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Historical documents

17 Curtin to Bruce

Cablegram 7268 CANBERRA, 7 August 1942


1. Your cables 121[A] 122[A] and 123[A] [1] give two instances of
the difficulties on the working out of Australian representation
in the War Cabinet viz.

(i) Churchill's remark on the desire of the United Kingdom
Government to sit alone in view of the impending arrival of the
Indian Representative and Nash's presence, and
(ii) the likelihood that you would be kept in the dark regarding
the discussions with the American Representatives which apparently
did not eventuate according to your cable 111[A]. [2] I therefore
find it somewhat difficult to understand exactly what is meant by
your statement that

'The major question of implementation of the arrangement with
regard to our representation in the War Cabinet remains

2. From the Government's angle the position is briefly as follows-
(a) In cable 68 [3] we asked that the Accredited Representative of
the Australian Government should have the right to be heard in the
War Cabinet in the formulation and direction of policy by War

(b) This was conceded in D.O. No. 93. [4]

(c) In No. 81 [5] we said that our request in cable No. 68 implied
and meant full membership of the U.K. War Cabinet with all rights
and privileges unless and until an Imperial War Cabinet is
constituted. We were not conceded right of full membership because
of certain constitutional points as to which we said that any
views as to practice or procedure could be settled as we went
along adding that there should be no problems which could not be
got over with goodwill. [6]

3. I have no instructions for you other than to say that unless
and until the principle in 2(a) is disregarded the Government
cannot intervene. I would express agreement with your general
desire to work out mutually satisfactory arrangements. I have
every confidence that you will be able to do so in a manner that
will preserve the good relations between the United Kingdom and
Australian Governments and above all my own personal friendly
relations with Churchill which my Cabinet regard as of crucial
importance to our joint effort.


1 Documents 14-16.

2 Document 9.

3 Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. V, Document

4 Dispatched 22 January. In AA:A2680, 14/1942.

5 Dispatched 27 January. In PRO: PREM 4/43A/14.

6 See Document 16 and note 10 thereto.

[AA:M100, AUGUST 1942]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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