Bargaining for Supremacy: Anglo-American Naval Collaboration, 1937-1941

By James R. Leutze | Go to book overview

14.
"Heavy Weather" at ABC

14 January 1941-12 February 1941

Finally all seemed in readiness for what would be known as the ABC (American-British-Canadian) Conference.1 These meetings, which would set the strategy for World War II, raised numerous issues and took two months to conclude. Security during the sessions, which ran from 29 January through 29 March, was above average for the Americans and few knew of ABC until the war was over. Then there was a storm of controversy, with some charging that the talks committed the United States to war and others contending that they involved only noncommitting, prudent contingency planning.2

In many ways the ABC Conference epitomized Anglo-American naval collaboration in the 1938-41 period because the same charges could have been made about earlier contacts. Most of the issues and problems raised during previous discussions were raised and either resolved or accepted as irreconcilable. All of the old prejudices and suspicions were in evidence as well, and competitiveness and bargaining were always just beneath the surface. Most representative of the competitive spirit was Rear Admiral (recently Captain) Richmond K. Turner. As director of plans, and a well-regarded member of Admiral Stark's official family, he had played a large role in formulating Plan Dog and in the preparations for the conference. Turner had little respect for British planning or performance and he longed for the day when the United States

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