418 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr A. W. Fadden, Acting Prime Minister
Cablegram M71 LONDON, 22 April 1941
Your unnumbered cable of yesterday regarding Advisory War Council.
I think the whole position is one which you could with advantage take up with Curtin.  I notice that Evatt  is endeavouring to make political capital out of our troubles in the Middle East and no doubt there will be a good deal of public criticism. I am making a statement today which I hope will be helpful but I do emphasise first that British Ministers outside the War Cabinet were not consulted regarding Lustre and I certainly would not have been at liberty to convey it to people in Australia who are not members of Cabinet at all. Second the battle is raging and our men are fighting under great difficulties with immense courage and under these circumstances a public debate on such matters as the extent of our supplies or our forces can do nothing but harm. For God's sake let us extricate ourselves from our present difficulties before we start having debates about how we got into them. At any rate that is the principle upon which I am working at this end and I think I can claim that this work is not without use. Kind regards.
[DEFENCE: SPECIAL COLLECTION 1, BOX 626, AIF, FUTURE EMPLOYMENT OF]
1 On file Defence; Special Collection 1, Box 630, Prime Minister's Visit Abroad, 1941. Advisory War Council-Increase of Personnel. It suggested that in view of the likelihood of parliamentary criticism of the Greek campaign it would be desirable to vest supreme executive authority in all war matters in the Advisory War Council, which included members of the Labor Party.
2 Leader of the Opposition and member of the Advisory War Council.
3 Menzies himself dispatched cablegram M72 to Curtin on 22 April (AA: A3195, 1941, 1.6179) reaffirming that his offer of a united front in Australia was still open and continuing: 'My experience here, which has been extremely trying, has emphasised what difficulties a Prime Minister has when he can speak for only half of his people.' 4 Labor Party M.H.R. for Barton and member of the Advisory War Council.