3-670 Draft of Message from the President and the Prime Minister to Premier Stalin, May 26, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 26, 1943

Subject: World War II

Draft of Message from the President and the Prime Minister to Premier Stalin1

May 26, 1943 [En route to Algiers]


1. In general, the overall strategy agreed upon is based upon the following decisions:

(a) To give first priority to the control of the submarine menace and the security of our overseas lines of communication.

(b) Next in priority, to employ every practicable means to support Russia.

(c) To prepare the ground for the active or passive participation of Turkey in the war on the side of the Allies.

(d) To maintain an unremitting pressure against Japan for the purpose of continually reducing her Military power.

(e) To undertake such measures as may be practicable to maintain China as an effective Ally and as a base for operations against Japan.

(f) To prepare the French forces in Africa for active participation in the assaults on Axis Europe.

2. With reference to (a) above regarding submarines, the immediate results of the recent deployment of long-range aircraft with new equipment and special attack groups of naval vessels give great encouragement, better than one enemy submarine a day having been destroyed since May 1. If such a rate of destruction can be maintained it will greatly conserve, therefore increase, available shipping and will exert a powerful influence on the morale of the German submarine armada.

With reference to the support of Russia, agreement was reached as follows:

(a) To intensify the present air offensive against the Axis Powers in Europe. This for the purpose of smashing German industry, destroying German fighter aircraft and breaking the morale of the German people. The rapid development of this air offensive is indicated by the events of the past three weeks in France, Germany and Italy, Sicily and Sardinia, and by the growth of the United States’ heavy bomber force in England from some 350 planes in March to approximately 700 today with a schedule calling for 900 June 30, 1,150 September 30 and 2,500 April 1. The British bomber force will be constantly increasing.

(b) In the Mediterranean the decision was taken to eliminate Italy from the war as quickly as possible. General Eisenhower has been directed to prepare to launch offensives immediately following the successful completion of HUSKY, the assault on Sicily, for the purpose of precipitating the collapse of Italy and thus facilitating our air offensive against Eastern and Southern Germany as well as continuing the attrition of German fighter aircraft and developing a heavy threat against German control in the Balkans. General Eisenhower may use for the Mediterranean operations all those forces now available in that area except for three British and four American Divisions which are to participate in the concentration in England, next to be referred to.

(c) It was decided that the resumption of the concentration of ground forces in England could now be undertaken with Africa securely in our hands and that while plans are being continuously kept up to date by a joint U.S.-British Staff in England to take instant advantage of a sudden weakness in France or Norway, the concentration of forces and landing equipment in the British Isles should proceed at a rate to permit a full-scale invasion of the Continent to be launched at the peak of the great air offensive in the Spring of 1944. Incidentally, the unavoidable absorption of large landing-craft in the Mediterranean, the South-West Pacific and the Aleutian Islands has been our most serious limiting factor regarding operations out of England.

3. We have found that the undertakings listed utilize our full resources. We believe that these operations will heavily engage the enemy in the air and will force a dispersion of his troops on the ground to meet both actual attacks and heavy threats of attack which can readily be converted into successful operations whenever signs of Axis weakness become apparent.2

G. C. M.

Document Copy Text Source: Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers, Map Room, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.

Document Format: Typed draft signed.

1. Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill sent this draft along with the following note to President Roosevelt. “General Marshall has himself prepared the following version of the approved decisions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to be sent to Russia. C.I.G.S. and I agree with every word of it, and strongly hope that it can be sent to Stalin as the statement by the Chief of the United States Staff, concurred in by the C.I.G.S., and that it has our (President and Prime Minister’s) joint approval. If you agree, will you kindly implement without further reference to me.” (Present Aerial Person to President Roosevelt, May 26, 1943, FDRL/F. D. Roosevelt Papers [Map Room].)

2. “Your message has my approval as well as Churchill’s,” the president wrote to Marshall. Roosevelt ordered that the dispatch for Stalin be sent with the amendment: strike out “next in priority” from subparagraph 1b and combine subparagraphs 1a and 1b as one priority. (Roosevelt to Marshall, May 31, 1943, ibid.) President Roosevelt sent the message to Premier Stalin on June 2. (Foreign Relations, Conferences at Washington and Quebec, 1943, pp. 383, 387.)

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 709-710.

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