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Historical documents

273 Curtin to Hankinson

Letter CANBERRA, 7 September 1944


Reference is made to the Aide-Memoire [1] relative to the question
of providing from Empire sources garrisons for British Islands in
the Pacific recaptured from the enemy, which you handed to me on
15th July, 1944. It is noted that Borneo is mentioned as well as
Pacific Islands proper.

The general policy of developing Australian interests in the South
East Asia and Southwest Pacific areas would make it desirable that
Australia should contribute to the garrisoning of points in these
areas, if other considerations permit. Moreover, Clause 15 of the
Australian - New Zealand Agreement [2] contemplates Australian
participation in the policing of agreed areas in this region,
pending the inauguration of a system of general security.

The position is, however, that the whole of the Australian Forces
that might be available for garrisoning the recaptured territories
have been assigned to the Southwest Pacific Area and are under the
operational control of General MacArthur, and tasks given to the
Australian Army by the Commander-in-Chief, S.W.P.A., involve very
considerable commitments in the Solomon Islands and in New
Britain, in addition to garrison forces required in New Guinea.

Having regard to the considerations referred to in the previous
paragraph it is the opinion of my advisers that it is not possible
for Australia to undertake responsibility for garrisoning British
possessions in the Pacific recaptured from the Japanese, other
than those within the Southwest Pacific Area in accordance with
such directions as are given by the Commander-in-Chief, Southwest
Pacific Area.


1 Dated 14 July. On file AA:A1608, S41/1/9, i.

2 Document 26.

[AA:A1608, S41/1/9, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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