355 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 199 WASHINGTON, 14 March 1941, 7.29 p.m.

MOST SECRET

From Naval Attache [1] to Chief of Naval Staff. [2]

With reference to my telegram No. 159. [3] Progress report 6.

(1) Probable date of completion of conversations, March 25th.

(2) United States have accepted the responsibility for strategical direction in the Pacific area defined as follows:

(a) Area North of Equator to the East of longitude 140 degrees East.

(b) Area North of latitude 30 degrees North [to] [4] the West of longitude 140 degrees East.

(c) Area South of equator to East of longitude 180 degrees.

(3) They have refused responsibility for strategical direction in the Far East area and they have refused to place the Commander-in- Chief of the United States Asiatic Fleet under British direction until after the fate of the Philippine Islands has been settled.

(4) United Kingdom delegation have agreed as follows:

(a) The commanders of Associated and Allied Military Forces win collaborate in formulation of strategic plans for operations in that area.

(b) Defence of Territories of Associated and Allied Powers will be the responsibility of the respective commanders of the Military Forces concerned. These commanders will make such arrangements for mutual support as may be practicable and appropriate.

(c) Responsibility for strategical direction of Associated and Allied Naval Forces, except of Naval Forces engaged in supporting the defence of the Philippines, will be assumed by the British Commander-in-Chief China. Commander-in-Chief of the United States Asiatic Fleet will be responsible for the direction of Naval Forces engaged in supporting the defence of the Philippines.

(d) For the above purposes die Far Eastern Area is defined as the area between latitude 30 degrees North and 11 degrees South and between longitude 140 degrees East and 92 degrees East. Northern boundary of area is a line from a position 020 degrees North, 092 degrees East to boundary between India and Burma. [5]

(e) British Commander-in-Chief China is also charged with the responsibility for the strategical direction of Associated and Allied Forces which may operate in Australia and New Zealand stations west of longitude 180 degrees.

(5) This is the best the [U.K.] delegation can get in the way of an agreed solution to the problem of [unified strategic] control in the Pacific and Far East and appears acceptable.

(6) Group Captain Isitt [6] has been in close touch with the United Kingdom delegation for a short period during last week and will return to Washington before the conversations end.

CASEY

1 Commander H. M. Burrell.

2 Admiral Sir Ragnar Colvin. From 4 March to 17 July Colvin was officially on sick leave and Commodore J. W. Durnford was appointed to act as Chief of Naval Staff Colvin, however, continued to fulfil the duties of the position on some occasions.

3 Document 318.

4 Words in square brackets have been corrected from the Washington copy on file AA:A3300, 123.

5 In the final report this subparagraph was recast and read: 'For above purposes cruiser area is defined as arm from coast of China in latitude 30 degrees north, east to longitude 140 degrees east, thence south to equator, thence east to longitude 141 degrees east, thence south to boundary of Dutch New Guinea on south coast, thence westward to latitude 11 degrees south, longitude 120 degrees east, thence south to latitude 13 degrees south, thence west to longitude 92 degrees cast, thence north to latitude 20 degrees north, thence to boundary between India and Burma.' See Casey's cablegram 260 of 5 April on file AA:A981, Far East 25B, i.

6 N.Z. Air Force representative at Ottawa and Washington.

[AA:A3830, 1941, 681]