128 War Cabinet Minute 1522
CANBERRA, 26 November 1941
AGENDUM No. 390/1941 DISPOSITION OF R.A.N. SQUADRON 
(Previous reference-Minute No. (1499).) 
This Agendum submitted by the Prime Minister  furnishes a
review of the national and political considerations relating to
Australian Naval Defence which have been the basis for the
development of the Royal Australian Navy, and shows how these
considerations are related to the question of the control and
disposition of the R.A.N. in a war with Japan, which is the major
risk which has governed the development of the strength of the
2. It was decided that if, after having put the facts before the
Americans, it is found that the inability to obtain agreement with
this view is an obstacle to the fullest British-American co-
operation, a formula on the following lines is the very minimum
the Commonwealth Government could accept:-
The Commonwealth Government agrees that on the outbreak of war
with Japan, ships of the Royal Australian Navy-other than local
Defence vessels-shall be placed under the strategic control of the
Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet. In agreeing to transfer
strategic control of H.M.A. Ships to the Commander-in-Chief,
Eastern Fleet, the Commonwealth Government requires that the
necessary protection should be given to vital commitments on the
Australia Station as defined below:-
(1) Escort of British reinforcements.
(2) Escort of Air Trainees.
(3) Food and supplies and reinforcements to Middle East and
(4) Seaborne trade in Australian waters, as this is vital to
Australia's war effort.
(5) Any other special commitment.
In regard to the above the Commonwealth Government stipulates that
the protection afforded will be not less than that which would be
given by Australian Naval Forces if control by the latter had been
retained by the Commonwealth.
The above formula is based on that submitted to War Cabinet by the
Chief of the Naval Staff  (Minute No. (1499)), except for the
amendments indicated by underlining [italics].
3. War Cabinet decided that no commitment should be entered into
by the Chief of the Naval Staff at the Singapore Conference until
he has submitted a report on his discussions to the Commonwealth
[AA : A2673, VOL. 9]