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199 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 835 LONDON, 17 December 1941, 2.10 [a.m.]


Since your telegram 795 of 12th December [1] was despatched, you
will have received my telegram 831 of 15th December. [2] This
informs you of the urgent measures being taken, at the suggestion
of President Roosevelt, by means of regional conferences at
Moscow, Chungking, and Singapore [3] to secure at once the closest
co-ordination of strategic plans between all nations now engaged
in war with the Axis powers. Both as a combatant and as a
principal source of supply, the United States are intimately
concerned. We are and shall continue to be working in close
collaboration with the United States Government. From these
discussions important conclusions will present themselves as to
the best disposition of resources and weapons available. We hope
that discussions at Singapore will enable the special needs of the
Far Eastern and Pacific theatres to be reexamined in the light of
the new situation. Meanwhile in strategic review of the whole
situation in the Far East and Pacific on which we are ourselves
engaged at the highest level, every attention is being paid to the
serious defence problems with which Australia is now confronted.

Pending completion of these discussions which are proceeding with
all speed we have sent to the Far East as immediate reinforcements
12 Blenheim [Mark] fours from the Middle East. We hope to despatch
from the United Kingdom four Catalinas on 16th December or 17th
December and 52 Hudsons as early as possible to the same
destination. We are also strengthening our air forces in India and

We expect to ship twelve Beaufighters to Australia from the United
Kingdom during this month and 14 a month during January, February
and March 1942. With regard to deliveries from American programme,
much will depend on the discussions mentioned above but we shall
do our utmost to assist. The Hudson and Catalina position cannot
be forecast with any reliability at present owing to the
uncertainty concerning withdrawals by the United States of Lease
Lend orders. Will notify you as soon as the position is clear.

1 See Document 183, note 2.

2 Dispatched 15 December. On file AA:A981, War 54.

3 See Document 211.

[AA:A981, WAR 49, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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