23 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram 135[A] LONDON, 13 August 1942, 8.20 p.m.

IMMEDIATE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL

Your telegram 7359. [1]

In the absence of the Prime Minister [2] and in view of his request (my telegram of the 25th July [3]), I do not feel at liberty to send you precise information regarding operational decisions resulting from the meeting between the Chiefs of Staff and Marshall and King.

As, however, for the reasons given in my telegram 131 of 8th August [4], the Prime Minister has not carried out his intention of communicating with you himself, I feel that I should give you the following broad indication of the line of operational decisions arrived at:-

(1) As a result of the Chiefs of Staff and Marshall and King's discussions it was decided that it would be impracticable to undertake the operation referred to in Dominions Office telegram Z.57 of 5th May [5] before, at the earliest, the Spring of 1943.

An alternative operation on a considerable scale to be staged this

year was accordingly decided upon. [6] The operation is a combined United States and United Kingdom one, but predominantly United States. This alteration of operational plans is being kept most secret. All preparations as for the original operation are being proceeded with and every effort is being made to deceive the enemy as to our intentions.

(2) The Air Forces re-allocated to the Pacific area were the following:-

Three groups of heavy bombers Two groups of medium bombers Two groups of light bombers Two groups of lighter planes Two groups of observation planes Two groups of transport planes The purpose for which these aircraft were re-allocated was defined as for 'furthering offensive operations in the Pacific'. Their re- allocation implied no alteration in the strategic conception laid down in WW1 [7], but was based upon the fact that necessary postponement of the major operation 'until Spring 1943' rendered possible the more effective use of these aircraft in the Pacific area.

Their disposition and utilization is for determination by the American Chiefs of Staff under their primary control of operations in the Pacific theatre.

BRUCE

1 Dispatched 11 August. On file AA:MP1217, box 575, Anglo-American strategy. Discussions in London, July 1942.

2 Churchill was then in Moscow.

3 Document 9.

4 Document 20.

5 See Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. V, Document 483, note 10. The operation was an invasion of northern

France.

6 The invasion of French North Africa.

7 See Document 13, note 3

[FA:A3195, 1942, 1.32186]