control. In any case I should like to get confirmation of this from you or the necessary explanation.
September 22, 1943
Received on September 26, 1943
Mr Eden and I wish to send you our personal congratulations on the grand news about Smolensk.
Many thanks to you and Mr Eden for the congratulations on the capture of Smolensk.
September 26, 1943
Received on September 27, 1943
I have been pondering about our meeting of heads of Governments at Tehran. Good arrangements must be made for security in this somewhat loosely-controlled area. Accordingly I suggest for your consideration that I make preparations at Cairo in regard to accommodation, security, etc., which are bound to be noticed in spite of all willing efforts to keep them secret. Then perhaps only two or three days before our meeting we should throw a British and a Russian brigade round a Suitable area in Tehran, including the air field, and keep an absolute cordon till we have finished our talks. We would not tell the Iranian Government nor make any arrangements for our accommodation until this moment comes. We should of course have to control absolutely all outgoing messages. Thus we shall have an effective blind for the world press and also for any unpleasant people who might not be as fond of us as they ought.
2. I suggest also that in all future correspondence on this subject we use the expression “Cairo Three” instead of Tehran which should be buried, and also that the code name for the operation should be “Eureka” which I believe is ancient Greek. If you have other ideas let me know and we can then put them to the President. I have not said anything to him about this aspect yet.
Received on October 1, 1943
I have received your request for the reopening of convoys to North Russia.63 I and all my colleagues are most anxious to help you and the valiant armies you lead to the utmost of our ability. I do not therefore reply to the various controversial points made in Monsieur Molotov’s communication. Since June 22nd, 1941, we have always done our best in spite of our own heavy burdens to help you defend your own country against the cruel invasion of the Hitlerite gang and we have never ceased to acknowledge and proclaim the great advantages that have come to us from the splendid victories you have won and from the deadly blows you have dealt the German armies.
2. For the last four days I have been working with the Admiralty to make a plan for sending a new series of convoys to North Russia. This entails very great hardships. Firstly the battle of the Atlantic has begun again. U-boats have set about us with a new kind of acoustic torpedo which has proved effective against escorting vessels when hunting U-boats. Secondly we are at very full stretch in the Mediterranean building up an army in Italy of about 600,000 men by the end of November and also trying to take full advantage of the Italian collapse in the Aegean Islands and Balkan Peninsula. Thirdly we have to provide our share of the war against Japan in which the United States are greatly interested and whose people would be offended if we were lukewarm.
3. Notwithstanding the above it is a very great pleasure to me to tell you that we are planning to sail a series of four convoys to North Russia in November, December, January and February each of which will consist of approximately thirty-five ships, British and American. Convoys may be sailed in two halts to meet operational requirements. The first convoy will leave the United Kingdom about November 12th arriving in North Russia ten days later; subsequent convoys at about twenty- eight day intervals. We intend to withdraw as many as possible of the merchant vessels now in North Russia towards the end of October and the remainder with the returning convoy escorts.
4. However I must put it on record that this is not a contract or bargain but rather a declaration of our solemn and earnest resolve. On this basis I have ordered the necessary measures to be taken for sending these four convoys of thirty-five ships.
5. The Foreign Office and Admiralty however request me to put before you for your personal attention, hoping indeed that your own eye may look at it, the following representations about the difficulties we have experienced in North Russia.
6. If we are to resume the convoys we shall have to reinforce our establishments in North Russia which have been reduced in numbers since last March. The present numbers of naval personnel are below what is necessary for our present requirements owing to men having to be sent home without relief. Your civil authorities have refused us all visas for men to go to North Russia even to relieve those who are seriously overdue for relief. Monsieur Molotov has pressed His Majesty’s Government to agree that the number of British Service personnel in North Russia should not exceed that of the Soviet Service personnel and of the Trade Delegation in this country. We have been unable to accept this proposal since their work is quite dissimilar and the number of men needed for war operations cannot be determined in such an unpractical way. Secondly as we have already informed the Soviet Government we must manifestly be judges of the personnel required to carry out operations for which we are responsible; Mr Eden has already given his assurance that the greatest care will be taken to limit the numbers strictly to the minimum.
7. I must therefore ask you to agree to the immediate grant of visas for the additional personnel now required and for your assurance that you will not in future withhold visas when we find it necessary to ask for them in connection with the assistance that we are giving you in North Russia. I emphasise that of about 170 naval personnel at present in the North over 150 should have been relieved some months ago but the Soviet visas have been withheld. The state of health of these men who are unaccustomed to the climate and other conditions makes it very necessary to relieve them without further delay.
8. We should also wish to send a small medical unit for Archangel to which your authorities agreed but for which the necessary visas have not been granted. Please remember that we may have heavy casualties.
9. I must also ask your help in remedying the conditions under which our Service personnel and seamen are at present finding themselves in North Russia. These men are of course engaged in operations against the enemy in our joint interest and chiefly to bring Allied supplies to your country. They are, I am sure you will admit, in a wholly different position from the ordinary individuals proceeding to Russian territory. Yet they are subjected by your authorities to the following restrictions which seem to me inappropriate for men sent by an ally to carry out operations of the greatest interest to the Soviet Union:
(a) No one may land from one of His Majesty’s ships or from a British merchant ship except by a Soviet boat in the presence of a Soviet official and after examination of documents on each occasion;
(b) No one from a British warship is allowed to proceed alongside a British merchantman without the Soviet authorities being informed beforehand. This even applies to the British Admiral in charge.
(c) British officers and men are required to obtain special passes before they can go from ship to shore or between the two British shore stations. These passes are often much delayed with consequent dislocation of the work in hand.
(d) No stores, luggage or mail for this operational force may be landed except in the presence of a Soviet official and numerous formalities are required for the shipment of all stores and mail.
(e) Private service mail is subjected to censorship although for an operational force of this kind censorship should in our view be left in the hands of the British Service authorities.
10. The imposition of these restrictions makes an impression upon officers and men alike which is bad for Anglo-Soviet relations and would be deeply injurious if Parliament got to hear of it. The cumulative effect of these formalities has been most hampering to the efficient performance of the men’s duties and, on more than one occasion, to urgent and important operations. No such restrictions are placed upon Soviet personnel here.
11. We have already proposed to Monsieur Molotov that as regards offences against Soviet law committed by personnel of the Services and of ships of convoys, they should be handed over to the British Service authorities to deal with. There have been a few such cases, no doubt partially at any rate, due to the rigorous conditions of service in the North.
12. I trust indeed therefore that you will find it possible to have these difficulties smoothed out in a friendly spirit so that we may each help each other and the common cause to the utmost of our strength.
His Majesty’s Government are in full agreement with the proposals of General Eisenhower telegraphed to you by the President on this first day of October and hope you will concur.
2. We also hope you will join with the President and me in the threefold declaration to be made public immediately following a declaration of war against Germany by Italy.
3. Following is the text of the declaration:
The Governments of Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union acknowledge the position of the Royal Italian Government as stated by Marshal Badoglio and accept the active cooperation of the Italian nation and armed forces as a co-belligerent in the war against Germany. The military events since the 8th September and the brutal maltreatment by the Germans of the Italian population culminating in the Italian declaration of war against Germany have in fact made Italy a co-belligerent, and the American, British and Soviet Governments will continue to work with the Italian Government on that basis. The three Governments acknowledge the Italian Government’s pledge to submit to the will of the Italian people after the Germans have been driven from Italy, and it is understood that nothing can detract from the absolute and untrammelled right of the people of Italy by constitutional means to decide on the democratic form of government they will eventually have.
The relationship of co-belligerency between the Government of Italy and the United Nations Governments cannot of itself affect the terms recently signed, which retain their full force and can only be adjusted by agreement between the Allied Governments in the light of the assistance which the Italian Government may be able to afford the United Nations’ cause.
2nd October, 1943
Your message of October 2 received.
The Soviet Government is prepared to participate in a tripartite declaration to be made public immediately after Italy has declared war on Germany. The text of the declaration proposed by you seems acceptable to me. For my part I suggest that the declaration be published simultaneously in London, Moscow and Washington.
Please be advised that I have not yet received the President’s telegram conveying General Eisenhower’s proposals, sent, as you write, on October 1.
October 2, 1943
I have received your message of September 27 on the forthcoming meeting of the three heads of the Governments. I have no objection to the diversive preparations which you intend to carry out in Cairo. Concerning your proposal to throw a British and a Russian brigade round a suitable area in Cairo 3 several days in advance of our meeting in that city, I do not think the measure advisable – it could lead to undue commotion and exposure. I suggest that each take a strong police force with him. I think that would be adequate for security.
I have no objection to the other proposals for the coming meeting, and I agree to the code names suggested for correspondence on the meeting.
October 3, 1943
I have received your message of October 1 informing me of your intention to send four convoys to the Soviet Union by the northern route in November, December, January and February. However, the information is depreciated by your further statement that the intention to send northern convoys to the U.S.S.R. is “not a contract or bargain,” but merely a declaration which, I take it, may be renounced by the British side at any moment regardless of the effect on the Soviet armies at the front. I must say I cannot agree to this approach to the matter. The British Government’s deliveries of munitions and other war cargoes to the U.S.S.R. cannot be treated other than as an obligation assumed by the British Government, in accordance with the terms of a special agreement between our two countries, in relation to the U.S.S.R., which for more than two years has borne the tremendous burden of the struggle against Hitler Germany, the common enemy of the Allies.
Nor can the fact be ignored that the northern route is the shortest, ensuring quickest delivery to the Soviet-German front of the munitions supplied by the Allies, and that unless that route is properly used the U.S.S.R. cannot get supplies on the required scale. As I have told you before, and as borne out by experience, shipment of munitions and other war materials to the U.S.S.R. through Persian ports simply cannot make up for the shortage, arising from non-shipment via the northern route, of munitions and materials which, it will be readily understood, are needed to fully meet the requirements of the Soviet armies. This year, however, the shipment of war cargoes by the northern route has, for some reason or other, decreased considerably compared with last year, thus making it impossible to fulfil the plan for military deliveries and running counter to the appropriate Anglo-Soviet protocol on war supplies. And so at the present time, when the Soviet Union is straining its forces to the limit in order to meet the needs of the front and ensure the success of the struggle against the main forces of our common enemy it would be impermissible to make supplies to the Soviet armies conditional on the arbitrary judgment of the British side. Such an approach cannot but be regarded as renunciation by the British Government of its obligations, as something in the nature of a threat to the U.S.S.R.
2. Concerning what you describe as controversial points in V. M. Molotov’s communication, I must say that I see no grounds whatever for this comment. In my view the principle of reciprocity and equality, advanced by the Soviet side for settling all visa matters affecting the personnel of the Military Missions, 64 is sound and really just. I am not convinced by the point that the difference in the functions of the British and Soviet Military Missions precludes the application of the above principle and that the numerical strength of the British Military Mission should be determined solely by the British Government. This matter has already been dealt with in sufficient detail in the appropriate aide-mémoires of the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs.
3. I see no need for increasing the numbers of the British military personnel in the Soviet North, for the overwhelming majority of the British military personnel there now are not being used properly and have for months been doomed to idleness, something repeatedly pointed out by the Soviet side. As an example Base No. 126 at Archangel can be given, the abolition of which in view of its uselessness had been suggested more than once and to which abolition the British Government has only now agreed. I regret to say there are also instances of impermissible behaviour on the part of individual British servicemen, who in a number of cases resorted to corruption in their efforts to recruit certain Soviet citizens for intelligence purposes. Facts such as these, which offend Soviet citizens, naturally, give rise to incidents with undesirable complications.
4. With regard to the formalities and certain restrictions imposed in our northern ports, mentioned by you, it should be borne in mind that in a zone adjoining the front these formalities and restrictions are inevitable in view of the military situation in which the U.S.S.R. now finds itself. Besides, they apply in equal measure to British and other foreign citizens as well as to Soviet citizens. Nevertheless, in this respect too, the Soviet authorities have granted British servicemen and seamen a number of privileges, of which the British Embassy was informed in March. It follows that your reference to numerous formalities and restrictions is based on inaccurate information.
As regards censorship and penalties in relation to British Service personnel, I have no objection to the censorship of private mail for the British personnel in our northern ports being handled, on a reciprocal basis, by the British authorities, nor to British personnel who have committed minor offences that do not involve judicial investigation being dealt with by the appropriate military authorities.
October 13, 1943
Received on October 13, 1943
Would you very kindly consider whether something like the following might not be issued over our three signatures:
“Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union (in whatever order is thought convenient, we being quite ready to be the last) have received from many quarters evidence of atrocities, massacres and cold-blooded mass executions which are being perpetrated by the Hitlerite forces in the many countries they have overrun and from which they are now being steadily expelled. The brutalities of Nazi domination are no new thing and all the peoples or territories in their grip have suffered from the worst form of government by terror. What is new is that many of these territories are now being redeemed by the advancing armies of the liberating Powers and that in their desperation, the recoiling Hitlerites and Huns are redoubling their ruthless cruelties.
“2. Accordingly the aforesaid three Allied Powers speaking in the interests of the thirty-two United Nations, hereby solemnly declare and give full warning of their declaration as follows:
“At the time of the granting of any armistice to any government which may be set up in Germany, those German officers and men and members of the Nazi party who have been responsible for, or have taken a consenting part in the above atrocities, massacres and executions, will be sent back to the countries in which their abominable deeds were done in order that they may be judged and punished according to the laws of these liberated countries and of the free governments which will be erected therein. Lists will be compiled in all possible detail from all these countries having regard especially to the invaded parts of Russia, to Poland and Czechoslovakia, to Yugoslavia and Greece including Crete and other islands, to Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France and Italy.
“Thus, the Germans who take part in wholesale shootings of Italian officers or in the execution of French, Dutch, Belgian or Norwegian hostages or of Cretan peasants, or who have shared in the slaughters inflicted on the people of Poland or in territories of the Soviet Republic which are now being swept clear of the enemy, will know that they will be brought back, regardless of expense, to the scene of their crimes and judged on the spot by the peoples whom they have outraged. Let those who have hitherto not imbrued their hands with innocent blood beware lest they join the ranks of the guilty, for most assuredly the three Allied Powers will pursue them to the uttermost ends of the earth and will deliver them to their accusers in order that justice may be done.
“The above declaration is without prejudice to the case of the major criminals, whose offences have no particular geographical localisation.
If this, or something like this (and I am not particular about the wording) were put out over our three signatures, it would, I believe, make some of these villains shy of being mixed up in the butcheries now that they know they are going to be beaten. We know for instance that our threat of reprisals about the Poles has brought about a mitigation of severities being inflicted on the people there. There is no doubt that the use of the terror-weapon by the enemy imposes an additional burden on our armies. Lots of Germans may develop moral scruples if they know they are going to be brought back and judged in the country, and perhaps in the very place, where their cruel deeds were done. I strongly commend to you the principle of the localisation of judgment as likely to exert a deterrent effect on the enemy terrorism. The British cabinet endorse this principle and policy.65
Received on November 12, 1943
Thank you so much for your very agreeable gift and also for all your kindness to Mr Eden. I am so glad that the Conference was such a success.66
The British and American Chiefs of Staff are meeting in Cairo about November 22nd to discuss in detail the operations of the Anglo-American armies, and also the war against Japan, for which our long-term plans have now been prepared. For the latter subject it is hoped that Chiang Kai-shek himself and a Chinese military delegation may be present.
After these domestic and Far East discussions have been concluded, we have the hope that the meeting of the three heads of Governments may take place. Besides and apart from this it is proposed that there should be formed a triple conference of Soviet, American and British Staffs, starting about November 25th or November 26th to discuss the whole field of the war in all its aspects. It is much hoped therefore that you will send a powerful military delegation to this conference, accompanied if possible by M. Molotov. All this is separate from, and additional to the meeting between the three heads of Governments. I am very glad to learn that the President is willing to fly to Tehran. I have pressed him to do this for a long time. I myself have for months passed declared my willingness to go to any place at any time when the three of us can meet together.
Received on November 12, 1943
My immediately preceding telegram has not yet been confirmed by the President but I have every reason to believe it will be. If I am wrong we must start again. I have no doubt that a satisfactory variant can be found, but it is very difficult to settle things by triangular correspondence, especially when people are moving by sea and air.
Today I have received two messages from you.
Although I had written to the President that V. M. Molotov would arrive in Cairo on November 22, I must say that, owing to reasons of a serious nature, Molotov will not, unfortunately, be able to go to Cairo. He will be able to travel with me to Tehran towards the end of November. A number of military officers will also accompany me.
It goes without saying that the Tehran meeting should involve only the three heads of the Governments as agreed. Participation of representatives of any other Powers should be absolutely ruled out.
I wish you success in your conference with the Chinese on Far Eastern affairs.
November 12, 1943
Received on November 15, 1943
Your message of November 12th received. I entirely understand your position and I am in full accord with your wishes. I am at sea. All congratulations on your continued triumphant advance.
Your reply reached me on November 15. Thank you for your congratulations on the offensive of the Soviet troops who are now having to withstand strong pressure west of Kiev, whither the Germans have rushed up fresh forces and armour.
November 17, 1943
The President has shown me his telegram to you about our meeting. I understand that you wish to make your headquarters at the Soviet Embassy. It seems therefore best for the President to stay in the British Legation, which is next door. Both Missions would then be surrounded by a cordon. It is most undesirable for the principals to make repeated journeys to and fro through the streets of Tehran. Better fix a suitable place and stay inside.
2. The Foreign Secretary and the British Ambassador will accompany me. In addition both the President and I are bringing our Chiefs of Staff. I hope that we can be with you as long as possible so that there may be a real chance to get together and also to have a full interchange of views on all aspects of the war.
23rd November, 1943
Your Cairo message received. I shall be at your service in Tehran in the evening of November 28.
November 25, 1943
Received on December 7, 1943
In the Conference just concluded in Cairo we have reached the following decisions regarding the conduct of the war against Germany in 1944 in addition to the agreements arrived at by the three of us at Tehran.
With the purpose of dislocating the German military, economic and industrial system, destroying the German air combat strength, and paving the way for an operation across the Channel the highest strategic priority will be given to the bomber offensive against Germany.
The operation scheduled for March in the Bay of Bengal has been reduced in scale in order to permit the reinforcement of amphibious craft for the operation against Southern France.
We have directed the greatest effort be made to increase the production of landing craft in the United States and Great Britain to provide reinforcement of cross-Channel operations. The diversion from the Pacific of certain landing craft has been ordered for the same purpose.
Thank you for your joint message informing me of additional decisions on waging the war against Germany in 1944.
December 10, 1943
Received on December 20, 1943
Cordial greetings, my friend, upon the occasion of your birthday. May the coming year see the culmination of our struggle against the common foe.
Sent on December 22, 1943
Please accept my heartfelt thanks for your friendly greetings on the occasion of my birthday. With all my heart I wish you speedy recovery and return to complete health, which is so essential for delivering the decisive blow to the enemy.
Received on December 26, 1943
Thank you so much for your message.
I am making a good recovery and am already fully at work again on the matter of common interest to us both. I send my best wishes to you and your gallant armies for further successes in 1944.
Received on December 27, 1943
The Arctic convoys to Russia have brought us luck. Yesterday the enemy attempted to intercept with the battle cruiser Scharnhorst. The Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Fraser, with the Duke of York (35,000 tons battleship) cut off the Scharnhorst’s retreat and after an action sank her.
Am much better and off to the South for convalescence.
Thank you for the message about the Scharnhorst.
To you, Admiral Fraser and the gallant men of the Duke of York, congratulations on a masterly blow and the sinking of the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst.
I am glad you have recovered from your illness.
I firmly shake your hand.
December 27, 1943
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