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Historical documents

356 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram 246A LONDON, 24 December 1943


At the second Cairo Conference between the Prime Minister and the
President [1], held after their return from the meeting with
Stalin at Teheran [2], the war against Japan was exhaustively
considered and the broad strategic concept was laid down. The
discussions at this Conference have greatly advanced thought on
the problem of how the full weight of the United Nations can be
projected against Japan after Germany is defeated.

The Dominions Office will probably be telegraphing you in the near
future an outline of what is described as the over-all plan for
the defeat of Japan. [3] I will not anticipate what will be
contained in this telegram beyond giving you a broad outline of
the basis of the plan. It visualises that Germany may be defeated
as early as the Spring of 1944; that the U.S.S.R. may enter the
war against Japan soon after the defeat of Germany and that the
defeat of Japan may be accomplished by sea and air blockade and
intensive air bombardments from progressively advanced bases. The
main concept of the plan is that the principal effort against
Japan should be made in the Pacific and that operations in other
theatres, e.g. China and South East Asia, would be complementary
but subsidiary. It is visualised however that with Russia's entry
into the war developments in the Northern Pacific would probably
assume major importance. The main line of advance contemplated is
on the New Guinea-Netherlands East Indies-Philippine axis with
concurrent operations against the Mandated Islands.

A Naval Mission is leaving for Washington at an early date to
concert plans for the utilisation of British Naval Forces in the
Indian Ocean and Pacific including the South-West Pacific and the
Combined Chiefs of Staff have now under consideration the question
of the land and air forces that can be made available and utilised
against Japan. These plans include the sending of four United
Kingdom Divisions to Australia.

General Sutherland has, I understand, taken to Australia for
General MacArthur the documents covering the decisions reached at
Sextant and you will probably be receiving Dominions Office
telegram referred to above in the near future.

Until you receive this telegram please treat above as most secret
and for your personal information.


1 The second Cairo Conference, held between 4 and 6 December, was
attended by Churchill, Roosevelt and President bacon of Turkey.

2 At the Tehran Conference (held between 28 November and 1
December) it was agreed that U.K. and U.S. forces should invade
north-west France in May 1944, advance in Italy to a line between
Pisa and Rimini and mount an operation against southern France, if
possible simultaneously with the invasion in the north-west.

3 A brief outline of the decisions of the Cairo Conference (code
named 'Sextant') had already been received from the Dominions
Office on 16 December (see Document 340, note 4). The more
detailed cablegram foreshadowed by Bruce was not, however,
dispatched, for reasons which will be documented in vol. VII in
this series.

[AA:M100, DECEMBER 1943]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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