407 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to the Department of External Affairs

Cablegram S6 WASHINGTON, 12 March 1942, 6.35 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE SECRET

Your telegram S.W.13. [1]

I saw President [2] immediately. After reading message he said 'that is common sense and should be done at once. It does not prejudice any larger plan that may be agreed upon.' President asked me to see U.S. Chiefs of Staff about the matter. I saw Admiral King [3] who said the matter was outside his authority.

General Marshall (Chief of the Staff U.S. Army) and General Arnold (U.S. Army Air Corps) are away. I saw their deputies and as a result telegram is being sent to Brett [4] from U.S. War Department to the effect that under instructions he has already received it is felt he has all the necessary authority to co- operate and to co-ordinate with Australian authorities in respect of all matters mentioned in your telegram S.W. 13 and that he (Brett) is authorised to make such dispositions and to collaborate with Australian authorities in any way thought necessary on the spot.

General Brett may care to know privately that General Harmon (Deputy Chief of U.S. Army Air Staff) after discussion with United States Army General Staff said to me:

'Brett now has full authority to do everything that is mentioned in Australian Prime Minister's message to President. [5] They can now get together and go ahead and work it out locally. Whatever Brett does in conjunction with Australia and other air authorities will not be criticised from this end.'

CASEY

1 Document 405.

2 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

3Commandcr-in-Chief, U.S. Navy.

4 Commander, U.S. Army Forces in Australia.

5 John Curtin's message is contained in Document 405.

[AA:A981, WAR 56A]