The American-British Conversations-1 Conference, January–March 1941
This chapter addresses the first full-fledged, formal staff talks between U.S. and British military staffs. The narrative outlines the detailed negotiations that resulted in an agreed coalition grand strategy of “Germany first,” a strategic defensive in the Pacific, and the subordinate strategic elements necessary to defeat the Axis Powers. The final American-British Conversations (ABC-1) Report also assigned areas of strategic responsibility, established the principle of unity of command, and outlined the vital liaison and communications processes necessary for further staff coordination that would turn strategic principles into operational reality. The account contrasts the relative ease of planning for the Atlantic, European, and Middle East theaters with the negotiators’ inability to craft a coherent strategy for the Pacific and Far East and the intense friction that occasionally resulted. The analysis also highlights the fact that the Americans prevailed on almost every point of controversy in the negotiations.
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