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

Cablegram P67 LONDON, 13 March 1942, 2.01 a.m.


Reference P. 66 [1] following is substance of telegram from
President [2] to the Prime Minister. [3] Begins:

The complexity of the present operational command set-up and of
political set-up is causing him concern. The arrangements decided
in January for the whole south west Pacific area have largely
become obsolescent. He proposes following simplification:-

1. The United States to assume operational responsibility for the
Pacific theatre. Military decisions of an operational nature,
either Army, Navy or Air, for the area as a whole will be made by
the United States Chiefs of Staff in Washington. There will be set
up in Washington an advisory body on operational matters
consisting of members from Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands
East Indies and China under the chairmanship of an American. The
President makes suggestion that operational functions of Pacific
War Council including those of Supply might operate in Washington
whilst the political functions should operate in London through
existing Council. Supreme Command in Pacific Area would be
American. Local Command in Australia and in New Zealand would be
under an Australian and New Zealander respectively. Local Command
in China would remain under the Generalissimo. [4] In the
Netherlands East Indies Command will be given to a Dutchman if
later an offensive develops in that area.

By the above arrangements immediate military and operational
decisions would be determined by the American Supreme Commander
for whole Pacific Area under supervision of the United States
Chiefs of Staff in Washington, Similarly methods of regaining the
offensive would also be decided. For example, this would include
attacks on Japan proper from various bases or in a north westerly
direction from Australia, and New Zealand, thus the Pacific Area
would be a definite American responsibility, the British being
relieved of any tasks other than supplement[ing] [5] American
efforts by the supply of war material where possible.

2. There would be a middle area extending from Singapore to the
Mediterranean which would be a British responsibility, it being
understood, however, that Australia and New Zealand would give as
much assistance to this area as their Governments could manage and
the Americans would allocate to it all possible munitions and
merchant ships.

3. The third main area would include the protection of the waters
of the north and south Atlantic and plans for establishment of a
front in Europe. This area would be a joint responsibility of the
United States and Britain.

4. In the middle area, which is under British control, the
Americans would not propose to send troops or aircraft but would
wish to use the air communications for their planes on the way to

5. The grand strategy of actual operations in all three areas
would remain the subject of study and decisions by the Combined
Staffs in Washington and London. The joint Committees on shipping,
on raw materials and on munitions would continue as at present,
the whole being subject to joint approval of the President and the
Prime Minister. Ends.


1 Document 410.

2 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

3 Winston Churchill.

4 Chiang Kai-shek.

5 Corrected from the London copy on file AA:A2937, Far East
position 1942

[AA:A3195, 1942, 1.10488]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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