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Historical documents

255 Curtin to Cranborne

Cablegram 208 CANBERRA, 13 August 1943


For immediate repetition to Mr. Churchill. [1]

With reference to my cablegram No. 190 of 24th July and your 188
in reply [2], and to previous messages which passed between us on
this subject [3], the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Fadden)
referred in a public address on 12th August to discussions which
took place at a meeting of the Advisory War Council in September,
1941 [4], following the receipt of your cablegram No. 608 of 31st
August 1941 [5], regarding the proposal to place a force of
capital ships in the triangle Aden-Singapore-Simonstown before the
end of 1941.

2. Mr. Fadden is reported to have said that, in September 1941, I
had stated that, in view of the advice received from the Dominions
Office, consideration might be given to a reduction in the number
of military forces called up for duty and a reduction in the
period of training which others were required to undergo. Mr.

Fadden went on to say that, if I denied the recommendation about
the militia, he would prove it.

3. I feel obliged to make a statement in reply to Mr. Fadden and
it will be necessary for me briefly to refer to one passage of
cablegram No. 608. I personally very much regret that I have been
forced into this step by the breach by Mr. Fadden of the
understanding we had reached in deference to your request.

4. I propose, unless you prefer that no statement be made, to
issue the following to the press but will not release it until I
have heard from you. The statement which I propose to make is
contained in my immediately following telegram. [6]

1 Then attending the Quebec Conference.

2 In cablegram 190 (in FA:A3196, 1943, folder, outwards Most
Secret master sheets, 0.20161)
Curtin had advised Churchill that he had 'addressed a letter to
all non-Government members of the Advisory War Council, requesting
their personal co-operation in ensuring that actual cablegrams
should not be publicly quoted or referred to in any way, in view
of the important security aspect involved'. Churchill acknowledged
this in cablegram 188 of 25 July (in FA:A3195, 1943, box, Most
Secret inwards master sheets from Secdo, 1.31056).

3 See Documents 245-6, Churchill's cablegrams 180 of 21 July and
185 of 23 July (both in FA:A3195, 1943, box, Most Secret inwards
master sheets from Secdo, 1.30276, 1.30637), and Curtin's
cablegram 188 of 22 July (in FA:A3196, 1943, folder, outwards Most
Secret master sheets, 0.19899).

4 See Advisory War Council minute 514 of 19 September in AA:A2682,
vol. 3.

5 See Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. V,
Document 54.

6 Document 256.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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