323 Curtin to Cranborne

Cablegram 283 [1] CANBERRA, 30 October 1943

MOST SECRET & PERSONAL

I have carefully considered your No. 316 [2], but, after fully weighing the reasons you advance, I am quite convinced that the accomplishment of the programme that I have mapped out for myself in Australia in the next few months is the best contribution I can make to the future welfare of Australia and the Empire. The mandate recently received by me from the Australian people leaves no doubt in my mind as to the course I should follow in the immediate obligations that devolve upon me. On the other hand, I realize that the position of other Prime Ministers may be different. 2. Australia is the only Dominion with a war front on its territory. The forces engaged in the South-West Pacific Area have been preponderantly Australian. Having carried the responsibility of Government through the grave period of the Japanese threat to the mainland of the Commonwealth, I want to see the Japanese pushed back still further before I am prepared to leave Australia.

3. As you will have noted from my cablegram No. 267 [3] the Government is engaged in far-reaching adjustments affecting the nature, scope and balance of the Australian War Effort. I am about to hold important consultations with General MacArthur and the Government will be required to take a series of far-reaching and important decisions.

4. In regard to matters to be discussed at a Conference of Prime Ministers in London, I know of none more important than that of the post-war machinery for the maintenance of peace. I have outlined certain views on co-operation within the British Commonwealth which may be described as our own family approach to a wider question which ultimately affects the world at large. [4] Quite frankly, I have to proceed some distance further in Australia before I can consider myself able to speak with authority for the Australian people on the shape that machinery should take and the obligations which can be accepted. It would be futile for me to go abroad without this being done, and my presence here is imperative if it is to be achieved.

5. I have noted with some surprise a press report dated London, 28th October, which follows the line of argument of your cablegram, indicates that April was suggested by me, and quotes the comment of 'a Whitehall official'. [5]

CURTIN

1 Repeated to the Canadian and N.Z. Prime Ministers.

2 Document 314.

3 Dispatched 8 October 1943 (FA:A3196, 1943, folder, outwards Most Secret master sheets, 0.27804-7, 0.27840-4).

4 See Document 272.

5 Churchill replied on 9 November that, upon investigation, Curtin's allegations appeared to be unfounded. He also suggested that the meeting should be held in the last week of April and the first week of May. See cablegram 335 in FA:A3195, 1943, box, Most Secret inwards master sheets from Secdo, 1.45891.

[FA:A3196, 1943, FOLDER, OUTWARDS MOST SECRET MASTER SHEETS, 0.29969/29970]