117 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram 102 LONDON, 19 November 1941, 1.29 p.m.

IMMEDIATE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL

My telegram No. 89. [1]

When I heard of the decision to replace Brooke-Popham [2] by Paget

interests in the Far East and the number of our troops employed there, the Australian Government should have been consulted before so important a decision was arrived at. Not wishing however to cause trouble, I did not raise the point with you, but contented myself by insisting that you should be officially advised well in advance of any public announcement. This morning, however, the press announcement makes it clear that Paget is not to go to the Far East and this was done without your being informed or my being told anything of it, so that I could have advised you privately as to the reasons. This, to my mind, is intolerable and I have left little unsaid in my comments. I suggest it is a matter for your consideration whether you will take action or will leave it on the basis of strong representations I have made. [4]

BRUCE

[AA : A1608, F45/1/8]

1 Dispatched 6 November. On file AA : A1608, F45/1/8.

2 U.K. Commander-in-Chief in the Far East.

3 U.K. Commander-in-Chief, South Eastern Command, who in fact became Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces.

4 In cablegram 7297 of 22 November (on file cited in note 1) Curtin directed Bruce to his cablegram of the same day to the Dominions Office (Document 121).

[3], I made strong representations that, in view of our vital