Chapter X
Decisions in Favor of a "Second Front"
May 1942

The four cases of prior claims versus BOLERO that arose in April 1942 all came up again in May--those of the Pacific, the Middle East, China, and the Soviet Union. In each case the President decided in favor of BOLERO, although with some reservations and with the significant qualification that the basis for his decisions was not the desire to protect the long-range project for invasion in 1943 but simply his determination to get "action" across the Atlantic in 1942.

The Pacific Theater versus BOLERO

In early May, during the exchange of messages initiated by Prime Minister Curtin with reference to the defense of Australia, there was also an exchange of views in Washington that virtually compelled the President to decide between the views of General MacArthur and General Marshall on the then crucial question of grand strategy. The President himself initiated this exchange. On 29 April he spoke about the needs of Australia to the Pacific War Council--the extraordinary body he had recently set up to keep him in touch with the situation in the Pacific. His naval aide furnished the JCS with the following account of what he said:

The President remarked . . . that it was his desire that the total number of plane assigned to the U.S. Army in Australia be raised to one thousand, the distribution as to types being left to the discretion of the joint Chiefs of Staff.

Further, the President directed that I inform the Chiefs of Staff that it was his desire to have in Australia 100,000 troops in addition to the personnel of air forces required to maintain the plane program referred to in paragraph one of this memorandum.1

General Marshall was out of Washington at the time on a tour of inspection. The War Department staff, studying the matter pending his return, reapplied the familiar arguments to this new directive. The staff estimated that the directed increase over approved allocations (about 25,000 ground


troops and about 100 planes; would cut about in half (from two pursuit groups to one) the initial American contribution to air operations based on the British Isles, and would take enough ships to eliminate two Atlantic convoys, cutting back scheduled deployment to the British Isles by about 50,000 men. The proposed increase in troops and aircraft for Australia would completely unsettle BOLERO schedules, and even more broadly, the whole basis of current Anglo-American planning. The staff concluded:

If new commitments and continuous reinforcement of secondary theaters are to interfere with the execution of these plans the faith of the British in our firm promises will be destroyed. coordination still be lost and the success of the plan will be doomed.2

The War Department staff recognized it as altogether natural that the Navy and the Australian and New Zealand Governments should persist in demanding additional commitments to the Pacific and acknowledged that it would evidently be "desirable" to meet their demands. But having reviewed the background of the decision to plan on concentrating in the British Isles, the staff observed:

We are presented with a choice which is do we intend to devote ourselves unreservedly to the idea of defeating the European Axis by concentrating our power in the Eastern Atlantic. accepting calculated risks in all other theaters, or arc we going to permit our resources to be distributed equally throughout the World and give up entirely the thought of decisive offensive action on our own part.3

Marshall adopted the same approach. Returning to Washington on 3 May, he wrote another memorandum, more personal in tone, to send to the President. He began by referring to the difficult time he had had on his trip to London in April. having at best so little to offer and facing the skepticism of the British staff. He went on to restate the arguments of his staff, took note of Admiral King's continued dissatisfaction with the allocation of planes to the South Pacific, and then added an argument of his own. He spoke of the needs of Hawaii and Alaska, and declared that if anything more were to be sent to the Pacific, he had rather it went to those outposts, where the United States was risking its own most immediate interests, than to Australia. He had preferred to accept the risks at those points in the Pacific "in order to stage an early offensive on the Continent of Europe." He would recommend against doing so any longer if it became a question of "reducing our planned effort from the British Islands in favor of an increase in Australia."4

Finally, three days later, Marshall brought together in a longer paper the two main claims involved in the case of the "Pacific Theatre versus BOLERO" those of the South Pacific, just restated on 4 May by Admiral King, and those of the Southwest Pacific, as finally represented in the President's "directive" of 29 April. The paper led tip to a flat recommendation that the President should choose between giving unqualified precedence. to BOLERO and dropping it entirely:

If the "BOLERO" project is not to be our primary consideration, I would recommend its complete abandonment. We must remember that this operation for 1942 depends primarily upon British forces and not our own. They have far more at stake than do we and are accepting very grave hazards


to which our own risks are not comparable. They have accepted the "BOLERO" project with a firm understanding that it would be the primary objective of the United States. If such is not to be the case, the British should be formally notified that the recent London agreement Must be canceled.

Leaving no doubt of his meaning, Marshall ended:

I present this question to vote as Commander-in-Chief, and request that you discuss the matter with Admiral King, General Arnold and me, and give us a formal directive for our future guidance.5

The President at once replied:

1. I have yours of May sixth regarding the Pacific Theatre versus "BOLERO." In regard to the first paragraph I did not issue any directive of May first regarding the increase of combat planes to Australia to a total of 1,000 and the ground forces to a total of 100,000. I did ask if this could properly be done. I understand now that this is inadvisable at the present time and I wholly agree with you and Admiral King.

2. In regard to additional aircraft to the South Pacific Theatre, it is my thought that all we should send there is a sufficient number of heavy and medium bombers and pursuit planes in order to maintain the present objective [written in the President's hand in place of "strength"] there at the maximum.

3. I do not want "BOLERO" slowed down.

4. The success of raiding operations seems to be such that a large scale Japanese offensive against Australia or New Zealand can be prevented.6

This note was itself a partial substitute for the personal meeting and formal directive for which Marshall had asked. The War Department could treat as settled, for the time being, the question of added reinforcements for the Southwest Pacific.7 The note did not settle the question of bombers for the South Pacific, for it did not decide the very, question at issue between Marshall and King--what the "present objective" in the South Pacific was. They agreed that the objective was to "hold," but they attached different meanings to the expression. To King it meant "make secure"; to Marshall it meant "defend" the island bases. More specifically, they disagreed whether the Army should stand ready to "send" bombers into the South Pacific to meet a particular threat or to "station" bombers there.

But it was possible to take the President's general declaration that he did "not want 'BOLERO' slowed down" as covering the South Pacific as well as Australia. The Operations Staff so interpreted it, as confirmation of the War Department's policy governing deployment throughout the Pacific.8 On the basis of this interpretation all that remained to be done was to make up the difference between actual and authorized strength. The War Department staff hoped to do so, for the most part, by the end of August and thus at last to make the final payments on the debts that had constituted a prior claim on troops, ships, and




planes since the beginning of the emergency deployment to the Philippines in October 1941.

The President's Review of Strategy

At this point the President made quite plain the reason for his insistence that BOLERO should not be "slowed down." It was his determination to engage American forces in action across the Atlantic in 1942. He had already stated that he wanted some such action in 1942, first at the ARCADIA Conference and, more recently, in a message to the Prime Minister, to whom he had confided early in March his increasing interest in establishing a "new front" on the Continent during the summer.9 In a statement on 6 May he made it quite plain how strong. he believed in a "new front" in 1942. It was an unusually full written statement of his view s on strategy addressed to his principal military advisers-- Hopkins, the Secretaries of War and Navy, and the members of the JCS. Therein he reviewed the situations in all the principal theaters. He understood that the "general strategic plan," at least for several months to come, called for "a continuous day to day maintenance of existing positions and 'existing strength' everywhere except in the Atlantic area. The,general plans for the Atlantic area called for "very great speed in developing actual operations." The President made it clear that he meant just that:

I have been disturbed by American and British naval objections to operations in the European Theatre prior to 1943. I regard it as essential that active operations be conducted in 1942. I fully realize difficulties in relation to the landing of armed forces under fire. All of us would like to have ideal matériel to work with. Matériel is never either ideal, or satisfactory, or sufficient. We have to use "any old method of transportation which will get us to our destination."

It was not entirely clear what scale of operations would satisfy the President's demand for a second front. The first objective he set for 1942 was to gain control of the air "over the Netherlands, Belgium, and France." Assuming this attempt would have succeeded, he looked forward to landings "at one or many points" in greater or lesser force:

. . . (a) raids based on commando operations using a comparatively small number of troops and withdrawing them within a few hours, or not more than twenty-four hours; (b) super commando operations using a more larger [sic] number of troops--even up to 50,000 with the objective of damaging the enemy as well as possible and withdrawing this relatively large force within two days or a week; (c) establishment of a permanent front backed by a sufficient force to give reasonable certainty of adequate reinforcements and the avoidance of being pushed into the sea.

Although the President appeared to recognize that the means available might not be sufficient to justify an attempt to establish a "permanent front" on the Continent, his statement of the objective of operations in 1942 appeared to leave little room for choice. He put the case for an operation across the Atlantic in 1942 on the ground that it was then "the principal objective" to help the Soviet Union. "It must be constantly reiterated," he said, "that Russian armies are killing more Germans and destroying more Axis matériel than all the twenty-five united nations put together." The two essentials were to keep the shipments to the Soviet arctic ports and to open "a second front to compel the withdrawal of


German air forces and ground forces from the Russian front." In closing, the President reasserted his determination to launch operations in 1942, and not merely to plan and mount a contingent operation:

The necessities of the case call for action in 1942--not 1943. In a recent memorandum of the united nations it was stated that there was agreement on a second front--provided the equipment and matériels were available. But they went on to say that it night have to be created arty way, if Russia were to be seriously endangered even if the operation on the part of the British and the United States had to be called an operation of desperation.

If we decide that the only large scale offensive operation is to be in the European area, the element of speed becomes the first essential.10

Deadline in the Pacific

The President's review of strategy confirmed the War Department's interpretation of his declaration on the case of the Pacific theater versos BOLERO, specifically in defining the current approach to strategy in the Pacific (and in the other theaters that the War Department regarded as "secondary") as the "continuous day to day maintenance of existing positions and existing strength." This approach did not preclude, but in fact required, constant adjustments. The first major adjustment to be made in the Pacific was the diversion of the 37th Division (then awaiting shipment to New Zealand) to the Fiji Islands.11 Up to tills time the United Stares had undertaken to send only a pursuit squadron to the Fijis.12 New Zealand, which remained responsible for the defense of the Fijis, still had only a small garrison there. It was obviously unsound for the United States to leave such It Weak point between Samoa and New Caledonia.13 Early in May General Marshall therefore suggested to the JCS the diversion of the 37th Division from New Zealand to the Fijis, nearer "the area of probable operations."14 It was a timely suggestion. There were enough American forces in the South Pacific: (or en route) to give the New Zealand Government some confidence in the intention and ability of the United States to hold in that area. It was no longer very likely that the Army would increase its commitments to the area. Admiral King fell in with the proposal, and the New Zealand Government shortly acceded.


After a few days of hurried changes in orders, the main contingent of the 37th Division sailed from San Francisco in the latter part of May15 It arrived safely at Viti Levu in the Fijis on 10 June 1942.16

Besides making this change in plans for deploying ground forces in the South Pacific, the War Department was compelled in to make emergency changes in plans for deploying air forces. The operations staff set out simply to accelerate scheduled deployment of air forces to the area. Eisenhower announced this policy on 8 May, two days after the President had closed the case of the Pacific theater versus BOLERO. He wrote to Arnold:

Since we have won our point in resisting unwarranted reinforcement by Air Forces of the Islands between Hawaii and Australia, it is my opinion that we should reach and Maintain the amounts indicated . . . as quickly as possible.17

But Admiral King soon lard occasion to reopen the question whether War Department plan, even though accelerated, actually user operational needs in the youth Pacific. On 11 May he came forward with the proposal that the Army should quickly dive a practical demonstration of the "mobility" of the Hawaiian and Australian bomber forces.18 On the following day he stated at length his reasons for making this proposal. He first summarized the known and presumed results of the recent engagements (4-8 May) in the Coral Sea, of which the most important were the loss of the carrier Lexington and the severe damage inflicted on the Yorktown, which was due to be out of action at least three months, leaving only two American carriers in the Pacific (the Hornet and Enterprise) until the end of June. The Japanese, on the other hand, were thought to have one and perhaps two carriers in the South Pacific, is addition to six (possibly eight) carriers in Japanese home waters. Naval intelligence had concluded (on the basis of intercepted radio traffic in the broken Japanese code) that a formidable enemy task force was being gathered there, and that it was due to leave Japanese waters about 20 May and so could arrive between 1 and 5 June at one or another point on the line Alaska-Hawaii-Australia. In case the enemy force, with its overwhelming superiority in carriers, should stay together for one mission, it would certainly be "foolhardy" to engage it, except on the condition of being "thoroughly supported and covered by shore-based aircraft. Admiral King himself then rather expected that the Japanese would carry on their earlier projected attack on Port Moresby, but thought it also possible that they "might shift to an attack on Caledonia or the Fijis. Against


this background Admiral King proposed that the Army prepare to give a practical test of the AAF theory that the bombers in Australia and Hawaii should be relied on as a mobile force available for the defense of the South Pacific. He pointed out that so far as he could learn, "few if any bombers" could then operate from the South Pacific islands, for lack of "ground crews, ammunition, spare parts, and fuel." He proposed that the Army should Supply these deficiencies in time, to shift bombers to the South Pacific, if only on a "trial run," by 25 May.19

General Marshall at once heeded the very specific warning and agreed to the equally specific proposal of Admiral King. They worked out the plan with their two air chiefs--General Arnold and Admiral Towers--on the same afternoon. What they decided to do was to use in the South Pacific two squadrons of heavy bomber that were then in Hawaii and,due to be flown to Australia. These were to be stationed on a temporary basis in the Fijis, New Caledonia, Tongatabu, and (possibly) Efate. and organized into provisional squadrons led by officers from Hawaii. Most of the service elements were to be furnished by troops already in Australia awaiting the arrival of the planes. The "whole procedure," Marshall explained to the operations staff, was "to be on the basis of a temporary measure until the Japanese have shown their hand."20

The effort to meet Admiral King's deadline in the South Pacific was only just under way when further study indicated that the Japanese were going to attack, instead, in the Central and North Pacific. On 16 May the War Department learned from General Emmons, who had had the information from Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet), that naval intelligence had identified the Immediate Japanese objectives as Midway and Unalaska (Dutch Harbor).21 Naval authorities in Washington confirmed this information, and Admiral King advised Marshall that he had recommended strong naval concentrations near Hawaii and, to the north, in the Kodiak-Cold Bay region,


to counter the expected Japanese blows.22 At that point, the War Department redirected its attention to Hawaii and Alaska and, once again, to the west coast. By 20 May arrangements were complete for holding in Hawaii three bomber squadrons--two medium and one heavy--en route to the South Pacific.23 Upon the assurance of Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt, commander general of the Western Defense Command and of the Fourth Army, that it would be feasible to operate aircraft from the most exposed fields at Umnak and in the Cold Bay region, the War Department also ordered limited air reinforcements, including a few B-17's, to the Eleventh Air Force in Alaska.24 By 21 May the Army and Navy had worked out plans for setting up a joint naval and air defense force in the North Pacific with Rear Adm. Robert A. Theobald, Commander, U.S. Naval Task Force, exercising control of the, joint force tinder the principle of unity of command, and Brig. Gen. William O. Butler, Eleventh Air Force leader, in command of air elements.25

Despite the strong indications that the Japanese thrust would strike Midway and the Aleutians, General Marshall remained concerned over a possible threat of raids on the west coast, which Army intelligence, believing that the Japanese would feel obligated to retaliate for the Doolittle raid on Tokyo, still considered to be a "first priority."26 Marshall himself went to the west coast to supervise dispositions, accompanied by Brig. Gen. James H. Doolittle and a member of the operations staff.27 The War Department, in addition to reorganizing west coast air defenses, arranged to make: ground forces in training (and thus under the jurisdiction of Army Ground Forces), available to General DeWitt if he should need them.28

The hurried activity to meet the expected Japanese attacks in the Central and North Pacific did not divert King from his effort to persuade Marshall to increase the allotment of Army bombers to the South Pacific. General Marshall, on his return from the west coast, found waiting for him a memorandum in which Admiral King once again urged the adoption of the Navy view on the long controverted question. This time


King cast his views in the form of a memorandum for transmission from the JCS to the CCS. Once again he called attention to the fact that the "superiority of Japanese Force:, plus freedom to act ore interior lines," gave them the initiative. The Navy had lately been able to hold its own since it had "timely information" of Japanese fleet movements (gleaned from Japanese messages intercepted and decoded). But King warned:

Even if this availability of timely information continue, the continued successful opposition of powerful Japanese offensives appear improbable with the means now in hand. If the timely information should become unavailable in the future and the present disparity in forces is allowed to continue, disaster in the PACIFIC AREA is probable.

Admiral King proposed a concentration of air and sea power in the zone Fijis Australia by 1 July, the Army's part in which be to increase air strength in the area "as rapidly as possible giving this objective first priority even over BOLERO." He proposed, specifically, that by this date the Array should reach the strength recommended through April and May by the Navy planners--a total of 175 heavy bombers, 280 medium bombers, 26 light bombers, and 795 pursuit planes.29

The warning that the Japanese aright stop using the broken code a very high card. but General Marshall continued to act ore the basis that the requirements of BOLERO were trumps. He replied that he was "prepared to support" Admiral King's proposal to concentrate Naval surface vessels its the South and Southwest Pacific by 1 July, but that he was "not in complete accord" on the proposed concentration of air power so far as it pertained to Army aircraft. He resummarized what the Army was doing to meet the more immediate crisis in the Central Pacific and concluded that to do more was then out of the question: "more heavy bombers can be sent out of the United States at this time causing a Very serious check or stoppage in the development of heavy bomber squadrons for BOLERO or anywhere else."30 Thus, in spite of General Marshall's appealing the question to the President three weeks before, and in spite of his readiness to co-operate in effecting a specific threat of imminent attack, the disagreement on Pacific strategy remained unresolved at the end of May.

The Role of the United States in the Middle East

During May the scale of American commitments to the Middle East remained uncertain, but there did not remain much doubt that the Army would finally have to contribute substantially to the defense of that area. The President, in his review of strategy on 6 May, did not anticipate any early change in the status quo in the "Near East and East Africa Theatre," except the provision of service troops to handle the growing lend-lease traffic:

The responsibility in this theatre is British with the exception that the United States must furnish all possible matériel to the British in Libya. Palestine. Syria and must especially bolster up unloading and assembly operations in Egypt and in the Persian Gulf and in pushing transportation from the Persian Gulf to Russia.31


But in the latter part of the month he was compelled to act on the deadlocked question of plane allocations for the British. On 19 May he finally sent General Arnold and Admiral Towers to London to negotiate directly with Air Marshal Portal, on the basis of a compromise whereby American units would have a prior claim on American planes, but would be committed to action as soon as possible. He described the situation to the Prime Minister in the following words:

Today it is evident that under current arrangements the U.S. is going to have increasing trained air personnel in excess of combat planes in sight for them to use. We are therefore anxious that every appropriate American-made aircraft be manned and fought by our own crews. Existing schedules of aircraft allocations do not permit us to do this.

He then announced his view on the policy to be adopted:

I think the maximum number of planes possible should be maintained in combat and the minimum number consistent with security be held in reserve and in operational training units, and that American pilots and crews be assigned to man American-made planes far more greatly than at present on the combat fronts.32

On the basis of this principle, the British reintroduced the project that the JCS had earlier brought up, then abandoned, of setting up an American air force in the Middle East. At the end of May General Arnold and Admiral Towers finally accepted this project as one of the elements in a compromise on plane allocations, in spite of the fact that it was a major diversion from BOLERO. They brought the compromise back to Washington early in June for review and ratification by the CCS.33

The Question of Support for General Stilwell

During May, as the deadline in the Pacific drew near and while the negotiations on British plane allocations approached agreement, the problem of supporting China became increasingly critical. The Chinese plea for a voice in the determination of strategy and the allocation of munitions, made in April after the diversion of the Tenth Air Force, was still unanswered.34 The Japanese had driven the British and Chinese forces out of north Burma and were threatening to launch a general offensive with the apparent objective of capturing air bases in southeastern China. Toward the end of May the chief of the recently arrived Chinese Military Mission to the United States, Lt. Gen. Hsiung Shih-fei, presented two messages from Chiang Kai-shek dealing with the existing military situation, concluding with the warning: ". . . if Chinese do not see any help from their Allies, Chinese confidence in their Allies will be completely shaken. This may presage total collapse of Chinese resistance. Never has the situation looked more critical than today."35


In sharp contrast, Brig. Gen. Clayton L. Bissell, who had been representing General Stilwell in Chungking during the campaign in northern Burma, had recommended only a few days before that the United States should bring pressure to bear on China to rise available troops to eject the Japanese from parts of southeastern China. The War Department had riot acted on this recommendation for. as General Marshall had pointed out, the United States was in no position to urge the Chinese to act when the United States was doing so little to support China. On receiving Chiang Kai-shek's warning, the War Department operations staff recommended that General Stilwell should be left alone to deal with the situation as best he could and that in order to improve Iris position the Tenth Air Force should be returned to him. This recommendation General Marshall approved.36

General Stilwell, who had emerged on 20 May at Imphal at the end of the long retreat through northern Burma, was far from satisfied with this concession. In reporting his plans for the deployment of the Tenth Air Force in direct support of China, he at last made the almost inevitable recommendation that American ground combat forces--one or more divisions--should be sent at once to the Far East:

My belief in decisive strategic importance of China is so strong that I feel certain a serious mistake is being made in not sending American Combat Units into this Theater to regain Burma, clear Thailand, and then from China force entry into the triangle Hanoi-Hainan-Canton from which control can be disputed of Major Enemy Air Lanes from Japan and Manchuria and enemy sea lanes in the South China Sea.37

The movement of an American division to southeastern Asia was the one step that would really bind the United States to the development of that area as a major theater of war, for then--and then only--the successful prosecution of operations in the theater would become an essential condition of American national policy. Even if the move were not followed by the commitment of additional American ground forces, it would be followed by the development of large service and air commands in the theater and by whatever other concessions might be necessary to secure the effective collaboration of British and Chinese ground forces. For this very reason the recommendation was, of course, entirely out of keeping with the plans that had emerged for the concentration of forces in the British Isles.

Interestingly enough, the War Department's reply to General Stilwell did not allude to the strategic plans that had been developing in Washington and London since his departure in February for the Far East. The War Department responded gravely, much as it responded to proposals from General MacArthur dealing with questions of grand strategy, that his analysis was "fully appreciated" in Washington, but that to ship one or more American divisions to the theater would "involve an undertaking which we are simply not in a position to make." The War Department made, instead, the counterproposal that American lend-lease matériel in India, which could riot then be used by the Chinese, should be offered to the British, in return for their agreement to launch an offensive in Burma


with the objective of reopening the Burma Road. The decision, of course, was up to Chiang Kai-shek, and, added the War Department, it would be "important that Chinese hopes for reopening of the road should not be prematurely raised." This message, like messages to General MacArthur in similar circumstances, was first submitted to the President and met with his approval. The President's approval made it reasonably certain that the support of China would remain subordinate to the development of current British and American plans.38

The Second Soviet Protocol and the Second Front

Of all those problems raised or aggravated by the development of the BOLERO plan, there was one on which the President had yet to declare himself-that of the relation between the Soviet lend-lease program and the BOLERO plan. On 7 May the White House circulated a draft of a second protocol, containing schedules to be proposed by the American and British Governments to the Soviet Government for the fiscal year July 1942-June 1943.39 The schedule satisfied the President's directive that shipments should either be maintained or increased during that period. 'Under the Second Protocol, the United States would offer about 7,000.0()0 and Great Britain about 1,000,000 short tons of munitions and other finished goods, machinery, raw materials, and food, of which Soviet representatives would select for shipment about 5,000,000 short tons. Except for 500,000-600,000 tons included for movement in Soviet bottoms across the North Pacific (subject to negotiations between the Soviet and Japanese Governments), the United States and Great Britain would be prepared to export these goods in their own ships--an estimated 3,300,000 tons in convoys around the North Cape to Murmansk and Archangel, an estimated 1,100,000 tons by way of the Persian Gulf. Allowance being made for a 10 percent loss en route, about 3,000,000 tons was expected to arrive at the Soviet arctic ports, and about 1,000,000 tons at the Persian Gulf ports. These amounts corresponded to the estimated capacity of these ports and of the overland transportation systems serving them.40

Most of the military supplies and equipment itemized in the draft protocol were expected to become available as fast as they could be shipped. These included tanks and vehicles, which accounted for by far the greater part of the tonnage of military items.41 But there was reason to doubt


whether the United States, as assumed in the draft protocol, could keep up the rate of shipments reached in March and April tinder the President's drastic directive of mid-March. The weight of the German U-boat campaign in the western Atlantic began to be severely felt during these early months of 1942, and from March through May one fourth of all the ships the United States sent to Russia around the North Cape were lost.42 The Combined Military Transportation Committee (CMTC) estimated that shipping losses in excess of replacements would leave the United States and Great Britain till the end of 1943 with tonnage far less than their anticipated needs.43

On 1 May, before the draft protocol was circulated, Admiral King had proposed that the joint planners should prepare a report on the feasibility of meeting the President's directive. He pointed to the shortage of ships, the heavy cost of running convoys to Murmansk and Archangel--upon which the program still so largely depended-and "the requirements incident to the manning of a front in continental Europe as to munitions of all kinds and as to shipping for transporting them." It seemed to him that the last consideration in particular should be "a compelling argument toward a Russian agreement with reduction of their current munitions protocol."44 A subcommittee met on 19 May to consider the question, and found good reason to doubt the feasibility of the program outlined by the Munitions Assignments Board.45

The Munitions Assignments Board gave the assurance "that all requirements incident to manning a European front plus the other needs of the United States Army and Navy had been considered prior to arriving at the figures shown."46 Although the figures themselves did not entirely bear out that assurance, the draft protocol did contain reservations that partly answered War Department objections. It contained a general reservation which read:

It is understood that any program of this sort must be tentative in character and must be subject to unforeseen changes which the progress of the Near may require from the standpoint of stores as well as from the standpoint of shipping.47

This qualification was much more sweeping than the one included in the First (Moscow) Protocol in October 1941, which had provided for consultation and readjustments in the event drat the "burden of defense


should be "transferred to other theatres of war."48 Besides the general reservation, the draft protocol included a reservation applying only to planes. They were to be made available at the same rate, as before, but only "for the first few months of the next protocol period." During that time the United States and Great Britain would be studying their resources and requirements "in the light of new plans which are under consideration," and when the study was completed, would make commitments "for the balance of the year."49

General Marshall suggested changes in both these reservations. He proposed to the JCS that the general reservation should be simplified to read: "You will of course realize that any program of this sort must be Subject to changes due to unforeseen developments in the progress of the war." He proposed to modify the reservation with regard to planes by providing that deliveries tinder the Second Protocol would not begin till 15 August--by which date deliveries tinder the First Protocol should have been completed--and that the United States would then undertake to furnish each month 12 medium bombers and at least 50 fighter planes and 50 light bombers, the numbers to be greater--up to 100 fighter planes and 100 light bombers, as before--provided the rate of attrition suffered in the British-American air offensive over the European continent permits."50 The revisions suggested by Marshall, having been approved by the JCS, went to the President.51

The question of the relation between the Second Protocol and the "second front" came to a head at the end of May, during conversations between President Roosevelt and Foreign Commissar Molotov.52 Molotov came to Washington from London, where he had found the British Government prepared to meet the British schedules in the Second Protocol and noncommittal about opening a second front.53 In Washington he found quite a different view. The President declared that the American Government "hoped" and "expected" to open a second front in 1942, and presented as the "suggestion" of General Marshall and Admiral King the proposal that the Soviet Government, in order to help, should accept a reduction in tonnage during the period of the Second Protocol, from 4,100,000 to 2,100,000 tons, by cutting shipments of general supplies, not munitions.

The President's assurance did not divert Mr. Molotov from trying to increase the scale of lend-lease commitments. He asked specifically for a monthly American convoy to Archangel and for deliveries, via the Persian Gulf and Iran, of 50 B-25's, 150 Boston bombers (A-20's), and 3,000 trucks monthly. The President would not promise to send convoys to Archangel or to increase


allocations of critical items for the Persian Gulf route over the current commitments, which had been renewed in the draft protocol. Mr. Hopkins authorized his military executive, General Burns, to confirm those commitments--12 B-25's, 100 A-20's (through October), and 3,000 trucks a month--and to announce the President's views on convoys. Burns' oral statement on these points was the only tangible result of the negotiations on the Second Protocol.54

The President's policy went a long way to meet Admiral King's objections to the large shipping commitments contained in the draft protocol. It did not meet Marshall's requests for reduction in plane allocations, and, what was a great deal more serious from the point of view of the War Department, it contained a strong commitment to open a "second front" in 1942. The President went so far as to issue a communiqué drafted by Molotov that included the statement: "In the course of the conversations full understanding was reached with regard to the urgent tasks of creating a Second Front in Europe in 1942." General Marshall objected that the statement was "too strong." It was indeed too strong to apply to the negotiations just concluded. It was also much too strong to bode well for the BOLERO plan--with its emphasis on 1943--in coming negotiations with the British.


Table of Contents
Previous Chapter (9) * Next Chapter (11)


1. Memo, McCrea for JCS, 1 May 42, sub: Aircraft and Trs for Australia, Item 53, Exec 10. The Pacific War Council was created in Washington on 1 April 1942, with membership consisting of the President, Mr. Hopkins, and political representatives of the United Kingdom, China, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Canada. Representatives of India and the Philippines were added later. The President had desired a special body for control of Pacific matters at the time of the ARCADIA Conference, but Churchill and Marshall had dissuaded him. (See (1) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 515-16: and (2) Cline, Washington Command Post, p. 101.)

2. Draft memo [CofS for President], n.d., sub: Increase in U.S. Commitments to Australia, Item 53, Exec 10.

3. Ibid.

4. Memo, CofS for President, 4 Mad- 42, no sub, (OPD 381, 62) copies in Item 53, Exec 10 incl copy corrected in pen by Marshall.

5. Memo, CofS for President, 6 May 42, sub: Pacific Theater versus BOLERO, and three incls, with JCS 48 in ABC 381 Pacific Bases (1-22-42), 2.

6. Memo, FDR for Marshall, 6 May 42, filed with JCS 48 in ABC 381 Pacific Bases (1-22-42), 2.

7. The War Department took that position in the latter part of May, in response to the renewal of demands by the Australian Government, strongly representing the likelihood of a Japanese attack on Australia. (For WD action, see: (1) memo, Handy for Marshall, 17 May 42, no sub, and incls, and (2) Itr, CofS to Dill, 22 May 42, no sub, both in Tab Misc, Book 5, Exec: 8.)

8. Memo, OPD for Secy JCS, 13 May 42, sub: U.S. Army Objectives in Pacific, OPD 320.2 PTO, 3. This memorandum was a statement "of the action the Army proposed to implement the President's Memorandum to General Marshall of 6 May, 1942, relative to the deployment of forces in the Pacific Theater as provided in JCS 48." (See memo cited n. 6.)

9. For the President's ARCADIA and March statements, see Chs. V and VII, above, respectively.

10. Memo, F.D.R. for SW, CofS, Arnold, SN, King, and Hopkins, 6 May 42, WDCSA 31 (SS), 1. The President used the argument that Soviet forces were destroying more enemy troops and matériel than all the other nations at war with Germany in his message of the same day to MacArthur (see P. 214, above). The President had already used it in his fireside chat of 28 April 19-42. (The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1942 Volume (New York, The Macmillan Company, 1950), p. 228.)

11. For preparation to ship the 37th Division to New Zealand, see: (1) memo, OPD for SOS, AGF, and TAG, 12 Apr 42, sub: Mvmt of 37th Div to SPOONER, and (2) memo, same for same, 14 Apr 42, same sub. Both in OPD 370.5 New Zealand, 7; and (3) OPD Ltr of Instns to Maj Gen Robert S. Beightler, Sr., 28 Apr 42, OPD 370.5 New Zealand, 8.

12. For the deployment of the 70th Pursuit Squadron to the Fijis, see: (1) memo, G-3 for CofS, 5 Jan 42, sub: Tr Mvmts for Week Ending Midnight Jan 3-4, 1942, WPD 4624-5: and (2) memo, Chief, Theater Gp, for ACofS OPD, 16 Jun 42, sub: Recommendations Made by Gen Richardson, Ref BIRCH, HOLLY, FANTAN, and POPPY, OPD 333 (Gen Richardson's Trip), 15. (Maj. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Jr., was commander of the VII Corps.)

13. For reports on this point, see (1) memo for rcd [9 Apr 42], OPD 381 Fiji, 5; (2) memo, G- 3 Hawaiian Dept for CofS, 1 Apr 42, sub: Visit to Viti Levu, OPD .381 Fiji, 1 (this memo bore indorsement of Gen Emmons), and (3) msg, Col John L. McKee [Ft. Shafter] to Gen Eisenhower, 9 May 42, CM-IN 2357 (R).

14. Min, 13th mtg JCS, 4 May 42.

15. For WD action, see: (1) msg (originator OPD), Marshall [to CG SFPE] for Beightler, 13 May 42, CM-OUT 2644 (R); (2) ltr, ACofS OPD to Beightler, 16 May 42, sub: Jt A&N Plan for Relief of New Zealand in Fiji Islands, OPD 381 Fiji, 9; (3) msg, Marshall to SFPE for Beightler, 22 May 42, CM-OUT 5054 5/24/42; (R): and (4) memo for rcd, 8 Jul 42, OPD 370.5 Fiji Islands, 9.

16. See msg, Beightler to Marshall, 10 Jun 42, CM-1N 3312 6/11/42 (R), for the arrival of the FANTAN force in the Fiji Islands.

17. Memo, Eisenhower for Arnold, 8 May 42, no sub, OPD 381, 62. Eisenhower inclosed topics of the recent correspondence between the President and Marshall. Arnold replied, indicating his agreement, and giving the numbers of planes he expected to have sent by 1 July, together with additions to be sent as soon as possible thereafter, provided it would not seriously interfere with planned deployment in the Atlantic (Memo, Arnold for Eisenhower, 14 May 42, no sub, OPD 381 PTO, 21).

18. Min, 14th mtg JCS, 11 May 42.

19. Ltr, COMINCH to CofS, 12 May 42, sub: Sit in S Pacific and SWPA as of End of May 42, Tab Navy, Book 5, Exec 8.

On 14 May Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, sent word of his complete agreement with the contention of Admiral King, and made a lucid statement of the Navy's case on the assignment of bombers to the South Pacific. (Msg, CINCPAC to COMINCH, 14 May 42, copy filed with JCS 48 in ABC 381 Pacific Bases (1-22-42), 2.)

20. (1) Memo, Marshall for Eisenhower, 12 May 42, no sub. (2) Memo, GCM for Eisenhower, 13 May 42, no sub. Both in Tab Navy, Book 5, Exec 8.

For staff action on the projected plane movements, see msg, Arnold to Emmons, 13 May 42, CM-OUT 2645 (the entire movement was to be completed by 25 May), and msg (originator AAF), Marshall to Emmons, 14 May 42, CM-OUT 2725 (R).

The War Department also planned to send an antiaircraft regiment from Hawaii to the Fijis about 20 May, the regiment in Hawaii to be replaced by one from the Western Defence Command (WDC), sailing from San Francisco about 23 May. The loss of these was, in turn, to be made up by a cross country movement of units from the Eastern Defence Command (EDC). Two barrage balloon battalions were also alerted to start at once for the west coast. (See msg (originator OPD), Marshall to Emmons, 12 May 42, CM-OUT 2490 (5/13/42) (R) memo for rcd [12 May 421, OPD 320.2 Fiji, 2; and memo, Eisenhower for CofS, 13 May 42, no sub, Item 67a, Exec 10.)

For a summary of the steps the Army was taking, see memo, CofS for King, 13 May 42, sub: Sit in S Pacific, Item 67a, Exec 10. For acknowledgment, see memo, King for Marshall, 17 May 42, no sub, OPD 381 PTO, 28.

21. Msg, Emmons to Marshall, 16 May 42, CM-IN 4.577.

22. (1) Memo, Handy for Marshall, 17 May 42, no sub, Tab Navy, Book 5, Exec 8. (2) Memo, CNO for CofS, 18 May 42, sub: Strengthening of Hawaiian and Alaska Defs, Item 67a, Exec 10. Admiral King requested the Army to strengthen Hawaiian defenses, particularly by retaining there forces destined for the South and Southwest Pacific. The Navy apparently had concluded soon after 12 May that the Japanese were likely to attack in the Central Pacific, and delay the offensive in the Southwest Pacific. See Admiral Nimitz' estimate of the situation (in msg cited n. 19).

23. (1) Draft memo, OPD for CofS, n.d., sub cited n. 22 (21, Item 67a, Exec 10. (2) Msg, Marshall to Emmons, 20 May 42, CM-OUT 4419 (R).

24. (1) Msg, Marshall to DeWitt, 21 May 42, CM-OUT 4284. Sec draft of this message approved by Marshall and Arnold, Item 14, Exec 10. (21) For DeWitt's requests, see msg, DeWitt to Eisenhower, 21 May 42, CM-IN 5690.

25. (1) Msg, Marshall to DeWitt, 20 May 42, CM-OUT 4090. See also draft of this msg, Item 14, Exec 10. (2) Navy msg, King to Nimitz, 21 May 42, copy filed Tab Misc, Book 5, Exec 8. This copy bears the penned note by DDE [Eisenhower], "I concurred in this today for the Army."

26. (1) Memo, G-2 for CofS, 17 May 42, sub: Probable Japanese Opus Against Continental U.S. and Alaska, OPD 381 WDC, 42. (2t Draft msg, Marshall to DeWitt, 29 May 42, Item 14, Exec 10. Such a possibility had also been mentioned by Admiral Nimitz in his 14 May estimate of enemy plans. (Msg cited n. 19.)

27. (1) Mtg, Gen Council in Off of DCofS, 27 May 42, OPD 3.34.8 Gen Council, 2. (2) Notes on War Council, 25 May and 1 Jun 42, SW Confs, Vol II, WDCSA.

28. (1) Memo, OPD for CG AGF, 25 May 42, sub: Reserves for WDC. (2) D,F, OPD for TAG, 25 May 42, same sub. Both in OPD 320.2 WDC, 69. (3) Memo, OPD for WDCMC, 26 May 42, same sub, OPD 320.2 WDC, 93.

29. Draft memo [JCS for CCS], sub: Sit in Pacific, incl with memo, COMINCH and CNO for CofS, 24 May 42, game sub, Item 67a, Exec 10.

30. Memo, CofS for COMINCH, n.d., sub: Sit in Pacific, Ref Your Memo of May 24, Item 67a, Exec 10.

31. Memo, F.D.R. for SW, CofS, Arnold, SN, King, and Hopkins, 6 May 42, WDCSA 381 (SS), 1 (cited n. 10).

32. Msg, President to Prime Minister, 19 May 42, 147, with CCS 61/1 in ABC 452.1 (1-22-42), 1. For a later, unsuccessful attempt to apply the principle to the USSR, see below, Ch. XV.

33. (1) See Craven and Cate, AAF I. p. 567. (2) For action on this compromise, see below, pp. 245, 248-49.

34. It was finally rejected on 13 June 1942. See Romanus and Sunderland, Stilwell's Mission to China. Ch. V.

35. Msg (originator OPD, Marshall to Stilwell, 24 May 42, CM-OUT 5022. The messages from Chiang Kai-shek were relayed to Stilwell for his information.

36. (1) Memo, OPD for CofS, 24 May 42, sub: Sit in China Theater, OPD 381 CTO, 41. (2) Stilwell was notified by msg, Marshall to Stilwell, 24 May 42, CM-OUT 5022 (R).

37. Msg, Stilwell to Marshall, 25 May 92, CM-IN 7037.

38. (1) Memo, OPD for CofS, 26 May 42, sub: Keeping China in the War. (2) Memo, CofS for President, 28 May 42, same sub Both in OPD 381 CTO, 44. (3) Msg (originator OPD), Marshall to Stilwell, 28 May 42, CM-OUT 5991.

39. (1) For an account of the Russia aid program, including the formulation of the Second Protocol, see Leighton and Coakley, Logistics of Global Warfare. (2) The protocols are published in U.S. Dept. of State, Soviet Supply Protocols, cited p. 57n.

40. (1) Memo, Mun Asgmts Bd (MBW) [Gen Burns] for JCS, 12 May 42, sub: Summarized Rpt on Status of Proposed Second Soviet Protocol, with JPS 28/D in ABC: 400.3295 Russia (19 Apr 42), 1. (2) Memo, MBW for JCS, 12 May 42, sub: Status of Proposed Second Soviet Protocol. This memorandum, which analyzes the program more in detail, is an inclosure with the memorandum cited immediately above. (3) Draft of Jt statement, appended to draft protocol, incl with above cited papers.

41. The total tonnage of military items to be offered under the terms of the draft protocol was 1,110,000 short tons, valued at $2,000,000,000. Over 90 percent of this tonnage was accounted for by tanks and vehicles: trucks accounted for over half the tonnage. (See Second (Washington) Protocol, Sched of U.S. Stores, incl with memo cited n. 40(1).)

42. (1) Stettinius, Lend-Lease, p. 207. (2) Cf. Churchill, Hinge of Fate, Ch. 15, and Morison, Battle of the Atlantic, Chs. VI and VII.

43. The CMTC had found that there would be a shortage of cargo tonnage from June 1942 through December 1943 which would always be greater than 3,500,000 dead-weight tons, and would rise to a high of 4,400,000 in December 1942 and January 1943. These calculations were based on estimates of construction, losses, and United States and British requirements. The committee's findings, announced in CMT 5/3 of 4 Max 1942, were later summarized and discussed in JPS 28/1.

44. Memo, King for JCS, 1 May 42, no sub, incl with JPS 28/D, 7 May 42, title: Russian Mun Protocol. JPS 28/ D was a directive to JPS to consider the memorandum, in anticipation of a JCS directive to that effect. Admiral King summarized his views orally in the next JCS meeting. (Min, 13th mtg JCS, 4 May 42.)

45. Min, 17th mtg JPS, 20 May 42. JPS agreed that "action on this directive should be deferred pending the final outcome of the revised Protocol, which is now before the President."

46. OPD brief, Notes on . . . 17th mtg JPS, 20 May 42, with JPS 28/ D in ABC 400.3295 Russia (19 Apr 42), 1. The statement was attributed to Brig. Gen. Oliver L. Spaulding.

47. Draft of Jt Statement, with draft of Second Protocol, with JPS 28/D in ABC 400.3295 Russia (19 Apr 42), 1.

48. See agreement, n.d., title: Confidential Protocol of Conf of Reps of U.S.A., U.S.S.R. and Gt Brit . . ., copy filed in separate folder annex, title: Russia (Moscow Confs), with WPD 4557.

49. Second Protocol, Sched of U.S. Stores, Group I (Armament and Mil Equip), Item 1 (Airplanes), with JPS 28, D in ABC 400.3295 Russia (19 Apr 42), 1.

50. Min, 15th mtg JCS, 18 May 42.

51. (1) Ibid. (2) Notes on War Council, 18May 42, SW Confs, Vol II, WDCSA. In this meeting of the War Council, Marshall's recomended qualification on commitments of planes was interpreted as follows: ". . . the Russian contract to be filled up to August, thereafter the Russians to receive 50 pursuit planes, 50 light bombers and 12 medium bombers."

52. The conversations lasted from 29 May through 1 June 1942.

The rest of this chapter is based mainly on an account of these negotiations in Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 556-78.

53. Churchill, Hinge of Fate, pp. 326 ff.

54. The Second Protocol was finally signed in Washington, 6 October 1942. It had meanwhile served as a basis for the Soviet lend-lease program. (See State Dept rpt on War Aid Furnished by U.S. to USSR, p. 3, cited p. 205n, above.)

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation