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

Cablegram ES11 WASHINGTON, 20 April 1942, 1.16 a.m.

Following for Curtin from Evatt. just received your Telegram
S.W.27 [1] and am very disturbed.

Matter is of sufficient importance to ask for authority to leave
here on Wednesday for which all arrangements were completed only
after great difficulty as to transport. President [2] is so keen
on my proceeding promptly to London that he has repeatedly
reminded me how important it is. I feel that Australia's interests
here may be prejudiced if we do not move on now and return here
later. My recent detailed cables [3] show that the task here has
reached completion, in addition, Prime Minister Mackenzie King,
who I am glad to say will be making us some contribution out of
Canada's munitions allotment, urges me to endeavour to obtain from
Churchill in person his consent to a far greater contribution of
munitions from Canada. Mackenzie King considers a personal
approach at present the only prospect of success. Follow up action
here on supply matters initiated by us can be handled by Smart [4]
and his officers who can contact their opposite numbers to
determine any additional necessities in the flow of equipment from
this country to Australia.

With the full knowledge of all factors operating here and also
fully conscious of my responsibility as a Minister and a member of
the War Cabinet and further of the vital mission for which I was
sent, I am convinced that the course I suggest is the proper one
to follow and the best interests of Australia will be served by
following that course. Any further delay may react to the
disadvantage of Australia. Your S.W.27 does not refer to my
telegrams E.S.9 [5] and E.S.10. [6] Latter telegram sets out the
position fully and I should be glad to receive confirmation that
we should depart for London on Wednesday in accordance with the
arrangements already made. Please cable a most immediate reply.


1 See Document 468, note 7.

2 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

3 See Document 469, note 2.

4 Head of Australian Military Mission to Combined Chiefs of Staff,

5 Dispatched 18 April. On file AA:A981, War 41B.

6 Document 469.

7 This cablegram crossed Curtin's [PM]49 (on file AA:A981, War 33,
attachment C) which informed Evatt that it was imperative that he
remain in Washington to await vital submissions then in
preparation. Evatt replied that he had cancelled his plans for
leaving Washington, but stressed the urgency of proceeding to
London with the least possible delay (see cablegram ES12 of 20
April on file AA:A4764, 2).

[AA:A4764, 2]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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