474 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, to Lt Col W. R. Hodgson, Secretary of Department of External Affairs

Cablegram ES15 (extract) WASHINGTON, 23 April 1942, 3 a.m.


Just received your personal wire. [1]

(1) I do not think there will be any further confusion of messages from this end. I presume you have seen all recent messages relating to the plans of my mission and my acquiesence in the special request to await MacArthur's recommendations as Supreme Commander of the theatre. I would like you to take the initiative to see that there is not an hour's further delay over this matter.

The strategy is settled by the directive and all recommendations for implementing it are dealt with on the military and technical side, General Marshall [2] as executive under the directive being most resentful of any governmental or political pressure which interferes with his assessment of the recommendations of the Commander. For this reason, General Smart [3], his officers and Service Attaches here are precisely the persons to be heard at various levels on the quantities of material and munitions requisitioned. Smart will have close proximity to the Chiefs of Staff and these matters can best take the regular course of communication from MacArthur to Marshall then to the Chiefs of Staff. I feel strongly that governmental intervention of any kind should now [sic] take place between the Prime Minister of Australia and the President and should be reserved for very rare occasions.

(2) A mission like the present obtains special facilities and acquires momentum partly because of its temporary character. The time has undoubtedly come to move on to London, to return here for review and to report back to Australia.

(3) The above is very obvious to all here on the spot, but I am disturbed that there is not an equal appreciation of it at your end specially by people like Shedden. [4] He, MacArthur and Blamey [5] should know that under the directive, supply quantities must be determined on a purely military and strategic basis. They can seldom be affected by Government pressure but everything possible has been done to ensure that MacArthur's revised requisitions will be fully considered.

(4) I am anxious to get the London part of my mission finalised. I look to you to do what you can to see that some immediate solution is reached speedily. On the whole, I think Watt [6] would be better to act on. the Council than General Smart, because all representatives are non-military, but Smart and his officers will be invaluable on the supply end.

(5) With regard to the conditions of Dixon's appointment [7], please consult me before any decision is made as to the date of commencement, as my own temporary representation here is noted by the State Department.

[matter omitted]

1 Not found. It probably dealt with the confusion over Evatt's messages referred to in Appendix II.

2 Chief of Staff, U.S. Army.

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

4 Secretary of the Defence Dept.

5 Commander, Allied Land Forces in the South-West Pacific Area.

6 First Secretary of the Legation in Washington.

7 As Minister to the United States.

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