Arcadia Conference

  (Redirected from Washington Conference (1941))

The First Washington Conference, also known as the Arcadia Conference (ARCADIA was the code name used for the conference), was held in Washington, D.C., from December 22, 1941, to January 14, 1942.


The conference brought together the top British and American military leaders, as well as Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt and their aides, in Washington from December 22, 1941, to January 14, 1942, and led to a series of major decisions that shaped the war effort in 1942–1943.

Arcadia was the first meeting on military strategy between Britain and the United States; it came two weeks after the American entry into World War II. The Arcadia Conference was a secret agreement unlike the much wider postwar plans given to the public as the Atlantic Charter, agreed between Churchill and Roosevelt in August 1941.

The main policy achievements of Arcadia included the decision for "Germany First" (or "Europe first"—that is, the defeat of Germany was the highest priority); the establishment of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. based in Washington, for approving the military decisions of both the US and Britain; the principle of unity of command of each theater under a supreme commander; drawing up measures to keep China in the war; limiting the reinforcements to be sent to the Pacific; and setting up a system for coordinating shipping. All the decisions were secret, except the conference drafted the Declaration by United Nations, which committed the Allies to make no separate peace with the enemy, and to employ full resources until victory.[1][2]

In immediate tactical terms, the decisions at Arcadia included an invasion of North Africa in 1942, sending American bombers to bases in England, and for the British to strengthen their forces in the Pacific. Arcadia created a unified American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDA) in the Far East; the ABDA fared poorly. It was also agreed at the conference to combine military resources under one command in the European Theater of Operations (ETO).[3]


British Officers
Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Dudley Pound, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff
Field Marshal Sir John Dill
Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal, Chief of Air Staff
Admiral Sir Charles Little, Joint Staff Mission
Lieut. General Sir Colville Wemyss, Joint Staff Mission
Air Marshal A. T. Harris, Joint Staff Mission
U. S. Naval Officers
Admiral H. R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations
Admiral E. J. King, Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Fleet
Rear Admiral F. J. Horne, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations
Rear Admiral J. H. Towers, Chief, Bureau of Aeronautics
Rear Admiral R. K. Turner, Director, War Plans Division
Major General Thomas Holcomb, Commandant, U. S. Marine Corps
U. S. Army Officers
General George C. Marshall, Commanding General of the Field Forces and Chief of Staff, U. S. Army
Lieut. General H. H. Arnold, Chief of the Army Air Forces and Deputy Chief of Staff, U. S. Army
Brigadier General L. T. Gerow, Chief of War Plans Division
Joint Secretaries
Captain J. L. McCrea, Aide to Chief of Naval Operations
Lieut. Colonel P. M. Robinett, G-2, GHQ, U. S. Army
Major W. T. Secton, Assistant Secretary, W.D.G.S.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ William Hardy McNeill, America, Britain and Russia: Their Cooperation and Conflict 1941-1946 (1953) pp 90-118
  2. ^ Andrew Roberts, Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945 (2010) pp 86-87.
  3. ^ Powaski, Ronald E. (1991). Toward an entangling alliance : American isolationism, internationalism, and Europe, 1901-1950. Greenwood Press. pp. 112–14. ISBN 9780313272745.

Further readingEdit

  • Bercuson, David, and Holger Herwig. One Christmas in Washington: Roosevelt and Churchill Forge the Grand Alliance (2005), 320pp; full-scale scholarly history of Arcadia.
  • Danchev, Alex. Being Friends: The Combined Chiefs of Staff and the Making of Allied Strategy in the Second World War (1992)
  • Lacey, James. The Washington War: FDR's Inner Circle and the Politics of Power That Won World War II (2019) pp. 196–212.
  • McNeill, William Hardy. America, Britain and Russia: Their Cooperation and Conflict 1941-1946 (1953) pp 90–118
  • Matloff, Maurice, and Edwin M. Snell. Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1941-1942. Washington (1953) Chapter V and Chapter VI
  • Rice, Anthony J. "Command and control: the essence of coalition warfare." Parameters (1997) v 27 pp: 152–167.
  • Rigby, David. Allied Master Strategists: The Combined Chiefs of Staff in World War II (2012) excerpt and text search
  • Roberts, Andrew. Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945 (2009), pp 66–101; covers the wartime interactions of Roosevelt, Churchill, Marshall, and Brooke.

Primary sourcesEdit

  • Bland, Larry I. ed. The Papers of George Catlett Marshall: "The Right Man for the Job," December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Volume 3) (1991) pp 29–68.

External linksEdit