In 1939 Stark was appointed Commander of Naval Operations and was in charge of the immense expansion of the American Navy immediately prior to the war. At this time he also took part in secret discussions with the British regarding the coming war and organized naval patrols to protect US shipping from German submarine and surface ships. Towards the end of 1941 as Japanese-American negotiations reached a critical point, Stark put the Navy on war alert and it was able to move into action immediately after Pearl Harbor. However he failed to give Admiral KIMMEL of Pearl Harbor sufficient warning and was criticized in the government inquiry. In March 1942 Stark was made Commander of all US Naval Forces in the European area. This post was an administrative and diplomatic one, involving him in all the Allied conferences and planning sessions during the rest of the war. Stark was from the start one of the principal advocates of giving the war against the Germans top priority. In the lead up to Operation Overlord, Stark played a major role in keeping Anglo-American relations smooth and cooperative.