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264 Churchill to Curtin

Cablegram Winch 14 LONDON, 25 August 1943, 2.07 a.m.


Received 26 August 1943

Having agreed upon the setting up of the combined South East Asia
Command [1] I have arranged with General Marshall and Admiral
King, with the approval of the President, that I can have an
officer of General's rank as Liaison Officer at MacArthur's
headquarters. This will enable MacArthur to correspond freely with
me and will enable me to follow with closer attention than
heretofore the developments in the Pacific theatre. I talked this
over with Dr. Evatt when he was in London and understood from him
that you would like some such arrangement as this. [2] 2. While I
should never wish to intrude upon domestic party issues in
Australia, I hope I may send my private and personal
congratulations on the return of your Government with so large and
stable a working majority. [3] This should favour continuity in
the war effort and the taking of increasingly important decisions
which will be required during this and future campaigns in the

3. Will you kindly show this to Dr. Evatt to whom I am also
sending a personal telegram [4] in reply to his very kind personal
message to me. [5]

1 The establishment of a South-East Asia Command was agreed on by
the U.K. Govt in June and endorsed by the Combined Chiefs of Staff
at the Quebec Conference on 24 August. The Command covered Burma,
Thailand, Malaya, Sumatra and Ceylon and its initial objective was
to facilitate a more effective offensive against the Japanese in
Burma. Lord Louis Mountbatten was appointed Allied Supreme
Commander and Lt Gen Joseph W. Stilwell as Deputy Supreme
Commander. See John Ehrman, Grand Strategy, HMSO, London, 1956,
vol. V, pp. 135-48.

2 Curtin replied in cablegram Johcu 70 of 31 August (FA:A3196,
1943, 0.23908) that he fully agreed with the proposal, which would
be 'of great mutual advantage'. On 8 October Churchill advised in
cablegram Winch 17 (FA:A3195, 1943, 1.41474) that his Liaison
Officer with MacArthur would be Lt Gen Herbert Lumsden.

3 At the elections on 21 August Curtin's Australian Labor Party
gained forty-nine seats, the United Australia Party-Country Party
opposition twenty-three seats and independents two seats. The
A.L.P. also gained control of the Senate where it had previously
been in a minority. On 22 September R. G. Menzies replaced W. M.

Hughes as leader of the U.A.P. and, as the U.A.P.-Country Party
coalition was terminated, Menzies, as leader of the larger
opposition party, also replaced A. W. Fadden as Leader of the

4 Document 265.

5 See Document 265, note 3.

[FA:A3195, 1943, 1.35448]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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