24 Evatt to King

Cablegram SW80 CANBERRA, 14 August 1942

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET TO BE DECIPHERED BY WATT

Personal for Admiral King to be given to himself alone from Dr.

Evatt.

1. Despite losses almost inevitable in so daring an operation [1], your Solomon attack has captured the imagination of all our people and whatever the precise result, the attempt will be another turning point in the war against Japan comparable to your successes at Coral Sea and Midway.

2. I feel it is probable that the enemy will soon attempt some spectacular counter blow, and probably at the mainland of Australia.

3. Would be deeply obliged if you could reassess the air strength in and aircraft deliveries to MacArthur's area, having regard to the rapidly changing situation. Brett has gone back. I believe that through your efforts in London a greater allocation is coming Pacificwards but it is difficult to gauge prospects of early deliveries especially latest types machines and there is accordingly some anxiety and criticism from MacArthur's precincts.

4. I know you will now be assessing analogous situation in Solomons area, and therefore hope you reassess also MacArthur's area, so as to make vital strategic bases here, at any rate, secure against large scale invasion.

5. Matter is of global importance because in the event of invasion, Britain has pledged herself to cut losses in the Middle East and concentrate here. That contingency would be disastrous for United Nations and therefore delivery here of substantial reinforcements of aircraft now would be effectual, and, in the long run, most economical measure.

6. As you know, our Naval strength here is small, and anything [sic] may depend upon rapid reinforcements.

7. This message is a sincere friendly greeting to you. Any reply may be addressed to myself through the same person. [2]

1 U.S. forces had landed on Guadalcanal and Tulagi on 7 August, but in a naval action off Savo Island on the night of 8-9 August the Allies had lost four heavy cruisers including H.M.A.S.

Canberra.

2 King replied on 17 August reciprocating Evatt's greetings and pointing out that the question of air strength in the Pacific was under almost daily consideration by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff. See cablegram S100 on file AA:A981, War 33, attachment C.

[AA:A981, WAR 33, ATTACHMENT C]