Quick navigation

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Andrew Cunningham papers in British Library, London

Great Russell St, WC1. Tel. 020 7636 1544 ext 367.

Add MS 52571 July 1943 - 1944 Correspondence


mailLetter Percy Noble to Cunningham 1 October 1943 'In the words of Winston, when he was out here the other day, 'we are in the position of a man who has suddenly succeeded to two fortunes, the Italian Fleet and the British Fleet which has been containing it for so long'!'


mailLetter Jack Tovey to Cunningham 5 October 1943: 'For goodness sake don't overwork or let the PM persuade you to keep his own unnatural hours'.

[There were several letters in this vein following the appointment of Cunningham as First Sea Lord]


mailLetter from Lambe to Cunningham 5 February 1944 re Anglo-American relations: 'As soon as the Prime Minister has been persuaded to concur in CCS 417 -the Strategy for the War against Japan . . . we will send RENOWN, ILLUSTRIOUS, VICTORIOUS and the rest of the Task Force to arrive in the South West Pacific in about July. . . .
   7. I believe that it is only by action on the above lines coupled with some changes in appointments that we can hope gradually to dispel that part of the Americans' suspicions which has some substance. The situation is becoming similar vis-à-vis the Prime Minister.
   8. If we don't do something like this quickly I feel that there is a real danger that the Americans, backed by the PM, may force us into doing an operation such as First CULVERIN in Autumn 1944 because we must do something to save our faces. We know how wrong strategically this would be.'


mailCopy Cunningham to Noble 8 April 1944 'A. As you know, Fraser was suggested as Somerville's relief but as a result of Somerville's telling Dickie Mountbatten that he rather approved of Operation CULVERIN the Prime Minister is now very unwilling that Somerville should be relieved. . . . B. The Prime Minister takes diametrically the opposite view to that of the British COSs that CULVERIN was wrong and from what you say it appears that the American Chiefs of Staff are half-hearted about having the British in the Pacific. . . . In the meantime a third course has been suggested and that is that the British, using Northern Australia as a base, should fight their way into the China Sea. The PM is favourably inclined to this action as he says his objection to the Pacific strategy was the long haul round Australia'.


mailLetter Dickie to Pug Mountbatten and Ismay 11 August 1944 'Since the PM has decided not to give Al [Wedemeyer] a letter to the President, Al feels it is essential that he should at least carry a letter from me to General Marshall.


mail[Text of said letter] You may remember that the Prime Minister has continuously favoured a CULVERIN. On my return to London last week he made it clear to me that he would prefer to do the minimum in Burma in order to release resources for employment elsewhere. . . . But attractive as the Rangoon operation appeared to me, it was impossible to undertake it, for the PM was at that time adamant about the CULVERIN operation. This new factor increase in forces for VANGUARD clinches the matter. I have been able to convince the Prime Minister that a CULVERIN operation at the present time, even should appropriate resources be available, would not contribute as strongly to agreed strategy in support of Pacific operations as would a decisive effort in the Rangoon area . . . Now that I have been able to put this case to the PM, and convince him that it is the best way to contribute to the timely support of Pacific operations, he has not only consented to an offensive in the Rangoon area, but has agreed with the British Chiefs of Staff to provide most of the additional resources, to ensure punch and continued offensive capabilities'.


mailIsmay's reply 11 August 1944 referred to the requirement of PM approval of draft telegram


mailCunningham to Geoffrey [Keyes?] 17th August 1944 'The COS thought that after 3 days of undiluted PM they were also entitled to some relaxation so I am off to Cape Wrath for a few days'.


mailLetter from Rawlings to Cunningham 27 September 1944 'What have you been doing to the First Lord [A V Alexander]? He looks so much fitter and more cheerful and happier than two years ago. My guess is you have stopped the PM bullying him! Must be something like that.'

The above material has been researched by David Irving for the third volume of his Churchill biography, "Churchill's War", vol. iii: "The Sundered Dream."

© Focal Point 2004 F Irving write to David Irving