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

Cablegram 32 CANBERRA, 24 February 1942


Reference 1609. [1]

In regard to paragraph 4 of Wavell's message that evacuation of
Australian and other troops will be carried out if ordered by
joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, our Chief of General Staff [2]
has been informed by Wavell that they cannot be evacuated in view
of instructions in Combined Chiefs of Staff D.B.A. 19 [3], but
preparations are being made to do so if this policy is altered.

2. The Government instructed Lavarack on 19th February that if
worst comes to worst some chance of withdrawal should be afforded
our men. [4] In view of present position in Java the Government
insists that the necessary authority be given to Wavell to ensure
that these troops be evacuated, their ultimate destination being

3. Wavell will apparently be moving headquarters 9 a.m. 25th
February [5] and it is requested that you arrange for issue of
necessary orders at once.

4. This cablegram is being communicated to Casey [6] at Washington
for parallel action and also to Wavell. [7]


1 Dispatched by Page on 22 February. On file AA:A816, 52/302/142.

It transmitted the Allied Supreme Commander of the A.B.D.A. Area's
cablegram 1864 of 21 February requesting decisions on evacuation
in the event of a Japanese invasion of Java, and the response of
the Pacific War Council in London.

2 Lt Gen V. A. H. Sturdee.

3 Dated 17 February. In Australian War Memorial: Page collection,
file 773, item 172.

4 See cablegram 5 to Commander, I Australian Corps, on file
AA:A816, 52/302/142.

5 Wavell then resumed duty as U.K. Commander-in-Chief, India.

6 Minister to the United States. The cablegram was repeated to him
as no. 43.

7 The cablegram was repeated to Wavell as no. 39.

[AA:A3196, 1942, 0.5528]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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