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227 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram 137 LONDON, 26 December 1941, 9.26 p.m.


Your telegram 820O. [1] Have passed your telegram to the President
and the Prime Minister [2] to the United Kingdom Govt. as also
Bennett's [3] and Bowden's communications. [4] Page [5] and I are
doing everything possible here. With regard to the specific points
in paragraphs 6 and 7 of your telegram to Page [6]:

(a) The British Division referred to in paragraph 6 is being
diverted to the Far East. It has been decided after consultation
with the Commander-in-Chief, Far East [7], that one brigade group
is to proceed direct to Singapore, the balance of the division
going to Bombay. Equipment of this division complete, but the
brigade group going direct will arrive without mechanical

(b) Paragraph 7 (1)-yes.

(c) In addition to the forces referred to in (a) and (b) proposed
to send two divisions from the Middle East to the Far East,
possibly for service in Sumatra, although they would need to be
employed in accordance with the requirements of the situation at
the time. Alternatives are one Australian division and one Indian
division or two Australian divisions.

Approach to you on this point awaiting reply from Washington which
is hourly expected to the broad picture sent from here. This
picture envisages progressive reinforcement of the Far East by
troop movements eastwards, i.e. divisions from the Middle East to
the Far East, replaced by divisions from the United Kingdom,
replacement of these divisions by American divisions from the
United States.

This suggestion in addition to meaning the common utilisation of
British and American forces has the advantage of utilising highly-
trained British divisions in combat areas and enabling the United
States divisions to obtain additional training which it is felt
they need.

Immediately reply received from Washington, I will further advise


1 See Document 217, note 1.

2 Curtin's cablegram to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston
Churchill is published as Document 214.

3 It is not clear whether Bruce regarded the views expressed in V.

G. Bowden's cablegram 73 (Document 217) as having come also from
Bennett or whether he is referring to Curtin's cablegram Johcu 10
(Document 208).

4 See Document 217, note 1.

5 Special Representative in the United Kingdom.

6 Document 220.

7 Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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