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

Cablegram SL3 CANBERRA, 8 March 1942


Personal for Sir Stafford Cripps [1] alone.

1. A Joint Australian-New Zealand plan for-
(a) A supreme Commander of Anzac Area,
(b) A new Council at Washington,
(c) An enlargement for the purpose of the Anzac area of joint
Chiefs of Staff Committee at Washington,
was forwarded to the Prime Minister [2] by Australia and New
Zealand some days ago. [3]

2. We asked the Prime Minister to recommend the scheme to the
President. [4] Instead, he seems to have sent the plan to
Washington without comment.

3. In 294 from Dominions Office [5] (which Bruce [6] will show
you) there is disturbing comment upon Admiral King [7], which
rather suggests some attempt by Joint Staff Mission to impede our

4. If there were any basis for suggestion regarding King,
difficulty could be overcome by retaining naval control of Anzac
area in King. A vitally urgent matter is unified land and air
control as it includes our countries which are definitely
threatened with invasion.

5. Please do what you can to persuade the Prime Minister to
recommend the scheme to the President and not to assign it to
persons who are likely to cause delays which are now so obviously

6. We have recently sent messages concerning India [8] and Russia
[9] which you should see. It looks as though I am to be sent to

7. We are urgently in need of reinforcements and equipment here as
you know. In particular, we need armoured units, fighter aircraft,
high octane oil, anti-aircraft guns, radio direction finder
equipment. Prime Minister said in House of Commons that limiting
factor in despatch of munitions from United Kingdom was shipping:

yet shipping comes here from United Kingdom in ballast. Something
may be done in these matters as an emergency measure by use of
aircraft carriers.

8. General Bennett's [10] personal report of Japanese tactics and
morale in Malaya and Singapore shows that if we are given this
equipment rapidly we shall be able to smash the enemy in this
theatre of war and perhaps turn the balance in favour of the
Allies more quickly than might be expected. In short, the Anzac
area, though gravely threatened at the moment, may give us a great
opportunity to hasten ultimate victory. The spirit of the people
of Australia and New Zealand is indomitable. All they need is
further equipment.


1 U.K. Lord Privy Seal.

2 Winston Churchill.

3 See Document 388.

4 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

5 See Document 393, note 7.

6 High Commissioner in the United Kingdom.

7 Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Navy.

8 See cablegram 169 of 5. March on file AA:A1608, G41/1/7, i.

9 See Documents 350 and 380.

10 Formerly General Officer Commanding 8th Division A.I.F.,
Bennett had escaped from Singapore at the time of the surrender
and returned to Australia.

[AA:A981, WAR 41B]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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