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

Cablegram 89 WASHINGTON, 16 January 1942, 1.56 a.m.

SECRET

The significance of the contents of my telegram 73 [1] is (confidentially) as under. After my talk to the President [2] (my telegram 74 [3]) on Jan. 13th, subject matter was discussed between President and Churchill. Whether as a result of this or not (I do not know) Churchill subsequently telegraphed the British Government with the suggestion that there should be created in London a 'War Council of the Far East' on ministerial plane with Churchill presiding, on which Australian, New Zealand and Dutch Governments should be represented, to keep under continuous review the conduct of the war in the south-west Pacific theatre;

Churchill to be able to bring into this Council, when necessary and appropriate, the Foreign Secretary or Service Ministers when required.

The above not to disturb or reduce the present right of Page [4] (or whoever the relevant Australian Government representative) to attend British War Cabinet meetings whenever matters affecting Australia are under consideration.

The above proposal (so far as I know) has not yet been agreed upon as between Churchill and his governmental colleagues in London, and for certain reasons there may be a little delay in its consummation and your being advised. In the meantime nothing more can be done by me from here. I would be grateful if no reference might be made officially or otherwise to above by reason of fact that I am aware of it through strictly personal and non-official channels.

CASEY

1 Dispatched 13 January. On file AA:A3300, 219. It contained a message from Churchill informing the Prime Minister, John Curtin, that he could expect within the next two days proposals for machinery for the future conduct of the war against Japan.

2 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

3 Document 272.

4 Special Representative in the United Kingdom.

[AA:A1608, H33/1/2]