382 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister
Cablegram 36[A] LONDON, 27 February 1942, 10.20 p.m.
IMMEDIATE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET
Since drafting my telegram 35  I have seen Cripps  and
covered much the same ground with him. He was even more emphatic
than Attlee" that the importance of Australia as a base is fully
recognised and stated that every possible effort is being made to
provide in plans under discussion between the Chiefs of Staff here
and the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Washington, for the maximum
possible reinforcements being sent to us.
He said that he and all War Cabinet recognised that the two vital
points are Australia and Ceylon and he stressed that the holding
of Ceylon was not only essential to our whole position but was of
the utmost importance in relation to the defence of Australia.
He said quite frankly and asked me to convey his opinion to you
that he thought that Australia would not only be making a great
contribution to the common cause by agreeing to the 7th Division
remaining in Ceylon for 30 days needed to allow the reinforcements
now on their way to arrive but would be acting in her own
interests as by such agreement she would create an atmosphere of
goodwill towards her that would have a very real value in
overcoming in the United States the difficulties in the way of
sending adequate assistance to Australia in men and equipment.
I have checked the above with Cripps to make sure that I was
correctly representing what he said.
[AA:A3195, 1942, 1.8731]