506 Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister, to Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs (in London)
Cablegram PM76 CANBERRA, 29 May 1942
1. Reference your ET.30, 31, 32 and 33.  I am furnishing you with certain immediate observations in the hope that they will reach you before you leave London.  I am proceeding to Melbourne on Sunday for discussions with MacArthur , Blamey  and the Chiefs of Staff and will cable you next week additional observations arising from these conferences.
2. In the first place please accept my warmest congratulations on your achievement and especially the fact that you have secured three Spitfire squadrons for Australia and much equipment for our Land Forces.
3. Reference ET.30. (A) Grand Strategy of the War.
Paragraphs two and three.
It is indeed surprising in view of Page's  membership of the War Cabinet and the Pacific War Council, and Casey's  status in Washington, that neither of them had been acquainted with the decision to treat Germany as the primary enemy.
Apart from any special notification to the Commonwealth Government through the usual channel or from the Prime Minister  through the Winch Series, there were opportunities for revealing this information to the Australian Government in the following cablegrams:
(i) Appreciation of situation in the Far East  received through the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom  on March 4.
(ii) Comments of United Kingdom Chiefs of Staff on appreciation by Australian Chiefs of Staff forwarded by Australian High Commissioner  in cablegram No. 55 of April 3. 
(iii) Comments of United Kingdom Chiefs of Staff on the observations of the Australian Chiefs of Staff on (i) forwarded in Dominions Office cablegram No. 362 of April 6.  In addition to the public utterances of Colonel Knox  and A. V. Alexander  mentioned by you there have been inklings of such a decision, as in the concluding words of Dominions Office cablegram No. 382 of April 27  that action against Malay barrier is beyond our resources until Germany has been defeated.
Paragraphs four to eight.
Though Clause 18 of Annexure 'A'  says that the security of Australia and other named centres must be maintained, it is interesting to note that of the latter, Singapore, the East Indies, the Philippines, Burma and the Burma Road have been lost.
As advised by MacArthur in PM.62 , there is a certain strength necessary for the security of Australia as a base which exceeds our maximum potential. This strength is the minimum that should be provided as a defence against invasion.
Paragraphs nine to twelve.
In view of the background you have outlined, it is apparent that MacArthur was right in stating that he lacked the forces necessary to carry out a single part of his directive, and that it should have been drafted in two sections showing immediate and ultimate objectives. The former would have covered the defence of Australia as a base. In view of this background and your statement of Marshall's  strategical outlook, we must strive most strenuously to help MacArthur get the forces, as you say, to carry out that portion of the grand strategy embodied in his directive.
In regard to prior consultation on any future modification of the grand strategy, it is noted that you propose to discuss the matter frankly with Churchill and Bruce.
(C) Difficulties Confronting Australia.
Your statement on the attitude of the United States Air Chief  towards allocations of American aircraft is disturbing as it is of vital importance to obtain the aircraft for our expansion programme of seventy-one squadrons, for which we are training personnel and providing the ground facilities and ancillary organisation. You will recall that item one on the agendum for the Ottawa Conference  is the necessity for relating the training capacity of the United Nations to the output of operational type aircraft by those nations.
(D) General Results.
Paragraphs eight to sixteen.
The information regarding two Australian and one R.A.F. Spitfire squadrons is very gratifying and these units with their excellent equipment should have a demoralising effect on the Japanese, particularly if the secret is well preserved. I presume censorship will be rigid at the London end.
You will recall that in February War Cabinet considered modifications of the Empire Training Scheme to meet the changed strategical position and to provide for the allotment of R.A.A.F.
squadrons to the Pacific Theatre. 
When War Cabinet was recently considering the question of the extension of the scheme beyond March 1943 it was decided that I should raise this aspect with you in its relation to the strategical needs of the South West Pacific [Area, particularly in respect of air defence] requirements.  My message to Churchill  will, as you suggest, accept this contribution in the spirit in which it is made, for the gesture embodied in the despatch of an R.A.F. squadron will have a splendid effect. I shall be glad however if you will note War Cabinet's views on R.A.A.F. squadrons and make the supply of personnel for other theatres a strong factor in the provision of aircraft for the Australian Air Force.
The instruction issued to Field Marshal Dill  to support General MacArthur in Australia is very satisfactory and it is hoped it will produce the desired results.
4. I am repeating to you separately my JOHCU message to Churchill.