Military Planning and Foreign Affairs

Among the many elements in national policy, foreign affairs most immediately affected military planning in the later war years and especially affected OPD's staff work on the last phases of the war against Japan. OPD officers, trying to calculate future deployment and to guide overseas commanders on their current operational problems, needed continual guidance as to the main objectives of the United States in its foreign relations. At the same time it became more and more important to them to make sure, from day to day, that the authorities responsible for formulating foreign policy aims were aware of the military implications of their proposals and actions. For these reasons, OPD attached increasing importance to the maintenance and improvement of effective liaison with the White House and the State Department.

Liaison with the White House

As soon as the United States entered the war, American staff officers had begun their education in the methods of conducting a great war within a coalition of great powers. They quickly learned that the President, like the Prime Minister, could not determine military strategy, even in wartime, solely upon the basis of advice from professional officers. The President also had to take into consideration many other matters, on which he had advice from many sources and took action through many nonmilitary channels. While Army officers appreciated this situation, it was only gradually that they came to recognize the need for continuous collaboration with the White House and the State Department. Very little in their previous training or experience prepared them for the circumstances under which they had to work. Those who had served longest in the War Department, though experienced in the ways of government, were themselves extremely circumspect, being unwilling that discussion or action on military questions should be entangled unnecessarily with discussion or action on other matters of national policy. They had fresh in their memories the bitter contention concerning the policy of the United States in the years before Pearl Harbor. Experience in those days had re-emphasized the advantages of the discipline in which they had been schooled, that is, of proceeding on the assumption that the formulation and execution of the military plans of the United States could be segregated in administrative practice from staff work on other aspects of national policy. For all purposes of the record, at least, their code was that the Army, when


asked, would advise "how" to achieve stated military objectives, but would not otherwise influence decision about "what" to do.1

During the early part of the war the President helped his military advisers to maintain their reticence on other than "strictly" military questions by making it understood, as a basis for dealing with them, that it was the administration's aim to win the war in the way most efficient from a strictly military point of view.2 But as Army forces began going overseas, it became increasingly impracticable for military planners to avoid taking foreign affairs into their military calculations. Almost all early deployment was influenced by political as well as by military considerations, and Army commanders, once they had arrived overseas, faced political as well as military problems. The public clamor over the negotiations which General Eisenhower conducted with Admiral Jean Darlan in his effort to end the resistance of French forces in North Africa, dramatically illustrated the fact that the Army, even in executing military plans as ordered, and in making decisions on grounds of military necessity could not avoid becoming involved in the most controversial questions of foreign policy.

In 1943 the long-range interaction of military operations with American foreign policy began insistently to force itself on the attention of the Army. General Wedemeyer observed, in the spring of 1943, that American military opinion would "have to be reinforced by the full weight of national policy as opposed to that of the British" to get the British military staff to support a cross-Channel invasion.3 The fact that the armed forces, even in trying to follow the quickest, easiest road to victory, had to watch with care the development of foreign policy, was well enough established by the spring of 1943 for General Marshal to make an official statement on the subject. Shortly before the TRIDENT Conference and speaking on behalf of the JCS he assured a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that the U. S. Chiefs of Staff had not discussed political matters at Casablanca, but that the "thought of political matters" was of course continuously on their minds. He emphasized that the British Chiefs of Staff, through their secretariat, were closely bound with the War Cabinet and the Prime Minister and that the U. S. Chiefs of Staff were alert to the British "united front" methods and would be able to match the British performance. In concluding his statement, General Marshall took his stand on the ground that military strategy had to be decisive in the conduct of a great war.4 In that sense, military strategy was the principal expression of wartime national policy, and the co-ordination of staff work on military planning was the principal administrative problem of the government for the time being. Better co-ordination of military staff work in support of the JCS and closer collaboration between the JCS and the President answered the most critical need for greater coherence and realism in American national policy in the mid war period.

General Marshall recognized that the British planned and carried out national


policies on a much broader basis of coordinated interdepartmental committee work. The British Chiefs of Staff were better advised on matters of foreign and domestic policy than were the U. S. Chiefs of Staff, who had to depend to a large extent on the President himself for such advice, since he kept such matters largely in his own hands and had no executive secretariat to supervise the orderly flow of such information from his study. Until the President told them what he thought, the U. S. Chiefs of Staff were often on very uncertain ground, and even after he took a position, and informed them of it, usually through Admiral Leahy, they were not always thoroughly acquainted with the background of the decision and frequency were not at all certain of its detailed implications for related military plans and operations. It was in reference to this situation that General Marshall in mid-1943, departing from his usual scrupulous practice of dealing only with administrative questions affecting his own department, confidentially informed James F. Byrnes, who as Director of Economic Stabilization had become a kind of "Assistant President," that the need was great for some secretariat agency for "keeping all these groups in Washington in an automatic relationship one with the other." 5

This weakness was evident on the level of the staff committees on which the JCS depended so much in making their recommendations and decisions. The American military planners were at a serious disadvantage at every step in drawing up military agreements with the British because they lacked continuous guidance from men fully informed, both in general and in detail, on the foreign policies of the United States. A great part of their difficulty probably lay in the absence of clearly articulated national policy, but part was due to the lack of systematic dissemination downward of such policy as there was. As an officer in OPD's Strategy Section observed, the British joint planners had less to do with "matters of an economic, sociological or administrative nature" than their American counterparts. These matters were being dealt with authoritatively by other British agencies in the light of the same national policy that guided the military planners while nonmilitary policy decisions, especially foreign policies, were brought into harmony with military planning on the highest level. This OPD officer observed that at least one of the British military planners in Washington "didn't even know how some of the subjects handled by our planners were dealt with in the U.K." The "greater play of partisan politics in our government," he went on to state, "militates strongly against greater integration between our services and other departments except the State Department," and even the methods of coordinating military plans with the State Department left much to be desired.6

Liaison between the military staffs and the White House was carried on almost entirely by a few high officials, who could not begin to handle the volume of staff business requiring co-ordination. They were the Chiefs of Staff (individually and collectively, directly and through Admiral Leahy), the civilian secretaries and undersecretaries, Harry Hopkins, and (after mid


1943) Mr. Byrnes.7 Senior staff officers sometimes had a chance to talk with Mr. Hopkins, who was actively interested in military strategy, but not so often as they probably would have liked. General Wedemeyer wrote a note to Mr. Hopkins after the Washington conference of May 1943, inclosing summaries of the decisions and maps illustrating them, to "help you and the President to retain a comprehensive grasp of the entire TRIDENT." He also expressed his regrets that he had not had a chance to talk with Mr. Hopkins, explaining that he had "wanted to discuss projected operations so that you would know how we envisage developments subsequent to a firm lodgment on the continent." 8 The problem of liaison with the White House, inherently difficult, was made more complicated by unsystematic organization within the White House staff.9

In this situation the War Department could be sure that the President received a professional interpretation of current military operations only when he specifically asked for one or on the occasions when General Marshall felt obliged to submit one, even without being asked. OPD, besides drafting the papers sent on such occasions, prepared for the White House a War Department Daily Operational Summary which gave the President in a page or two the simple facts of current operations.10 The senior Army officer on duty in the White House Map Room was in a position sometimes to explain to the President and his staff the latest reports, and thus to check the circulation of vague ideas and misconceptions concerning matters of fact. The officers who served in this capacity during the latter part of the war were well qualified to perform this task, two of them having been in charge of theater sections in OPD previously and the other having served on the Joint Intelligence Committee.11 But though they could help keep the White House informed about military operations and help keep the military staff in touch with developments at the White House, these officers and other staff officers in daily contact with the White House could not compensate for the fact that during most of the war the President formed his impressions and made his decisions on military matters, as on others, without the benefit of fully systematic interdepartmental staff work.

Symptomatic of the lack of co-ordinated staff action in general was the difficulty of keeping up with the President's day-to-day activities even in the field of military strategy. The President often had someone on his staff prepare a message on military operations, or revise a draft message prepared either in the joint staff or by one of the service staffs. The phrasing of such a message could often involve important changes in American military plans, and General Marshall, Admiral King, and General Arold were very anxious to see the final draft before it was dispatched so that, when necessary, they could call attention to the military consequences.

On one such occasion, Admiral Leahy himself drafted such a message (to Marshal


Stalin) at the President's direction. General Deane, secretary to the JCS, after talking with Admiral Leahy about it, came away with the impression that the message might indicate a willingness to do something not hitherto considered, against which the military staffs would strongly advise. He therefore got in touch with General Handy and told him that General Marshall probably should talk with Admiral Leahy about it. Apparently as a result of General Handy's suggestion, General Arnold took up the matter with Admiral Leahy and, as General Arnold noted, a "satisfactory cable" finally was sent.12 Only the next day did OPD manage to get a copy of the message for the War Department from an officer on the President's staff, via an intermediary in the JCS secretariat.13 Under the circumstances, informal procedure of this kind was about the only solution to the problem of "following up" on the fate of messages drafted for the President.

Another symptom of the difficulties in maintaining liaison with the White House was the fact that the War Department was frequently indebted to the British Joint Staff Mission for copies of correspondence between the President and the Prime Minister dealing with future military operations or related matters. Field Marshal Sir John Dill, head of the mission during most of the war, was aware that liaison between the White House and the JCS was often rather haphazard and recognized that General Marshall needed to know at once about such correspondence, which the British military staff in Washington received as a matter of course. He therefore frequently sent copies, on a strictly personal basis, to General Marshall, who normally turned them over to OPD, still in strictest confidence, for information, action, or comment. OPD's normal channel for getting such information was through the Office of the Chief of Staff, particularly through the Secretary of the General Staff.

General Marshall made it a regular practice to pass on to OPD any and all information that might be useful in study or action. The flow of documents into the Division files steadily increased, and by the end of the war they included an extensive though incomplete record of the President's correspondence with the Prime Minister. OPD in fact drafted a great many of the messages on the President's side of this exchange of views, as well as many other memoranda for the President, either for his information or for his signature and dispatch.14 By mid-1944 the executive office was sufficiently uninhibited to start a file called "Information from the White House," consisting mostly of messages the President actually dispatched to the Prime Minister or Marshal Stalin in connection with problems in which OPD was involved. All of this correspondence was kept in the special executive office file, along with the highest security military information of the whole war period, and excluded from the regular files of the Division. Above and beyond following the dictates of a well-trained sense of respect for military security, OPD officers realized that they had moved into fields


of national policy in which their presence might be criticized, however much they needed to be there in the interests of doing their own work well. Hence the Division adopted an extremely strict policy on access to its records, even by officers in OPD, who were entitled to know everything available only about those subjects to which their staff actions related. In this guarded way, quite informally, OPD maintained essential liaison with the White House throughout World War II.

Liaison with the State Department

OPD also tried to meet the need for staff co-ordination on questions of foreign policy through informal liaison with the State Department. On certain kinds of problems, especially those related to foreign affairs, the War Department dealt directly with the State Department because such matters were legally and traditionally the business of the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy rather than of the Chiefs of Staff, either individually or in their collective capacity as the JCS. While the status of the JCS committees in negotiations with the State Department was in doubt, the position of OPD in the War Department permitted the Division to establish contacts with foreign policy staffs that were extremely useful in both Army and joint staff military planning. In the midwar period this informal liaison with the State Department was the chief resource of Army planners for checking their work against the foreign affairs element in national policy.

Staff officers were well aware of the need for liaison between the joint staff and the State Department, but nothing was done in midwar to guarantee systematic co-ordination. Late in May 1943 the JWPC, then recently established, recommended that the State Department name a part-time representative to advise the joint committees on drafting important papers since it was "impossible entirely to divorce political considerations from strategic planning." 15 The Strategy Section of OPD agreed that it was "becoming increasingly evident that State Department advice and assistance during the planning period is not only desirable but necessary," and called attention to the fact that the Policy Section was then preparing a paper for joint consideration recommending "closer relationship between the war planning agencies and the State Department" in "emulation" of the relationship existing between the British Foreign Office and British military authorities.16

General Wedemeyer, of the same opinion, recommended to General Marshall that something should be done to "provide closer coordination" with the State Department, perhaps by making a State Department representative an associate member of the Joint Staff Planners or by inviting one to attend JCS meetings "when papers concerned with national and foreign policies are on the agenda." He observed in explanation:

The JCS frequently require information and advice as to how their military decisions will affect our foreign and national policies, or as to whether the decisions are in conformity with international law, or as to what effect, if any, their decisions will have on our national interests. Some solution will be necessary if we are to achieve that unity of


national effort which is so well exemplified in the British organization.17

Those recommendations produced no immediate result, and by the end of the summer of 1943, the JWPC tacitly recognized that there was no use repeating them for the time being. They began to put even more emphasis than before on the utility of close relations between the JCS and the President, through which the planners could find out what the State Department was doing as well as what the President and the Prime Minister were considering in their almost continuous correspondence, so far as it might "influence our strategy." 18 No provision was made for formal, regular consultation with representatives of the State Department until 1944.

The closest liaison between OPD and the State Department had to do only with Western Hemisphere matters. Since before Pearl Harbor the Division had handled this kind of liaison for the War Department, mainly through the Latin American Section and, later and to a lesser extent, through the parallel North American Section. Early in 1944 a single American section was set up under Col. Kenner F. Hertford, amalgamating the North American and Latin American Sections. Most of the problems dealt with by both these sections were not strictly military in character but instead concerned the interrelation of minor Army operational decisions with national policies of the United States concerning relations with other American governments, and with public opinion in the continental United States. The staff work which the Division had long supplied in support of the inter-American (Canada, Brazil, and Mexico) defense boards and commissions was characteristic of this kind of quasi-military action. In recognition of the broad significance of questions of policy in this kind of work, Colonel Hertford divided the American Section into two units, one called Operations and the other specifically called Policy.

Colonel Hertford left the Division in May 1944 to become Deputy Commander, U. S. Army Forces, South Atlantic, in which capacity he was promoted to brigadier general on 5 September 1944. At the end of 1944 he was recalled to Washington on temporary duty to serve on a committee preparing for the conference of "American Republics Cooperating in the War Effort," held in Mexico City.19 It was then proposed that General Hertford stay in Washington to set up in OPD a single agency to handle all War Department action that concerned Latin America. The State Department responded very favorably, promising to give General Hertford every facility for knowing the State Department's views.20 Accordingly, at the end of March 1945 General Hertford returned to OPD to form the Pan-American Group, of which he was chief for the duration of hostilities. Designed to be a central co-ordinating agency for all politico-military affairs of the United States involving Latin America, it performed those functions of the former American Section pertaining to South America, the Caribbean


Defense Command, and the U. S. Army Forces, South Atlantic. 21

The elevation of Pan-American affairs to the group level reflected the fact that late in the war OPD's interest in Latin America was more a matter of planning and policy making than of theater operations. The Pan-American Group operated as both a planning and operating staff, a specialized OPD within OPD for Latin American affairs. Co-ordination between its work and that of S&P was especially close.

A great many liaison relations with other agencies in Washington had to be established in order to secure for OPD information that did not fall within the range of knowledge of any of the sections in the Division, not even the broadly diversified Policy Section or the Western Hemisphere units. At first these matters were handled through the OPD executive office, and as the number involving liaison with the State Department grew, by a specially qualified member of the Division, recruited for the purpose, Lt. Col. Harry A. McBride, formerly an assistant to Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Colonel McBride came on active duty in the Division in November 1942 "to be used for handling all our OPD contacts with the State Department." 22 He served in this capacity for approximately sixteen months, most of them with inactive duty status without pay, necessary because of legal requirements of another, permanent government position.

The advantages to OPD of having this special channel to the State Department were soon apparent. By early 1943 General Hull, on behalf of the Theater Group, reached an understanding with a high-ranking State Department officer, who asserted: "I'm going to take on myself to tell a great many thing to Harry [McBride] that he'll get across to you . . . for whatever value they have to you in the military effort." General Hull's observation, in accordance with military doctrine, was: "General Marshall felt, and I think there are certain reasons for it, that although he's [General Marshall is] not the man to decide whether you do these things or not, that any move in a global war has military implications." 23 Soon OPD was getting copies of State Department messages of the "highest secrecy" that other Army agencies, even the War Department G-2 Division, did not see, and important military messages, in return, were furnished to the State Department.24

The importance of the liaison thus established was recognized administratively in February 1943 when a special Liaison Section was set up in the Theater Group to maintain the flow of information, not only from the State Department but also from the Navy Department and other government agencies, to the working staff in OPD. Colonel McBride became a member of this new section, which grew to comprise about a half-dozen officers. The function of the Liaison Section was pri-


marily to secure and transmit information needed in OPD.25 Much of this information was not hard to discover nor difficult to distribute appropriately, but in view of the security content of the documents with which the Liaison Section worked, understanding of the issues involved and a high sense of staff responsibility were essential to satisfactory performance.

Although for such purposes informal liaison worked very well, it did not solve the problem of getting information on policy decisions. The lack of an organized staff to co-ordinate Presidential decisions with the staff work of the various government departments could be remedied only by improvised techniques. In special cases, and more frequently as the war went on, staff officers went directly to some high official in the State Department who had the authority to give them the information they needed.26 But though such meetings were helpful, they too were far from filling the need for regular information. The midwar techniques of interdepartmental liaison evidently needed improvement, which came only later in the war after a striking object lesson had been given the War Department by its experience in handling civil affairs.

Early Politico-Military Committee Work

The administration of civil affairs was the first major staff problem involving Army commands and Army operations overseas that was clearly a critical matter both in military planning and foreign affairs. The invasion of North Africa and subsequent operations in the Mediterranean and in Europe brought American commanders a great deal of responsibility for administering civil affairs in liberated and occupied territories. They exercised their responsibility in close collaboration with their British colleagues and with the advice and help of representatives of both British and American civil agencies. The governments of the United States and Great Britain encouraged interdepartmental and international collaboration within the theater commander's staff. But a theater staff, in dealing with politico-military problems as in dealing with strictly military problems, could proceed efficiently and with confidence only on the basis of clear agreements reached in Washington and London on important questions of policy. Similarly an overseas commander could meet new developments quickly and decisively only if he had channels through which to get prompt advice, instructions, and support from Washington and London.

General Eisenhower, as an Allied commander responsible for civil affairs, as well as commander of U. S. Army forces, constantly had to appeal to the War Department when he wanted to find out something from Washington, or get something done in Washington about his civil affairs problems. For several months after the landings in North Africa a considerable part of OPD's work in supporting operations in North Africa related to the administration of civil affairs. Through the spring


of 1943 the Chief of Staff consulted daily with General Handy and General Hull on these matters, which remained a very important factor in planning military operations in the Mediterranean area.27 These officers in Washington shared General Eisenhower's view that interim political arrangements, temporary fiscal measures, emergency police regulations, and early economic rehabilitation should all be designed to fit in with the immediate objective of the military forces, the defeat of the enemy. They had in fact very little else to guide them except operational requirements, since the United States had no well defined political aims of its own in the Mediterranean or in Europe, and the President and the State Department did not take a definite stand with reference to British political aims there.

Under these circumstances, the War Department proceeded to set up an agency of its own to handle civil affairs on a military basis, dealing directly with other Washington agencies concerned. General Marshall and General Handy decided that a separate agency was necessary to relieve the Chief of Staff, General Handy, and General Hull, as well as the Theater and Logistics Group officers who did the "pick and shovel" work, of the burden of political and diplomatic problems they had been carrying. In addition, General Marshall argued that a staff with officers giving full attention to questions of civil significance in occupied areas would improve the co-ordination between the many military and civilian agencies interested or involved in civil affairs.28 The Secretary of War was in full agreement, and OPD drafted a charter for a Civil Affairs Division, which was established on 1 March 1943 as a special staff under the Chief of Staff.29 The primary function of the Civil Affairs Division, as outlined in the War Department directive establishing it, was to inform and advise the Secretary of War about all civil matters within the scope and province of the War Department in areas occupied as a result of military operations.30 To insure that the Civil Affairs Division carried on its work in harmony with the regular military business of the War Department, the directive provided that all communications between the Civil Affairs Division and a commander in the field were to be cleared through OPD. The Policy Section of S&P assumed the responsibility inside the Division. Furthermore, OPD, following instructions, detailed one officer to the Civil Affairs Divisions as a "working member." 31

For most purposes civil affairs continued to be handled in Theater Group, OPD, until the end of the campaign in North Africa.32 Thereafter the Civil Affairs Division gradually took over most of the work and became, under Maj. Gen. John H. Hilldring, an independent and extremely influential part of the Washington military staff.


The JCS officially noted that the War Department had recently established a Civil Affairs Division, "closely related to OPD," and agreed that it seemed to be the logical agency to plan and co-ordinate advance planning and the administration of civil affairs in "nearly all" occupied countries. The Secretaries of War and Navy quickly approved the JCS recommendation.33 As a result the Civil Affairs Division of the War Department became in effect a joint Army-Navy agency for civil affairs policy planning.

OPD continued to keep a liaison officer in the Civil Affairs Division until after V-J Day. The Policy Section also kept up with civil affairs policy, especially joint and combined deliberations, for the purpose of advising Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, as well as the Army planner, the Division chief, and the Chief of Staff on proposals that affected strategic planning or command relations. In the spring and summer of 1943, for example, S&P spent a great deal of time analyzing for the Army planner the various proposed versions of a debated provision then under combined discussion for control of civil affairs policies in recaptured territory of Great Britain, the British Dominions, or the United States.34 From the middle of 1944 to the end of hostilities S&P intervened on several occasions in discussion of joint committee work on civil affairs and also criticized papers prepared by the Civil Affairs Division to establish specific administrative policies. But normally OPD avoided interposing formally in the work of the Civil Affairs Division or its representatives on joint, combined, and interdepartmental committees, even during the closing months of hostilities, when OPD officers were busy with staff work on military problems involving nearly every aspect of foreign policy.

In most fields, at least as far as OPD was affected, the formulation of foreign policy began to enter a new phase of relationship with military planning toward the end of 1943. At that time the State Department began furnishing the JCS with guidance in foreign affairs, thereby establishing what came to be called the "politico-military" field of Washington staff work.35 The initial, somewhat haphazard efforts in this direction came after the October 1943 conference of foreign secretaries in Moscow. At these meetings British, American, and Soviet representatives considered a number of pending political issues that were clearly outside the competence of military leaders, although many of them had been created by the military situation, and their final settlement would vitally affect future military plans. In particular, they agreed to require the "unconditional surrender" of Germany, and they indorsed the proposal to set up a world organization for peace and security.36 This Moscow conference, in some phases of which Chinese representatives participated, marked the beginning of a new period of the war in international collaboration, during which military plans gradually became less urgent matters than


the politico-military terms on which the great powers winning the war could agree to co-operate. As a result of tentative understandings looking toward long-term British-American-Soviet co-operation in Europe, the European Advisory Commission was set up in London to "study and make joint recommendations to the three Governments upon European questions connected with the termination of hostilities which the three Governments may consider appropriate to refer to it." One of the first duties of the commission was to "make detailed recommendations to them [the three governments] upon the terms of surrender to be imposed upon each of the European States with which any of the three powers are at war, and upon the machinery required to ensure the fulfillment of those terms." 37

At the turn of the year the European Advisory Commission began its sessions. Ambassador John G. Winant headed the American delegation, which included representatives of the State, War, and Navy Departments. To serve the American delegation there was a great need for a system in Washington whereby the State, War, and Navy Departments could give prompt, concurrent guidance on matters of importance from both political and military points of view. As a step toward meeting this need, the State Department set up in December 1943 a special committee, called the Working Security Committee, to clear communications to the European Advisory Commission. In accordance with the wishes of the State Department, the War and Navy Departments appointed representatives to sit on this committee. The Army member came from the Civil Affairs Division, the Navy member from the parallel Navy staff section (the Naval Office for Occupied Areas). Committee communications that had military implications were referred through the Army and Navy members for clearance by the War and Navy Departments.38

Under this procedure, the formulation of American policy on disarmament, demobilization, and demilitarization of Germany went on largely without reference to the JCS. Not until June 1944 did the JCS establish a new joint committee, called the Joint Post-War Committee (JPWC), and instruct it to study all "post-war military problems of interest to the Joint Chiefs of Staff," excluding only permanent organization for national defense and civil affairs. The JPWC was to "work in close liaison" with the Joint Staff Planners and the Joint Strategic Survey Committee, in particular with the latter, through which it was to present its reports to the JCS and to which it was to refer its disagreements. The functions of the JPWC were defined in its charter:

a. Be responsible for preparing studies and recommendations concerning post-war military plans, problems and policies on their initiative or on reference to them by the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the Joint Strategic Survey Committee.
b. Assist and cooperate with agencies of the State and other Departments, as may be appropriate, in matters concerning post-war military problems of interest to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including instructions to the United States representatives on European


Advisory Commission on military matters pertaining to Axis surrender terms.39

The senior Army representative on the JPWC was Maj. Gen. George V. Strong, who had served two tours before the war in WPD, the second (October 1938-December 1940) as head of the Division, and a wartime tour (June 1942-February 1944) as War Department G-2. There were initially two other Army officers serving on the JPWC, one, Col. Stanley J. Donovan, from OPD.40 Colonel Donovan was an Air Corps officer who had come into the Division in August 1943 after combat service in the Mediterranean, and who, as a member of the Strategy Section, had served on several important special committees, most recently on a joint subcommittee for studying postwar bases, which was absorbed by the JPWC. He served on the JPWC until within a few days of V-J Day.41

The most urgent business of the JPWC for several months was the work it was doing, in close connection with the interdepartmental Working Security Committee, to facilitate the negotiations of the European Advisory Commission on the disarmament, demobilization, and demilitarization of Germany. The Working Security Committee was a very cautious experiment in reconciling and synthesizing at the staff level the views of the State, War, and Navy Departments on politico-military issues. The status of the committee was somewhat obscure since it was a working committee, not a policy-making committee, and the State Department had organized it on a very informal basis. Varying numbers of State Department officials in varying positions of authority attended its meetings, together with three military representatives, a lieutenant colonel from the Civil Affairs Division, a Navy lieutenant representing Navy interests in military government, and Colonel Donovan from OPD, present as the JPWC representative. Through his work with the JPWC and the Working Security Committee during the second half of 1944, Colonel Donovan became the first OPD officer to specialize in joint and interdepartmental study of politico-military issues.42

The setting up of the JPWC did not simplify, but rather complicated the process through which the Working Security Committee was supposed to clear papers to guide the American delegation on the European Advisory Commission. On questions pertaining to military affairs, the Working Security Committee had to get comments from the State, War, and Navy Departments, the JPWC, the Civil Affairs Division, and any other interested Washington agency. It then prepared papers incorporating these and its own comments and circulated them either to the JPWC, in cases involving primarily military problems, or to the Civil Affairs Division, in cases involving civil affairs. These agencies could then prepare papers for the JCS,


and the JCS could refer those acceptable from a military point of view back to the State Department. The State Department then, if it wished, could give its final approval to such papers and send them to Ambassador Winant as a basis for negotiations in the European Advisory Commission.43

This first attempt to organize interdepartmental staff work on a basis that would include the JCS committees and the State Department was clumsy and slow. At the end of April 1945, after the JPWC had been at work for over ten months, the Army planner criticized the slowness of the JPWC. He observed that, except for OPD's representative, JPWC members tended to sit in an "ivory tower" and produce "little themselves and that very slowly." The papers they did produce, he went on to say, were "often so discoordinated that we have to work them over again here." 44 The task of the Working Security Committee in getting co-ordinated military opinion was impeded not only by the slowness of the JPWC but also by the very complexity of the inter locked Army and JCS staff system. Thus Working Security Committee papers on civil affairs did not get to the JPWC but were cleared by the Civil Affairs Division, which acted for the War Department and in a joint Army-Navy capacity. Even then, the chief of OPD's S&P Group and his Policy Section might feel obliged to slow the process down at the last moment when reviewing papers that had reached the JCS level. Since OPD had a liaison officer on duty with the Civil Affairs Division, as well as a member on both the JPWC and the Working Security Committee, and since it assumed responsibility for getting co-ordinated action on JPWC and Civil Affairs Division matters as well as other policy issues, the Working Security Committee system did work as far as the Army was concerned, but at best it did not work very well.

In the autumn of 1944, while criticisms of Washington politico-military planning multiplied, it became increasingly urgent to start getting policy papers cleared in order that Ambassador Winant and his colleagues could get ahead with their negotiations in the European Advisory Commission.45 With military operations on the Continent moving rapidly, the collapse or surrender of Germany before the end of the year was a distinct possibility. Yet high State Department officials, being themselves uncertain about American foreign policy as applied to the surrender and occupation of Germany, could give the Working Security Committee very little to go on. At the same time, after more than two years without systematic co-ordination of foreign policy with military planning, the State Department was very hesitant about asking for JCS views on matters obviously having military significance, while the JCS, espe-


cially Admiral Leahy, hesitated to offer opinions on matters that affected foreign relations. While special exertions by State and War Department representatives finally got action on the papers most urgently needed, the system itself was inadequate to meet the severe strains put on it.

State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee

The crisis in Washington staff work on German surrender and occupation pointed the way to the major development of World War II in administrative procedures for handling politico-military affairs, the creation of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC). This committee, with its standing subcommittees for particular areas and important topics, finally provided a basis for interdepartmental staff work that brought foreign policy formulation into close connection with joint committee work and JCS deliberations.46 In the latter part of November 1944 Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., after exploratory conversations with members of the three departments, recommended setting up a committee of highly placed State, War, and Navy Department officials to consider politico-military questions. The need was evident, and in December 1944 the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee was set up. The three members were civilians, each holding the position of Assistant Secretary in his own agency. John J. McCloy represented the War Department.47 The function of these men, as originally described, was to assist their chiefs in handling "politico-military matters" and "coordinating the views of the three departments on matters in which all have a common interest, particularly those involving foreign policy and relations with foreign nations." 48

The principal subcommittees of the SWNCC were established in January 1945, including one for Europe (absorbing and superseding the Working Security Committee), one for Latin America, one for the Far East, and one for the Near and Middle East. During the succeeding months, until VJ Day, OPD was represented on two of these committees, those for Latin America and for the Far East. OPD's liaison officer in the Civil Affairs Division served as working representative of General Hilldring, whom the War Department designated as special member for civil affairs on the Far Eastern subcommittee.49 In addition to the work done by OPD officers who directly participated in the work of SWNCC subcommittees, and the assistance furnished them by their colleagues or subordinates, especially in S&P, the activities of the SWNCC made a great deal of difference in the work of OPD, particularly in that of the Policy Section, which took the main responsibility for handling SWNCC papers. With the approach of victory, a material part of S&P's staff work had some relationship to SWNCC deliberations and decisions.

In the many cases in which strictly military operations would be a factor of prime


importance in a politico-military situation, SWNCC papers were referred to the JCS. On the whole the SWNCC system meshed very well with the JCS system. OPD officers, who had felt the need for it since 1943, welcomed the development of a staff system that could begin to bring the State Department and the armed forces together in something like the way the joint staff had brought the armed forces together. In this way the military staffs could force consideration of some of the issues in national policy on which they lacked authoritative guidance. In March 1945 Mr. McCloy had occasion to remark that any new agency dealing with politico-military affairs should come within the orbit of the SWNCC so it would not "break up the general co-ordination machinery with the armed services into too many separate organizations. . . . and disturb our now well established relationship with the Joint Chiefs of Staff." General Lincoln indorsed this idea of preserving or strengthening the SWNCC.50

A very important independent committee of high officials, Informal Policy Committee on Germany (IPCOG), was in fact established in April 1945, on the President's initiative, to determine policy for Germany in the period immediately following the German surrender, and functioned until the end of August. The Informal Policy Committee, which included Treasury Department representation, in effect superseded the SWNCC in the period of the defeat and early occupation of Germany.51 The Far East was a different matter. The SWNCC and its subcommittees played the dominant part in formulating Japanese surrender terms, and in the period after V-J Day became the main channel for co-ordinating Washington staff work on occupation policy, first in Japan and eventually in Europe.

Staff Action by OPD

Questions of foreign policy directly concerned most of the senior officers in OPD in one way or another, but the synthesis of military policy with foreign policy was the special interest of the Army planner. At every new stage of the war a greater amount of the time of the S&P officers under him had to be devoted to staff work in this field. As they had begun to point out in 1943, they could not do their proper work without continuous support and guidance from the State Department. When Army and Navy representatives finally began sitting with State Department officials on the Working Security Committee in 1944, OPD officers found it helpful in their work to have some kind of regular channel for staff discussion of interdepartmental politico-military problems. OPD's Policy Section in particular benefited from the establishment of the Working Security Committee and the SWNCC, since Policy Section officers had to study and recommend action on questions of policy (as distinguished, rather vaguely, from strategy) that came up in joint and combined deliberations. Previously, no normal, regular staff procedure had existed whereby the Policy Section could make sure that the State Department was aware of impending decisions by the armed forces and did not object to their implications in foreign relations. For instance, in March 1944 when the chief of Policy Section tried to clear with the State Department a tech-


nical paper on communications, the State Department official who read the paper went no further than to say that the "State Department had no concern" if the paper confined itself to strictly military matters, but that "they would like the paper to be formally referred for their consideration in case political implications were involved." This observation was no help to the OPD officer, who thought the paper had "definite political implications" and wanted quick, informal staff guidance or clearance comparable to the informal concurrence he normally could get by working-level staff co-ordination in the Army.52

The growth of joint and interdepartmental study of politico-military questions in the later war years, while it facilitated, also added to the work of the Army planner, S&P generally, and the Policy Section particularly. During 1944 the staff interests of Policy Section began to acquire a new and more definitely delimited character rather than pertaining simply to nonstrategic issues. The orientation of the section became increasingly political. As papers began to pass between the State Department and the JCS, the Policy Section had to study them and formulate recommendations on them for the Chief of Staff. The increasing frequency and importance of questions affecting foreign policy as well as military plans and overseas operations, made it imperative that the civilian officials of the War Department be aware of pending JCS actions relating to their work. Policy Section from the beginning referred politico-military papers to the Secretary, Under Secretary, or Assistant Secretaries of War for information and comment whenever the issue under consideration fell within their respective spheres of responsibility.53

The SWNCC and its subcommittees, as they got into operation early in 1945, gradually brought more order into politico-military staff work. One result was the formal assignment of responsibility to OPD (and within OPD) for staff co-ordination of War Department action on SWNCC papers. The Policy Section began drafting staff papers for the benefit of the Army member, Assistant Secretary of War McCloy's, on matters up for formal action by the SWNCC as soon as the committee's work got under way, just as it formulated recommendations for the Chief of Staff on similar JCS papers. At Mr. McCloy's request, in April 1945, the Deputy Chief of Staff made OPD responsible for securing, considering, and putting together the "coordinated views of the War Department" on all issues before the SWNCC and for carrying out SWNCC (and IPCOG) decisions within the War Department. Inside OPD, the work was delegated to S&P, and there it was carried on almost mechanically in accordance with the procedures set up by Policy Section for JCS and CCS papers.54


In June 1945 responsibility for Army staff action in this field was incorporated into the formal administrative regulations by the addition of a new item to the list of the duties of the Policy Section: "Reviews and coordinates for the Assistant Secretary of War all papers submitted for decision to the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee."55

The final, formal administrative adjustment within OPD to the steady increase of politico-military planning came after the end of hostilities. General Lincoln then established in S&P anew unit, called the Strategic Policy Section, to work exclusively in the field of politico-military problems. 56 Initially it contained six officers, including the chief, Col. Charles H. Bonesteel, III, who had been a member of the Policy Section since October 1944 and its chief during July and August 1945. The small group of officers associated with him in S&P already had made themselves OPD's specialists in politico-military affairs while working as a subsection of the Policy Section for several months in the spring and early summer of 1945. Colonel Bonesteel, like his immediate superior, General Lincoln, was a former Rhodes Scholar, as were two of his colleagues, Col. James McCormack, Jr., and Col. Dean Rusk, the latter having been in addition a political scientist of good standing in the academic world. All the members of the new section enjoyed a reputation in the War Department for being exceptionally well-educated members of the military profession. 57

The decision to set up a separate unit designated the Strategic Policy Section marked the end rather than the beginning of a stage in the development of OPD's philosophy of staff responsibility. For several months, without the name, Colonel Bonesteel and the Policy Section officers had been doing the same kind of staff work. General Lincoln was referring particularly to their work and to the circumstances in which they did it when he remarked: "Our problem goes beyond the normal one of working out the answer to a message or paper with a suspense date on it; we are constantly being forced into a precipitate determination concerning long-range projects and objectives." 58 Especially in the hectic days of the unexpected surrender of


Japan, they were struggling in every way they could devise to bring about what General Lincoln called the "official marriage of political and military policy of the State Department and the War Department." 59

The International Conferences of 1944 and 1945

The ever greater importance of political and diplomatic considerations in the national policy of the United States in the later war years was reflected in the international conferences just as in day-to-day staff work in Washington. The year of military decisions had been 1943, at least with respect to the major theater of operations in Europe. Although in the four major conferences of that year the U. S. Joint Chiefs of Staff had been faced with more and more problems that they recognized as quasi military, they had dealt with them in connection with the major problem of how to defeat Germany. In contrast, 1944 was a year of military action in Europe, and operations against Japan were still only getting well under way by the end of the year.60 There were no major conferences until the second Quebec meeting (OCTAGON) in September 1944. At that conference, and much more at the Malta-Yalta meetings (ARGONAUT) in January and February 1945 and at the Potsdam (TERMINAL) meetings in shattered Berlin in July 1945, the military issues were being crowded out by semimilitary or plainly political problems of first importance to the United States. While the JCS did not deal directly with these nonmilitary issues, their own work had to take into account agreements being reached and commitments being made by the President on the basis of his knowledge of both diplomatic and military plans.

The changing tone of the international conferences in the late war period was reflected somewhat in the military representation at them. The mechanics of staff attendance had been worked out very carefully in 1943 and early 1944. Thus for OCTAGON (12-16 September) the JCS decided upon a staff attendance that included fifteen "key" conferees (4 JCS, 2 JSSC, 4 JPS, 3 "Chiefs of Operations," which included General Handy, and 2 JCS secretaries) and 22 other planning officers.61 Most of the military issues raised at OCTAGON were not nearly so far-reaching as one distinctly politico-military item on the agenda, the problem of the "Occupation of Germany, its satellites, and Axis-occupied countries." 62

At ARGONAUT (30 January-9 February 1945) about twenty American military representatives attended the opening meetings, although a number of specialists (mainly shipping experts) were brought in before the sessions ended.63 As the President


observed before the conference, ARGONAUT would require discussion of "Poland, Greece, the World Security Organization, Palestine, Indo-China, Latin America, and the general administration and control of Germany." 64 In preparing the voluminous dossier of documents that OPD always collected for the use of the Army conferees, S&P included, along with exhaustive briefs of many military problems ranging from "Operational Plans on Western Front" to "Lend Lease Protocol with Soviets," a paper on "Political Questions Which May Possibly Be Involved in Military Discussions." It merely raised a number of questions without trying to present information or recommend solutions in the way that the accompanying papers on military problems did. There were seventeen questions, all rather similar to one of the key queries: "What is the Government's view on Soviet participation in War against Japan if further negotiations indicate that little military contribution can be expected from the Soviets and the result of their participation would be to give them a greater voice in the Pacific settlement and the possible absorption of North China if the Kuomintang disintegrates?"

The cautious attitude with which the military staffs were turning to such issues in early 1945 was carefully stated in a preface to the list of questions formulated in S&P:

The war is now entering the phase where many military decisions will have broad political effect and since the Joint Chiefs responsibility is to concern itself with military matters only it is necessary to consider the political questions involved in, or the political effect of, military decisions. Although political questions should not be persuasive to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in determining the purely military view it is important that they recognize such questions immediately and it would be helpful if they could know the government's position on such questions in advance of military discussions.65

As a result of this basic caution, the military proceedings at ARGONAUT did not include formal consideration of any of the critical semistrategic problems in which the President and his foreign policy advisers were immersed.

By July, after Germany had surrendered and when the military effort was turning toward Japan, OPD's staff experience with the SWNCC, together with the bare fact of inseparable admixture of postwar political problems in Europe with current strategic planning for the Pacific, had overcome all scruples on the part of OPD about getting into matters that traditionally were none of the Army's business. Maj. Gen. Howard A. Craig, General Hull's Theater Group chief, had noted a few months earlier: "The time has come when, whether we like it or not, the War Department must face the fact that it has a real interest in political matters of varying categories." 66 The work of the politico-military specialists in S&P was being openly recognized and commended. The voluminous compilation of papers on subjects for use by the comparatively few Army participants in discussions at TERMINAL (16-24 July 1945), the last international conference,


included briefs and recommendations on such frankly politico-military issues as : "U .S. Intentions with Regard to General Soviet Intentions Towards Expansion," "U.S. Policy with Regard to Indo-China," "Terms of Japanese Surrender," and "Military Staff Committee, United Nations Organization." In all, eighty-six topics were carefully studied and briefed. Considerably less than half were concerned primarily with military operations.67 While the military conferees as usual played no formal part in determining policy on such matters, at TERMINAL they and their staffs were finally beginning to organize their thoughts in the broader context of national instead of strictly military policy.

By the time of TERMINAL a great change had come about in international military planning proper as a result of the defeat of Germany. The United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union had achieved the major military objective of equal interest to all three nations. The many unanswered questions about Germany were henceforth topics for discussion primarily on a political basis, among experts on foreign policy, even though the military forces of occupation in Europe remained for the time being the chief instrument of foreign policy. The operations against Japan still to be launched were the common military concern of all three powers to a far lesser extent than the operations that had brought the defeat of Germany. The war in the Pacific had long been an American war, and American resources were bound to remain preponderant in it. A great part of the military planning for operations against Japan had always taken place, not on an international level, but within the JCS, and between the JCS and the American commands in the Pacific, which brought about the defeat and occupation of Japan at the very time that the plans for it were being written and debated on higher planes of authority. This military planning, carried on amid the confusions and cross-purposes of the late war period, was the last wartime test of the Army's Washington command post.



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