Hitler rules out any invasion of Britain before the end of the year

The Armed Forces High Command
WFSt/Abt. L (I) Nr. 33 318/40 g.K.Chefs.
Führer Headquarters
12 Oct. 1940
Fourteen Copies
Top secret

  1. The Führer has decided that preparations for the landing in Britain are to be kept up from now until spring, merely as a means of exerting political and military pressure.
    Should a landing in Britain be decided on again in the spring or summer of 1941, the required degree of readiness will be ordered at the proper time. Until then the military dispositions for a later landing are to be further improved.
  2. All measures connected with relaxing readiness for combat are to be ordered by the High Commands according to the following principles:
    1. The British are to be left under the impression that we are still preparing a landing on a wide front.
    2. At the same time the strain on the German economy is to be eased.
  3. This, in detail, means that:
    • Army:
      The units earmarked for operation "Seelöwe" will be available for proposed new formations or other assignment. However, we must avoid allowing it to become noticeable that the coastal areas are less heavily garrisoned.
    • Navy:
      The preparations in personnel and material are to be eased n such a manner that both personnel and tonnage, especially tugboats and fishing steamers, will be returned, insofar as is necessary, to the tasks of naval warfare and the public economy. All movements of shipping connected with the relaxation of of combat readiness are to be carried out inconspicuously, and extended over a considerable period of time. They are to be utilized as far as possible for the transportation of goods or captured material.
  4. The High Commands are requested to report by 20 Oct. to the Armed Forces High Command all measures taken in connection with relaxing the preparations for operation "Seelöwe", as well as the length of time which will be required to restore ten-day readiness.

The Chief of Staff, Armed Forces High Command

signed: Keitel