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145 Churchill to Curtin

Cablegram Winch 6 LONDON, 27 March 1943, 9.25 p.m.


Your telegram Johcu No. 60. [1]

I am sorry you have not had a reply to your telegram of 19th
January [2], which I remember the President showing me at
Casablanca. I propose to discuss with Dr. Evatt, when he arrives,
both the specific request for additional aircraft and the wider
questions raised in the telegram of 19th January.

I should like you to know, however, that Chiefs of Staff, whom I
asked to consider your Johcu No. 60, have expressed the following

(1) Since the South and South West Pacific are in an American area
of strategic responsibility, the strength of the forces to be
maintained there is mainly for decision in Washington.

Nevertheless, the Chiefs of Staff in London would always be ready
to make strong representations if the security of Australia or New
Zealand seemed to be endangered by decisions of the United States
Chiefs of Staff
(2) At the present time, however, it would be very difficult for
the British Chiefs of Staff to make out a strong case and to press
the view on Washington that the United States Chiefs of Staff have
allotted insufficient air forces to the South and South-West
Pacific Areas.

(3) The reasons for this may be briefly stated as follows:-

(a) According to our information, the maximum Japanese air force
that is likely to be deployed in this area is 650 aircraft,
though, as Mr. Curtin states, there is of course room for more.

(b) The Japanese air force is a waning force, and its commitments
elsewhere are unlikely to decrease.

(c) It is understood that United States shore-based air forces in
the South and South-West Pacific Areas already total some 1,300
aircraft. These are apart from about 350 carrier-borne aircraft
which, it is believed, are likely to be substantially increased.

All the above are in addition to the R.A.A.F. whose strength is
now considerable.

(d) The agreed strategy puts the defeat of Germany as the first
charge on the forces of the United Nations, after which every

man who can be carried and every suitable ship and aircraft will
be concentrated on Japan.

1 Document 139.

2 Document 105.

3 The Prime Minister's Dept inward cablegram register (AA:A3642,
10) gives the inward chronological numbers of this cablegram as
1.13711 and 1.13727.

[FA:A3195, 1943, 1.13737/11] [3]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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