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192 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister, and to Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs

Cablegram 1145 WASHINCTON, 14 December 1941, 12.08 a.m.


I have had discussions with Harry Hopkins [2], Sumner Welles [3]
and with the British Ambassador [4] and heads of the British Naval
[5] Military [6] and Air [7] Staff Missions here in the last 24

2. Until today efforts by heads of the British Staff Missions to
enter into staff conversations with the American Chiefs of Staff
[8] regarding the Pacific situation have not been successful.

However, the President had conference this morning with American
Chief[s] of Staff and with Secretary of State [9], Secretary of
War [10] and Under Secretary of Navy [11] and has given
instructions directed towards starting staff discussions
immediately. Sumner Welles told me this afternoon that President
wanted to achieve 'unification of command' in Pacific as well as
'a considered and generally acceptable strategic plan for conduct
of war in Pacific and Far East'. The President has nominated
Secretary of War to discuss above with British Ambassador this
afternoon in order to get staff discussions started here.

3. You will wonder why above was not started before this. Answer
is that American services have been greatly preoccupied with local
situations in Hawaii and Philippines and until President's
conference this morning British Staff officers here could not get
them to discuss the matter on a wide basis. However prospects now
appear brighter.

4. It is not yet known if term 'unification of command' is meant
to be taken literally. This may be clearer after the Halifax,
Stimson discussion result of which I will inform you.

5. Great importance of active Russian co-operation against Japan
(see Prime Minister's Department 149 [12]) is fully realized here.

First direct approach by America (see last para. of my telegram
1126 [13]) has met with negative reply by Stalin. Russian
Ambassador here [14] in bringing this negative reply to Secretary
of State on December 12th proceeded to ask in delicate but
unmistakable fashion what offers might be made by America and
Britain. He left definite impression on the mind of the Secretary
of State that Russian co-operation against Japan might be obtained
for adequate consideration.

6. Sumner Welles told me today that obviously one of the first
matters that British and American staffs should discuss would be
this matter of Russian co-operation.

7. Following points occurred to me as relevant to question of how
far we should all go in attempting to induce Russia to co-operate
actively against Japan:

(a) Russia will be unaffected by sentimental considerations and
will act solely in her own interests.

(b) Russia knows that the situation means that she (Russia) holds
a very strong card.

(c) Russia may very well have circulated stories about German
peace feelers to her in order to stimulate better support and
offers from U.S. and Great Britain.

(d) Russia will certainly regard her war with Germany as her first
consideration and the Siberian end as secondary.

(e) Russia has already withdrawn very appreciable number of troops
from Siberia and war with Japan would probably mean reversing
this. (f) Apart from continuance of military supplies all that
British and Americans could offer Russia would be promises of
territorial concessions at expense of Japan and others after the
Axis is defeated.

(g) No doubt Sakhalin Island, recognition of Russian claims to
Baltic, and possibly part or whole Manchoukuo are among the
territorial areas that Russia has in mind.

(h) It would seem doubtful whether Russia has in mind areas that
are not contiguous to her present border.

8. I would suggest when all aspects have been considered and if
decision is to make offer to Russia that such offer be not
parsimonious or cheeseparing. Russian support was given to Germany
and not to Britain in July, 1939, by reason of Germany making a
better and more clear-cut bid than Britain.

9. One of the first matters to be considered by joint staffs here
(apart from Russia) will be various methods whereby war can be
brought to the mainland of Japan.

10. On other subject. Telegram that I have seen from Chungking
[15] indicates that Chiang Kai-shek [16] is most anxious to co-
operate fully and to be regarded as a full partner with Britain,
United States, Dutch, Australia, and if possible, Russia, and says
that such partnership would greatly increase Chinese morale. I
have reported this viewpoint on earlier occasions and it has even
greater point in today's circumstances. Today China can offer
positive help (see second last paragraph of my telegram 1126) and
I suggest that it is worth while treating her with greater
consideration than has been done in the past.

11. All above references to Russia's participation are being
treated with great secrecy here and confined to a minimum of

12. In the event of your telegraphing London on any of the above,
I think better you do not refer to Washington as source.


1 Inserted from the Washington copy on file AA:A3300, 100.

2 Adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

3 U.S. Under-Secretary of State.

4 Lord Halifax.

5 Admiral Sir Charles Little.

6 Field Marshal Sir John Dill.

7 Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris.

8 General G. C. Marshall and Admiral Harold R. Stark.

9 Cordell Hull.

10 H. L. Stimson.

11 James V. Forrestal.

12 See Document 179, note 1.

13 Dispatched 11 December. On file AA:A981, War 49, i.

14 M. M. Litvinov.

15 It is not clear whether Casey here referred to an Australian,
U.K. or U.S. cablegram.

16 Chinese Prime Minister.

[AA:A981, WAR 54]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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