283 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram 72 LONDON, 19 January 1942, 2.16 p.m.

MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL

Following from the Prime Minister [1] for the Prime Minister.

The following are proposals for machinery in London to secure full and continuous association of Australian, New Zealand and Netherlands Governments with the whole conduct of the war against Japan. A Far Eastern Council shall be established on Ministerial plane. I would preside and other members would be the Lord Privy Seal [2] (who is my deputy on the Defence Committee), Duff Cooper [3] and representatives of Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

The Australian member would presumably be Earle Page [4] and the New Zealand representative might be the High Commissioner [5] to begin with. There would also be a Dutch Cabinet Minister.

The Council would be assisted by a staff group of Dominion liaison officers in consultation with the United Kingdom Joint Planners.

The duties of the Council will be to focus and formulate views of the represented powers to the President [6], whose views will also be brought before the Council. This will not, of course, interfere with Earle Page's attending Cabinet as at present when Australian affairs are affected. Do you agree? Am also consulting Fraser [7] and the Netherlands Government.

1 Winston Churchill.

2 Sir Stafford Cripps.

3 U.K. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He had been Minister of State for Far Eastern Affairs resident in Singapore until 9 January.

4 Special Representative in the United Kingdom.

5 W. J. Jordan.

6 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

7 N.Z. Prime Minister.

[AA:A981, WAR 41B]