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250 Evatt to Arnold

Letter SAN FRANCISCO, 25 July 1943

I have received your unofficial and confidential letter dated July
22nd [1] on the eve of my departure from this country.

First of all, let me say this. Owing to your unavoidable absence
from Washington, I spoke to General Stratemeyer not in relation to
aircraft allocation generally, but only in relation to the special
contribution to Australia directed by the President to be made
following representations by myself.

As you know, the President, as Commander-in-Chief, had given a
decision directing that airplanes be provided for the Royal
Australian Air Force in addition to all existing commitments to
Australia. While the working out of details was a matter for the
Staffs, it is obvious that one object of the President's decision
was to make the R.A.A.F. in the Southwest Pacific a more balanced
and more effective striking force. Therefore, the question of
heavy bombers provided for in Air Marshal Williams' specification
was of importance.

On my recent return to Washington from London, I saw your Deputy
[2] who told me that I should in the first instance discuss any
question of types with Mr. Hopkins. Accordingly I did so.

I subsequently saw the President and furnished him with an aide
memoire [3] following his intimation that the gift to Australia
should not be interpreted in a narrow, but in a broad and liberal

I have no intention of embarking upon any discussion of strategy
with yourself I must say, however, that your letter invites the
comment that, at the recent Washington Conferences, it was decided
that unremitting pressure against Japan should be maintained and
extended. [4] Accordingly Mr. Churchill announced to the Press in
the presence of the President that the war against Japan was to be
pursued with the same vigor as the war in Europe. The President's
decision to make a special contribution to Australia was in strict
accordance with the strategic decisions reached in Washington
which are well known to me.

The practical suggestion I now make is that Australia's
representative-Air Marshal Williams-should be fully consulted
before determining allocations of planes in accordance with the
President's special decision. Up to now he has not been consulted
by you at all. You can take it that, for the purpose of working
out the details of your Commander-in-Chief's special contribution,
Air Marshal Courtney [5] did not represent Australia, and I am
sure that he made no attempt to do so. Further, I am aware of Air
Marshal Portal's representations to you that some heavy bombers
should be provided for the R.A.A.F.

I accept your assurance as to your interest in the R.A.A.F. and in
the very difficult operations in the South-West Pacific Area. This
is surely an opportunity for you to do something tangible and of
value. I hope, therefore, that you will consult Air Marshal
Williams well in advance and work out a satisfactory allocation in
accordance with the spirit of the President's special contribution
to Australia.

I greatly regret having missed you, and would suggest that you
might see Hopkins and subsequently the President before the matter
is finalised. [6] With best wishes,


1 Document 249
2 Probably Lt Gen Joseph T. McNarney, Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S.

Army, who had deputised for Arnold at the Washington Conferences
in May.

3 Document 244.

4 See Document 213.

5 Air Marshal Sir Christopher Courtney, Air Member for Supply and
Organisation, U.K. Air Council.

6 The same day Evatt forwarded to Harry L. Hopkins a copy of this
letter and of Arnold's letter of 22 July. In a covering note he
described Arnold's letter as 'an extraordinary document, having
regard to the fact that it does not even mention the President's
special contribution to Australia' and expressed the hope 'that
the President will be able to follow up the matter to a
satisfactory conclusion'. The note is in Franklin D. Roosevelt
Library: Hopkins Papers, box 173, 400.3295 Australia.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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