224 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, to Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States

Cablegram 163 CANBERRA, 25 December 1941

The Government has reviewed the Australian organisation at present in the United States for procurement of supplies under Lease Lend and for cash. All views furnished and recommendations made have been carefully considered.

It has been decided that:-

1. All sections of Lease Lend and supply work to be brought into single organisation, headquarters of which should be in Washington.

2. Australian section of the British Purchasing Commission to be merged with this organisation.

3. Subject to direction on general policy from Australia one man to be responsible for all phases of activities-technical, financial and administrative-and all other officers to be subject to his direction.

4. An Advisory Council to be set up to assist the Director- General, consisting of:

Chief Technical Adviser, Chief Financial Officer, Officer representing Director of Import Procurement, and Australian official with financial and economic training.

5. The appointment of a man with financial and economic training primarily to aid the Lease Lend organisation.

6. Appointment of Macgregor [1] to take charge of the organisation.

7. Macgregor to be charged with the reorganisation of the office, review of personnel and review of salaries paid.

Further details of the functions of the four members of the Advisory Council will be telegraphed later.

We desire that the organisation shall be known as the Commonwealth of Australia-War Supplies Procurement, and that Macgregor's title shall be that of Director-General. [2]

We want Macgregor to make a supreme effort to use Lease Lend to add to our limited resources of aircraft, munitions, supplies:

everything done to help us will equally help the United States and your cablegram 1210 [3] is receiving immediate attention.

I want you to co-operate with Macgregor in every possible way.

Please inform him that we are giving him a great chance to serve Australia at this critical hour.

The Prime Minister [4] has sent separate cablegrams to Macgregor [5] and Clapp [6] appraising them of the new arrangement.

Best wishes,


1 Government Trade Commissioner in North America.

2 Macgregor took up duty in Washington on 5 January 1942.

3 This is an incorrect reference to cablegram 1201 (Document 219).

4 John Curtin.

5 See unnumbered cablegram of 25 December (AA:A3196, 1941, 0.22658).

6 Australian representative on the British Purchasing Commission in the United States. See unnumbered cablegram of 25 December (AA:A3196, 1941, 0.22657).

On 23 January 1942 (see AA:A3830, 1942, 393) Clapp advised Curtin that Macgregor had relieved him of all administrative responsibility and offered him the position of Chief Technical Adviser. Clapp believed that he was not qualified in training or experience to occupy this position and offered his resignation to Curtin, who accepted it on 17 February (see cablegram 33, AA:A3196, 1942, 0.4821.

[AA:A3196, 1941, 0.22656]