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Historical documents

323 Curtin to Cranborne

Cablegram 283 [1] CANBERRA, 30 October 1943


I have carefully considered your No. 316 [2], but, after fully
weighing the reasons you advance, I am quite convinced that the
accomplishment of the programme that I have mapped out for myself
in Australia in the next few months is the best contribution I can
make to the future welfare of Australia and the Empire. The
mandate recently received by me from the Australian people leaves
no doubt in my mind as to the course I should follow in the
immediate obligations that devolve upon me. On the other hand, I
realize that the position of other Prime Ministers may be
different. 2. Australia is the only Dominion with a war front on
its territory. The forces engaged in the South-West Pacific Area
have been preponderantly Australian. Having carried the
responsibility of Government through the grave period of the
Japanese threat to the mainland of the Commonwealth, I want to see
the Japanese pushed back still further before I am prepared to
leave Australia.

3. As you will have noted from my cablegram No. 267 [3] the
Government is engaged in far-reaching adjustments affecting the
nature, scope and balance of the Australian War Effort. I am about
to hold important consultations with General MacArthur and the
Government will be required to take a series of far-reaching and
important decisions.

4. In regard to matters to be discussed at a Conference of Prime
Ministers in London, I know of none more important than that of
the post-war machinery for the maintenance of peace. I have
outlined certain views on co-operation within the British
Commonwealth which may be described as our own family approach to
a wider question which ultimately affects the world at large. [4]
Quite frankly, I have to proceed some distance further in
Australia before I can consider myself able to speak with
authority for the Australian people on the shape that machinery
should take and the obligations which can be accepted. It would be
futile for me to go abroad without this being done, and my
presence here is imperative if it is to be achieved.

5. I have noted with some surprise a press report dated London,
28th October, which follows the line of argument of your
cablegram, indicates that April was suggested by me, and quotes
the comment of 'a Whitehall official'. [5]


1 Repeated to the Canadian and N.Z. Prime Ministers.

2 Document 314.

3 Dispatched 8 October 1943 (FA:A3196, 1943, folder, outwards Most
Secret master sheets, 0.27804-7, 0.27840-4).

4 See Document 272.

5 Churchill replied on 9 November that, upon investigation,
Curtin's allegations appeared to be unfounded. He also suggested
that the meeting should be held in the last week of April and the
first week of May. See cablegram 335 in FA:A3195, 1943, box, Most
Secret inwards master sheets from Secdo, 1.45891.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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