First Washington Conference

22 Dec 1941 - 14 Jan 1942


ww2dbaseThe Arcadia Conference took place in Washington, United States, in which meeting Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt concluded that despite the recent Japanese aggression toward US and UK holdings in teh Pacific, Europe remained the top priority of the Allies. The two leaders agreed that the military resources of the United States and Britain (with its Commonwealth forces) must be combined under one command in order to most efficiently fight the war against Germany. In addition, the United Nations was formally established during this conference on 1 Jan 1942.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Update: Sep 2005

First Washington Conference Interactive Map

First Washington Conference Timeline

30 Nov 1941 Winston Churchill sent Franklin Roosevelt a message requesting a conference on the impending war with Japan. Roosevelt would reject the request to avoid appearing like he was taking the United States toward war for the defense of the British Empire.
9 Dec 1941 Winston Churchill sent Franklin Roosevelt a message requesting a conference on the war with Japan. Roosevelt initially intended to reject this request, wishing to give his top generals more time to research the situation to avoid the British dominating the conference.
10 Dec 1941 Franklin Roosevelt tore up a letter he drafted for Winston Churchill intending to delay Churchill's request for a conference as he heard news of the Japanese sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse off Malaya and realized the urgency of having to plan for a campaign against the Japanese.
12 Dec 1941 Prime Minister Winston Churchill boarded HMS Duke of York for the first joint wartime conference (codenamed ARCADIA) of military personnel.
13 Dec 1941 British battleship HMS Duke Of York departed the Clyde, Scotland, United Kingdom with Winston Churchill on board, sailing for the United States. The battleship was escorted by destroyers HMS Faulknor, HMS Foresight, and HMS Matabele.
22 Dec 1941 The First Washington Conference (Arcadia) between Roosevelt and Churchill began aboard HMS Duke of York in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, United States. The Americans and the British planned a Combined Chiefs of Staff represented by both countries.
23 Dec 1941 Churchill and Roosevelt met at the White House, Washington DC during the First Washington Conference (Arcadia).
31 Dec 1941 At the Arcadia Conference in Washington DC, United States, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt agreed on a "Germany First" strategy.
1 Jan 1942 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Franklin Roosevelt, Soviet Ambassador Maxim Litvinov, and Chinese Ambassador Song Ziwen (also known as T. V. Soong) signed the Declaration by United Nations during the Arcadia Conference in Washington DC, United States.


Song Ziwen, Halifax, Churchill, Roosevelt, King, and others at the Arcadia Conference, Washington DC, United States, Dec 1941-Jan 1942Canadian Prime Minister King, British Ambassador Halifax, and Chinese Ambassador Song with US President Roosevelt, Washington DC, United States, 1 Jan 1942

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Fred Leander says:
1 Jun 2017 05:29:23 AM

It is interesting to see how this, and other web pages, glorify this conference for its unanimous agreement and unity when it is known that it was a lot of disagreements between the participants and while the "Germany-first" strategy was adopted in principle it was hardly so in practice. This is shown in the cuts in the already promised troops movements to the UK and even more after the conference. The North African invasion was, during the conference, delayed from May 1942 to November and of three more promised divisions to Europe only one eventually went. The others were sent to the Pacific. In every corner the US negotiators insisted that ship transport should be subject to Pacific needs.


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Song Ziwen, Halifax, Churchill, Roosevelt, King, and others at the Arcadia Conference, Washington DC, United States, Dec 1941-Jan 1942
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