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387 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, to Mr A. T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London

Cablegram unnumbered CANBERRA, 4 March 1942


To be decyphered by Stirling and given to Sir Stafford Cripps [1]


1. So far as was possible we have adopted your suggestion made
through Bruce [2] and have offered to make two brigades of A.I.F.

available as temporary garrison Ceylon. (See our telegram No. 160.

2. However we find that owing to circumlocution and other
obstacles the flow of munitions here is only a trickle. For
instance the bulk of United States production of Tommy guns and
ammunition for warships (twenty-five thousand guns) [4] is going
to the United Kingdom. We are in such a pass that Casey [5] in the
United States has to wire to Bruce in London to ask General
Macready [6] whether he might allocate proportion of these to
Australia. Obviously these matters involve higher political
direction rather than (wangling) or influence at a different

3. On 12 August 1940 Churchill laid down the following principle
to Australia and New Zealand. 'If however contrary to prudence and
self-interest Japan sets about invading Australia and New Zealand
on a large scale I have the explicit authority of the Cabinet to
assure you that we should then cut our losses in the Mediterranean
and proceed to your aid sacrificing every interest except only
defence safety (sic) of this island on which all depends.' [7]

4. The above is a political and strategical guarantee the meaning
and application of which I pray will never be debated in public.

5. The crisis has brought Australia and New Zealand (closer)
together and within a few hours we shall probably be making a
joint request to you and the United States as to a new United
Kingdom/United States Anzac Council at (Washington) to cover
Australia, New Zealand and Anzac area, a supreme commander and a
modification of jurisdiction of Chiefs of Staff Committee at
(Washington) by addition of Australian and New Zealand
representation. [8] Frankly on this occasion support from United
Kingdom instead of opposition is vital. If so future
misunderstandings may be avoided. It is thought that if the United
Kingdom agree Roosevelt will also agree. I hope (you will) spare
no effort to [assist] [9] us.

6. I desire to mention also the recent Russian request in relation
to post-war boundaries. (See Dominions Office telegram D. No. 112.

United Kingdom Government urging boundary request (should be)
granted in principle but on the understanding peoples of areas
concerned had expressed or would express their concurrence to
Russian Government. [12] If so the Atlantic Charter would be
obeyed. To argue around it and about at this moment seems to us

7. I have also asked Bruce to get Maisky [13] to urge the making
of an official Russian statement warning Japan against
encroachment upon Australia (and) New Zealand.

8. I think also that Russia should be prepared to enter the fight
against Japan if we agreed to her present boundary suggestions.

Message ends.

[AA:M100, MARCH 1942]

1 U.K. Lord Privy Seal.

2 High Commissioner in the United Kingdom. See Document 382.

3 Document 385.

4 Words and phrases in round brackets (other than references to
cablegrams) were presumably so marked because of deciphering
difficulties in London. Evatt's draft (in Flinders University
Library: Evatt Papers, Attorney-Gencral's Dept file MI, Minister
Personal Telegrams) indicates that they are correct.

5 Minister to the United States.

6 Assistant Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

7 See Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. IV,
Document 64.

8 See Document 388.

9 Inserted from Evatt's draft on the file cited in note 4.

10 Dispatched 27 February. On file AA:A2937, Russia (Political:

secret telegrams).

11 U.K. Foreign Secretary.

12 See Documents 212 and 242.

13 U.S.S.R. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

[10]) When Eden [11] was at Moscow some months ago we cabled the
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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