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

Cablegram ES11 WASHINGTON, 20 April 1942, 1.16 a.m.

Following for Curtin from Evatt. just received your Telegram S.W.27 [1] and am very disturbed.

Matter is of sufficient importance to ask for authority to leave here on Wednesday for which all arrangements were completed only after great difficulty as to transport. President [2] is so keen on my proceeding promptly to London that he has repeatedly reminded me how important it is. I feel that Australia's interests here may be prejudiced if we do not move on now and return here later. My recent detailed cables [3] show that the task here has reached completion, in addition, Prime Minister Mackenzie King, who I am glad to say will be making us some contribution out of Canada's munitions allotment, urges me to endeavour to obtain from Churchill in person his consent to a far greater contribution of munitions from Canada. Mackenzie King considers a personal approach at present the only prospect of success. Follow up action here on supply matters initiated by us can be handled by Smart [4] and his officers who can contact their opposite numbers to determine any additional necessities in the flow of equipment from this country to Australia.

With the full knowledge of all factors operating here and also fully conscious of my responsibility as a Minister and a member of the War Cabinet and further of the vital mission for which I was sent, I am convinced that the course I suggest is the proper one to follow and the best interests of Australia will be served by following that course. Any further delay may react to the disadvantage of Australia. Your S.W.27 does not refer to my telegrams E.S.9 [5] and E.S.10. [6] Latter telegram sets out the position fully and I should be glad to receive confirmation that we should depart for London on Wednesday in accordance with the arrangements already made. Please cable a most immediate reply.


1 See Document 468, note 7.

2 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

3 See Document 469, note 2.

4 Head of Australian Military Mission to Combined Chiefs of Staff, Washington.

5 Dispatched 18 April. On file AA:A981, War 41B.

6 Document 469.

7 This cablegram crossed Curtin's [PM]49 (on file AA:A981, War 33, attachment C) which informed Evatt that it was imperative that he remain in Washington to await vital submissions then in preparation. Evatt replied that he had cancelled his plans for leaving Washington, but stressed the urgency of proceeding to London with the least possible delay (see cablegram ES12 of 20 April on file AA:A4764, 2).

[AA:A4764, 2]