President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Premier Josef Stalin are drafting a surrender-or-die ultimatum to Germany, dispatches from Istanbul said today, and some observers in Washington believed the three statesmen were prepared to enforce their threat by basing Anglo-American air fleets in Russia and devastating Germany by shuttle bombing.
The Istanbul reports, carried by the British news agency Exchange Telegraph and bearing the censorship notation "passed for publication," said the Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin conference was taking place at Tabriz, Iran, 350 miles northwest of Tehran and only 60 miles south of Russia's Caucasian border.
Sen. Tom Connally of Texas, chairman of the senate foreign relations committee and usually well informed on international developments, said in a radio speech from Fort Worth, Tex., that "a meeting of great significance is taking place in the Middle East." He said he expected that the conference would be held in Tehran, but when he was informed of the Exchange Telegraph dispatch placing the scene of the meeting at Tabriz, he said: "They (Roosevelt and Churchill) carried the conference to Stalin because he is actively directing his armies in the field and it was necessary to make it as handy as possible to his headquarters."
A United Press dispatch from Washington said the granting of Russian bases from which the day and night air fleets of the United States and Britain could blast Germany may be one of the first concrete developments of the Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin conference.
Washington observers were inclined to believe that the question of basing Allied air forces in Russia-thereby clamping a three-way aerial squeeze on Germany from east, west and south -- first was mentioned at the Moscow conference of foreign ministers.
British and American fliers, based in Italy and Britain, already are closer to most important German targets than a Russian-based air fleet would be, but the westward surge of the Red army holds the promise that Flying Fortresses, Liberators, Lancasters and Halifaxes could move closer and closer to the heart of Germany from the east.
Shuttle bombing between Britain and Russia would be especially advantageous to American daylight raiders. Those based in Britain would have the alternative of returning home or going on to Russia. The Germans thus would be forced to divide their fighter planes to meet either contingency and the dispersal of power would make easier the task of all air men engaged in the assault against Germany.