Skip to main content

Historical documents

257 Cranborne to Curtin Circular

Cablegram D1195 LONDON, 24 August 1944, 5.45 p.m.


Following for the Prime Minister.

You will remember that at the 4th meeting of Prime Ministers held
on the 15th May, a discussion took place regarding the machinery
of co-operation within the British Commonwealth. [1] On behalf of
the United Kingdom Government, I put forward certain suggestions
for consideration as to co-operation in the sphere of defence. Mr.

Curtin also made some proposals set out more fully in a paper [2]
reproduced in memorandum one to the minutes of the meeting as to
the general machinery for co-operation. It was agreed that
consideration should be given to the setting up of a small
technical committee representative of the United Kingdom and the
Dominions to examine these proposals.

2. We have now been able to give further consideration to this
matter and it seems to us that it might be difficult to arrange
immediately for a special meeting to consider the more general
aspects of the questions raised since the senior officers who
would be needed for the purpose could probably be ill spared at
the present moment. Moreover, some of the suggestions can be, and
are being put into effect while others, e.g., the suggestion for a
regular meeting of ministers concerned with External Affairs, who
hardly lend themselves to discussion on the official level, could
be discussed separately. There are, however, certain more detailed
questions connected with the defence aspects as to which, in our
view, it should be possible to make progress by discussions
between technical officers. We should like to suggest therefore,
for your consideration, that there should be joint discussions
here of certain defence matters, e.g., those set out under (A),
(C), (D) and (F) [3] in the record of my statement at the 4th
meeting of Prime Ministers. The object would be to examine the
ideas in detail and prepare a report for consideration of the
respective governments.

3. We should be glad to learn whether this proposal commends
itself to you. If so, you would, no doubt, wish to consider
whether your military liaison officers at present in this country
could represent you, or whether you would wish to send officers
specially to this country for the purpose, and if so, when they
would be available.

1 In AA:A6712, 1944, Top Secret, PMM(44) 14th Meeting. For
Curtin's comments on this discussion see Document 151.

2 Document 152.

3 These points dealt with the creation of a standing committee on
strategy and defence; an extended system for the interchange of
military staffs; the expansion of the training of U.K. and
Dominion officers; and the continuation of the organisation,
equipment and training of Commonwealth forces on a common model.

[AA:A5954, BOX 6]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top