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329 Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister, to General Sir Archibald Wavell, Allied Supreme Commander of the A.B.D.A. Area

Cablegram 26 [1] CANBERRA, 12 February 1942


General Lavarack [2] has advised Australian Army authorities that
it is proposed to dispose one Australian division for defence of
centre of Java and the other division is to be located in South

2. You will be aware of the principles governing the control and
administration of the A.I.F. which were outlined in cablegram No.

91 of 9th March, 1940 [3], and agreed to by the United Kingdom
Government in Dominions Office cablegram No. 85 of 26th March. [4]
These are of course equally applicable to the A.I.F. in the
A.B.D.A. Area as in the Middle East. The Government desires to
emphasise that the concentration of the A.I.F. in one Force under
its own commander is a principle of cardinal national importance.

3. It is understood from General Lavarack that operational
requirements do not at present permit concentration but the actual
decision will be governed by the situation at the time. In the
circumstances, the Government raises no objection but desires to
reiterate its wish that the A.I.F. should fight together as far as
the strategical situation will permit. The Government is, however,
not willing that there should be any detachments smaller than a
complete division.

4. We would be glad to be kept posted with an up-to-date
appreciation of the situation in the A.B.D.A. Area as our consent
to the present proposal affecting the A.I.F. is necessarily
dependent upon the strategical position resulting from the rapidly
changing situation.


1 Repeated to the U.K. Dominions Secretary as no. 117.

2 Commander, 1 Australian Corps.

3 See Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. III,
Document 96.

4 On file AA:A2671, 37/1940.

[AA:A3196, 1942, 0.4383]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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