273 Mr Winston Churchill, U.K. Prime Minister (in the United States), to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram Winch 9 [WASHINGTON, 12 January 1942, 2.35 P.m.] [1]

MOST SECRET

Reference Winch 7. [2]

The following are proposals for naval operations in the Anzac Area, which have been agreed to by the American Naval Staff, and by the President. [3]

1. Definition of Area A new naval area to be called the Anzac Area is to be established.

The boundary of this area will be as follows:-

(a) From longitude 141 degrees cast, eastward along the Equator to longitude 170 degrees east, thence south-eastwards to latitude 20 degrees south longitude 175 degrees west, [thence] south along meridian 175 degrees west.

(b) From a point on the Equator southwards along meridian 141 degrees east to the south coast of New Guinea, thence cast along the southern New Guinea coast to meridian 143 degrees east thence in sea areas south along this meridian to the Pole.

2. Designation This area is designated as an adjunct of the Pacific area and naval forces operating therein will be considered to be an adjunct of the [United States] Pacific Fleet.

3. Command Relations (a) The command of naval forces of Associated Powers operating in the Anzac Area will be vested in a United States F.O. [4] directly responsible to the Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet (Pacific) and under his strategic direction.

(b) The Commander-in-Chief United States Pacific Fleet will exercise general supervision over operations in the Anzac Area and will correlate them with operations in adjacent areas; but he may not change the allocation of vessels assigned to the Anzac Area.

4. Allocation of Forces within the Area Proposed initial assignment of forces to the Anzac Area:

(a) by the British-one aircraft carrier.

(b) by the United States-one heavy or light cruiser.

(c) by Australia-two heavy cruisers, one old light cruiser, three A.M.C.'s [5], three destroyers, three sloops, two A.S. [6] patrol vessels.

(d) by New Zealand-two light cruisers, one A.M.C.

Note:

(1) The remainder of R.A.N. vessels other than local defence forces to be assigned to the A.B.D.A. Area.

(2) All local defence forces to remain at the disposal of Australia and New Zealand.

(3) The United States will undertake to furnish to Australian and New Zealand Governments all practicable assistance in ships, planes, munitions, etc., to be manned by Australia and New Zealand.

5. Assignment of Tasks The tasks assigned to the forces of Associated Powers in the Anzac Area are:-

(a) to cover eastern and north-eastern approaches to Australia and New Zealand;

(b) to safeguard, by all practicable escorting and covering operations, convoys in the Anzac Area;

(c) to support the defence of islands in the Anzac Area with particular emphasis on its key points; to attack adjacent enemy key points;

(d) to correlate operations with forces in the A.B.D.A. Area and with United States Pacific force[s].

6. Forces assigned to the Anzac and adjacent areas are authorised to extend their operations into other areas as may be required.

(Ends)

You will realise that decisions had to be taken at once and I hope that you will agree that this is a valuable step forward to meeting the position which you have represented to us. I have communicated in the same sense to Mr. Fraser. [7]

CHURCHILL

1 Material in square brackets has been corrected/inserted from the Washington copy on file AA:A3300, 219. This cablegram was dispatched to London and retransmitted to Canberra at 3.50 p.m. on 14 January (See AA:A3195, 1942, 1.1751).

2 Document 271.

3 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

4 Flag Officer.

5 Armed merchant cruisers.

6 Anti-submarine.

7 N.Z. Prime Minister.

[AA:A3195, 1942, 1.1751]