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Historical documents

49 Dixon to Curtin

Cablegram S143 WASHINGTON, 17 September 1942, 12.25 a.m.


Further to my S.140. [1]

My impression is that the President's answer is the outcome of a
very full consideration by the United States Joint Staff of your
messages over the weekend [2] and that it represents a deliberate
decision on his part to support their views based on a survey of
the situation everywhere rather than an attempt to pursue his own
instinctive expression of sympathetic feelings on the first
reading of the messages.

There are signs if I am not mistaken that some major operation has
been planned though care has been exercised to avoid this
inference so far as possible and to give no indication of
description of the enterprise or the locality. At the same time
the immediate concern here over the situation in the Solomons has
been steadily growing and during the last five or six days
considerable anxiety has I think been felt by the Administration.

I have no information as to reports made by General MacArthur
concerning the position in New Guinea but I thought yesterday that
I detected in the President's tone a feeling that it was strange
that the enemy should have made the advances reported. [3] While
he is far from easy about Port Moresby he evidently is advised
that the situation does not call for more ground troops. I have
also the impression that possibly amongst the objects of the
President's suggestion that you should visit Washington was a
desire to give you information that he was not prepared otherwise
to transmit and that in any case a settled understanding with
yourself was desired.

Perhaps some additional light may be thrown on the President's
message by the foregoing though on its face it appears to be
carefully drafted as a reply intended to cover the whole of the


1 Document 48.

2 See Document 43 and Document 44, note 8.

3 See Document 47, note 1.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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