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Editorial Note on Combined Chiefs of Staff Meetings
July 24-25, 1942
At the July 24 Combined Chiefs of Staff meeting, the British chiefs found the proposed plans for 1942-43 “generally acceptable,” Marshall and King reported to the president. “Discussion brought out only minor points which had little direct bearing on the basic strategic questions. The few changes suggested were incorporated in a revised draft which was presented to the Prime Minister and approved by him and by the War Cabinet.” (Marshall and King Memorandum for the President, July 28, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 319.1]; Minutes of the Combined Chiefs of Staff Meeting, July 24, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, CCS 334, CCS Minutes].) The revised version was circulated as C.C.S. 94.
The morning of July 25 the Combined Chiefs of Staff met to discuss arrangements for command and planning to carry out the proposals for operations contained in C.C.S. 94. The North African operation had been rechristened TORCH by Prime Minister Churchill the day before. It was agreed that an American commander and American troops would be engaged in the initial North African landings because of French hostility toward the British. (Churchill, Hinge of Fate, p. 447; Minutes of the Combined Chiefs of Staff Meeting, July 25, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, CCS 334, CCS Minutes].)
“It was vital that this conference should result in a definite, agreed, long-range, British-American strategic plan, and this has been done,” Marshall and King reported to the president.
Briefly, our strategy, as agreed upon in this conference, is summarized as follows:
a. Continue to press preparation for ROUNDUP as long as there is a chance that this operation may be possible in 1943. We should be able to estimate this possibility with reasonable accuracy by the middle of September.
b. Complete all preparations for an alternate line of action, i.e., operations against North and Northwest Africa so that actual operations can be initiated as soon as it is determined that ROUNDUP is no longer possible in 1943 and before Germany can disengage strong forces, particularly air forces, from the Russian Front.
c. Continue preparation and training for SLEDGEHAMMER for purposes of deception, but not to an extent which would interfere with the other two projected major operations.
d. Accept the fact that the necessity for delaying ROUNDUP beyond 1943 commits us for that year to a defensive, encircling line of action with respect to Germany except for air operations (which are to be intensified as much as possible) and for the blockade.
(Marshall and King Memorandum for the President, July 28, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 319.1].) Marshall and his party departed London on July 25 for the return trip to Washington.
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), p. 280.