385 Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister, to Mr Clement Attlee, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
Cablegram 160  CANBERRA, 2 March 1942
MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET
For Prime Minister  from Prime Minister.
1. We are most anxious to assist you in your anxieties over the strengthening of the garrison at Ceylon.
2. The President while fully appreciating our difficult home defence position in relation to the proposed return of the A.I.F.
was good enough to suggest that he would be glad if we could see our way clear to make available some reinforcements from later detachments of the three divisions of the A.I.F. which have all been allocated from the Middle East to Australia.
3. For the purpose of temporarily adding to the garrison for Ceylon we make available to you two brigade groups of the 6th Division. These are comprised in the third flight of the A.I.F.
and are embarking from Suez. We ask that adequate air support will be available in Ceylon and that if you divert the two brigade groups they will be escorted to Australia as soon as possible after their relief. We are also relying on the understanding that the 9th Division will return to Australia under proper escort as soon as possible.
4. As you know we are gravely concerned at the weakness of our defences, but we realise the significance of Ceylon in this problem and make this offer believing that in the plans you are at present making, you realise the importance of the return of the A.I.F. in defending both Australia and New Zealand.
5. We hope very early to send you a submission on your No. 169  regarding the Anzac Area.