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189 MacArthur to Curtin

Teleprinter message BXM343 BRISBANE, 13 May 1943


Received 13 May 1943, 12.10 p.m.

[In the light of both the successful Allied offensive in the
Mediterranean and of the lack of progress in the war against Japan
Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to meet in Washington to discuss
future Allied strategy. At the ensuing conference, held between 11
and 26 May, it was decided that greater emphasis was to be placed
upon Pacific operations, although the unconditional surrender of
the Axis powers in Europe at the earliest possible date was
reconfirmed as the paramount objective of Allied strategy.]

My estimate of the situation in Washington is as follows:-

The British Empire plans for the next phase of the war have been
in process of formulation during the last month and are now
completed. The visit of the Churchill party is for the purpose of
the presentation of this plan to the United States authorities for
concurrence. The size and makeup of the group give rise to the
belief that the current conference is comparable in scope to that
of Casablanca [1] and indicates to me that the Empire plans
unquestionably differ both in basic control and in concept from
those now being projected in Washington based upon agreement
arrived at in Casablanca. At that time, the project envisioned a
movement on Sardinia under Eisenhower. It is my belief that the
Empire plan now being presented envisions a movement through the
Middle East under British command. The conference now being held
is probably to decide which concept will be accepted after what
may involve considerable frictional discussion. [2]

I do not believe that the Pacific theatre will figure in the
current discussions except in a minor way, nor do I believe there
is the slightest chance to change the basic decisions which have
made this a secondary area since both groups now in Washington are
in agreement on that point. I believe that any injection at this
time of the demands of this theatre, unless specifically called
for, would not only be hopeless of success but might possibly
arouse harmful resentment, especially from the London group who,
rightly or wrongly, are unquestionably assuming the prerogative of
speaking for the British Empire and who have gone to Washington
with a completely thought-out and crystallized plan in which, so
far as the Empire is concerned, all decisions have been made.

The Sutherland Mission [3] and Dr. Evatt have acquainted the
Washington authorities with our situation, our hopes, our fears,
our requirements and our recommendations. Dr. Evatt is on the
spot, is immediately available if called for and is fully prepared
to present our viewpoint if the opportunity should present itself.

My advice, therefore, would be to attempt nothing from Australia
at this stage unless called upon by the conference. I am sure that
I will be requested to submit my views if any questions arise with
reference to this area which have not already been presented and
fully considered. Nothing whatsoever has come as yet, nor do I
expect it. I can give you almost instantly a full estimate of the
situation, but insofar as Washington is concerned, they already
have it in great detail. Evatt will naturally take every
precaution to protect us to the extent possible, but I am sure
that the decisions are completed and accomplished already insofar
as our own immediate future is concerned.

Nevertheless, let me know as soon as possible your views and
wishes so that I can comply at once therewith.


1 See Document 108.

2 The decisions of the conference are set out in Document 213.

3 See Document 138, note 3.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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