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260 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, to Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States

Cablegram 37 (extract) CANBERRA, 7 January 1942


I am quoting at the end of this cablegram the substance of a cable
from the Prime Minister [1] to Churchill on the directive sent to
Wavell [2] and certain supplementary observations, communicated by

2. You will understand from the cablegram quoted that we are much
disturbed at the procedure proposed to be adopted in relation to
the highest decisions affecting the south-west Pacific. The method
proposed not only fails to recognise our status, which might be
overlooked; but also our great stake and tremendous
responsibilities in connection with the area. In that area our
soldiers will be engaged to an increasing extent. The unanimous
opinion of the Advisory War Council here, which, as you know,
includes both sides in politics, is that we cannot allow the
scheme to go ahead without amendments designed to give us an equal
voice in the final decisions. [3]

3. My general impression is that we are likely to get greater
support from Roosevelt than from Churchill. In fact, I can hardly
believe that President Roosevelt can know of the unfavourable
reaction here to the scheme as agreed upon between himself and

4. Our general point of view is shared by the N.E.I. Government,
whatever may be said about the Netherlands Government in London.

We have told Dr. van Mook [4] who is leaving for Washington today
what our views are.

5. I am certain that, unless the organisation is broadened out to
be a true A.B.D.A. organisation instead of an A.B. organisation,
the reaction will be very hostile indeed, especially in the event
of further and probable setbacks.

6. I greatly fear that the propaganda of our Information
Department as sent to you and broadcast to some extent from here
to the United States has produced the impression that we are far
stronger from a military point of view than is the actual case. I
think some frank confession of the true position to President
Roosevelt himself is desirable. To a large extent our resources
have been devoted to theatres other than the south-west Pacific.

7. I need not add that you should present our views on this topic
with the utmost vigour, with a view to ensuring that the machinery
of collaboration will secure true and equal collaboration.

Frankly, we cannot afford to be side-tracked or short-circuited in
the way now proposed.

8. On the recommendation of a Conference attended by Generals
Brett [5], Brereton [6] and Barnes [7], War Cabinet has approved
of the addition of an American representative to our Chiefs of
Staff Committee, and the joint Planning Committee for Operations.

Australian Services and Americans are represented, has also been
created with a Government Chairman to plan the provision of
American requirements for the use of Australia as a base, along
the lines indicated in the agreement.

[matter omitted] [9]


[AA:A981, WAR 54]

1 John Curtin.

2 See Document 252, note 4. For Wavell's directive see Document
261, note 7.

3 See minute 652 of 6 January in AA:A2682, vol. 4.

4 Lieutenant Governor-General of the Netherlands East Indies.

5 Commander, U.S. Army Forces in Australia.

6 Brereton succeeded Brett on 12 January as Commander, U.S. Army
Forces in Australia. On 15 January he assumed the additional duty
of Air Commander in the A.B.D.A. Area.

7 Chief of Staff to General Brett.

8 See minute 1659 of 5 January in AA:A2673, vol. 10.

9 The remainder of the cablegram is published as Document 259.

[8] A Joint Planning Administrative Committee, on which the three
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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