398 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, to Mr J. M. McMillan, Third Secretary of the Legation in Washington

Cablegram SW7 CANBERRA, 8 March 1942


To be decyphered by McMillan.

Personal to Frankfurter [1] alone from Minister.

1. Largely as a result of the messages from the President [2] and yourself [3] we made an offer to London to allocate temporarily to Ceylon certain of our A.I.F. troops. For this Churchill has expressed gratitude. I am sure you also will be pleased.

2. Knowing your friendship with Casey [4], I have asked him to discuss with you the embarrassment which may result from facts stated in cable SW.6. [5]

3. Governments of Australia and New Zealand are in entire agreement as to the machinery for strategic control of the Anzac area including land territories. They have asked Churchill to recommend the plan for immediate adoption to the President.

4. We are dissatisfied with the operation of the present machinery which, in our view, helped to cause the fiasco in the A.B.D.A.


5. I most earnestly request you to exercise your powerful influence in favour of the plan which, of course, could be modified to some extent if King [6] is as jealous of his authority as is suggested in the cables.

6. The President need not fear the slightest embarrassment from Australian and New Zealand representatives on the proposed Washington Council. We realise his responsibilities and desire only that we should have the advantage of occasional consultation on a round table basis. He would surely be assisted by our knowledge of conditions in a theatre of war so distant from yourselves and so near to us.

7. New Zealand and ourselves are greatly in need of fighter aircraft, high octane fuel, anti-aircraft guns, ammunition and radio direction equipment. I believe that the situation is so serious that thought should be given to overcome the normal voyage delays by sending fighters by aircraft carrier from Honolulu.

8. General Bennett's personal report of Japanese tactics and morale in Malaya and Singapore [7] shows that if we are given this equipment rapidly we shall be able to smash the enemy in this theatre of war and perhaps turn the balance in favour of the Allies more quickly than might be expected. In short, the Anzac area, though gravely threatened at the moment, may give us a great opportunity to hasten ultimate victory. The spirit of the people of Australia and New Zealand is indomitable. All they need is further equipment.

9. I am sure that in this crisis you will understand this request for your intervention.

10. It seems possible that I may see you shortly while en route to London. [8]


1 Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

2 Franklin D. Roosevelt's messages are published as Documents 355 and 363.

3 See Documents 356 and 383.

4 Minister to the United States.

5 Document 396.

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

7 See Document 397, note 10.

8 Frankfurter replied on 10 March: 'You know how deeply anxious I am to help within the limits of my qualifications. I think I can assure you quite on my own that your proposals will receive the most sympathetic and impartial consideration here.' See cablegram S4 in Flinders University Library: Evatt Papers, Evatt, H. V.


[AA:A981, WAR 41B]