249 Arnold to Evatt

Letter WASHINGTON, 22 July 1943


I deeply regret that I was unable to return to Washington prior to your departure. It is unfortunate that you were obliged to leave Washington without complete satisfaction with our allocations of airplanes for the Royal Australian Air Force during the next 18 months.

We do have a fundamental difference in our point of view. Our military doctrine calls for the greatest possible concentration and mobility of our striking air power. It is the strategy of the Axis to make us disperse our striking force around the periphery of their defense rings. Certainly the mobility of our Air Forces in the offensive ring around Japan would be diminished if we transferred nine heavy bomber squadrons from the United States Army Air Force to the Royal Australian Air Force. And certainly the war would last longer in Europe if we were to divert to the Royal Australian Air Force the equipment which could be used by nine United States squadrons over Germany.

Our bomber offensive over Germany cannot be initiated on a full scale because production is not yet up to the level which will be required to sustain an all out offensive. Pending the time when we can begin and sustain a full scale bomber offensive in Europe, I cannot accept additional obligations against my limited resources of heavy bombers.

Heavy bomber production has proven to be very disappointing this summer. When we expected to see several plants getting into full production, we had to introduce major modifications of the armament arrangements with the result that production has done very badly for the past two months.

The provision which must be made for training, pipeline, reserves, maintenance and attrition always increases greatly the total obligation which is assumed when a commitment is made to provide the unit equipment. If I were to offer to Australia So heavy bombers for unit equipment, the 12 month commitments would approximate 200 heavy bombers.

The matter of providing equipment for the Royal Australian Air Force has always received my personal attention. You may be assured that I will continue, at all times, to keep your desires, and the strategic requirements of the Southwest Pacific theatre, in mind when planning the deployment of our striking air force.