The very basis of planning for military operations in case the United States should enter World War II was changed by the German campaigns in Europe during the spring of 1940. The success of the German campaigns, which virtually disarmed France and threatened to disarm Great Britain, conclusively disposed of the possibility that the United States, should it become involved in war, could count on having allies strong enough to contain Germany and Italy and to contribute heavily to the prevention or prosecution of a war against Japan. Instead, the United States faced a strong possibility that the formidable coalition of Germany, Italy, and Japan, having reached a modus vivendi with the Soviet Union and being assured of control over western Europe, would in concert proceed to seize the overseas possessions of the European colonial powers, destroying the very basis of American political and economic relations with the rest of the world and of the traditional military policy of the United States.
German Victories and American Plans
May 1940-January 1941
Early in April 1940, following the occupation of Denmark, German airborne and seaborne forces landed in southern Norway. They made good use of surprise and treachery and quickly gained control of the principal airfields. The British soon had no choice but to give up the attempt to establish Allied forces at Trondheim in central Norway. On 10 May, as a direct result of great discontent in Parliament over the conduct of the campaign in Norway, the Chamberlain government fell, and Winston S. Churchill took office as Prime Minister. The battle for Norway was over, although Allied forces continued to fight in the north at Narvik until late in May, when they, too, were finally evacuated.
Meanwhile, the Germans had overrun the Netherlands and Belgium, and were fast winning the battle for Prance. The German offensive on the Continent began on 10 May, the day on which Churchill became Prime Minister. After four days of fighting, culminating in the bombing of Rotterdam, the Netherlands Government was compelled to surrender. On the same day, 14 stay, strong German armored forces broke through in the Ardennes forest. The gap rapidly became, wider as German armored columns moved through in two directions, to cut off the Allied forces in Belgium from those in France and to isolate the French forces in the Maginot Line
from those to the west. On 28 May the Belgian Army surrendered. On the following day the British began evacuating the greater part of their expeditionary force from Dunkerque. The evacuation, unexpectedly and almost unbelievably successful, even though all equipment had to be left behind, was completed on 4 June. On the next day the Germans began the attack southward on the re-formed French lines, which rapidly gave way. On 10 June, confident of the outcome, the Italian Government declared war on Great Britain and France. On 17 June the new head of the French Government, Marshal Henri Pétain, asked for an armistice.
Planning for the Worst
It seemed probable that Germany would next attempt to invade the British Isles. In any event, whether or not in preparation for invasion, Germany would certainly set about reducing the British Isles by bombardment and blockade if the British refused to negotiate.
The Army planners responded, characteristically, by warning against the overextension of American commitments. They strongly preferred to plan on the assumption that the United States, single-handed, would have to see to the defense of the Western Hemisphere--somewhat as under the terms of RAINBOW 4, but with the great difference that it was no longer the neutrality but the impotence of Great Britain and France that would bring about a condition favorable to concerted German, Italian, and Japanese action. The planners feared above all that the Germans and Italians might succeed in neutralizing, or even in gaining control of, part or all of the British and French Navies. They estimated that the military measures the United States could take during the next twelve months were not enough even to complement the political and economic measures that the United States might be forced to take to counteract the threat that Germany might acquire colonies and allies in the Western Hemisphere. They recommended accordingly that the United States should take no action involving possible military commitments outside the Western Hemisphere.
On 22 May the Army planners recommended this view to General George C. Marshall, the Chief of Staff, as the basis for an immediate strategic decision by higher authority.1 The planners reasoned that since the United States could not everywhere meet the dangers that threatened American interests--in the Far East, in South America, and in Europe higher authority should at once decide "what major, military operations we must he prepared to conduct." From the same facts, they also reasoned that the decision must be to defend the Western Hemisphere. It would be dangerous as well as useless to scatter about the world American forces, which for about a year could do no more than conduct
. . . offensive-defensive operations in South America in defense of the Western Hemisphere and of our own vital interests; such limited offensive operations in Mexico as the situation May require: possible protective occupation of European possessions in the Western Hemisphere; and the defense of Continental United States and its overseas possessions East of 180th Meridian.
The planners repeated:
Intelligent, practical planning, and later Successful action, require an early decision regarding these matters:
1st--As to what we are not going to do.
2nd--As to what we must prepare to do.2
On the same day General Marshall went over these points with President Roosevelt, Admiral Harold R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), and Under Secretary of Slate Summer Welles. Mr. Welles fully agreed. The President and Admiral Stark did not disagree. According to Marshall, they too, "felt that we must not become involved with Japan, that we must not concern ourselves beyond the 180th Meridian, and that we must concentrate on the South American situation."3
The immediate effect on the war plans was the preparation of a new joint plan for the defense of the Western Hemisphere. The planners suspended work on plans for fighting a war across the Pacific (RAINBOW 2 and RAINBOW 3) and recommended the deferment of their next project, plans for entering the war across the Atlantic (RAINBOW 5), in order to prepare plans for major operations in the Western Hemisphere, under the terms of reference of RAINBOW 4 as revised to fit the new world situation. The starting point for work on the revised RAINBOW 4 was as follows:
Special Situation:--The termination of the war in Europe is followed by a violation of the letter or the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine in South America by Germany and Italy. This is coupled with armed aggression by Japan against United States interests in the Far East. Other nations are neutral.
Purpose of the Plan:--To provide for the most effective use of United States naval and military forces to defeat enemy aggression occurring anywhere in the territory and waters of the American continents, or in the United Status, and in United States possessions in the Pacific westward and to include Unalaska and Midway.4
RAINBOW 4, drafted on these assumptions, was finished at the end of May and approved in due course by the joint Board, the Secretaries, and the President.5
The Planners Overruled
The President was much less disposed than the military planners to believe that the Germans would be able to make peace in Europe on their own terror. Even during the dark days of June 1940 he made plain his desire, that the nation and the armed forces should not plan simply on preparing for the worst. He himself meant to act instead on the hypothesis that the British Government and the: British Isles would probably hold, and that the military situation would remain very much as it was in the West. On 13 June he presented this hypothesis to the chiefs of Army and Navy intelligence , asking whether they thought it
reasonable and, assuming it to be reasonable, what they would expect the economic, political, military, and psychological effects to be.
The President's statement of the hypothesis covered the military situation throughout the world six months thence
- Time. Fall and winter of 1940.
- Britain and the British Empire are still intact.
- France is occupied, but the French Government and the remainder of its forces are still resisting, perhaps in North Africa.
- The surviving forces of the British and French Navies, in conjunction with U.S. Navy, are holding the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and the Atlantic from Morocco to Greenland. The Allied fleets have probably been driven out of the Eastern Mediterranean, and are maintaining a precarious hold on the Western Mediterranean.
- Allied land forces are maintaining their present hold in the Near East Turkey maintains its present political relationship to the Allies.
- Russia and Japan are inactive, taking no part in the war.
- The U.S. active in the war, but with naval and air forces only. Plane production is progressing to its maximum. America is providing part of Allied pilots. Morocco and Britain are being used as bases of supplies shipped from the: Western Hemisphere. American shipping is transporting supplies to the Allies. The U.S. Navy is providing most of the force for the Atlantic blockade. (Morocco to Greenland).6
The President's hypothesis, together with his question, was referred to the senior members of the joint Planning Committee, who had worked on RAINBOW 4. On the crucial point--the fate of Great Britain six months thence--they found it doubtful that Great Britain, as distinguished from the British Empire, would by that time "continue to be an active combatant." Germany had the intention, the equipment and forces, and the bases for powerful air attacks on British "port and naval bases facilities, railway communications, air bases, munitions depots and factories." Continuous air and submarine operations against British sea communications would result in heat' casualties and food shortages in England. "The actual invasion and overrunning of England by German military forces" appeared to be "within the range of possibility."
In the second place, the senior planners doubted that the French would be capable of putting up much resistance in North Africa, for they would be cut off from their own sources of supply and would not have been able to get ammunition for their weapons or replacements for both weapons and ammunition, even if they had been able to get food and clothing, from other sources, that is, the United States.
The planners accepted as reasonable the President's assumption concerning the naval situation, except that they considered it more probable that Allied naval forces would continue to hold a position in the eastern Mediterranean than that they would continue to hold a position in the western Mediterranean. They were all the more inclined, therefore, to expect that the Allied positions in the Near East would still hold. They also agreed that Turkeys foreign relations would probably be stable during the period, but doubted that the Soviet Union and Japan would not have entered the war, expecting rather that they might have taken concerted offensive action in the Far East.
They were strongly inclined to dispute the last assumption (paragraph 7) insofar
as it concerned American participation in the war as a belligerent, finding it unreasonable in the light of the "long-range national interests of the United States." In making thin assumption the President was in effect anticipating decisions that were his to make, and the planners, in response, were trying, in anticipation, to discourage him from making those decisions. After explaining why they thought American intervention would be too weak and too slow to have much effect, they restated their main position--that the United States was in no shape to get into a war:
Belligerent entry by the United States is the next few months would not only disperse and waste our inadequate means, but would result in leaving the United States as the one belligerent to oppose the almost inevitable political, economic, and military aggression of totalitarian powers.
Our unreadiness to meet such aggression on its own scale is so great that, so long as the choice is left to us, we should avoid the contest until we can be adequately prepared.
Early entry of the United Stags into the war would undoubtedly precipitate Gentian subversive activities in the Western Hemisphere, which we are obligated to oppose. Our ability to do so, or to prepare Latin American countries to do so would thus be ham-strung.
Our entry into the war might encourage Japan to become a belligerent on the side of Germany and Italy, and might further restrict our efforts on behalf of the Allies.7
There were two policies of the President that especially disturbed the Army planners--the policy of making a show of strength in the Pacific in the hope of discouraging the Japanese from taking any new moves in the Far East, and that of furnishing munitions to the British at the expense of the armed forces that the United States was undertaking to train and equip for combat. General Marshall evidently shared their anxiety over these developments.
The U.S. Fleet, which had moved to Hawaii in April 1940 to conduct its yearly exercises, received orders to remain at Pearl Harbor instead of returning to the west coast, as it normally did. On 27 May in answer to a question from Admiral James O. Richardson, the fleet commander, Admiral Mark stated that the fleet would continue there until further notice, with the purpose of dissuading the Japanese Government from moving southward to take advantage of the defeat of the Netherlands and the desperate situation of Prance and Great Britain.8 The specific move that seemed imminent, as the battle of France drew to its disastrous end, was the occupation of French Indochina.
The War Department stall believed that a show of strength in the Pacific might be taken by the Japanese Government as an occasion to open hostilities. On this ground the Army planners strongly objected to leaving the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. Though it might perhaps strengthen the hand of men in the Japanese Government who favored a long-range policy of avoiding
conflict with the United States, the measure was not strong enough to bring about--it was of course not meant to bring about--a showdown decision on long-range Japanese policy. Its effect on short-range policy was to give the Japanese Government the option of ignoring the implied challenge or of accepting it on the most favorable terms. The Army planners believed that the United States should either withdraw the fleet from Pearl Harbor or prepare seriously for hostilities, consciously deciding "to maintain a strong position in the Pacific," and "in order to do so, to avoid any commitment elsewhere, the development of which might require the weakening of that position." The retention of the fleet in the Pacific might cause Japanese leaders to review and revise their plans, but it would act as a deterrent "only so long as other manifestations of government policy do not let it appear that the location of the Fleet is only a bluff."9
The planners did not draw the conclusion to which this belief naturally led--that the United States should reach an understanding with Japan. But this conclusion was very likely in their minds, and it was explicitly drawn by Lt. Gen. Stanley D. Embick, who had left the General Staff in October 1938 to take command of the Fourth Corps Area. In a personal letter accompanying his formal comments on current plans for the defense of the Western Hemisphere, he repeated his long-standing objections to U.S. policy in the Pacific:
What seems to me of first importance at present is definitely to accept the fact that we cannot carry out the plan and also intervene in the Far East. Lippmann's article of yesterday, advocating an understanding with Japan is the plainest kind of common sense. I hope our State Department and the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee can be made to see that a reversal of their past provocative attitude is a military essential of first importance in the new World situation.10
The other feature of current national military policy that disturbed the Army was the transfer of munitions to the European allies. During the second half of May British and French purchasing agents in Washington were desperately seeking early delivery of munitions, over and above those for which they had contracted, both from orders placed by the Army and Navy and from Army and Navy stocks on hand-aircraft and engines, guns of all kinds from field pieces to pistols, ammunition to go with them; and miscellaneous critical supplies such as explosives, metals, and spare parts. Under great pressure from the White House, largely transmitted through the Secretary of the Treasury, who had for some time very energetically taken charge of such transactions, the Army and Navy in early June released considerable quantities of munitions then on hand--principally ground forces equipment, held in reserve against the day of mobilization, but urgently needed by the British who had
committed and lost a great part of their own stocks of such equipment in France. The Army objected to several of these transactions on the ground that they would soon bring the United States to the point of risking its military security on the chance that American forces would not have to fight.11
Major Walter Bedell Smith, Assistant Secretary of the General Staff, made this clear, very informally, to Brig. Gen. Edwin M. Watson, military aide to the President, in connection with the transfer of five hundred 75-mm. guns. This transfer, directed by the White House, was opposed by G-4 and by the War Plans Division as "dangerous to the national defense," since most of the materiel on hand would be needed "immediately upon mobilization and the remainder very shortly thereafter." To conduct a year's operations in the field, the Army would need almost as much more materiel as there was on hand, and it would take two years to produce this additional amount.12 Major Smith left a record with General Watson in which he stated, "if we were required to mobilize after having released guns necessary for this mobilization and were found to be short in artillery materiel that everyone who was a party to the deal might hope to be found hanging from a lamp-post."13
General Marshall shared the fears of the planners, and early on the morning of 17 June he held a staff meeting to discuss current strategic policy. He pointed out that, should the French Navy pass under German (or Italian) control, the United States would face "a very serious situation" in the South Atlantic, which Germany might bring to a head in a few weeks. He therefore asked
Are we not forced into a question of refraining our naval policy, that is, purely defensive action in the Pacific, with a main effort on the Atlantic side
He went on to explain:
There is the possibility of raids with resultant public reaction. The main effort may be south of Trinidad, with any action north thereof purely on the basis of a diversion to prevent our sending material to South America.14
Brig. Gen. George V. Strong then presented the opinion of the Army planners who, considering that the British might be defeated, believed in defensive operations only in the Pacific and concentrating everything in this hemisphere. General Marshall, in reply, said that what mattered most was the uncertain fate of the British and French Fleets. On the assumption that these forces would defend the Atlantic, it would be entirely correct, as the Navy planners (according to General Strong) advised, to leave the United States Meet in the Pacific. But, declared Marshall, he did not think the United States should make that assumption: "We have to be prepared to meet the worst situation that may develop, that is, if we do not have the Allied fleet in the Atlantic."15
General Marshall then took up the worst situation that might develop in the Pacific--a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Various Army and Navy officers concerned, including the planners, had for several years taken note of the possibility that the first move, or one of the early moves, of Japan in a Pacific war would be to strike at naval installations at Pearl Harbor--or at the fleet, if the fleet were there. They looked for attacks by sea and air, accompanied by hostile activity on the part of Japanese in the Hawaiian Islands, and possibly followed by the landing of forces.16 The Army was accordingly fearful of a Japanese reaction to the presence of the U.S. Fleet in Pearl Harbor, not only because the reaction would compel a diversion of American forces that might be needed in the Western Hemisphere but also because it might take the form of an attack on Pearl Harbor that the United States was not ready to meet. General Marshall began:
Thinking out loud, should not Hawaii have some big bombers. We have 56. It is possible that opponents in the Pacific would be four fifths of the way to Hawaii before we knew that they lead moved. Would five or ten flying fortresses at Hawaii alter this picture?
Brig. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, replied that they would be of no use since they would be "overwhelmed by hostile pursuit." He therefore believed that "we should not split our forces but should send more or none." He offered some reassurance in the form of an estimate that "We could put big planes there in three days if necessary," if only the reserves of bombs, ammunition, and other essentials could also be sent out in time. But, as the Chief of Staff remarked, "three days might be fatal." General Strong estimated that the Army would have "less than 24 hours notice."17
There was agreement on the current weakness of the Army to act in Latin America. General Strong estimated that there might be "a desperate need" for troops in South America within sixty days, specifically in Brazil and Uruguay. General Marshall observed that, although the Army was not able at once to send expeditionary forces, the United States might at least "be
able to guarantee to some of the South American governments the occupation and holding of certain key ports," as he had earlier proposed to President Roosevelt, Admiral Mark, and Under Secretary Welles. In any case, he thought that it was time to mobilize the National Guard, and Generals strong and Andrews agreed with him.18
On sending more munitions to Europe General Marshall had no doubts, and his advisee apparently had none either. He stated, "With respect to further equipment for the Allies as per the President's statement, we have scraped the bottom so far as the Army is concerned."19
General Marshall ended the conference by directing the officers present to consider the questions raised.20 One consequence was shat all the planners recommended, in view of the possibility of a Japanese surprise attack on the Panama Canal or on naval installations at Pearl Harbor, that General Marshall should order an immediate alert of Army field commands to take all defensive precautions that could be taken without arousing public curiosity or alarm. General Marshall took the warning seriously enough to direct the staff to issue such an order, which was to remain in effect until further instructions were issued.21
General Strong also drew up a statement of the views of the staff on the questions that had been raised with regard to strategy during the morning meeting. He recommended that General Marshall and Admiral Stark should consider asking the President to adopt the following policies:
1st A purely defensive position in the Pacific.
2d No further commitments for furnishing material to the Allies.
3d An immediate mobilization of national effort for Hemisphere Defense in order to meet the coming emergency.
General Strong elaborated on all three points. To adopt a defensive position in the Pacific meant "non-interference with Japanese activity in the Orient, loss of our precarious position in China, and possible serious limitation on sources of supply of strategic raw materials," of which rubber was especially important to the United States. He flatly stated the reasons for entering into no new agreements to furnish munitions to the Allies:
This is a recognition of the early defeat of the Allies, an admission of our inability to furnish mean s in quantities sufficient to affect the situation and an acknowledgment that we recognize the probability that we arc next on the list of victims of the Axis powers and must devote every means to prepare to meet that threat.
Finally General Strong described the measures that should be undertaken upon full mobilization. These measures included, of course, adding to the Regular Army, calling the National Guard into federal service, and sharply increasing the production of munitions. They also encompassed an economic and military program in the Western Hemisphere:
. . . immediate preparation for protective seizure of key British and French possessions in the Western Hemisphere; preparation for immediate active military support of existing Governments in other American Republics and the furnishing them at the earliest possible date of means of defense on long term credits. It likewise involves a readjustment of our economic set-up to include other American Republics on a basis approximating equality.22
The Navy staff was on the whole in sympathy with these views, and Admiral Stark and General Marshall jointly submitted a similar set of recommendations to the President. The President, however, had enough faith in his own estimate of the situation to wait and see whether he could not proceed in his own way and at his own pace to deal with the dangers and uncertainties of the coming months.23 His military policy remained to offer encouragement to the British and warnings to the Japanese, within the range of what was possible and of what seemed prudent for a President nearing the end of a term in office, standing for re-election. His policy ran very close--as close as considerations of domestic politics would allow--to the proposals that Churchill had sent him a few days after taking office as Prime Minister. On 15 May, having described the desperate situation in the British Isles and having warned of the danger that Great Britain might give way, Churchill had asked that the President should then undertake to do everything possible "short of actually engaging armed forces." In particular, he wanted the United States (1) to send critical munition--forty or fifty old destroyers, several hundred of the most modern planes, antiaircraft guns and ammunition, and other goods, notably steel; (2) to give some assurance that the flow of materials should continue after the British could no longer pay for them; (3) to arrange for a naval squadron to make a visit, "which might well be prolonged," to the ports of the Irish Free State, whose intransigent neutrality constituted a most serious threat to the British lines of communication; and (4) "to keep the Japanese quiet in the Pacific, using Singapore in any way convenient."24
To begin with, the President had been able only to promise to do all he could to send planes, guns, ammunition, and steel, and to point to the presence of the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor.25 But having
staked his military policy on the chance that the British would remain able and willing to resist, he had the Prime Minister's requests constantly to consider in the critical summer of 1940, and, given the difficulties reflected in the opinion of his military advisers and the political uncertainties he faced at home, the President acted with great boldness.
During the summer he sought, and the Congress granted, authority under which he was able to stop exports to Japan--strategic commodities, including machine tools, aviation gasoline, and iron and steel scrap.26 As his authority came to be interpreted, he was also authorized to release equipment of the American armed forces to foreign governments, providing the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chief of Staff would certify that to do so would not endanger national security.27 This authority he used, most notably in arranging with the British for the exchange of fifty old destroyers for a long-term lease of British bases ,in the Western Hemisphere. Finally he asked Congress to authorize the conscription of men by the armed forces for a year's training. The Congress responded by passing the Selective Service Act and authorizing the President to call out the National Guard and Organized Reserves, with the proviso that men inducted into the land forces, as well as the National Guard and Reserves called up, should not be employed beyond the Western Hemisphere except employed United States territories and possessions.28
British Strategy and American Planning
In the fall of 1940, seeing that the British, though so weak as to have to depend in the long run on American support, were still strong enough to make good use of it, the Army planners began to show less anxiety over the immediate effects and more over the remote consequences of furnishing that support. They realized that as the danger to the British Isles became less acute, to support Great Britain might well amount to supporting, at first indirectly and then directly, British positions throughout the world--in short, to acquiescence in British grand strategy. The planners were very uneasy over the prospect. The two assumptions of British strategy that especially concerned them were that Great Britain could count on rapidly increasing material aid from the United States and that it might hope for a token commitment of American naval forces to the Southwest
Pacific. Both of these assumptions figured explicitly in the expectation and future plans of the British Chiefs of Staff.
The Army planners had their first formal briefing on British expectations and future plans in late September 1940, upon the return from London of two high-ranking Army officers, Maj. Gen. Delos C. Emmons, head of the GHQ Air Force, and General Strong, chief of the Army planning staff. They had spent several weeks in England together with Rear Adm. Robert L. Ghormley, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, who was assigned to London on extended duty as a "special observer." Although Emmons and Strong had gone for only a few weeks, it was significant that they had been sent at all, for it was the first time that any Army officer had been given the authority, and the opportunity, to discuss future plans with the British. In authorizing this visit the President had taken an important preliminary step toward authorizing the development of joint Army-Navy plans consistent with his belief that the British would probably manage to hold on and with his policy of encouraging them to expect American aid. To draw up appropriate plans--in effect, to provide against the contingency of armed intervention by the United States in an indecisive European war--the Army planners obviously had to begin working, as the Navy planners had long since been working, with the British military staff.29
On American material aid, the British Chiefs made their position verve plain. Admiral Ghormley asked
...whether, in making their plans for the future, the Chiefs of Staff were relying on receiving the continued economic and industrial support of the United States, and whether they counted upon the eventual active co-operation of the United States.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Cyril L. Newall, Chief of Air Staff, answered simply and directly
. . . that in our plans for the future we were certainly relying on the continued economic and industrial co-operation of the United States in ever-increasing volume. No account, however, had been taken of the possibility of active co-operation by the United States, since this was clearly a matter of high political policy. The economic and industrial co-operation of the United Status were fundamental to our whole strategy.30
The British Chiefs could not, of course, count on any commitment of American forces in the same way that they could count on American material aid, but they were at pains to explain how much they needed and hoped for American support in the Pacific to underwrite their precarious position in the Far East. Events had invalidated the assumptions on which British Far Eastern strategy had previously rested: "first, that any threat to our British interests would be seaborne; secondly, that we should be able to send a fleet to the Far East within three months." These assumptions the British had had to abandon first, because the Japanese now threatened to expand into southeastern Asia, from which they could launch a land invasion of Malaya; second,
because the British could no longer expect to send a fleet to the Far East. The change had not only altered plans for defending Singapore, which now required holding Malaya as well, but had left the British heavily dependent on the presence of the United States Fleet in the Pacific, since the threat of American counteraction in the Central Pacific was the main deterrent to Japanese action against the Netherlands Indies and Malaya. The British wanted to avoid war with Japan, though they granted that "the question as to how far we can afford to go in this respect" was "naturally an extremely difficult one." It was evidently "very much in the British interest," as Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound, First Sea Lord, remarked, that the United States Elect should stay in the Pacific. As Sir Cyril observed, active American co-operation would be of "immense value" if war did break out: "The support of the American battle fleet would obviously transform the whole strategical situation obviously the Far East."31
Except at these two points, British strategy did not involve explicit assumptions as to what the United States would do. It rested first of all on the assumption that British forces were strong enough to hold the British Isles:
The security of the United Kingdom is obviously vital, and must be our primary consideration. Although we do not underrate the grave threat with which we arc faced, in view of our numerical inferiority in the air and Germany's occupation of the continental seaboard, we arc confident of our ability to withstand any attacks on this country, and our whole policy is based on this assumption.
Outside the British Isles, the main immediate concern of the British was in the Middle East. They regarded an attack on Egypt, possibly from Libya, as imminent, and were currently reinforcing their garrisons in the Middle East to meet it, not only from India and from South Africa but also from the British Isles. To hold the Middle East was vital to their long-range plans for defeating Germany. These plans called for bombarding and blockading Germany, especially with the hope of creating an acute shortage of oil, but the British did not regard such means as sufficient. They intended, as they acquired striking forces, to "develop and exploit to the full" their possession of naval forces in amphibious operations "against the widely extended coastline of our enemies whenever opportunity offers." Their chief objective at this stage was the elimination of Italy from the war:
We regard the elimination of Italy as a strategic aim of the first importance. The collapse of Italy would largely relieve the threat to the Middle East and free our hands at sea to meet the Japanese threat, while at the same tune increasing the effectiveness of the blockade against Germany.
In connection with this aim, they were also concerned, though less immediately, with the danger of German occupation of French North and West Africa, against which they foresaw it might be necessary to act.
The ultimate British aim was the defeat of Germany, and the British Chiefs emphasized that it would remain such whatever might happen:
Although Italy is our declared enemy and other Nations, such as Spain, may be dragged into the war at Germany's heels. Germany is the mainspring of enemy effort. Whatever action may be necessary against any other country must, therefore, be related to our main object, which is the defeat of Germany.
Admiral Ghormley posed the question that bore most directly on the British Chiefs' ideas of how to achieve this aim. He asked
"whether the Chiefs of Staff considered that the final issue of the war Could only he decided on land." Sir Cyril replied
. . . that in the long run it was inevitable that the Army should deliver the coup de grace. We hoped, however, for a serious weakening in the morale and fighting efficiency of the German machine, if not a complete breakdown, which would make the task of the Army much more easy.32
Whether to stake heavily on the realization of thin hope, helping meanwhile to try to secure and exploit British positions in the Middle East and Far East, was a question to which the American planners must sooner or later address themselves.
The visit of Generals Emmons and Strong to England had mixed effects on the Army planning staff. The Army representatives had returned greatly influenced by what they had seen and heard. Like all Americans in England at the time, they had been mightily impressed by the coolness, confidence, and determination of the British under attack. As professional officers, they spoke with new respect of British organization, training, equipment, and tactics, especially for defense against air attack. They had their attention drawn to the strategic possibilities of air bombardment, at which the British expected to succeed even while expecting the Germans to fail. But once they were back in Washington they were quickly reminded by General Marshall not to jump to conclusions on the basis of "the specialized situation at that time" in England. He told the Air Corps to take into account the kind of warfare in which situations changed rapidly as a result of offensive ground operations, and therefore directed the Air Corps to send observers not only to England, as recommended by General Emmons and Col. Carl Spaatz who had accompanied him, but also to the Middle East. And as to dealing with the British, he alluded to General Pershing's experience in World War I with their "confirmed beliefs," and admonished his staff that the Germans "had always been six months ahead of the Allies," declaring that "in regard to war, their deductions were analytically sound."33
Perhaps as a result, Emmons and Strong were at pains to be cautious in their written report.34 And the views expressed by the Army planning staff at that time remained much the same as those it had expressed in the spring. The staff was as far as ever from conceding that it was sound to defer American defensive preparations in order to meet British operational requirements. The one significant change was in the estimate of the time factor. The staff now thought it reasonable to expect that the "British hold on the British Isles cannot he so weakened as to make the withdrawal of the British Fleet therefrom necessary in less than 6 months." Thus, on the basis of the estimate earlier made--that it would take
six months or more to train German and Italian crews to operate surrendered British vessels--it would be at least a year before Germany and Italy would be free to act in the Western Hemisphere, even if a part of the British Fleet, contrary to the stated intentions of the Churchill government, were surrendered, unless in the meantime the United States should become "seriously involved in the Far East." Even so, the staff stood by its earlier conclusions. The staff still thought that the U.S. Government was in duty bound to prepare for "the worst possible situation." The United States might have to act in Latin America, in the South Atlantic, or in the Pacific. The danger of a Japanese attack might become more acute
. . . if the Japanese Government should become increasingly embarrassed by embargo on exports from the United States to Japan, and at the same time should become convinced that despite protests by the United States it was only throwing a bluff and would back down in the face of a serious situation.35
The first attempt to deal with American military strategy as a whole, comprehending the dispositions and missions of Army as well as Navy forces, on the assumption of concerted British and American operations, came at the time of President Roosevelt's re-election. Following conversations between Admiral Stark and Secretary Knox in late October 1940, admiral Stark, in consultation with Capt. Richmond Kelly Turner and other staff assistants, on 4 November drew up a long study dealing with the subject.36 Admiral Stark cited four feasible lines of action. Should the United States enter the war at an early date, he advocated the fourth course, Plan D, which was very similar to RINABOW 5. From Plan D the memorandum came to be referred to as the "Plan Dog" memorandum.37
Admiral Stark's memorandum began with an allusion to an earlier statement of his to Secretary Knox
. . . that if Britain wins decisively against Germany we could win everywhere; but that if she loses the problem confronting us would be very great; and while we might not lose everywhere, we might, possibly, not win anywhere.
The defeat of Great Britain and the consequent disruption of the British Empire would greatly weaken the military position of the United States not only directly, by exposing the Western Hemisphere to attack, but also indirectly, by its constricting effect on the American economy. Without a profitable foreign trade the American economy could "scarcely support" heavy armaments (which the United States, so exposed, would need so much the more).
Admiral Stark proceeded to point out the danger of being drawn into war across the Atlantic and across the Pacific at the same time. He took up alternative plans for operations in the Pacific. He first rejected the
idea of "unlimited" commitment in the Pacific, the great objection, of course, being that it would strictly limit activity in the Atlantic and aid to Great Britain. He then stated the objections to a "limited" offensive. The object of a limited war against Japan "would be the reduction of Japanese offensive power chiefly through economic blockade." Should limited operations be undertaken on an Allied basis,
. . . allied strategy would comprise holding the Malay Barrier, denying access to other sources of supply in Malaysia, severing her lines of communication with the Western Hemisphere, and raiding communications to the Mid-Pacific, the Philippines. China, and Indo-China.
In this event the United States, of course, would have to reinforce Alaska and Hawaii, establish naval bases in "the Fiji-Samoan and Gilbert Islands areas," and deny Japan the use of the Marshalls as forward bases for light forces. 1t might be possible to reinforce the Philippines, particularly with planes. A very important condition, furthermore, was that the United States would almost certainly have to assist the British and Dutch forces along the Malay Barrier, not only with the Asiatic Squadron but also by "ships and aircraft drawn from our Fleet in Hawaii, and possibly even by troops." A variant, constituting a second, strictly American, version of the limited war, would be naval action based in the Central Pacific, including perhaps the capture of the Marshalls or both the Marshalls and Carolines, to compel the Japanese to divert forces from the Malay Archipelago, thus "reducing the strength of their assault against the Dutch and British." The first objection to the limited war against Japan was that the cost might be out of proportion to the results in constricting and weakening Japan. The second objection was that the United States would seriously limit its ability to withdraw naval units from the Pacific to the Atlantic. A third objection was that it might be very hard to prevent a limited from becoming an unlimited war, if only as a result of public impatience.
Admiral Stark's unwillingness to risk an unlimited war in the Pacific rested on his belief that the British were not strong enough by themselves to hold their empire: together and perhaps not strong enough to hold even the British Isles. Offensively the British were, in his opinion, still less able to carry out their aim of defeating Germany and would require "assistance by powerful allies" in men as well as in munitions and supplies. He raised the same question that Admiral Ghormley had raised in London--whether land invasion would be necessary and concluded that although blockade and bombardment might conceivably be enough, the only certain way of defeating Germany was "by military successes on shore, facilitated possibly by over-extension and by internal antagonisms developed by the Axis conquests." Great Britain, therefore, "must not only continue to maintain the blockade, but she must also retain intact geographical positions from which successful land action can later be launched." He agreed with the British that their first concern, after providing for the security of the British Isles, must be to hold Egypt and, next to that, to maintain control over Gibraltar and West and Northwest Africa. His one specific suggestion for exploiting these positions was to conduct offensive operations in the Iberian Peninsula, which he thought might promise "results equal to those which many years ago were produced by Wellington."
Admiral Stark reached the conclusion that the United States must prepare, in case
of war, for great land operations across the Atlantic and remain on "a strict defensive" in the Pacific. After taking up the probable disposition of American naval forces in case the United States were drawn into the European war, remaining at peace with Japan, he repeated:
This purely naval assistance, would not, in Army opinion, assure final victory for Great Britain. Victory would probably depend upon her ability ultimately to make a land offensive against the Axis powers. For making a successful land offensive, British man power is insufficient. Offensive troops from other nations will be required. I believe that the United States, in addition to sending naval assistance, would also need to send large air and land forces to Europe or Africa, or both, and to participate strongly in this land offensive. The naval task of transporting an army abroad would be large.
The soundest course of action, in other words, seemed to he to direct American efforts "toward an eventual strong offensive in the Atlantic as an ally of the British, and a defensive in the Pacific." Admiral Stark explained:
About the least that we would do for our ally would be to send strong naval light forces and aircraft to Great Britain and the Mediterranean. Probably we could not stop with a purely naval effort. The plan might ultimately require capture of the Portuguese and Spanish Islands and military and naval bases in Africa and possibly Europe: and thereafter even involve undertaking a full scale land offensive.
In adopting this course, the United States would have to accept the "possible unwillingness" of the American people to support large-scale land operations, the risk of British collapse while the effort was just under way, and the gradual reorientation of American foreign policy in the Far East so as to avoid major commitments against Japan. Admiral Stark concluded that the need to support Great Britain against its major enemy outweighed these risks. In the near future the proper course would be to continue in statu quo, leaving the fleet in the Pacific and providing material help to friendly powers.38
That it was the Navy rather than the Army staff that first tried to think through the relation between American and British plans was perfectly natural. The Navy had had continually to deal with the British and to reckon with their capabilities and intentions, because of the generally complementary relation between British and American fleet dispositions. The Navy, moreover, viewed with detachment, and with what seemed at times a certain complacency, the treacherous issues with which the Army must deal in raising and using huge conscript forces. It was entirely in character, therefore, for the Navy staff to take the lead in making due allowance for British plans and politics and in analyzing the conditions and acknowledging the difficulties.
What was really surprising was that the Army at once took up Admiral Stark's proposal. The War Department planners recommended that it should be taken as the basis of a joint Army-Navy study for presentation to the President.39 The staff commentary, with this recommendation, went to the President on the morning of 13 November along with the memorandum.40 In the afternoon General Marshall told the
planners to initiate action to prepare a joint plan similar to the one proposed by Admiral Stark.41 Later in the month when this study had got under way, he made it clear that, insofar as the War Department agreed, the Army planners should simply adopt Admiral Stark's memorandum without change and get ahead with the study as fast as possible.42
The American Position
The President in no way committed himself to the theory of strategy outlined in Admiral Stark's memorandum to the Secretary. Whatever he had had to say to Admiral Stark about the memorandum in mid-November apparently did not become a matter of record.43 An attempt by the Navy to have Admiral Stark's memorandum resubmitted to the President for formal review as a joint Army-Navy paper, with State Department support, finally came to nothing since the Secretary of State, although he was in "general agreement" with it, doubted the propriety of his "joining in the submission to the President of a technical military statement of the present situation."44
The President, however, did authorize conversations between representatives of the American and British staffs to explore the problems raised by Admiral Stark, as Admiral Stark had recommended, and as the British themselves were eager to do.45 On 2 December--the very day of General Marshall's reply to Admiral Stark--the War Department learned through Admiral Ghormley the names of the British staff officers who were to come to Washington for the conversations. They were to come ostensibly as members of the civilian British Purchasing Commission in order to avoid public notice and comment, which might have very serious consequences.46
In mid-January, a fortnight before the conversations were due to begin, the President held a conference on military policy with the three Secretaries, at which Admiral Stark and General Marshall were also present. The President began by considering how great was the likelihood that Germany and Japan might take concerted hostile action against the United States. He believed that there was "one chance out of five" of such an attack and that it might come at any time. He was, therefore, disposed to discount long-range plans:
. . . he mentioned the "RAINBOW" plan and commented on the fact that we must be realistic in the matter and avoid a state of mind involving plane which could be carried Out after the lapse of some months; we must be ready to act with what we had available.
On the critical question in war plans--whether to plan for a major effort in the Atlantic or one in the Pacific--he took the position that the United States should stand on the defensive in the Pacific with the fleet based on Hawaii. On one point the President laid clown a policy to govern the United States in case of war-the maintenance of material aid to Great Britain.
He was strongly of the opinion that in the event of hostile action towards us on the part of Germany and Japan we should be able to notify Mr. Churchill immediately that this would not curtail the supply of materiel to England.
His chief current preoccupation was, in fact, to maintain aid to Great Britain. As a basis for calculating what the United States could safely send, he took the needs for defending the Western Hemisphere eight months later
. . . on the basis of the probability that England could survive six months and that, thereafter, a period of at least two months would elapse before hostile action could be taken against us in the Western Hemisphere.
How far he was willing to go in this direction he indicated by announcing "that the Navy should be prepared to convoy shipping in the Atlantic to England." He made it clear that he was not seeking thereby to create an occasion of war with Germany, showing again that he feared American involvement for its immediate effect on aid to Great Britain. It followed logically from the President's whole view of strategy that it was too early to define the offensive mission of the Army in case of war. He directed
. . . that the Army should not be committed to any aggressive action until it was fully prepared to undertake it; that our military course must be vary conservative until our strength had developed; that it was assumed we could provide forces sufficiently trained to assist to a moderate degree in backing up friendly Latin American governments against Nazi inspired fifth column movements.47
Although the President was somewhat impatient with his military staff for wanting to deal with problems lying months or even years ahead, he did not object to their doing so in their conversations with the British representatives, and he understood that they would present their own views of these problems. He read and edited the agenda for the conversations drawn up by the joint Planning Committee which stated these views in some detail.
The planners hoped that the American participants would not be unduly influenced by British ideas of strategy. After some pessimistic: comments on recent British political and military leadership, the committee stated
. . . we cannot afford, nor do we need, to entrust our national future to British direction, because the United States can safeguard the North American Continent, and probably the Western Hemisphere, whether allied with Britain or not.
United States' army and naval officials are in rather general agreement that Great Britain cannot encompass the defeat of Germany unless the United States provides that nation with direct military assistance, plus a far greater degree of material aid than is being given now; and that, even then, success against the Axis is not assured.
It is to be expected that proposals of the British representatives will have been drawn up with chief regard for the support of the
British Commonwealth. Never absent from British minds and their post-war interests, commercial and military. We should likewise safeguard our own eventual interests.48
In keeping with these views the planners proposed that the American representatives should be authorized to discuss future military operations only on the basis of an assumption doubly hypothetical--that the United States would enter the war as an ally of Great Britain and agree to adopt as a first aim the defeat of Germany and Italy--and that agreements based on this assumption would have merely the force of professional predictions, not of political commitments.49
The planners gave a very exact definition of existing American policy:
A fundamental principal [sic] of United States policy is that the Western Hemisphere remain secure against the extension in it of non-American military and political control.
The United States has adopted the policy of affording material and diplomatic assistance to the British Commonwealth in that nation's war against Germany.
The United States by diplomatic means has opposed any extension of Japanese rule over additional territory.
On the critical question of American policy toward Japan, in case the United States should enter the war as a partner of Great Britain, the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chief of Staff believed
The United States and British Commonwealth should endeavor to keep Japan from entering the war or from attacking the Dutch.
Should Japan enter the war, United States' operations in the mid-Pacific and the Far East would be conducted in such a manner as to facilitate the exertion of its principal military effort in the Atlantic or the Mediterranean.50
And the American representatives laid down two principles to govern operational planning under the assumed circumstances:
As a general rule, United States forces should operate in their own areas of responsibility, under their own commanders, and in accordance with plans from United States British joint plans.
The United States will continue to furnish material aid to Great Britain, but will retain for building up its own forces material in such proportion as to provide for future security and host to effectuate United States-British joint plans for defeating Germany.51
This statement, having been approved by the Joint Board and the Secretaries and read and amended by the President, way circulated to the British representatives on their arrival.52 This declaration fittingly marked the end of the independent adjustment of American military planning to the strategic requirements of World War II. The planners had reached a point beyond which they could go only as participants in
the formation of coalition strategy. In spite of the objections of Mr. Stimson, the following passage was retained in the version presented to the British:
The American people as a whole desire now to remain out of war, and to provide only material and economic aid to Great Britain.
So long as this attitude is maintained, it must be supported by their responsible military and naval authorities.53
Table of Contents
Previous Chapter (1) * Next Chapter (3)
1. General Marshall's appointment as Chief of Staff dated from 1 September 1939. Hr had previously been Assistant Chief of Staff, War Plans Division, from 6 July to 15 October 1938; Deputy Chief of Staff from 16 October 1938 to 30 June 1939; and Acting Chief of Staff from 1 July to 31 August 1939.
2. Memo, WPD for CofS, 22 May 40, sub: Natl Strategic Decisions, WPD 4175-7. The WPD action officer was Maj. Matthew B. Ridgway.
3. (1) Memo, CofS for WPD, 23 May 40, no sub, WPD 4175-10. (2) Aide Memoirs, May Ridgway, 23 May 40, WPD 4175-10.
4. (1) As restated in Incl 4, to ltr, JPC: [Col Clark and Capt Cooke] to JB, 9 Apr 40, sub: Jt A&N Bsc War Plans- RAINBOW, JB 325, sers 642 and 642-1. (2) Cf. statement of the year before in directive quoted in RAINBOW 1, JB a25, ser 642-1, cited above, p. 8.
5. JB 325, ser 642-4. Harry H. Woodring, Secretary of War, and Lewes Compton, Acting Secretary of the Navy, sent the plan to the President with their approval on 13 June. On 12 July the President asked the new Secretaries of War and Navy, Henry L. Stimson and Prank Knox, to read the plan and talk with him about it. On 26 July they resubmitted the plan, with the same letter of transmittal, and on 14 August the President approved it. For the full treatment of RAINBOW 4, see Conn, The Framework of Hemisphere Defense.
6. Rpt, Sr A&N members JPC [Col Clark and Capt Charles J. Moore, USN] to CofS and CNO, 26 Jun 40, sub: Views on Questions Propounded by President on War Sit, WPD 4250-3.
8. The U.S. Fleet had born scheduled to return to the west coast of the United States on 9 May 1940, but Admiral Stark had ordered that it remain at Hawaii for two weeks longer, and then indefinitely. See Samuel Eliot Morison, The Rising Sun in the Pacific: 1931-April 1942 (Boston, Little, Brown 8c Company, 19481, p. 43. For correspondence between Admiral Richardson and Admiral Stark during this period, see Pearl Harbor Attack: Hearings before the joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack (hereafter cited as Pearl Harbor Hearings) Part 14, pp. 923-1000. The letter of 27 May 1940, from Admiral Stark to Admiral Richardson, is reproduced in Pearl Harbor Hearings, Part 14, p. 943. Admiral Stark's exact words were: "You are there because of the deterrent effect which it is thought your presence may have on the Japs going into the East Indies."
9. (1) WPD study, n.d., sub: Decisions as to Natl Action, WPD 420-3. It is worth noting that WPD suggested, as a partial substitute for keeping the fleet in Hawaii, the dangerous expedient--already under discussion--of restricting exports to Japan. This June study was evidently a draft of an aide-memoire that Brig. Gen. George V. Strong was ready to submit to the Chief of Staff as a basis for talks with the President. (2) See memo, WPD for CofS, 17 Jun 40, sub: Natl Def Policy, WPD 420--3, quoted below, p. 20. It follows and expands the views submitted by WPD to Gen Marshall in memo cited n. 2.
10. Pers ltr, Embick to Strong, 8 Jun 40, WPD 4175-11. The syndicated article by Walter Lippman referred to, was entitled "Towards Peace with Peace." It appeared in The Washington Post. June 6, 1940.
11. A great deal of material concerning these very complicated transactions, and Army views thereon, is gathered in an Office of the Chief of Staff file entitled Foreign Sale or Exchange of Munitions. This file of papers was compiled for the period April-October 1940 by the Secretary of the General Staff, Lt. Col. Orlando Ward.
12. Memo, G-4 for CofS, 11 Jun 40, sub: Sale of 75-mm. Guns, OCS File, Foreign Sale or Exch of Mun. WPD's concurrence is stated therein. The five hundred 75-mm. guns represented a second increment, arrangements having already been made to transfer 395 75-mm. guns. The notification to prepare to transfer the second increment came through the Secretary of War about noon on 11 June 1940. (See unsigned memo, 11 Jun 40, filed with above memo.)
13. Memo, W.B.S. [Maj Smith] for CofS, 11 Jun 40, no sub, OCS file, Foreign Sale or Exch of Mun. Perhaps the most serious of the prospective shortages of finished munitions, apart from planes, that these transfers would render still more acute was a shortage of ammunition. Shortages of ammunition were not only an absolute limitation on wartime operations themselves but a very serious limitation on peacetime training, since the free use of ammunition was an important condition of alertness in overseas garrisons and a realistic, accelerated program for training recruits. (For a fuller treatment of this transaction, see Mark S. Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1950) pp. 310-12.)
14. Notes on conf in OCS, 17 Jun 40, OCS Misc Confs, Binder 3. The remarks should be read in the light of the estimate made by the JPC in submitting RAINBOW 4 (JB 325, ser 642-4). The immediate need, upon the surrender of the British or French Fleet, would be to begin mobilizing, so as to be ready to send expeditionary forces a few months later. Meanwhile it would be necessary to take naval action.
15. Notes cited n. 14. These are printed as part of Exhibit 87, Pearl Harbor Hearings, Part 15, pp. 1929-30.
16. See, for example: (1) ltr, Army member, JPC [Lt Col Raymond S. Pratt] to JB, 12 Jul 28, sub: Five Yr Programs of AAF and Bauer, JB 349, ser 392 (see pars 8 and 12); (2) ltr, CG Hawaiian Dept [Maj Gen William Lassiter] to Comdt Fourteenth Nav Dist, 26 Mar 31, JB 303, ser 494; (3) memo, Col Sherman Miles for ACofS WPD, 27 Dec 35, sub: Basis of Calculation on Peace and War Garrisons, Hawaiian Dept . . . , JB 325, ser 580; (4) 1tr, JPC. [Col Krueger and Capt Royal E. Ingersoll, USN] to JB, 13 May 36, sub: U.S. Forces, Hawaiian Islands, JB 325, ser 580; and (5) rpt, JPC, 21 Apr 39, JB 325, ser 634 (see Sec II, par 8; this rpt was approved by JB on 6 May 39).
17. Notes cited n. 14.
19. Ibid. General Marshall had occasion to act on this view the following day in connection with a British request for a few; from six to twelve) B-17s. The great objection to releasing the B-17 was the need to build up the reserve of B-17's (currently being delivered at the rate of two a month) for the defense of Pearl Harbor and the Panama Canal. Marshall declared it to be "the unanimous opinion of the War Department officers concerned, that it would be seriously prejudicial to our own defensive situation to release any of these ships." (1) Memo, CofS for SW, 18 Jun 40, sub: Trams to Br of 11 Flying Fortress Type Planes (B-17), OCS File, Foreign Sale of Exch of Mun. (2) Memo, Maj Smith for Henry L.. Morgenthau, 25 Jun 40, no sub, OCS File, Foreign Sale or Exch of Mun. On 20 June General Watson told Major Smith that the matter would be dropped as a result of the War Department objections. (3) Cf. Watson, Prewar Plans and Preparations, p. 306.
20. Notes cited n. 14.
21. (1) Memo, WPD for TAG, 17 Jun 40, sub: Def Precautions, WPD 4322. (2) Memo, WPD for TAG, 17 Jun 40, same sub, WPD 4326. (3) Pearl Harbor Hearings, Part 15, pp. 1907 ff: Part 27, p. 126. (4) Watson, Prewar Plans and Preparations, pp. 108, 468-69. (5) Conn, The Framework of Hemisphere Defense, Ch. II.
22. Memo WPD for CofS, 17 Jun 40, sub: Natl Def Policy, WPD 4250-3 (dictated and signed by Gen Strong).
23. (1) Navy study, 22 Jun 40, sub: Basis for Immediate Decisions Concerning Natl Def, WPD 4250-3. This bears the identifying mark in the upper left-hand corner: OP-12B-McC. On 27 June a copy of the original Navy study, as corrected by the President, was circulated by the Joint Planning Committee. A copy of this is also included in WPD 4250-3. (2) Informal memo, G.C.M. [Marshall] for Strong, 24 Jun 40, WPD 4250-3. (3) Kittredge Monograph, Vol I, Sec II, Part D, Ch 8, pp. 168-73. (4) Watson, Prewar Plans and Preparations, pp. 110-13. (5) Conn, The Framework of Hemisphere Defense, Ch. II, pp. 20-23 MS.
24. The message is quoted in full in Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War: Their Finest Hour (Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1949), pp. 23-25.
25. The President stated he would consider carefully sending a naval squadron to Irish ports and explained that it would require an act of Congress to transfer destroyers to Great Britain. See (1) Churchill, Their Finest Hour, p. 25; (2) Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (rev. ed. New York, Harper & Brothers 1950), p. 174; (3) Cordell Hull, The Memoirs of Cordell Hull (New York, The Macmillan Company, 1948); and (4) Watson, Prewar Plans and Preparations, p. 107.
26. For the Export Control Act of 2 July 1940, subsequent regulations issued under it, and Japanese reaction thereto, sec (1) Hull, Memoirs, pp. 901-02; and (2) U.S. Dept of State, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1943) (hereafter cited as U.S. Foreign Policy 1931-1941), p. 97.
27. (1) PL 671, 76th Cong. This act, approved on 28 June 1940, was introduced in Congress as HR 9822 on 22 June 1940, an act "To expedite naval shipbuilding, and for other purposes." (2) For a full account of the destroyer-base agreement and its legal basis, see Conn, The Framework of Hemisphere Defense, Ch. II.
28. The Selective Service Act of 1940 was signed by the President on 16 September 1940. This act, with the joint Resolution of 27 August 1940 which authorized the President to call out the National Guard and Organized Reserves, provided the legislative authority for an army of 1,400,000 men. For a discussion of the work which led to the passage of the Selective Service Act, see (1) Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1948), pp. 345-48: and (2) Watson, Prewar Plans and Preparations, pp. 189-97.
29. For the Ghormley-Emmons-Strong visit to London, see: (1) Watson, Prewar Plans and Preparations, pp. 113-15; (2) Samuel Eliot Morison, The Battle of the Atlantic: September 1939-May 1943 (Boston, Little, Brown & Company, 1947), pp. 40-41; and (3) WPD 4402, which contains copies of British minutes of the meetings held on 20, 29, and 31 August (officially known as meetings of the Anglo-American Standardization of Arms Committee).
30. Min mtg Br-Amer Standardization of Arms Com, 31 Aug 40, WPD 4402-1.
33. Notes on conf in OCS, 23 Sep 40, OCS Misc Confs, Binder 3. Officers attending this meeting with the Chief of Staff, besides General Emmons and Colonel Spaatz, were Maj. Gens. Henry A. Arnold, George H. Brett, Barton K. Yount, and General Strong. As an immediate result of this meeting, Brig. Gen. James E. Chancy of the Air Defense Command was sent to England, as Generals Emmons and Strong recommended, to get a firsthand impression of British air defenses. (See pers ltr, Col Ward, SGS, to Gen Chancy, 20 Sep 40, and handwritten note of Gen Marshall thereon, OCS (21-11-12.) General Chancy was later assigned as Special Army Observer, London. For the dispatch of Air Corps officers as observers with the British Army in Egypt, see: (1) ltr, Sumner Welles to Gen Marshall, 7 Oct 40, AG 210.684 (10-7-40); and (2) ltr, Marshall to Under Secy State, 14 Oct 40, AG 210.684 (10-7-40) .
34. Memo, Emmons and Strong for CofS, 25 Sep 40, sub: Obsns in England, WPD 4638.
35. WPD study, 25 Sep 40, sub: The Problem of Pdn of Mun, WPD 4321-9.
36. No copy of the 4 Nov study was retained in WD files. A version of the memo exists in WD files as Navy draft memo [Admiral Stark for SN], 12 Nov 40, no sub, WPD 4175-15. For identification of this memo, see Watson, Prewar Plans and Preparations, p. 118.
37. For discussions of the Plan Dog memorandum, see: (1) Watson, Prewar Plans and Preparations, Ch. IV; (2) Kittredge Monograph, App A to notes for Sec III, Part D, Ch. 13; (3) Morison, Battle of the Atlantic, pp. 42-44; (4) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 271-72; and (5) Conn, Framework of Hemisphere Defense.
38. Navy draft memo cited n. 36.
39. (1) Memo, Col Jonathan W. Anderson, Actg ACofS WPD, for CofS, 12 Nov 40, sub: Natl Policy of U.S. Colonel Anderson wrote a long commentary on the Navy memorandum for General Marshall. (2) Memo, WPD for CofS, 13 Nov 4-0, same sub. Both in WPD 4175-15. The Army staff does not appear to have been unanimously in favor of adopting Admiral Stark's proposal.
40. See notes in WPD 4175-15, in particular, memo, CofS for SW, 13 Nov 40, no sub.
41. Memo, Col Ward, SGS, for ACofS WPD, 13 Nov 40, no sub, WPD 4175-15.
42. Off memo, Brig Gen Leonard T. Gerow, 26 Nov 40, no sub, WPD 4175-15. For initiation of the study, see: (1) ltr, CofS to JB, 18 Nov 40, sub: Natl Def Policy for U.S., WPD 4175-15; (2) Itr, JPC [Col Joseph T. McNarney and Capt Turner, USN] to JB, 21 Dec 40, same sub, JB 325, ser 670.
43. See memo, Stark for Marshall, 22 Nov 40, no sub, WPD 4175-15. It is obvious from what followed that the President at least gave Admiral Stark his tacit consent to pursue the subject further.
44. Secretary Hull's views are quoted as summarized in memo, Gen Gerow for CofS, 3 Jan 41, sub: Conf with Secy State, WPD 4175-15. The only action that resulted was that after Stimson and Hull discussed the Joint Committee paper, the three Secretaries agreed to meet weekly (on Tuesdays) to talk over questions of national defense. (See penned note by General Marshall on the memorandum.) For the history of this paper, see also: (1) WPD draft Itr, JPC to JB, 12 Dec 40, sub cited n. 42 (1), incl Navy draft proposal of substitute for p. 1 of Army draft study, W PD 4175-15; (2) memo, Gen Gerow for CofS, 20 Dec 40, no sub, WPD 4175-15; (3) ltr, JPC [signed Col McNarney and Capt Turner] to JB, 21 Dec 40, sub cited n. 42 (1), JB 325, ser 670; and (4) min, mtg JB, 14 May 41.
45. See discussion of events leading to the staff conversations with the British, known as ABC-1, in Watson, Prewar Plans and Preparations, p. 120.
46. (1) Memo, McNarney for Gerow, 2 Dec 40, sub: Stf Convs, WPD 4402. (2) Memo, WPD for CofS, 26 Dec 40, sub: Army Reps for Stf Confs with Gt Brit, WPD 4402.
47. This account of the conference is based on Marshall's summary, memo, CofS for WPD, 17 Jan 41, sub: White House Conf Thursday, Jan 16, 1941, WPD 4175-18.
48. Ltr, JPC [signed Col McNarney Rear Adm R.K. Turner to JB, 21 Jan 41, sub: Jt Instants for A&N Reps for Holding Stf Convs with the Br, Incl an Agenda for the Convs, JB 325, see 674. 7 his study was prepared pursuant to a joint Board directive as proposed by Captain Turner at the joint Board meeting of 11 December 1940. (See min, mtg JB, 11 Dec 40.)
49. App II to Incl (A) to ltr cited n. 48.
50. In the version finally circulated the last passage was modified to read "in the Atlantic or naively in the Mediterranean region." This qualification was inserted by the President. (See memo, Private and Confidential, F.D.R. [President Roosevelt] for SN, 26 Jt 41, 1B 325, ser 674.1
51. App II to Incl (4) to ltr cited n. 48.
52. (1) Min, mtg JB, 22 Jan 41. (2); Memo cited n. 50. (3) Memo for rcd, Lt Col William P. Scobey, 28 Jan 41, sub cited n. 48, JB 325, ser 674. The President's emendations affected references to contingencies--American entry into the war, the wartime relations between the United States and Great Britain, and American operations against Germany. (For discussion of some of the President's emendations, see Watson, Prewar Plans and Preparations, p. 373.)
53. (1) See App II to Incl (A) to Itr cited n. 48. (2) For a discussion of Stimson's views In the wintry of 1940 41 and the spring of 1942, see Stimson and Bandy. On Active Service, pp. 368-70.