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347 Sir Earle Page, Special Representative in the United Kingdom, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram P47 LONDON, 19 February 1942, 7.48 p.m.


1. From the time of despatch of your telegram 28 [1] and absence
of reference to my later telegram P.462, I feel that the
Australian decision has been arrived at before receipt and
consideration of my P.46 and Wavell's' appreciation of 16th
February. [4]

2. You will have since received in Dominions Office 228 of 19th
February [5] the American offer to give an additional American
Division for Australia in exchange for one of our Divisions and
also Wavell's further appreciation.

3. Accordingly I am holding your telegram secret until receipt of
further advice. No instructions to divert its course have been
sent to the convoy.

4. I have discussed the American offer with Churchill who will try
to expedite arrival of this American Division in Australia if the
7th Australian Division is diverted to Burma. The 6th and 9th
Divisions can still go to Australia if so determined by the
Australian Government. The 6th Division is in the process of

5. In our discussion, Churchill expressed great anxiety of the
effect on China of not reinforcing Burma, especially if troops so
near the battlefront and only troops that could be available are
not allocated at this critical moment. Both he and Roosevelt
believe that China is the ultimate key of the whole Asian
situation. China has been invited to become a member of the
Pacific War Council in London and their reply to that invitation
is awaited.

6. As time presses would appreciate clear the line reply.


1 Document 345.

2 See Document 342, note 4.

3 Allied Supreme Commander in the A.B.D.A. Area.

4 See Document 342, note 4.

5 Document 346.

[AA:A816, 52/302/142]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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