395 Sir Frederic Eggleston, Minister to China, to Sir Earle Page, Special Representative in the United Kingdom
Letter CHUNGKING, 7 March 1942
One would gather from Churchill's speeches, and statements by Mr.
Curtin , that there is a considerable difference of opinion between the two Governments as to the strategy and conduct of the war in the Pacific. This appears to be confirmed by confidential cables from Canberra but my information is neither full nor up-to- date and I am not sure that I have the proper story.
Differences of opinion appear to have arisen on three points-one, the dominant strategy to be applied to the Pacific, another, the reinforcements to Australia, and lastly, the representation of Australia in the bodies conducting the war. The last is a matter which you know of and is not in my sphere but the other points touch matters which affect my area and which I have closely studied for years. I hope, therefore, that it will not be regarded as out-of-place if I write you direct on these matters. I think it desirable that each should know what the other is thinking. I am sending a copy of this letter to the Minister in Canberra. 
The following appear to be the main points:
(a) The view has been definitely put forward that the best policy is to concentrate on Germany and if this means that losses will occur in the Pacific they can be recovered at leisure when victory is secured over Germany. This is the old 'blue water' theory of naval strategy and I have personal knowledge of the fact that it has been held by Churchill, Alexander  has enunciated it, and it may still be governing Allied strategy. I believe it to be completely fallacious as applied to the Pacific and I put my views in the statement 'A' annexed, which I showed to Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, former British Ambassador here, who told me that he entirely agreed with me.
(b) Australia's claim for reinforcements. I hold that, owing to the way in which the war has been fought, Australia has an unanswerable claim for reinforcements at once. Australian personnel and munitions have been sent abroad and they would be invaluable in Australia now. I have also put this in the form of a summarised statement 'B' which I enclose. What the actual position as to these reinforcements is, I am unable to say but the reinforcements to Malaya and Burma have been grossly inadequate and not on the scale that Churchill led us to expect in his speech. In the last few days the Dutch had to meet Japanese fleet and troopships with no assistance whatever except American submarines. Planes have been sent to Java but obviously are not sufficient to obtain air superiority. I can quite understand the Australian Government being very alarmed at the prospect of being treated in the same way and I feel very indignant at the tendency in some quarters to treat them as squealers.
It is all nonsense to say that Britain and America cannot spare anything. The whole question is one of priorities, reserves and risk. The nett balance of resources with the Allies is very much greater since the United States came in. A moderate amount of specialised assistance is what is needed to make up for the deficiencies created by the fact that Australia has been producing for a common scheme which has broken down. I know that there is one factor that I have been unable to estimate and that is the claim of Russia-but it would be a strange thing to allow Australia to fall that Russia may live-and besides, it is mainly a question of reserves held.
Of course Britain wants to pile up reserves. Every responsible military leader wants reserves and the sky is the limit. The question is a just distribution of risk, (see article in 'Times' of March 5th, 1942). It must be remembered that though Australia in the long run cannot stand without Britain, neither can Britain stand without the Empire. Without it she would be an over- populated, isolated island with the occasional friendship and fortuitous support of the United States.
Possibly you could send me information as to the position regarding this vital matter and any other information you think important. It could be sent addressed to this Legation and put in the bag sent by the Foreign Office to the British Embassy here. I think these exchanges are valuable and indeed necessary.
As to Australian representation: so far as I can see, Churchill is less generous than Lloyd George  was but I do not think that direct contact with the United States will necessarily improve the position. The thing is to hammer our case direct to the British Government. I have some experience of American psychology and Americans invariably re-act unfavourably to direct appeals to them. We want to show Britain and the United States that the Pacific is irretrievable if Australia is lost. India and Australia are the only bases left for a comeback and both are essential.
F. W. EGGLESTON