460 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram S33 WASHINGTON, 7 April 1942, 11.37 p.m.

IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET FOR CURTIN

Meeting of the Pacific War Council took place this morning with all representatives present.

(2) President [1] stated that 63,000 American troops were now in Australia; 17,000 in New Caledonia will shortly be increased to 24,000 and [Fiji] [2] contained about 12,000 New Zealand and Australian troops. He also stated that there were 1,000 American aircraft in Australia of which 500 could be put into the air for immediate operations. Whether this aircraft figure is correct I do not know.

(3) The most important matter determined at the Council arose out of an analysis of the munitions allocation position which I had prepared for the President some days ago. [3] Briefly it advocated the allotment of munitions to theatres of war rather than to Governments as at present. The matter was discussed at length and at the conclusion the President sent a direction to the Chiefs of Staff to report immediately upon a system of allocation based on theatres on the lines of my suggestions. Such a system would have distinct advantages in that it would ensure allocation of munitions to various theatres according to strategic needs.

Further it would ensure that full information of military facts of each theatre including the munitions on hand would be before the allocating authorities and should thus ensure more scientific allocations. Finally it would simplify the present complex and confused system of allocation and generally lead to a better appreciation of the position and more direct action.

(4) At present the whole of Canada's allocation goes under contract arrangements to the United Kingdom and other countries not including Australia. In reply to my representations Canada has expressed a desire to assist Australia and I am endeavouring to get Mackenzie King [4] to support the immediate adoption of the new allocations system at the next War Council meeting.

(5) A possible limiting factor in obtaining increased supplies is the proposal regarding the new front [5] and the need for collecting reserves for operations thereon.

(6) I have cabled separately on the Russian boundary position. [6] The President stated he was doing everything possible in connection with the protection of Madagascar but he emphasized that during this year we have got to take calculated risks in certain places, otherwise we will be unsafe in every place.

1 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

2 Words in square brackets have been corrected/inserted from the Washington copy on file AA:A3300, 233 3 See Evatt's memorandum of 5 April on the file cited in note 2.

4 Canadian Prime Minister.

5 In northern Europe. See also Document 462, note 2.

6 See Document 459.

[AA:A981, WAR 41B]