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472 Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister, to Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs (in Washington)

Cablegram PM51 CANBERRA, 21 April 1942


From Mr. Curtin.

Your E.S. 2-Reciprocal Lend Lease. [1]

(1) No objection in principle to results of conference being
embodied in a memorandum or series of memoranda linked with
agreement of 23rd February by a preamble and being varied from
time to time by subsequent memoranda. It is essential that our
balance of payments should be fully safeguarded and no memorandum
should be signed without prior approval from this end.

(2) I concur your suggestion Brigden [2] to be our representative
in all discussions including exchange but would like you to keep
in touch with major matters as far as practicable during the time
you are in Washington. Please instruct Brigden to keep us fully

(3) Your paragraph 4 states it will probably be convenient to deal
with United States and United Kingdom relations in separate
documents. The triangular arrangement to protect Australian
exchange position referred to my P.M. 41 [3] contemplated an
agreement or memorandum signed by the three parties. We
particularly desired United States to be associated with such an
arrangement because-
(i) United Kingdom capacity to assist us is dependent upon her own
dollar position being adequately protected.

(ii) Acheson [4] had already expressed unofficially desire to
assist our balance of payments by indirect means.

Provided our objective of a three party arrangement is
satisfactorily achieved and our sterling position fully
safeguarded we would be satisfied with separate agreements to this
end if that course is considered more convenient than a single
three party agreement. We would like broad outline as early as
possible of what is proposed on this matter.

(4) Re assistance to United States Forces in the field, desirable
Brigden should confer with United Kingdom authorities vide United
Kingdom cable 269 of 28th February [5] and paragraph 2 of my P.M.

28. [6] The object is to arrive at agreed general principle of
assistance although detail application regarding local needs of
United States Forces may vary. Particularly we would like for our
own guidance any further information available as to supplies and
services (other than pay) which will be provided by United States
for their forces in Great Britain.

(5) Discussions with London referred to were authorised from this
end prior to receipt of United States memorandum and the object
was to seek assistance from the British Government towards that
part of our overseas war expenditure which we are unable to meet
from our own overseas funds. [7]

So far Bruce has been unable to discuss this with Chancellor [8]
because of his concentration on British Budget. In any case as
this problem in its widest aspects is now to be examined in
Washington we expect decisions there will render unnecessary the
temporary arrangement which we were seeking to make with the
British Government.

1 Dispatched 17 April. On file AA: A981, USA 181, i. It described
U.S. reactions to proposed joint discussions in Washington between
the U.S., U.K. and Commonwealth Coves on Reciprocal Lend-Lease.

2 Financial Counsellor at the Legation in Washington.

3 Document 464.

4 U.S. Assistant Secretary of State.

5 On the file cited in note 1. It outlined the U.K. Govt's
preliminary proposals for Reciprocal Lend-Lease.

6 Document 457.

7 See cablegram 2373 of 20 March to S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner
in the United Kingdom, on the file cited in note 1.

8 Sir Kingsley Wood.

[AA:A981, USA 181, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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