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47 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 642 WASHINGTON, 15 August 1941, 7.41 p.m.

I saw the Secretary of War' today and stressed the significance of
Thailand and of reinforcing the Philippines as in my telegram No.

634.2 Whilst broadly agreeing he is one of those whose attention
is concentrated on Europe and the Atlantic theatre. However, he
told me that the United States had now decided to reinforce the
Philippines, in addition to the heavy bomber squadron referred to
in my telegram No. 591 [3] the extent of which I subsequently
found to be 50 tanks, 50 anti-tank guns and 50 fighting aircraft.

[I understand this reinforcement will leave in next fortnight.]

In addition to the above I understand that further reinforcement
of one division and one anti-aircraft regiment is being considered
although shipping shortage is a factor in this regard.

There seems to be a noticeable change in the attitude regarding
the Philippines. From believing the Philippines could not be held
against Japanese attack (see last paragraph my telegram 328 May
2nd [5]) United States Army now seems to believe that with the
above-mentioned reinforcement the Philippines could be held.

Reference my telegram 562 [6], I learn most confidentially that
United States Navy will take over the protection of all British
merchant shipping from North America to Iceland about September
1st thereby releasing the Royal Navy forces for other duties and
other theatres.

I believe at one or other Conferences at Singapore six or nine
months ago the matter of the occupation of Kra Isthmus between
Burma and Malaya by British troops and Air Force was discussed, if
and when the Japanese entered Thailand from Indo-China. No doubt
the possibility of this operation is being again considered in the
light of Prime Minister's [7] telegram No. 91. [8]


1 H. L. Stimson.

2 Document 45
3 Dispatched 4 August (AA:A3830, 1941, 2071)
4 Inserted from the Washington copy on file AA: A3300, 98.

5 Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. IV,
Document 445
6 Document 18.

7 R. G. Menzies.

8 See Document 39, note 1

[AA:A3830, 1941, 2202]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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