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435 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram PM[S]2 WASHINGTON, 22 March 1942


1. Today I had conferences with Marshall (Army Chief), King (Navy
Chief) and all Australian officials in Washington.

2. Later was two hours with President and subsequently further two
hours with Hopkins [1] who is obviously President's right hand man
and with whom I am on excellent terms.

3. President discussed your communication relating to additional
naval strength, especially carriers. [2] He expressed himself as
in general agreement with your suggestion and promised to discuss
the matter favourably with Admiral King. King is very air-minded
and extremely pleased over recent New Guinea operations which he
ascribed as due mainly to the Navy's skilful carrier action.

4. Am to have further conference with the President on Monday or
Tuesday to discuss A.I.F. position. Hopkins' view is that it might
be desirable to make bargain over the matter.

In the meantime, I should advise against definite reply regarding
proposal [to retain] [3] the 9th Division [in the] Middle East as
that would be counter to the clear understanding which Shedden [4]
and I tried to express in cable. [5]

5. President is now inclined to favour the establishment of the
War Council at Washington on Governmental plane. Therefore it
would be inadvisable to accept a merely Military Council here. I
expect matter to be ready for finality next week.

6. At the same time, the President seems not unfavourable to the
formation of broader Chiefs of Staff Committee with representation
of Australia thereon.

7. MacArthur's [6] first appreciation reached General Marshall
this morning. The stronger these representations are couched the
better, as the public would condemn the United States Government
unless MacArthur is sufficiently supported. Your idea in
nominating him has already had splendid results in this country.

8. Above all we are fighting tooth and nail for greater allocation
of supplies, particularly aircraft. These may have to be provided
partly from the United Kingdom quota. Meanwhile, Dutch contracts
should be watched carefully and discussed with Van Mook [7] by

9. I hope that it will not be necessary to pursue the proposition
of the publication of the White Paper regarding Casey. [8] I
believe the President is now wiring Churchill suggesting he should
give no publicity to the matter. The President is also anxious
that if possible we should reach a general modus vivendi with
Churchill. It is now certain that Casey is committed to the
appointment [9], and I am anxious to assist him so far as it is

10. If the question of finding expenses should arise neither my
wife nor Robinson [10] is looking to the Government for any
reimbursement. I mention this only because it is matter which
might possibly be raised in the House.

1 Adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

2 See Document 421.

3 Words in square brackets have been corrected from cablegram PMS3
of 23 March on file AA:MP1217, Box 474, Cablegrams to and from Dr

4 Secretary of the Defence Co-ordination Dept.

5 it is not clear whether Evatt here refers to the cablegram
published as Document 336 or that published as Document 385.

Curtin replied On 24 March that he would await Evatt's report of
his discussion with Roosevelt regarding the 9th Division before
submitting the matter to War Cabinet (see cablegram PM8 on the
file cited in note 3).

6 Allied Supreme Commander in the South-West Pacific Area.

7 Former Lt Governor-General of the Netherlands East Indies, who
was then in Australia.

8 See Document 431, note 6.

9 As U.K. Minister of State resident in the Middle East.

10 Australian businessman and adviser to Evatt on his overseas

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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