396 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, to Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States

Cablegram SW6 CANBERRA, 8 March 1942

IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

Personal for the Minister from the Minister.

1. Your comment in 404 [1] on Admiral King [2] has the same meaning and is in many respects verbatim with a telegram from the Joint Staff Mission to Churchill contained in 294. [3]

2. Please inform us immediately whether your 404 document is the source of the Joint Staff Mission telegram or vice versa: or what is the common source of both. [4]

3. Unfortunately your comment in 404 might impede the immediate adoption of the Joint Australian-New Zealand plan in relation to Anzac area. Further the comments seem rather derogatory to Admiral King. However, if it were desired the Australian-New Zealand plan could be modified to retain general jurisdiction in King in relation to naval forces. In any case he would retain power in Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

4. The Australian-New Zealand plan includes:

(a) Anzac Council at Washington, (b) Supreme Commander over land, air and naval forces in enlarged Anzac area including territories of Australia and New Zealand, (c) Enlargement of Chiefs of Staff Committee for Anzac purposes to include representatives of Australia and New Zealand.

5. Its adoption appears to the Prime Ministers of the two Governments [5] as matter of overriding urgency.

6. Please discuss this cable at once with Frankfurter [6] to whom I have wired an urgent personal message. [7]

EVATT

1 Document 392.

2 Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Navy.

3 See Document 393, note 7.

4 No direct reply to this request has been found, but see Document 399. As early as 9 February Casey had suggested that 'if Admiral King were to show any sign of resentment at higher direction of Anzac area being taken away from him, it would be better for present situation not to be disturbed ...' See cablegram 245 on file AA:A3300, 220.

5 John Curtin and Peter Fraser.

6 See Document 356, note 1.

7 Document 398.

[AA:A981, WAR 41B]