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106 Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister, to Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 722 [1] CANBERRA, 8 November 1941


Your telegrams 740 and 741 of 6th November [2] and previous

Commonwealth Government considers it of the utmost importance that
every possible assistance should be given to China. The collapse
of Chinese resistance would have serious consequences as Japan
would be a much more formidable opponent with China totally
defeated. We should not allow Japan the opportunity of so ordering
the course of events as to enable her to pursue her policy of
aggression in circumstances most favourable to herself. Whilst we
feel that American co-operation is most desirable our own action
should not be delayed merely on account of any American hesitancy
to take action. [3]

2. We are in agreement with proposal of Commander-in-Chief, Far
East, to form a Buffalo Squadron for China with volunteer
personnel and give permission for Australian personnel to
volunteer for this duty, the Commander-in-Chief, Far East, to
determine the limit to be placed on numbers of personnel and the
consequent reduction in air strength in Malaya which would be
entailed. Glad to have information in due course as to
arrangements and conditions under which volunteers will serve.


1 Repeated to the N.Z. Prime Minister as no. 565 and to the
Commander-in-Chief, Far East (Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-
Popham). The text of the cablegram was transmitted the following
day to the Ministers in Washington and Chungking (Sir Frederic
Eggleston) as nos 968 and 15 (on file AA : A2671, 369/1941) and
Curtin instructed the High Commissioner in the United Kingdom (S.

M. Bruce) to see the Dominions Office copy (see cablegram 6843 of
8 November on file AA : A1608, A41/1/6, vi).

2 AA : A3195, 1941, 1.23039-40.

3 These views were in line with those of the South African Prime
Minister (Field Marshal J. C. Smuts), relayed to Curtin by Bruce
on 6 November with the following comment: 'If you are in accord
with the line Smuts takes which in my opinion is absolutely sound,
I suggest that it would be most helpful if you cable your views.'
Eggleston cabled on I i November that the importance for Australia
of maintaining a free China had been put to him by the Chinese
Foreign Minister (Dr Quo Tai-chi). Bruce's cablegram go and
Eggleston's cablegram 9 are on file AA : A1608, A41/1/6, vi.

[AA : A1608, A41/1/6, vi]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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