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Historical documents

186 Forde to Bruce

Cablegram 78 CANBERRA, 8 June 1944


Before he left London, the Prime Minister advised that he had
asked you to follow up the question of obtaining an appreciation
on the position in China which was submitted to him at the request
of the Advisory War Council in my cablegram 68 of 19th May. [1]

2. The following cablegram [2] dated 4th June has been received
from the Australian Legation, Chungking:-

'Japanese forces are advancing in West Hupei and particularly in
north east Hunan and informed Chinese appear resigned to the early
fall of Changsha.

2. Whilst I do not believe that the regime here is in danger, or
accept the more alarmist fears of a Japanese thrust to Chengtu,
there is no doubt that the situation is very serious and that some
assistance must be given to the Chinese if the Japanese advance is
to be at least delayed and at the best held up. 3. The only
possible assistance is presumably in the air. I appreciate that
the decision is for Washington as forces available are U.S.A. I
assume Washington is fully informed of the position and appreciate
that although the authorities in the past have called for
assistance when not in real danger this time all concerned here
agree that the danger is real and that plans for future action
against Japan involving China will be disrupted if the Japanese
succeed. Washington will have to weigh the needs of the north
Burma campaign and preparations for the long range bombing project
as against the urgency for the use of all available strength
against the Japanese offensive.'
3. It is understood by Officer that this information has been
communicated to London and Washington.

4. Glad to know whether information sought in council is yet
available. [3]


1 Document 156. On 23 May Curtin advised Forde that the views of
the Advisory War Council were being put before the U.K. Govt, and
would be followed up by Bruce. See cablegram 34, on file AA:A5954,
box 436.

2 No. S26.

3 A report by the U.K. Joint Intelligence Committee prepared for
the U.K. War Cabinet on 9 June was forwarded by Bruce to Forde on
10 June in cablegram 83[A]. The report acknowledged significant
Japanese advances and doubted the ability of Chinese troops to
repel them. On 12 June Bruce conveyed in cablegram 85[A] a similar
appreciation by a senior U.K. officer. Both reports were submitted
to the Advisory War Council on 29 June and are on file AA:A2679,

[AA:A5954, BOX 436]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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