362 Mr Clement Attlee, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister
Cablegram 241 LONDON, 22 February 1942, 3 p.m.
MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET
Following from the Prime Minister  for the Prime Minister.
We could not contemplate that you would refuse our request and
that of the President of the United States  for the diversion
of the leading division to save the situation in Burma. We knew
that if our ships proceeded on their course to Australia while we
were waiting for your formal approval they would either arrive too
late at Rangoon or even be without enough fuel to go there at all.
We therefore decided that the convoy should be temporarily
diverted to the northward. The convoy is now too far north for
some of the ships in it to reach Australia without refuelling.
These physical considerations give a few days for the situation to
develop and for you to review the position should you wish to do
so. Otherwise the leading Australian Division will be returned to
Australia as quickly as possible in accordance with your wishes.