Skip to main content

Historical documents

266 Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister, to Mr Winston Churchill, U.K. Prime Minister (in the United States)

Cablegram Johcu 16 CANBERRA, 11 January 1942


Wavell [1] has repeated to us his cablegram to the War Office
regarding the plan of campaign for operations in Malaya. [2] It is
naturally disturbing to learn that the Japanese have been able to
over-run so easily the whole of Malaya except Johore and that the
Commander in Chief considers certain risks have to be accepted
even now in carrying out his plan for the defence of this limited

It is observed that the 8th Australian division is to be given the
task of fighting the decisive battle. The Government has no doubt
that it will acquit itself in accordance with the highest
traditions of the A.I.F. However, I urge on you that nothing be
left undone to reinforce Malaya to the greatest degree possible in
accordance with my earlier representations and your intentions. I
am particularly concerned in regard to the air strength as a
repetition of the Greek and Crete campaigns would evoke a violent
public reaction, and such a happening should be placed outside the
bounds of possibility.

You will be aware of our agreement to despatch of the 6th and 7th
Australian divisions together with corps troops and maintenance
and base organisations from the Middle East to Netherlands East
Indies. [3]

1 See Document 252, note 4
2 Wavell's cablegram of 9 January is on file AA:A3300, 219.

3 See Document 257.

[AA:A3196, 1942, 0.994]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top