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

Cablegram 454 9 April 1941,

MOST SECRET

For Naval Attache [1] from Chief of Naval Staff [2]

Your telegram No.250 of 2nd April, 1941. [3] We learn with great satisfaction that it is envisaged in some circumstances that Pacific Fleet (with main base at Hawaii) would operate in Caroline area.

2. Decision to place garrison and fixed defences at Rabaul was primarily to defence [sic] advanced air base. It may now be desirable to establish examination service. No naval facilities exist at present, but every consideration would be given to any request for the provision of same although Port Moresby and Suva are considered the main advanced bases in that area.

3. Fixed defences being installed at Rabaul are: two six inch mark VII gun equipments and two defence electric lights. These equipments are now at Rabaul and are in process of being installed. One Infantry Battalion A.I.F. is now stationed at Rabaul. Other units comprise volunteer rifle unit and Native Police. Also question of raising Native Battalion is being examined.

4. Moorings for flying boats and aerodrome for limited operation of Hudson aircraft are available at Rabaul. Small stocks of aircraft fuel and bombs are also held there.

1 Commander D. H. Harries.

2 Admiral Sir Ragnar Colvin, but see Domment 355, note 2.

3 Document 380.

[AA:A3831, 1941, 607]