War Department Draft of Instructions for London Conference--July 1942*
JULY 15, 1942.
MEMORANDUM TO GENERAL MARSHALL
Subject: Instructions for London Conference--July, 1942.
1. You will proceed immediately to London as my personal representatives for the purpose of consultation with appropriate British authorities on the conduct of the war.
2. You will carefully investigate the possibility of executing SLEDGEHAMMER, bearing in mind the vital urgency of sustaining Russia this year. This is of such great importance that grave risks are ,justified in order to accomplish it. If you consider that, with the most complete and wholehearted effort on the part of the British. SLEDGEHAMMER is possible of execution, you should strongly urge that preparations for it be pushed with the utmost vigor and that it he executed in case Russian collapse becomes imminent. The geographical objective of a cross-channel operation in 1942 is not of vital importance, providing the great purpose of the operation can be achieved, i.e., the positive diversion of German air forces from the annihilation of Russia. SLEDGEHAMMER should be executed on the basis of our remaining in France, if that is in any way practicable.
3. If you are convinced that SLEDGEHAMMER is impossible of execution with reasonable chances of serving its intended purpose, inform me. In that case my views as to our immediate and confined [sic] course of action are that we should continue our present plans and preparations for ROUNDUP, while carrying out planned activities and /resent commitments in other areas. We should proceed at top speed with ROUNDUP preparations, intensifying air attacks and making frequent and large-scale Commando raids. This action should be continued until it is evident that Russia can not, any longer,
*Draft memo, no sig, for Gen Marshall and Adm King, 15 Jul 42, sub: Instns for London Conf--July 1942. Three identical carbon copies (single spaced) of the draft as finally corrected (third version) and filed (two under Tab 2, and one under Tab 5), Item 1, Exec 5. Copies of the first version (one bearing Handy's penned corrections) and of the second version (one bearing Marshall's penned corrections) are filed Item 35, Exec 10. The above quoted draft is the third version.
contain appreciable German forces. Material aid to Russia should continue with the bulk delivered through Basra, the northern convoys to Russia to be suspended.
4. You will, with the British authorities, investigate tile courses of action open to us in the event of' a Russian collapse. In this investigation, and in the recommendations you make as to the course to be pursued, you will be guided by the following principles:
a. Our aim trust continue to be the complete defeat of the Axis powers. There can be no compromise on this point.
b. We should concentrate our efforts and avoid dispersion.
c. Effective coordinated use of British and American forces should he sought.
d. Available U.S. and British forces should be brought into action as quickly as they can be profitably used. It is very important that U.S. ground troops are brought into action against the enemy in 1942.
e. Any course of action adopted should include support of art air offensive froth tile British Isles by strong U.S. air forces and tile. assurance of the security of that base for operations against Germany by U.S. ground reinforcements.
5. The subjects listed below are considered as appropriate for discussion with the British in arriving at our course of action in case of Russian collapse. Your discussion will not necessarily be restricted to these subjects. The United States will riot be committed to a course of action to be followed in the event of' Russian collapse without my specific approval.
a. A continental invasion in 1943. This course of action may be impracticable unless strong German forces are contained on the Russian front. However, it should be investigated.
b. All-out effort in the Pacific against Japan with the view to her defeat as quickly as possible.
c. Operations in the Middle East with U.S. air forces now planned, with such ground forces as call be reasonably sustained, while at the same time using the bulk of our strength against Japan. 'file purposes of the Middle Last operation would be to secure the area; to protect vital oil resources and to cover the Russian flank (if any remains).
6. You will take note that the state of Russia in the spring of 1943 may be such as to snake ROUNDUP impracticable. by reason of the resistance that Germany can then bring to bear in France. It is this possibility that emphasizes the urgent necessity to do SLEDGEHAMMER this year when it is certain that Germany's effort against Russia will afford the best opportunity that can be expected to do any part of BOLERO.
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