112 Churchill to Forde

Cablegram 99 [1] LONDON, 20 April 1944, 3 p.m.

MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL

Following from the Prime Minister for Acting Prime Minister of Australia.

Your telegram of 22nd March, No. 68. [2]

Mr. Curtin's message to me has been most carefully considered here. We recognise the extent to which information is already available and the channels which are open for obtaining additional data. But my military advisers feel that there are questions and problems which could not be satisfactorily settled without personal contact on the spot. They consider it essential that officers who are acquainted with the full picture of our possible requirements should discuss with your officers the extent to which these could be met from resources already available in Australia.

The requirements which could not be met thus could then be explored in direct discussion.

2. I propose to discuss this matter with Mr. Curtin on his arrival here and to suggest to him that, in the light of the above considerations, direct discussion on the spot between the Australian staffs and our representatives is essential. We have it in mind to send to Australia small Naval and Army parties, the latter including Air Force representatives, for this purpose.

These officers would work in close collaboration with the staffs of the respective Australian services and with our Mission under General Dewing [3] for the period of their visit.

3. Meanwhile, as you are probably aware, a small party of five Naval officers has been having preliminary discussions with the United States authorities in Washington and the Pacific. They have now completed their discussions with the United States authorities in the Pacific. To avoid further delay they are being instructed to proceed to Australia and make preliminary contact with the Australian staffs concerned on the assumption that you will, in the circumstances, see no objection. Considering our idea is to come and help you, we hope no obstacles will be placed in the way.

1 Sent through the U.K. Dominions Secretary.

2 Document 89.

3 Maj Gen R. H. Dewing, Head, U.K. Liaison Staff in Australia.

[AA:A816, 31/301/336]