Chapter IV: 
 
Mounting Pressures in the Pacific and Far East: January-May 1943
 
If Casablanca had assured the continued preoccupation of the Allies with the Mediterranean, it had also given its stamp of approval to the continued forward movement in the Pacific. At the conference the Americans had, in effect, served notice that prospective continuation of Mediterranean operations would be balanced by parallel operations in the Pacific. The Army planners continued to work on the assumption-never explicitly stated-that further "diversions" to operations in the Mediterranean, to maintain the momentum of operations already begun there, justified similar diversions for operations in the Pacific. This equation remained the basis of War Department dealings with Admiral King and General MacArthur as well as with the British. Intent as General Marshall was on a return to the principle of concentration for a cross-Channel operation, he made further concessions, in the months following Casablanca, to the urgings of King and MacArthur for larger commitments to the Pacific.
The President, who eventually would have to pass on the solution of the larger issues in the war against Japan, still showed no disposition to force such solutions. With strategy in the war against Germany uncertain, it was impossible for the Army staff to make firm long-range planning for the war in the Pacific. The lack of any approved over-all strategy in the war against Japan, of an over-all command or commander, and of an accepted rule for allocating resources and strength emphasized the geographical particularism and the several competing strategies represented by the separate commands in the Pacific and China-Burma-India theaters. To adjust forces, timing, sequence, and command for operations against Japan, the Army and Navy had therefore to resort to a series of step-by-step compromises and improvisations. Where purely inter-service problems were involved, as in the Pacific, the President was content to pursue a hands-off policy, so long as the military staffs could reach agreement to keep the action going forward. Where staff differences over projected action threatened complications with the policies of other countries-as in the China-Burma-India area-he stepped in to support the effort that promised results most quickly and with the least cost.  
 
[77]

Stalemate in Burma
In the months following the Casablanca Conference, the situation in the China-Burma-India theater continued to deteriorate. Washington and London went on searching for solutions to the highly complicated problems-jurisdictional, strategic, and logistical-presented by the position of China in the war. The War Department had anticipated that the decisions reached at Casablanca would prove a disappointment to China's hopes. With the first charge on Allied resources still levied for operations in the war against Germany, and with the growing prospects for an enlarged scale of operations in the Pacific, the CBI was likely to receive the short end of the stick. British forces, it had been agreed, were to continue operations in southern Burma to recapture Akyab- thereby driving closer to important Japanese strongholds in Burma- and were to establish bridgeheads across the Chindwin River in the north, thus threatening Mandalay. The major operations proposed by Stilwell for northern Burma, in the hope of re-establishing overland communications with China, were to be postponed at least till late 1943.
After the Casablanca Conference the CCS had sent a high-ranking trio, Generals Arnold and Somervell and Field Marshal Dill, on a mission to explain to Chiang Kai-shek the decisions made by the conferees. They were to help draw up detailed plans, outlined at the conference, for operations in Burma and to emphasize to Chiang the expected results opening the land route to China, increasing the air tonnage available to Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault's air force, and direct attacks on Japanese shipping and bases, and on Japan itself. 1
At preliminary conferences in New Delhi, the mission worked out a plan for Burma operations in consultation with Field Marshal Sir Archibald P. Wavell and General Stilwell. Wavell emphasized the difficulties of his line of communications in Assam and the advantages of the well-developed interior lines of the Japanese in Burma. The conferees agreed that the only feasible plan for capturing Burma in one dry season would be by a seaborne attack against Rangoon.2 The operations were to lead to the recapture of Burma during the period from the fall of 1943 to the spring of 1944. Leaving Somervell in India to investigate communication and supply problems, the mission, which had been joined by General Wedemeyer, moved on to Chungking.
For security reasons, the Chinese were not informed of the plan to launch a
[78]

direct assault on Rangoon and were given only the broad outline of the scheme of operations. The scheme envisaged forward movements by the Chinese forces at Ledo and in Yunnan and by the British forces at Akyab and on the Chindwin before the monsoon season in order to secure jump-off positions for the fall offensive. Then, after the monsoon, British and Chinese troops would advance toward Mandalay, and seaborne approaches would be made along the Burma coast, culminating in an attack on Rangoon. The British would command the operations, except for those of the Yunnan force, which was to remain under Chiang. The Generalissimo also would assume command of the Ledo Chinese when they linked up with the Yunnan units. After some discussion, Chiang agreed to take part in the operations even if British naval support were later limited.3
The British premonsoon operations came to a halt when the Japanese first stopped the Akyab forces and then forced them to retreat. This setback cancelled the proposed advance to the Chindwin and produced a bleak outlook for future operations in Burma.4 An annoyed Churchill commented to his Chief of Staff:
This campaign [in Burma] goes from bad to worse, and we are being completely outfought and out-manoeuvered by the Japanese. Luckily, the small scale of the operations and the attraction of other events has prevented public opinion being directed upon this lamentable scene. We cannot however count on a continuance of this. When does General Wavell reach this country? 5
Although Wavell still carried on his preparations for the larger ANAKIM operation, the dismal failure of the Akyab project and the opposition of his staff to any costly and involved operation in Burma made prospects for the postmonsoon venture more and more unlikely.6 The only successful offensive action taken by the British during the dry season was the penetration by Brigadier Orde C. Wingate's Long Range Penetration Group behind the Japanese lines. For four months Wingate succeeded in disrupting the enemy's line of communications. In the process, the Allies learned valuable lessons in the use of such forces-units supplied by air while operating to the enemy's rear.7  
While these events were taking place in the theater, the JCS had proceeded with their own preparations for ANAKIM.8  In March Admiral King informed the British that he would assign six submarines to their Eastern Fleet for ANAKIM, and General MacArthur was directed to send two submarines to police the Strait of Malacca in order to help prevent the Japanese from rein-
[79]

HIGH-RANKING TRIO IN NEW DELHI, India, for a preliminary conference with Field Marshal Sir Archibald P. Wavell, left, and Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell. Members of the mission are General Arnold, center, Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell and Field Marshal Sir John Dill, right.
HIGH-RANKING TRIO IN NEW DELHI, India, for a preliminary conference with Field Marshal Sir Archibald P. Wavell, left, and Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell. Members of the mission are General Arnold, center, Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell and Field Marshal Sir John Dill, right.
forcing Burma in the meantime.9 Nevertheless, in Washington and London there were new and plainer signs that ANAKIM would probably not be carried out.
In the early spring the U.S. service chiefs received a clue to the trend of the President's thinking. In a discussion with Marshall on the relative costs of ANAKIM and BOLERO, the President speculated on the possibilities of modifying or even abandoning ANAKIM. Omitting the whole question of the continuing drain on BOLERO as a result of the build-up in the Pacific and the Mediterranean, he took the position that between BOLERO and ANAKIM-both then low in the priority scale-it was more important to continue BOLERO, even at the price of reducing or eliminating ANAKIM. General Marshall explained to the President that if the United States "stood pat" in the China-Burma-India area, it was highly probable that the Japanese would move in on the airfields used by the U.S. forces and disrupt the air transport route to China. On the question of abandon-  
 
[80]

ing ANAKIM, Marshall did not commit himself one way or the other, but he instructed his planning staff to study the whole question of BOLERO versus ANAKIM and in particular to investigate the possibilities of modifying ANAKIM.
The Army planners concluded from their investigation that if ANAKIM were abandoned the Japanese might well divert forces from Burma to the Solomons and New Guinea, conduct operations against Australia, go on the offensive in Burma and in China, or bomb Calcutta or other cities in India. If the Japanese should elect the first possibility, the shipping needs of the Pacific theaters might be increased to the detriment of BOLERO. A move into Australia or an advance into Burma or China would have political repercussions and would adversely affect the morale of the peoples concerned. Any concerted enemy air attack upon Indian cities would require the provision of air and antiaircraft units. A limited ANAKIM, however, could be substituted for the full-scale operation, thus freeing some shipping that could then be diverted to speed up BOLERO. If the objective were restricted to north Burma, the air route to China could be protected and the land route could be constructed. In that event, the planners recommended that the British take Akyab and stage a naval demonstration in the Bay of Bengal. The Chinese at Ledo could then advance toward Myitkyina while the British proceeded toward Mandalay. Finally, the Chinese in Yunnan could join the Ledo units, and the united force, together with the British driving from the west, could take Mandalay.10
The planners estimated that U.S. shipping requirements for the CBI would be light in any case, but a modified ANAKIM might permit the United States to effect a saving by reducing the sailings necessary to satisfy the British requirements. If this were done, initial equipment and maintenance for 215,000 troops could be transported to the United Kingdom during the remainder of 1943. The British might, in addition, transfer to BOLERO some of their troopships currently allotted to ANAKIM, thus permitting the movement of 10,000 more men per month to the United Kingdom. Marshall forwarded his planners' conclusions to the President, but remained noncommittal. He also informed the President that Leahy agreed with the War Department estimates, but that King felt that, even though ANAKIM might be modified, the United States should continue preparations on the assumption that the complete operation would be carried out.11
The JCS yielded to the logic of King's opinion, and arrangements were made to transfer one heavy and one medium bombardment group from the Ninth Air Force to the Tenth Air Force after the HUSKY operation was completed. They also decided to help the British in meeting their requirements by lending them twenty ships. Before the British
[81]

would consent to accept these ships, Marshall had to assure the British Chiefs that their acceptance did not constitute a commitment to undertake the operation.12
During the course of the discussions that Churchill and his Chiefs of Staff were holding with Wavell, Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Peirse, and Admiral Sir James Somerville on the feasibility of mounting ANAKIM, Handy, then in London, reported that the British staff members considered the project dead. 13 Additional pressure from the Chinese for more air units and for U.S. troops for ANAKIM, plus evidence of increased Japanese activity in both Burma and China, again led Marshall to urge action in the CBI lest inertia adversely affect the Allied moves in the Southwest Pacific, but his plea fell upon deaf ears. 14
As the time for the TRIDENT Conference approached, it was definitely known that the British had turned away from ANAKIM and were going to recommend limited operations in Burma, accompanied by increases in air strength in China. It also became increasingly apparent that the United States was going to accept these recommendations, at least in part.15 Churchill later wrote:  . . . the full development of the air route and the requirements for a land advance towards Central Burma had proved utterly beyond our resources. It therefore seemed clear beyond argument that the full "Anakim" operation could not be attempted in the winter of 1943-44. 16
The Three Demands
Although the Arnold-Somervell-Dill. mission was successful in working out a plan -on paper at least- for ground operations in Burma, its achievements for the air phase of the war were less gratifying. Before his arrival in Chungking, Arnold looked into the entire air setup in India and China. He became firmly convinced that Chennault and his air force should remain under the Tenth Air Force in India for logistical and administrative purposes.17 To strengthen his hand in the negotiations with the Generalissimo, Arnold had arranged for the movement of a heavy bombardment group to China and an increase in the number of Hump transport planes from 62 to137. The U.S. staff planned that a total of 4,000 tons a month over the Hump would be reached by April.18
Chiang received the news of the air increases without enthusiasm and then made quite clear his own ideas of the requirements of the China theater. Stating his firm belief in the leadership and initiative displayed by Chennault, he asserted that a separate air force, freed
[82]

from any restrictions imposed by Brig. Gen. Clayton L. Bissell, commander of the Tenth Air Force, must be established in China. If this were not done, China could not go on in the war. Secondly, China would need an increase of tonnage over the Hump, reaching 10,000 tons a month by November, if it were to continue to resist the Japanese. And, lastly, the air forces in China must be built up to 500 planes, which could be either in Chennault's force or in the Chinese Air Force.19 The logistical considerations involved in any such arrangements were of no interest to the Generalissimo, and he wanted his requests taken to the President for decision.20
The Chinese demands, which reflected so visibly China's disappointment in the Casablanca decisions, produced a showdown between the advocates of airpower per se and those who favored a balanced program of parallel air and ground development. The former won the opening round when the President, apparently influenced by Hopkins, directed that a separate air force be set up for Chennault.21 Roosevelt also wanted thirty more transports sent to the CBI for the Hump run. Marshall, underlining the cost of such diversion, protested strongly against any further allocation of transports to the CBI. He pointed out that airborne divisional units preparing for HUSKY were short of cargo planes and that Eisenhower had just requested five additional troop carrier groups for that operation. At present, the U.S. Chiefs could only give him three groups and, if this had to be cut by thirty planes, HUSKY would be jeopardized. To strengthen this theme, Marshall stated that Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt's request for more planes for the Aleutians had been denied and General MacArthur's requirements had been delayed. The main problem now, he concluded, was not a lack of planes on the CBI run, but rather a need for more flight and ground personnel; the additional transports would contribute very little to a tonnage increase in the next several months.22 Marshall's plea won a brief respite for the transport situation, but the President did, promise Chiang a total of 500 planes for Chennault's air force and immediate delivery of the transports already allocated.23
It became more and more evident during March that the chief air problem in the CBI was not the lack of combat planes and transports, but a need for trained personnel together with ade-
[83]

quately equipped and solidly constructed airfields. Planes without ground facilities and men to operate them were as useless as ships without harbors and dock workers. 24 The United States sought to spur on the efforts of Wavell and the British to construct airfields in Assam. Administrative difficulties, labor problems, and the weather combined to make the task more intricate and led Marshall to ask Sir John Dill for his assistance. When in early May progress continued to be poor, the President instructed Maj. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler to take over repair and construction on airfields being used by the Americans, and to let him know of any complications that might arise so that he could straighten them out with Churchill, who had just arrived in Washington.25
The short reprieve in the demand for transports gained by Marshall ended on 1 April when the President informed Chiang that he was sending additional cargo planes. Chennault was to receive 1,500 tons a month as soon as the total over the Hump reached 4,000 tons, but Roosevelt believed that when tonnage attained a total of 6,000 tons a month, possibly during the coming summer, Chennault should get all of the gasoline and supplies that he required. The fact that Marshall and Arnold were notified of this action after it was taken would indicate that the President had already decided on his course. The War Department had no choice but to comply.26
The Clash of Personalities
The weight of the President's support behind Chiang and Chennault produced a direct conflict with the Army's consistent policy of backing Stilwell. As long as Roosevelt had remained neutral in this quarrel, Stimson and Marshall had been able to counteract the objections of other Presidential advisers, and of influential Chinese and Chennault adherents, to the frank and sometimes tactless Stilwell. The shifting of the balance by the President tipped the scales in Chennault's favor.
It was not difficult to understand why both Chiang and Roosevelt should have been attracted by the colorful, energetic personality of Chennault, whose daring exploits in the face of great odds had been one of the few bright spots in the China theater.27 The belief of Chen-
[84]

nault and Chiang in the efficacy of the air effort and its promise of building up China's contribution to the war dovetailed neatly with the President's own desire to strengthen China for an important role in the postwar Far East as an active member of the Big Four.28 Roosevelt's estimate of China's stature contrasted starkly with the opinion of Churchill and his Chiefs of Staff, and, it may be inferred, with that of Marshall himself. 29 The added fact that Marshall and Harry Hopkins disagreed so violently in their opinions on the Stilwell-Chennault quarrel that by mutual consent they avoided the subject suggests that the President may have had to do without the counsel of his top advisers at critical moments.30
The attitude of the War Department is quite easy to comprehend. Stilwell was the personal choice of Stimson and Marshall for the post of commanding general and as such was entitled to their loyalty and support. They respected him as a hard-working, aggressive leader, an excellent trainer of troops, and a sound tactician. Both men realized that his greatest weakness was his lack of tact and diplomacy, but they felt that his positive qualities far outweighed the negative. His knowledge of the Chinese language and his previous service in that country were other important assets. His impatience and intolerance with intrigue and red tape seemed to qualify him especially for the difficult role of galvanizing the Chinese and British into action.31 Under these circumstances, the vexation Stimson and Marshall felt when outside influences disturbed the normal chain of command was understandable. While recognizing the value of Chennault as an intrepid combat general, the War Department felt it could not countenance the intrigue that resulted in the subversion of his commanding officer.32
The bitterness between Stilwell and Chennault was aggravated by a Time Magazine article in February 1943 in which Chennault was represented as deliberately disregarding Stilwell's instructions in order to bring the command problem to a head and force a decision in Washington. In spite of Chennault's denial, the story did nothing to help the already muddled situation.33 To add to the confusion, Chennault's new chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Edgar E. Glenn, brought
[85]

word to Chennault from Washington in April that the transport operations were to be transferred from Bissell's command to the Fourteenth Air Force. Although Marshall later assured Stilwell that no such change was contemplated, Chennault evidently was not informed and blamed Stilwell for not executing the alleged order.34 In such an atmosphere only animosity and discord could be expected.
The shape of things to come was brought into clearer focus during March. The President stated his belief in the overriding importance of Chennault's air operations and desired that everything be done to give him a chance to carry out his plan. He rejected Stilwell's suggestion that negotiations with Chiang be conducted on a quid pro quo basis and sympathetically supported the dignity of Chiang's position as head of the state. Tact, instead of stern measures, was needed in handling the Generalissimo.35 Although Marshall agreed with the President's estimate of the value of air operations, he hastened to affirm the Army position that the fundamental problems of logistics and ground protection for China air bases would have to be met before the air attack could become effective. The opening of a land route to China and the training of competent Chinese ground troops were necessary to supply and defend the air forces and their bases.36
In accordance with the President's wish, Chennault was assigned three eighths of the tonnage flown over the Hump, supposedly 1,500 out of 4,000 tons, and Stilwell promised to give him full latitude in carrying out his plans. While complying with Marshall's orders, Stilwell warned Marshall that the present swing of the pendulum indicated later maneuvers to put Chennault in command of both the Fourteenth and Tenth Air Forces. To forestall such a move, Stilwell suggested naming an overall air commander right away, but this proposal could not be acted upon by the War Department at this time. Marshall's comment was significant: "We must face the fact that such cannot be done."37
In an effort to retrieve an increasingly unfavorable situation, the War Department had been contemplating the return of Stilwell to the United States to permit him to present his case to the President. When in April Chiang requested the President to bring Chennault home for consultation, Marshall moved quickly to return Stilwell at the same time.38
[86]

Victory Through Airpower?
The conferences that began in Washington at the end of April and lasted through the TRIDENT period gave Chennault and Stilwell an opportunity to present their arguments before all of the interested parties. In turn they met with War Department representatives, the JCS, the President, and the British. The basic question of ground operations versus air attack was examined in detail, but the more delicate problem of Stilwell versus Chennault was also a potent factor in the final decisions. Personality became a bedfellow of strategy.
In the preliminary discussions with the Army staff members, both Chennault and Stilwell set forth conditions in the CBI and the many difficulties of operating successfully in the theater. The main consideration was remedial action to resolve some of the theater's deficiencies-in items of supply and in airfield construction.39
On May first Stilwell sent Marshall Chiang's complaints about the low morale of the Chinese people and the need for increased American aid. Stilwell believed that the low morale was the fault of the Chinese leaders and that the "need" for more aid was simply an opening wedge to lever more supplies from the United States. In his opinion, operations in the CBI and the Southwest Pacific Area should be tied together in a general plan to protect the U.S. forces from misuse by the unstable Chiang. Now, he maintained, was the time to assume a firm stand vis--vis both the Chinese and the British and to hold  them to their commitments without further concessions.40
Chennault submitted his air plan the same day, setting forth the lucrative targets existing in Japanese-held China and on Formosa that his air force could attack. He visualized a three-stage operation. It would start out with an effort to gain control of the air over China. When this had been accomplished, a period of exploitation would follow during which bombardment would play an increasingly active role. Finally, operations would be extended to include the Japanese mainland itself. To effect this, Chennault would need two groups of fighters, one medium bombardment group, one heavy bombardment group, and a reconnaissance squadron, plus reserves for all four categories. The Chinese Air Force would require eighty fighters and forty medium bombers. Initially, 4,790 tons a month would permit the operation to get under way, eventually building up to 7,128 tons a month in the final stage. Chennault did not feel that the Japanese would be any more successful in repelling such an assault than they had been in the past, and if they made the attempt, their efforts in other theaters would be reduced.41
To carry out the plan efficiently, Chennault believed that the tonnage allocated to the Fourteenth Air Force should be given first priority and that desired quantities of various supplies, such as gasoline, should be sent as requested.
[87]

He also thought that, to accelerate the operations, he should be allowed direct contact with Chinese officials on air matters.42
In his interviews with the President, Chennault found Roosevelt heartily in agreement with him on the importance of keeping China in the war and enthusiastic about the possibilities of air strikes against Japanese shipping. It was clear that while the President was willing to let the ground force program for the Yunnan Chinese armies continue, he did not intend to allow it to interfere with the air plan. The War Department, emphasizing the value of the ground program for the air effort, salvaged what little it could. It managed to moderate Chiang's request that all tonnage be devoted to the strengthening of the air forces.43
On the eve of the TRIDENT Conference, the trend toward accentuating the air effort in China was unmistakable, and there was some justice in Stilwell's charge that the President had decided the matter before his interviews with his two commanders.44 For the past month, the President had been leaning more and more heavily on the Chennault theory of quick victory through increased airpower. Unfortunately for himself, Stilwell failed to make a favorable impression in his meeting with the President and this may have strengthened Roosevelt's conviction that Chennault should be given his opportunity.45 In vain did the President's Washington military advisers counsel against placing too much confidence in an all-out air offensive unsupported by effective ground troops. As the Chinese dragon eagerly awaited its opportunity to try out its borrowed wings, the War Department could only stand by patiently and hope that eventually it would get its feet back on the ground.
Planning for Pacific Operations
In contrast to the international disputes of the China-Burma-India theater and the intra-service conflict between Stilwell and Chennault, the problems of the Pacific were chiefly inter-service. The agreements on the Pacific at Casablanca had confirmed the maintenance of constant pressure on and retention of the initiative against the Japanese. American proposals for driving the Japanese pickets from the South and Southwest Pacific, the Aleutians, and the Central Pacific had been put on the planning books. Of chief immediate concern to the U.S. staff was the reduction of Rabaul by the South and Southwest Pacific forces, as soon as the preparatory phases -the Guadalcanal and Papua Campaigns, then in progress-were completed. But problems of operational strategy and policy remained to be settled-problems inextricably mixed up with the complex and long-lingering questions of command in the Pacific. Army-Navy disagreement on the question of over-all command in the Pacific had proved to be a sore spot that eluded treatment. Since neither side was willing to accept the remedies offered by the
[88]

other, compromise solutions, which satisfied no one completely, were usually adopted, resulting in makeshift operation-to-operation arrangements that had to be re-examined constantly as conditions changed.
Operational Strategy and Policy South-Southwest Pacific
In early January before the Casablanca Conference, Admiral King had reopened the question of what the overall command would be after the reduction of Rabaul. Stressing the large Pacific Fleet units involved and the need for continued naval mobility to meet the Japanese Fleet wherever it might threaten, he proposed that an integrated command, to include SWPA, be set up under Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. King felt that separate commands would be convenient until the two axes of attack, one from the South Pacific and the other from SWPA, joined for the final assault against Rabaul, but, from that point on, MacArthur should retain strategic direction of the drive under the over-all command of Nimitz.46
King's views led Marshall to state that he believed that there were two distinct problems to be considered-first, the long-range matter of over-all command, and second, the short-term question of unified control of current operations. He agreed with King that the first was necessary, but argued that it should be subjected to a careful and close scrutiny. The second, he thought, would brook no delay if the United States was to secure the maximum effect from its forces. Deftly evading the major premise regarding Admiral Nimitz, he urged that MacArthur be given strategic direction of the operations as King had suggested. The Commander in Chief, Pacific (Nimitz), would be assigned general control of all Pacific Fleet units so that he could meet all emergencies, and the Commander, South Pacific (Admiral William F. Halsey), would retain direct command of the naval forces engaged in the Rabaul operations. The JCS would continue to control the movements of air forces to meet changing conditions.47
Since the Navy was unwilling to consent to this arrangement, King turned to the conduct of current operations. He secured Marshall's approval for MacArthur to be queried about his plans to reduce Rabaul and also suggested that naval action might be better directed against the Admiralties rather than the confined waters around Rabaul. He thought that MacArthur should consult with Nimitz and Halsey on these matters before he responded.48
MacArthur replied that he intended to carry out the steps set forth in his dispatch of 8 July 1942.49 By moving his air echelons forward to provide fighter and bomber coverage, he proposed to isolate Rabaul before undertaking the final assault. However, this action would now necessitate increased forces, since the enemy had reinforced the objective. Turning to naval action against the Admiralties, MacArthur
[89]

warned against any premature naval movement into enemy-held waters without land-based air protection. The condition of neither his ground nor his air forces would permit any offensive to be initiated in SWPA at this time. He maintained that the capture of Rabaul would require long preparation and great resources, but might well become the decisive action in the Pacific.50 By the time MacArthur's message arrived, Marshall and King, agreeing that the capture of Rabaul, with its key port, supply, and staging facilities, was still necessary, had decided that a conference between the three Pacific commanders should be held as soon as possible to iron out the details.51
While the JCS were waiting for the Pacific commanders to get together, a situation arose in early February that seemed to emphasize the need for overall command or, at least, for closer coordination in the theater. In the face of an imminent Japanese attack on Guadalcanal, a critical shortage of heavy bombers caused both King and Halsey to request reinforcements for the South Pacific Area (SOPAC). MacArthur was requested to co-operate as much as possible, but since his heavy bomber resources were limited and there was no assurance that the impending attack might not be aimed at his own area, he could only promise to try to carry out specified missions. Fortunately, the threatened blow never fell, but the resulting confusion and excitement clearly demonstrated the weaknesses of a mutual co-operation system when danger appeared suddenly.52
Further evidence of faulty co-ordination came several days later when Halsey requested all possible air support from SWPA in attacking Japanese shipping in the Buin area on Bougainville. MacArthur, in the light of the recent false alarm, informed Halsey and Marshall that his own operations would require full use of his air forces and that he was completely in the dark in regard to Halsey's plans. Without information and intelligence co-ordination, he could not consider the dislocation of his own plans and diversion of his air forces.53 By the 11th, however, some corrective action had been taken, and MacArthur was able to report that Rear Adm. Theodore S. Wilkinson of Halsey's staff had come to Brisbane and informed him of
[90]

projected operations in the South Pacific Area. Not only had co-ordination been arranged, but Wilkinson had told him that Halsey was completely in accord with MacArthur's concepts regarding Tasks Two and Three. 54
Only a few days earlier, King had again expressed his dissatisfaction with the failure of MacArthur to provide the JCS with any detailed plans for Task Two. He felt that unless more definite information on such matters as projected operations, Halsey's contemplated role, and the command setup could be secured, the JCS should call upon Nimitz and Halsey to furnish their plans for going ahead in the Solomons "in support of" MacArthur.55
Although Marshall and his staff agreed that MacArthur should immediately submit definite plans, events made it unnecessary to make any further requests. 56 Instead of a conference in the Pacific, the JCS agreed that the commanders should send their representatives to Washington to present their plans.57
Before the conferees assembled, the Navy attempted to bring up three secondary items for consideration by the Army. The first was a proposal to modify the boundary between the South Pacific and Southwest Pacific Areas so that Bougainville would fall in the former area. The second concerned the construction of airfields on Kiriwina and Woodlark Islands, situated between New Guinea and the Solomons. The third had to do with the possible increase of transport aircraft for the South Pacific. The War Department preferred to defer settlement of those problems until the coming meetings.58
The Pacific Military Conference
When the Pacific Military Conference opened in Washington on 12 March 1943, the Papua and Guadalcanal Campaigns had been successfully completed. Late in February Admiral Halsey's forces had occupied the Russell Islands,
[91]

some sixty miles northwest of Guadalcanal. This latest move in the Solomons was designed to strengthen the Guadalcanal-Tulagi position and to provide an advanced air and naval operating base for future operations.59 In addition, the Battle of the Bismarck Sea had allowed the SWPA air force to inflict heavy losses on the Japanese while they were attempting to reinforce the Lae-Salamaua area. Seven transports, four destroyers, and one auxiliary vessel, together with over 3,500 men, were sent to the bottom. This sharp setback marked the last effort of the enemy to send large ships into the Huon Gulf area; henceforth the garrisons were supplied by small barges, submarines, and air transport, which might have a better chance in running the air blockade 60
Army-Navy agreement had to be reached to insure the continued and optimum employment of the large forces that had been amassed under General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz.61 Washington military authorities felt the time had come to reach the understanding on operational strategy, resources, deployment, and command for the South-Southwest Pacific that had thus far eluded Army and Navy commanders in the field and their chiefs in the capital.
Practically every senior U.S. staff officer and air commander in the Pacific was in attendance.62 The conferees were welcomed by Admiral King and by General McNarney (representing General Marshall) for the JCS, but after the first meetings the sessions were conducted under the supervision of the joint Staff Planners, headed by Rear Adm. Charles M. Cooke, Jr., and General Wedemeyer.
[92]

The Washington planners sought to define the areas of agreement and disagreement. The War Department representatives aimed especially to balance forces and means in terms of the Army's world-wide commitments and the accepted strategic objectives. This latter task proved to be especially troublesome. As General Wedemeyer reported to the Chief of Staff shortly after the conference began:
The position of the War Department representatives has been rather difficult in that all of the conferees from the Pacific area, both Army and Navy, arrived in Washington determined to get additional means for their respective areas. For obvious reasons, they have been urged on and strongly supported by the Navy.63
At the first meeting of the conference, on 12 March 1943, Maj. Gen. Richard K. Sutherland, MacArthur's chief of staff, presented the ELKTON plan for the seizure and occupation of the New Britain-New Ireland-New Guinea area. The plan, for the continuation of operations leading to the capture of Rabaul, had been prepared by General MacArthur's staff to cover Tasks Two and Three of the 2 July 1942 JCS directive. It was based upon the concept, advanced for some time by Army representatives, of "elbowing forward" on eastern and western approaches to Rabaul. The eastern approach extended through the Solomons to Kavieng on New Ireland via New Georgia and Bougainville. The western advance proceeded along the northern coast of New Guinea to include the Huon Peninsula and Madang, then across the Vitiaz Strait to western New Britain. The axes would then converge for the final assault upon Rabaul.
The first move by SWPA forces-advancing on the western axis-would be to seize operating airfields on the Huon Peninsula to cover the approaches to New Britain. This would be followed by an advance by the SOPAC forces on the eastern axis to seize and set up air bases on New Georgia to protect the next move, into Bougainville. Then, simultaneously, the two forces would move in and establish air bases-SWPA forces on western New Britain; those from SOPAC on Bougainville. When this had been accomplished, the SOPAC forces would capture Kavieng, thus isolating Rabaul, which would be taken by amphibious assault. To carry out this ambitious plan, MacArthur and his staff had calculated that twelve and two thirds divisions and thirty air groups would be needed in SWPA, and ten divisions and fifteen air groups in the South Pacific Area. Of this total of twenty-two and two-thirds divisions, ten would have to be amphibiously trained.64
The strengths called for in the ELKTON plan were much greater than those projected by the War Department operations staff for the South and Southwest Pacific theaters. By the first of October,
 
[93]

only eight divisions were scheduled to be present in the South Pacific, leaving a shortage of two divisions. Seventeen divisions would be on hand by the first of October in SWPA, but of these, only three of the eleven Australian divisions included could be used offensively, leaving a deficit of three and two-thirds divisions. In the matter of air forces, there would be approximately six groups in the South Pacific on 1 October and fifteen groups in SWPA, or about twenty-four groups short of the theater estimate.65
There was little comment on the deficiency in ground troops, since the shortage hinged on shipping limitations rather than a lack of troops. However, the air allocations were strongly contested by the Navy, particularly Admiral Cooke, the chief Navy planner. He felt that the Army Air Forces' interpretation of the Casablanca decisions was in error and that entirely too many planes were committed to the Combined Bomber Offensive from the United Kingdom. In spite of the efforts of Wedemeyer and Brig. Gen. Orvil A. Anderson of the Air Forces to head off the introduction of European allocations into the discussion, Cooke persisted in his line of questioning. Anderson asserted that aircraft had been allocated to the Pacific after allotment to Europe in accordance with the AAF interpretation of the Casablanca decision that one of the main lines of offensive action would be the heaviest possible bomber offensive from the United Kingdom against Germany. Anderson stressed that ]its office merely provided information on the availability of aircraft and did not attempt to determine whether requirements were being met. The function of apportioning aircraft was a prerogative of tile joint Chiefs.
Since accord on the amount of air forces that should be made available to accomplish ELKTON seemed impossible, the conferees decided to refer the question to the JCS, recommending that either the forces allocated be augmented or the current directives for Pacific operations be modified. In the meantime, a subcommittee was appointed to study the possibilities of redistributing forces already allotted to the Pacific in order to ensure the most economical use of them.66 The subcommittee reported that its members were agreed that the forces required as shown in the ELKTON plan were the minimum necessary and could not be reduced.67
Cooke and Wedemeyer then presented the problem to the JCS. King felt that the Casablanca decision should not be interpreted so literally that the operations set up for the Pacific would have to depend entirely upon what was left over from the European theater. On the other hand, Marshall suggested that it would be preferable to decide how the forces now set up for the Pacific: could be used, and then investigate what additional forces would be needed.
[94]

Handy and Stratemeyer pointed out that if the Pacific aircraft requirements were met, the Combined Bomber Offensive would be directly and adversely affected, the Casablanca decisions might be voided, and the whole strategy of the war might have to be changed. The Army attitude that the Allies must concentrate upon defeating Germany first had as a corollary the increasing of the bomber offensive from the United Kingdom as swiftly as possible. Small increases to the Pacific could be made when such additions did not affect the buildup in the United Kingdom. As a result of this discussion, the joint planners were instructed to report on the forces that could be sent to the Pacific by fully utilizing all shipping available currently and in the next several months. They were also to report on the possible effects of diverting additional aircraft to the Pacific.68
Two plans were submitted by the JPS. The first contained two alternatives, both of which reflected the desire of the War Department to hew closely to its interpretation of the Casablanca decisions. Each alternative would have added a moderate number of aircraft to the already planned allocations, along with the shipment of additional ground forces. In the second plan, favored by the Navy, one division allotted to the South Pacific would be canceled and increased air allocations would be sent to both the South Pacific and SWPA. The Army planners considered the latter plan inconsistent with Allied global strategy for 1943 since the forces contemplated were in excess of those believed adequate to fulfill the Casablanca decisions. The air increases would reduce the strength of the bomber offensive from the United Kingdom without providing commensurate return since even these added forces would not be sufficient to reduce Rabaul in 1943. 69
The heart of the matter was the personal preference expressed by the Pacific commanders for air forces over ground forces, if a choice had to be made. The JCS finally approved the second plan and directed the conferees to explore the offensive operations possible in 1943 with all the forces currently allocated and to present their findings to the joint Chiefs.70
The gains of the theater representatives may be gauged when compared with the original estimates of air deployment prepared by the War Department operations staff at the start of the conference. By the end of 1943 the additional air allocations would amount to one medium bomber group, two light bomber groups, two fighter groups, one observation group, and one half of a transport group for SWPA, and a small augmentation of heavy bombers and fighters for the South Pacific.71
[95]

The conferees were agreed that even with these increases only Task Two of the 2 July 1942 directive could be carried out- Madang, the southeast portion of Bougainville, Cape Gloucester, and Kiriwina and Woodlark Islands, but not Kavieng and Rabaul.72 The conferees pointed out that the construction of air bases on Kiriwina and Woodlark Islands would provide support for the Pacific line of communications and over the Solomons area itself. It would allow freer interchange of air resources between SOPAC and SWPA and would also permit a later move into New Georgia. Although Admiral King was not particularly pleased about the inactivity of the South Pacific forces during the advance into the Huon Peninsula and again brought up the subject of operations in the Marshall Islands, the JCS on 21 March approved in principle the concept for 1943 operations presented by the conferees. The joint planners were instructed to prepare for JCS approval a directive to put the plan into effect.73
Although the conference did not officially come to an end until the 28th of March, its practical work ceased on the 21st. The remainder of the time was spent straightening out the many details of the directive, a task that was principally a staff responsibility.
The difficulties of settling the problems of resources and operations seemed minor compared with the intricacies of working out an acceptable answer to the question of command. Counterproposal followed proposal, as both sides jockeyed for position. The attempts of the Navy to have the original directive of July 1942 modified took several directions but met with little success. The Navy's first suggestion was for a territorial change, proposing that all of the Solomons be placed in SOPAC, thus allowing operations in that area to continue by mutual co-ordination under naval command.74 When this tack failed, the Navy proposed that all of the Pacific theater be placed under Navy command on the same basis that U.S. forces in the European and Mediterranean theaters had been placed under Army command.75
In the face of Navy agitation for command or territorial change, the Army clung firmly to the provisions of the July directive, which assigned strategic command in the Solomons to MacArthur at the end of the Guadalcanal-Tulagi operations. Concessions were offered, however, to permit Nimitz increased control of Pacific Fleet units and to give Halsey direct control of forces operating in the Solomons. The Army also offered to put the allocation of forces and the timing of operations under the JCS.76
The chief anxiety of the Navy seemed to be the restrictions upon the strategic
[96]
 

flexibility of the Pacific Fleet, which must, in its opinion, be ready at any moment to meet any threatened attack by the Japanese over the Navy's wide-flung frontier. To satisfy this concern and at the same time to meet the desire of Admiral Leahy to provide firm commitments of naval forces to MacArthur, King proposed that all units of the Pacific Ocean Area, other than those assigned by the JCS to task forces, remain under the control of Nimitz. The proposal was accepted by the joint Chiefs of Staff since it was in conformity with the initial stand of the Army and answered Leahy's objection.77 When King voiced his fear that the large South Pacific naval forces might be inactive while MacArthur was making his first move, Marshall stated that, although MacArthur did not want any grand-scale operations that might draw off air support from the SWPA advance to Madang, he himself felt that every opportunity to exploit Japanese weakness should be taken. From Halsey's own reports, it appeared that he would continue to exert pressure on the Japanese and to advance wherever it was militarily feasible.78
The directive sent to the Pacific commanders on 29 March provided that the operations against Rabaul would be under the direction of MacArthur, and that Halsey, working under general directives from MacArthur, would be in direct command of operations in the Solomons. All naval units except those assigned to task forces by the JCS would remain under Nimitz' control. Also, MacArthur was to submit to the JCS general plans on the composition of task forces and on the sequence and timing of his operations.79
The Pacific Military Conference had succeeded in bringing about an adjustment of demands vis--vis supply for the Pacific. The requests of the Pacific commanders for increased air allocations were examined by the Army planners and found to be excessive on two counts: in the first place, to have complied with the requests would have been to cut down the shipments of aircraft to the United Kingdom for the Combined Bomber Offensive, which had first priority on U.S. production; and second, had the aircraft been available to the Pacific, a shortage of shipping would have limited delivery. The compromise, which . the Navy support for increased air commitments produced, resulted in additional planes being sent to the Pacific at the expense of ground troops already projected for that area and of the U.K. bomber offensive. The scope of proposed operations, however, had been limited to those that could be carried out with current allocations, plus the recently won air increases. The theater representatives therefore gained a small victory with the -Navy's assistance, but the War Department, on the other hand, had been able to keep the increases
[97]

within bounds and the operations within reality. Both groups could feel some measure of satisfaction over the outcome.
The projected operations in the Pacific, which later assumed the code name CARTWHEEL, were to carry the United States through 1943. The command arrangements represented a further compromise between the Army and Navy, probably the best that could have been secured at that time. The Army had preserved its fiction of unity of command and the Navy had safeguarded the position of the Pacific Fleet. In the absence of inter-service agreement on a supreme commander, the problem of allocating resources in the Pacific was to remain the task of the JCS. But at the very least, a modus vivendi had been worked out to allow the advance in the Pacific to proceed.
Postlude to the Conference
After waiting patiently for a month for MacArthur's answer, King in early May suggested that MacArthur again be requested to submit his detailed plans and target dates for the operations outlined in the joint directive of 29 March. King pointed out that in the past two months the Pacific had been inactive except for conferences and exchanges of telegrams on the adjustment of forces and the timing and sequence of operations. In his opinion, the inactivity should be ended as soon as possible with the inauguration of offensive operations in the Solomon"-Woodlark area.80
MacArthur's reply briefly outlined the intended sequence of operations but cautioned that plans would be subject to the changing conditions of the tactical situation. The plans envisaged the occupation of Kiriwina and Woodlark Islands on or about 15 June 1943. While the western axis from SWPA advanced toward Madang, SOPAC forces advancing along the eastern axis would endeavor to infiltrate into New Georgia and capture the Buin-Faisi area. The third steps, on both axes-the occupation of western New Britain and Kieta and the neutralization of Buka-would probably proceed simultaneously. Three task forces were to be established: one for New Guinea operations from SWPA; one for the Solomons from SOPAC; and a third for the Kiriwina-Woodlark and western New Britain operations from both SWPA and SOPAC. No estimates in timing for the later advances were given.81 MacArthur later informed Marshall that the seizure of Kiriwina-Woodlark and the infiltration into New Georgia would both take place on 30 June instead of on 15 June.82
In the meantime, the War Department released a group of P-47's for shipment to SWPA and agreed to make up Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney's heavy bomber deficit by 1 July. MacArthur was also notified that the 1st Cavalry Division, 
[98]

then in the United States, would be sent to his area during June, to be followed by the 24th Infantry Division from Hawaii as soon as shipping was available.83 Negotiations had also been conducted with the Australian Government in the matter of bringing its air forces up to strength. At the time of the March conference, Prime Minister John Curtin of Australia had asked President Roosevelt for 1,500 additional operational aircraft and 500 additional air transports to meet future Japanese threats against Australia. In April the Australian Minister for External Affairs, H. V. Evatt, came to Washington to discuss the situation with the President. He asked the United States to supply twenty-seven additional squadrons to complete the seventy-three-squadron program of the Royal Australian Air Force. The President at first could not see his way clear to meet this increase, and the War Department vigorously opposed any expansion of the RAAF at the expense of U.S. units elsewhere. However, when Evatt proposed that the completion of this program be extended to the end of 1944 Roosevelt decided, for political reasons, to give the Australians six squadrons of obsolescent Army and Navy planes during the balance of 1943.84
All in all, the military planning growing out of the Pacific Military Conference was essentially short range and limited in scope. Deployment to the South-Southwest Pacific was still largely of the familiar piecemeal 1942 variety though now aimed at promoting a series of tactical offensives. Brig. Gen. William W. Bessell, Jr., one of the chief wartime Army strategic planners, has since stated that the decisions resulting from the conference represented primarily "opportunistic planning and defensive strategy designed to meet the current situation." 85 Rabaul, key to the security of the sea and air approaches to Australia, was still accepted as the main target. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff still had -to approved long-range plan and had not established a major ultimate objective. A step-by-step advance, largely determined by the radii of land-based aircraft, was still to be the rule for the advance in the South-Southwest Pacific.
Operations in the Aleutians
Meanwhile, plans and preparations were also taking shape for operations in the North Pacific. The Japanese lodgments on the Aleutian Islands of Kiska and Attu in June 1942 had caused alarm along the Pacific coast and increased commitments to the Alaskan theater during the rest of 1942. As the year came to a close, however, several factors tended to allay this uneasiness. First, the Japanese
[99]

themselves adopted a purely defensive attitude and made no further attempts to advance along the island chain. Second, weather conditions made any offensive action in the area difficult. The overcast that covered the islands most of the time made air and naval operations dangerous and often impossible. Gradually, the activity in Alaska settled down to a war of attrition that proved costly to the Japanese in their efforts to support their garrisons and expensive to the United States since it pinned down a large number of troops that the War Department might have used to better advantage elsewhere.
During the latter part of 1942, there had been some expectation among the Washington military staffs that the North Pacific route might become increasingly important in the Japanese war, especially if the Japanese decided to attack Siberia.86 In September Admiral King had called for a study of ways and means of supporting Soviet troops in the Far East and of using Soviet bases to strike at Japan itself should war break out between Japan and the USSR.87 A special subcommittee of the joint Staff Planners turned in a report at the end of November, listing what would have to be done to prepare for the contingency. They recommended recapturing the western Aleutians and obtaining Soviet co-operation in planning for a campaign against Japan via the northern route.88 On 5 January 1943 the JCS approved the Recommendations, with only slight modifications, for planning purposes.89
Meanwhile, the whole question of possible collaboration in the North Pacific especially air collaboration-was being taken up through the highest political channels. Undaunted by earlier failures, General Arnold had in mid-1942 reopened this question, which had especially interested the AAF from the very beginning of the war. In July the President had sent Maj. Gen. Follett Bradley to Moscow to concert measures with the Russians in the event of an attack by Japan on the USSR. A special object of the Bradley mission was to pave the way for utilizing the air bases of Siberia. After three months negotiations, an agreement had been reached that Bradley should survey the airfields in Siberia, but the Russians then reversed their decision and the whole proposal collapsed. Rejecting the American offer to commit three heavy bomber groups to Siberia immediately after the outbreak of war between the Soviet Union and Japan, Stalin, on 13 January 1943, informed the President that what he wanted was not air units later in the Far East, but planes at once for the Soviet-German front.90 The President had already told Stalin that the units would be available only in tire event of a Japanese attack on the Soviet Union, and then only by redisposing U.S. air forces in the Pacific.91 this note the correspondence ended.  
 
[100]

The failure of the Bradley mission underscored the continued disinterest of the Soviet Union in putting an end to its armed neutrality in the Far East. Obviously, Stalin was determined not to be drawn into a two-front war. Therefore nothing came of the early proposals for co-operation in the North Pacific. Clearly, any offensive from the Aleutians would have to await Soviet entry into the war against Japan. Although the fear, which had spurred the early staff studies, that the Soviet Union might be attacked by Japan proved groundless and the Soviet attitude frustrating, the potential use of the northern route was long to remain a factor in American planning against Japan.
While the Soviet-American negotiations had been under way, Washington relaxed its previous curbs on the schemes of commanders in the theater for clearing the Aleutians, but Marshall warned DeWitt in December that any plan for ejecting the Japanese from the Aleutians must be fitted into the many requirements of the over-all picture. Pointing out that a total of 98,000 men was then committed to Alaska, he observed that, in light of the desperate fighting and the needs in other areas, the Army could not afford a continual increase to the Alaskan area.92
At the Casablanca Conference, Marshall himself had tempered the intention of the JCS to drive the Japanese out of the Aleutians to the milder "make the Aleutians as secure as may be," lest the British be led to believe that contemplated operations were to be on a major scale.93 For quite a while, Marshall and his staff planners had felt that extensive operations in the Aleutians would be profitless and indecisive in pressing the war against Japan unless the USSR joined in the war and the northern route to Japan was exploited.94
The occupation of Amchitka without resistance in January placed the U.S. forces in position to carry out the operation planned against Kiska, but it soon became evident that with the means available the operation would be impossible. On 7 March Rear Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid, commanding Task Force 8, suggested that an operation against Attu should be substituted for the one against Kiska. He based his recommendation on the ground that the shortage of shipping and forces, added to the usual obstacles of fog and mist, ruled out the Kiska operation. On the other hand, he urged, the Attu attack could be undertaken with the forces available in the theater.95
The JCS looked with favor upon Kinkaid's proposal and instructed Nimitz and DeWitt to plan and train for the Attu operation provided no additional resources were required.96 During the following week, DeWitt sent a draft directive to Nimitz suggesting 7 May as the target date. Supreme command was to be invested in Admiral Kinkaid, with the amphibious forces under Rear Adm. Francis W. Rockwell until the landing phase was completed, at which time the
[101]

commanding general of the assault force, the 7th Infantry Division, would assume direction 97
The need to make a firm decision was accentuated when intelligence reports indicated that the Japanese were building an airfield on Attu. King was all the more anxious that the commitment be made firm, since the Pacific Military Conference discussions then pointed to a deferment of extensive operations in the Solomons. When Marshall agreed, the JCS directed Nimitz and DeWitt to proceed with the operation as soon as possible.98 Arrangements on the size of the Army forces to be employed were concluded by direct communication between DeWitt and the War Department. The Army planning staff approved the use of two reinforced infantry regiments, one standard infantry regiment, and some engineer units.99
On 1 April Nimitz issued his official directive for the Attu and Shemya operations. It followed closely the recommendations of DeWitt's draft proposals in the matter of command and retained 7 May as the target date.100 DeWitt informed the Chief of Staff that command relationships between the top Army and Navy commanders were excellent and that preparations were going ahead apace. The worst enemy was expected to be not the Japanese but the weather.101 DeWitt added that he favored asking the Soviet Union for permission to establish air and naval bases on the Komandorskie Islands. The USSR had already been approached several times for this permission in connection with Siberian air bases and intelligence information about Siberian capacities, but to no avail. Since there had not been any recent change in the Soviet attitude, Marshall felt that there would be no point in bringing the subject to their attention again.102
The attack on Attu, which began on 11 May, ended on the 31st with the complete annihilation of the Japanese garrison.103 This, with the concurrent seizure of Shemya, marked the next important step-after Amchitka-looking toward the final expulsion of the enemy from the Aleutians.
System of Command of Joint Operations
The decisions at Casablanca and the heightened operational activity in the Pacific, current and prospective, in the early months of 1943 drove home to the Army the need for something more than the ad hoc arrangements for joint Army and Navy action painfully and slowly worked out between the services for each operation. Although inter-service agreement on an over-all command and commander still seemed to be out of the question, there was hope that an understanding might at least be reached on  
 
[102]

the principles of a system of command for joint Army and Navy action. This subject, closely bound up with the quest for unity of command, had long been under study and negotiation by the Army and Navy. Earlier, the problems of joint command in Iceland, Hawaii, and the Caribbean and in joint tactical undertakings had been settled on an individual basis.104 The need for a system of guiding rules for joint operations, apart from the customary co-ordination by mutual co-operation, was all the more apparent to the Army after the CCS at Casablanca had approved principles of unified command for combined organizations.
The immediate prospects were not too encouraging. Shortly after that conference, the Navy attempted to revise certain portions of the combined agreement, in spite of the protests of the Army that the understanding had already been adopted by the CCS.105 Admiral King's quarrel was with the use of the term "joint," which he believed should be restricted to operations carried on by two or more services of one nation, rather than two or more of the arms of one nation. King asserted that the United States had only two services, the Army and the Navy, but each service had at least two arms. Under the definition suggested by the compact on combined command, a joint command could be constituted by any Army and Air Forces operation, or a Navy-Marine task force.
The War Department operations staff felt that King's objection was based on the Navy's refusal to accept the fact that functionally the United States had three fundamental arms-land, sea, and air within the two armed services. The original definition had been drawn up to recognize this functional use of forces, and for that reason Marshall was counseled to oppose any change.106
King proceeded to recommend that this reference to arms be deleted from the agreement completely, along with another that provided for representation on the staff of a combined commander of the various "arms" and "services" of participating nations. He thought that the provision was unnecessary since it would allow nations with small forces operating under an Allied commander to have representation on his staff and cause confusion.107 King's position was opposed with vigor by the War Department operations staff, which argued that the basic theme of the understanding was the need of the commander for the advice and assistance of staff representatives of the arms and nations constituting the overall force.108 When Admiral Leahy supported the War Department view, stressing that the concurrence of the British had been obtained with difficulty and that the United States might lose the points it had gained if it reopened the subject, King withdrew his proposals.109
Having successfully resisted the attempt to re-examine the combined agreement, the Army planners began working out a similar agreement on the joint
[103]

level. A set of War Department proposals on a system of command for U.S. joint operations had been under study by the joint Staff Planners since September 1942, and by the joint Strategic Survey Committee since January 1943.110 During this period, the War Department maintained, the Navy had in effect exercised a "pocket veto" of the Army proposals by delaying consideration of the subject. Finally, in spite of Navy efforts to remove the matter from the agenda of the joint Planning Staff, the Army planners insisted that it be brought before the JCS, if only as the view of the Army. The Navy contended that there was no necessity for formal directives. to bind the two services to unity of command when the determining factor was the willingness of the commanders concerned to co-operate. In rebuttal, the Army asserted that the principle of unified command had been recognized as sound by both services and should be established for joint forces as well as combined.111
 
The Army planners correlated their views with those of the joint Strategic Survey Committee. The Navy counterparts, suddenly dropping their objections on the ground that they had not been aware that Admiral King had referred the whole subject to the JSSC, approved the revised proposals. 112
 
On 20 April 1943 final agreement was reached by the JCS. Among the principles adopted to govern future operations were: a single commander would be designated by the JCS on the basis of the job to be performed; command prerogatives over a joint force were to be exercised as though the forces involved were all Army or all Navy; the JCS would send the joint commander major directives relating to components of the force; the joint commander would not normally be commander of a component of his force; the joint commander would be assisted by a joint staff, representative of the components of his force; and subsidiary joint forces would be organized on the same principles.113
 
The acquiescence of the Navy in a definite system of command for joint operations was a step forward in settling outstanding points of difference between the two services. The agreement was by no means a panacea for all the misunderstandings that were bound to arise when interests clashed and service loyalties were concerned, nor was it intended to be. The attempt to place the joint commander in a separate niche was designed to lift him above petty rivalries and to give him a free hand to devote all his energies to the direction of operations.
[104]

 With the weaknesses of the mutual cooperation system plainly evident, the reform was designed to create not only greater co-ordination between commanders but also greater efficiency in the use of the forces involved.
 
The agreement in Washington on the principles of command was in keeping with the quickening pace of the American advance in the Pacific. It promised to speed the execution of the approved joint operational strategy and to mitigate some of the effects of compartmentization in the Pacific. But the larger and interrelated questions of over-all strategy and deployment in the war against Japan would have to await the solution of basic long-range problems in the coalition and global war, which were beyond the sole jurisdiction of the Army and Navy-the formula for which the Army planning staff in the spring of 1943 was searching.
 
The results of the negotiations of the U.S. Chiefs and their staffs on the Pacific, in the months immediately following Casablanca, pointed up a number of developments. Several short-term problems of command, resources, and operations had been settled for the immediate future. A system of command for joint action agreeable to both the Army and Navy had been adopted. The proponents of higher priority for the Pacific war had labored, with some success, to secure larger commitments. On the other hand, the old problem of the precise relationship of the war against Japan to the war against the European Axis was more than ever a moot question. Tentative long-range plans to defeat Japan were being studied on the joint planning level, but these were still in the nature of academic exercises and only straws in the wind. Until firm decisions and definite commitment of resources and strength for the defeat of Germany were made, the Pacific war would continue to be conducted on a contingent basis; realistic long-range planning would be impossible. That these implications were not lost on the Army staff became apparent as it turned to preparations for the forthcoming meetings with the British in Washington at the TRIDENT Conference.
[105]

Endnotes

Previous Chapter     Next Chapter

Return to the Table of Contents


Search CMH Online
Return to CMH Online
Last updated 1 June 2004