38 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram 18A LONDON, 1 February 1944, 6 p.m.

FOR THE PRIME MINISTER PERSONAL HIMSELF ONLY MOST SECRET

(Addressed to the Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin.) My telegram 11A of January 20th. [1]

There has been a further hold up in the despatch to you of the telegram giving the outline of what is described as the 'Overall' plans for the defeat of Japan (my telegram 246[A] of December 24th [2]).

The reason is that the Prime Minister has now formulated certain ideas for the modification of the strategic conception that was agreed at Sextant. [3] These ideas the Chiefs of Staff here are not in agreement with, and they are endeavouring to persuade the Prime Minister to abandon them and to dissuade him from his intention of re-opening with the President the broad strategic concept agreed at Cairo. This matter is at the moment entirely one between the Prime Minister, as Minister for Defence, and the Chiefs of Staff and the facts I have given you above are not known even to the members of the War Cabinet. I must therefore ask you to treat this communication as being for your personal information only.

I am hopeful that the position will be straightened out in the course of the next few days and that the contemplated telegram will be despatched to you. If it is not, it will be a matter for consideration whether you should not cable asking for fuller information than you have yet received of the decisions reached at Sextant and of the present position as to giving effect to the broad strategic conception there agreed.

BRUCE

1 On file AA: M100, January 1944.

2 Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. VI, Document 356.

3 Code name for the November-December 1943 Cairo Conference.

[AA:A5954, BOX 576]