418 Advisory War Council Minute 844

CANBERRA, 18 March 1942


(Previous Reference-Minute No. (823)). [2]

Consideration was given to President Roosevelt's proposals regarding the general conduct of the war communicated in Sir Earle Page's cablegrams; P. 66 [3] and P. 70 [4] and to the report of the Chiefs of Staff thereon. [5]

2. The relation of the new proposals to the joint Australian-New Zealand plan for higher control in the Anzac Area (Minute 802) [6] was discussed. The Prime Minister [7] informed the Council of the message conveyed through General Brett [8] on 17th March that the President was in general agreement with the proposals regarding organisation and command of the Australian Area except as to some details concerning relationship to the Combined Chiefs of Staff and as to boundaries.

3. The Prime Minister also informed the Council of the changed views of the High Commissioner, London [9], who now favoured the Pacific Council being in Washington (Cablegrams 41 and 42 of 9th March [10]).

4. The Council recommended- (a) That the Commonwealth Government should adhere to its view on the necessity for the Council in Washington as proposed, particularly in view of the opinion put forward by Mr. Bruce, regarding the working of a Pacific Council in London.

(b) That in view of the early arrival of the Minister for External Affairs [11] in Washington, he should be requested to discuss the matter as early as possible with the President.

(c) That Sir Earle Page should be informed accordingly, in view of the fact that the matter will arise at the meeting of the Pacific War Council in London on Friday.

Note: (i) The recommendations of the Council were taken as the decision of War Cabinet (Minute No. (2023) [12]).

(ii) Subsequent to the meeting of the Council, Dominions Office cablegrams 318 [13]3 and 319 [14] and cablegram 48 [15] from the High Commissioner, London, were received.

The Prime Minister directed that action on the Council's recommendations should be taken in the light of the additional information contained in these cablegrams, and that the matter be submitted for confirmation by the Council, at the next meeting.

1 On file AA:A2671, 118/1942.

2 In AA: A2682, vol. 4.

3 Published as Document 410.

4 Dispatched 16 March (AA:A3195, 1942, 1.10992) 5 Annex C to the file cited in note 1.

6 See Document 388, note 4.

7 John Curtin.

8 Commander, U.S. Army Forces in Australia. See Brett's letter and record of telephone conversation with Curtin on file Defence:

Special Collection II, bundle 5, Future policy and strategy for conduct of war in the Pacific.

9 S. M. Bruce.

10 Documents 400-1.

11 Dr H. V. Evatt.

12 See AA: A2673, vol. 11.

13 Document 417.

14 Dispatched 17 March. On file AA:A2937, Far East position 1942.

15 Document 420.

[AA:A2682, VOL. 4]