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277 Curtin to Attlee Cablegram 240 [1]

CANBERRA, 14 September 1943


1. Reference your Circular D.633. [2] A meeting in November from
my own point of view is too early for the following reasons:

(I) The new Parliament assembles on 23rd September.

(II) It is proposed to have a session of a few weeks when the main
business will be the budget.

(III) The new Government will require some time to settle down,
particularly as the first major business in the recess will be to
review the Australian war effort.

(IV) Owing to an acute manpower situation, it is evident that we
cannot achieve some of the objectives or commitments we have
undertaken. It is essential from the aspect of our own policy for
us to determine the precise limits and nature of the contribution
of which we are capable in order to enable this to be related to
the wider plans of the Empire and the United Nations into which
our effort is fitted.

When fully resolved, these matters are, of course, suitable for
mutual discussion with the other parts of the Empire, but there is
much to be done here by the Government first and then by
consultation with the Commander-in-Chief, S.W.P.A. I feel that my
presence here during the next 6 months of legislative and
administrative activity is essential for as Prime Minister and
Minister for Defence I am the only Minister who has a precise
personal knowledge of the factors relating to the problems which
will arise.

(V) Finally the Australian forces are in the midst of important
operations in New Guinea and I do not feel justified in leaving
Australia until the results of the decision to carry on the war in
the Pacific with the same vigor as the war in Europe are evident,
both in the increased strength disposed in the Pacific and in
approved plans for operations against the Japanese.

2. I would suggest that the meeting be held not earlier than the
beginning of April or later if possible.


1 This cablegram was repeated to the Canadian, South African and
N.Z. Prime Ministers (see the Prime Minister's Dept outward
cablegram register, AA:A3643, 11, entries 0.25308-10). No Canberra
or London copy has been found and the text published here is that
received by Mackenzie King as no. 17.

2 Document 275.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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