443 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, to Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom

Cablegram 44 WASHINGTON, 26 March 1942

PERSONAL FOR BRUCE

(1) In view of Australia's most serious position, suggest fully equipped aircraft be shipped to Australia in far greater quantities and at much quicker rates by all possible methods including aircraft carriers. I feel that slow shipment of Beaufighters will cause painful (reaction) as delivery has been delayed far beyond schedule. To speak of ten aircraft per mensem in existing conditions is like giving massage treatment to a patient suffering from pneumonia. We must draw on our capital and supplies now made available could be taken as part of our future allocations.

(2) Similarly in regard to R.A.A.F. personnel in the United Kingdom. It is (difficult) for Australia to make suggestions but United Kingdom Government now should be disposed to make a special effort to cover Australian air defence in the next few months.

(3) I believe very short period ahead of us will determine whether our country will be overrun and I entirely disagree with view that full scale invasion is unlikely. On all munitions requirements, speed is essential contract and it might well prove that supplies delivered in the immediate future will be of much greater benefit than greater quantities delivered later.

(4) Could you please try and persuade Churchill that in special emergency he should make some immediate sacrifice out of United Kingdom resources to protect two of His Majesty's Dominions from violation by the enemy. If he does so he will be saviour of Australia and New Zealand. Please also approach other Ministers including Attlee [1] and Lyttelton [2] and any others who might be in a position to assist.

Best wishes,

EVATT

1 U.K. Dominions Secretary.

2 U.K. Minister of Production.

[AA:M100, MARCH 1942]