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PRIMARY DOCUMENTS  |  Provoked by Pearl Harbor: The White House Meetings of FDR and Churchill, December, 1941
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I. Churchill on the Combined Chiefs of Staff Committee


It may well be thought by future historians that the most valuable and lasting result of our first Washington conference –"Arcadia", as it was code-named – was the setting up of the now famous "Combined Chiefs of Staff Committee". Its headquarters were in Washington, but since the British Chiefs of Staff had to live close to their own Government they were represented by high officers stationed there permanently. These representatives were in daily, indeed hourly, touch with London, and were thus able to state and explain views of the British Chiefs of Staff to their U.S. colleagues on any and every war problem at any time of the day or night. . . .

The enjoyment of a common language was of course a supreme advantage in all British and American discussions. The delays and often partial misunderstandings which occur when interpreters are used were avoided. There were however differences of expression, which in the early days led to an amusing incident. The British Staff prepared a paper which they wished to raise as a matter of urgency, and informed their American colleagues that they wish to "table it". To the American Staff "tabling" a paper meant putting it away in a drawer and forgetting it. A long and even acrimonious argument ensued before both parties realised that they were agreed on the merits and wanted the same thing.


The Grand Alliance, pp. 608-609





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