Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III
468 — The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the Prime Minister of New Zealand
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the Prime Minister of New Zealand
I send you herewith for your personal information a summary of the major operational decisions reached in Anglo-American military discussions at Berlin.
2. It was agreed that the invasion of Japan and operations directly connected therewith should be the supreme operations in the war against Japan. Forces and resources will be allocated on the required scale to assure that invasion can be accomplished at the earliest practicable date. No other operations will be undertaken which hazard the success of or delay these main operations.
Strategic Direction of the War:
3. It was agreed—
Control of operational strategy in the Pacific theatre will remain in the hands of the United States Chiefs of Staff, who will provide the British Chiefs of Staff with full and timely information on future plans and intentions.page 500
The United States Chiefs of Staff will consult the British Chiefs of Staff on matters of general strategy, on the understanding that in the event of disagreement the final decisions on the action to be taken will lie with the United States Chiefs of Staff.
Should the British Chiefs of Staff decide that they cannot commit British troops in support of a decision made by the United States Chiefs of Staff as indicated in (b) above, they will give to the United States Chiefs of Staff such advance notice of their decision as will permit the latter to make timely rearrangements.
If the USSR enters the war against Japan the strategy to be pursued will be discussed between the parties concerned.
Operations in the Pacific:
4. The plan for operations in the Pacific is first to intensify the blockade and air bombardment of Japan in order to create a situation favourable to an assault on Kyushu. Thereafter the blockade and air bombardment will be intensified in order to establish a tactical condition favourable to the decisive invasion of Honshu.
5. Planning is premised on the belief that the defeat of the enemy's armed forces in the Japanese homeland is a prerequisite to unconditional surrender, and that such defeat will establish the optimum prospect of capitulation by Japanese forces outside the main Japanese islands.
British Commonwealth Participation in Operations in the Pacific Theatre:
6. The British Pacific Fleet will participate as at present planned. A British VLR1 bomber force of ten squadrons, increasing to twenty squadrons when more airfields become available, will participate. It was agreed in principle that a Commonwealth land force and, if possible, a small tactical air force should take part in the final phase of the war against Japan, subject to the satisfactory resolution of logistical and other problems.
7. The participation of this Commonwealth land force is the subject of separate communications to the Dominion Governments concerned.2
Operations in South-East Asia Command:
1 Very Long Range.
2 See Proposals for Participation in Operations against Japan, No. 458. Replying to an inquiry from the New Zealand Government, the Dominions Secretary on 1 August explained that the reference in paragraph 7 above was to Mr Churchill's earlier telegram (No. 458) and not to any future communication.
The completion of the liberation of Malaya.
The maintenance of pressure on the Japanese across the Burma-Siam frontier.
The capture of key areas in Siam.
The establishment of bridgeheads in Java and/or Sumatra to enable the subsequent clearance of these areas to be undertaken in due course.
9. It has been agreed that the eastern boundary of South-East Asia Command will be extended to include Borneo, Java and the Celebes. This extension of command and rearrangement in the South-West Pacific is the subject of separate communications to the Australian and New Zealand Governments.1 When agreement has been reached with them agreement with the Dutch Government will be sought.
10. A proposal is to be put to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek that that part of Indo-China lying south of latitude 16 degrees north should be transferred to the area of South-East Asia Command.
French and Dutch Participation in the War Against Japan:
11. While it is at present impracticable on account of logistical difficulties for French or Dutch armed forces to take a major part in the immediate operations in the Far East, the provision of such assistance as may be synchronised with the operations is to be taken into account. The use of French or Dutch forces will depend solely on military considerations, and the French and Dutch representatives will be given timely information of intentions affecting their territories or armed forces in the Far East. The French have offered a corps of two infantry divisions to serve in the Pacific war. This offer has been accepted in principle, but it will not be possible to commit the corps to operations prior to the spring of 1946. The place where the corps will operate will be determined later.
Planning Date for the End of Organised Resistance by Japan:
12. Subject to periodical adjustment, 15 November 1946 has been adopted as the planning date for the end of organised resistance by Japan. This is for the purpose of planning production and the allocation of manpower.
1 Not published.