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

Cablegram P61 LONDON, 6 March 1942, 7.25 p.m.


Reference your telegram 160 to the Dominions Office [1] and my
telegram P.60. [2] The British Chiefs of Staff are still examining
the manner in which available shipping can be utilised in order to
secure the quickest ultimate transfer of all Australian troops to
Australia while taking advantage of your offer of two Australian
brigades to augment the garrison of Ceylon temporarily. Churchill
is asking the President [3] to make the maximum American forces
available to Australia at the earliest moment.

2. In regard to your telegram 38 [4] I have had a long discussion
with Churchill on the whole position. As I previously indicated,
the combined Chiefs of Staff are examining the whole question of
offensive strategy against Japan which, of course, envisages
effective use of Australia as one of the main bases. Churchill has
to-day specially asked the British Chiefs of Staff for an
appreciation with regard to the defence of Australia and the Anzac
area, and plans for [their] [5] reinforcement beyond your
resources. He has promised me to send you within the next few days
a telegram setting out fairly fully the prospects and dates of
expected [recovery of] the United States and British Naval
positions in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

3. He is sympathetic to the proposals set out in your telegram 166
to the Dominions Office. [6] Your proposal was transmitted
immediately to the President without any comments to avoid any
delay in his consideration, but the Chiefs of Staff here have been
asked to examine and report as quickly as possible on the whole
proposal. In this connection he is sending you a telegram he has
received from Washington regarding possible repercussions [sic] of
United States Naval Commander-in-Chief King to any redistribution
of his authority. [7]


1 Document 385.

2 Dispatched 3 March (AA:A3195, 1942, 1.9166).

3 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

4 Dispatched 4 March. On file AA:A2937, Far East position 1942.

5 Words in square brackets have been inserted from the London copy
on the file cited in note 4.

6 Document 388.

7 The text of the cablegram regarding Admiral King was quoted in
Churchill's cablegram 294 of 6 March (on file AA:A2937, A.B.D.A.

Strategic Area, 1941-1942). It conveyed a similar assessment of
King to that set out in Document 392.

[AA:A3195, 1942, 1.9668]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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