49 Dixon to Curtin

Cablegram S143 WASHINGTON, 17 September 1942, 12.25 a.m.


Further to my S.140. [1]

My impression is that the President's answer is the outcome of a very full consideration by the United States Joint Staff of your messages over the weekend [2] and that it represents a deliberate decision on his part to support their views based on a survey of the situation everywhere rather than an attempt to pursue his own instinctive expression of sympathetic feelings on the first reading of the messages.

There are signs if I am not mistaken that some major operation has been planned though care has been exercised to avoid this inference so far as possible and to give no indication of description of the enterprise or the locality. At the same time the immediate concern here over the situation in the Solomons has been steadily growing and during the last five or six days considerable anxiety has I think been felt by the Administration.

I have no information as to reports made by General MacArthur concerning the position in New Guinea but I thought yesterday that I detected in the President's tone a feeling that it was strange that the enemy should have made the advances reported. [3] While he is far from easy about Port Moresby he evidently is advised that the situation does not call for more ground troops. I have also the impression that possibly amongst the objects of the President's suggestion that you should visit Washington was a desire to give you information that he was not prepared otherwise to transmit and that in any case a settled understanding with yourself was desired.

Perhaps some additional light may be thrown on the President's message by the foregoing though on its face it appears to be carefully drafted as a reply intended to cover the whole of the ground.


1 Document 48.

2 See Document 43 and Document 44, note 8.

3 See Document 47, note 1.