6 Dixon to Eggleston
Many thanks for your letter of 10th June  enclosing your letter
to Sir Earle Page. 
I have never had enough information to form any reasoned judgment
about the causes of the disasters in Singapore and Burmah and my
instinctive forebodings springing from such isolated facts as I
have learned from trustworthy sources are of a kind that it is
better to suppress. In considering the Allied central organization
for the conduct of the war, it is, I think, necessary to
distinguish between the past and the present. Up till very
recently London was, I believe, the centre controlling world
strategy: now I think that it is Washington. It is here that the
Combined Chiefs of Staff meet-and here that the order of battle
for each theatre is settled and it is here that the primary
allocation of the pooled production is decided and the detailed
allocation of the United States production takes place. of course
the Chiefs of Staff in London exert a powerful influence. I am not
in a position to assess the part played by Roosevelt and
The first I have now seen a number of times; my first-hand
knowledge of the second is confined to one day. But I am inclined
to the view that neither plays such an original or such a dominant
part as in Australia we were led to suppose. When there has been
an opposition between the professional advice of the services and
political exigencies or considerations of a mixed nature, as in
the cases of Greece, and of convoys to Murmansk, the decision has
been that of the Prime Minister and the President. But I think
that now at all events it is the professional advisers who mould
the strategical opinion of the governments. Once a theatre of war
is put under American control, there is a great reluctance on the
part of the British Chiefs of Staff to raise questions about what
is being done and this, though to a less extent, is true in the
To my mind the fundamental cause of all our troubles is the simple
fact that the enemy continues to have a marked superiority in arms
and trained troops in all theatres. The cry for aeroplanes comes
in from every commander and day by day attempts are made to find
planes to help this or that command or theatre. In the planning,
how to divide a deficiency is always the question. of course
production is expanding rapidly now.
I am by no means satisfied with the central organization for the
control of the war on the part of the Allies, and I don't really
know whose are the decisive minds. Indeed I cannot feel that
operation of mind in action of which I think you are always
conscious when powerful intelligences are directing events. Much
of the organization is just a facade forming part of the make-
believe which democratic governments seem to find indispensable.
But I doubt whether any attempt to improve the organization
existing now would lead to anything more satisfactory.
There is no lack of interest either in Australia or in China. The
President continually reverts to the question of China and T. V.
Soong  is active. But it always appears to me to come back to
the question of arms, trained troops and transport. General plans
are, I know, made with much consideration and care though the
soldiers seldom allow us to know with any accuracy what exactly
they are, but the urgent necessity repeatedly arising of meeting
desperate demands from one threatened front after another makes me
very sceptical about the practical value of the general plans.
Naturally I feel very anxious about Australia's position.
MacArthur's representations have some weight and so do those of
our government, but it remains very difficult to obtain what we
should have. We are sticking to the question and I am glad to say
we are receiving the support of Sir John Dill who is one of the
Combined Chiefs of Staff
I hope this letter is not too depressing but at present I feel the
difficulties and the want of a solution.
1 Not found.
2 Eggleston's letter of 9 June to Page (formerly Special
Representative in the United Kingdom) is on file AA:A4144, 608
3 Chinese Foreign Minister.
[AA:A4144, 608 (1942-43)]