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75 Sir Earle Page, Special Representative en route to the United Kingdom, to Mr A. W. Fadden, Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered SINGAPORE, 1 October 1941, 4.23 p.m.


Attended conference 29th with Duff Cooper [1], the Governor of the
Straits Settlements [2], Service Chiefs and Diplomatic
representatives to Eastern countries, to consider primarily Far
Eastern Defence Measures which might act as a deterrent to the
Japanese. The Commander-inChief [3] cabling the United Kingdom
Government in these terms:-

'The emphatic opinion of the meeting was that only real deterrent
to further Japanese aggression would be a British fleet based at
Singapore and in the absence of this fleet there is little doubt
that Japan will be able to strike at her selected moment. We feel
sure that everything is being done to make provision for this
requirement as soon as ships can be spared from other theatres
which at the moment are active but we would stress the propaganda
value of even one or two battleships at Singapore.' [4]

Spirited cable from the Australian Government to Churchill within
the next week would help greatly. Bruce should be informed that
this cable has gone forward. [5] Local measures suggested were of
interest to us and I am writing fully about them. [6]

Owing to American Clipper engine breakdown at Guam am now leaving
Singapore Saturday; will probably fly across America in order to
keep engagements arranged Washington. [7]


1 Alfred Duff Cooper, U.K. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster,
arrived in Singapore on 9 September on a mission to assess the
strategic situation in the Far East. He was still there on 10
December when he was advised of his appointment (announced in the
House of Commons on 19 December) as U.K. Minister of State for Far
Eastern Affairs resident in Singapore. He retained his
Chancellorship and presided over the Singapore War Council. He
left Singapore on 13 January 1942 consequent upon General Sir
Archibald Wavell's appointment to the post of Supreme Commander of
the A.B.D.A. Area.

2 Sir Sheraton Thomas.

3 Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, U.K. Commander-in-
Chief in the Far East.

4 The full text of Brooke-Popham's cablegram, containing the
recommendations of the conference, is on file AA:A2671, 324/1941.

5 Page's suggestion was considered by War Cabinet on 15 October
(See AA: A2673, vol. 8, minute 1407) and a cablegram (Document 87)
dispatched; the U.K. Dominions Office supplied a copy of it to the
External Affairs Office in London (see file AA:A2937, No. 1. The
Pacific. 11 February, 1941-up to outbreak of war with Japan).

6 This was apparently a reference to Page's letter of 1 October to
Fadden. See AA:MP1217, Box 475, Far Eastern Defence. Sir Earle
Page's discussions in Singapore and London. 1941
7 Page was still in Singapore on 4 October when he heard that
Fadden had resigned and John Curtin was to form a Labor Party
administration. He immediately cabled Fadden for clarification of
his own position (see AA:A3195, 1941, 1.19782) and was advised to
continue his journey (see AA:A3196, 1941, 0.15590) On 8 October
Curtin formally advised Page (then in Honolulu) that his mission
was to continue on the understanding that it was to be confined to
matters authorised by the Advisory War Council prior to his
departure and any other matter on which he should henceforward be
instructed to act (see AA:A3196, 1941, 0.15800).

[AA: CP290/8, BUNDLE 1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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