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75 Churchill to Curtin

Cablegram 66 [1] LONDON, 11 March 1944, 5.50 p.m.


Following for the Prime Minister from the Prime Minister.

Your telegram No. 56 of 4th March. [2]

1. The main decisions taken at Sextant [3] related to the scope
and date of cross-channel operations in 1944 and to operations in
the Mediterranean. A preliminary study was, however, devoted to an
overall plan for the defeat of Japan which had previously been
discussed on, the staff level.

2. The conclusion reached at Sextant was that the plan, the
essence of which is as stated in your paragraph 1, could be
regarded as providing a basis for further investigation and

3. Since Sextant, I and my staffs have made an intensive study of
the most effective contribution which we British can make to the
defeat of Japan in the shortest time. This study has brought us to
the examination of two broad conceptions. One is that the main
weight of the British effort should be directed across the Indian
Ocean and brought to bear against the Malay barrier in a west to
east thrust using India as the main base. The other is that we
should send the bulk of our naval force, together with certain
land and air forces, to operate from east to west on the left
flank of the United States forces in the South Pacific. In the
latter event Australia and not India would be the main base.

4. Before reaching firm conclusions, it is essential that the
administrative implications of the two courses outlined above
should be carefully assembled and analysed. Clearly the
availability of shipping for the longer haul to Australia will
have a most important bearing on the problem and this is being

5. An equally important point on which we must be clear is the
base potentialities of India and Australia. Our information
regarding the potentialities of India is relatively adequate but
that concerning Australia is incomplete.

6. I, therefore, suggest, subject to your agreement and on the
strictest understanding that we are engaging upon no commitments
and reaching no firm decisions, that we should send to Australia
small parties of administrative experts who could study the base
potentialities of Australia on the spot in consultation with your
officers and officials. I should be glad to know if you agree to
the above proposal so that the enquiry can be set on foot without

7. The questions you ask in your paragraph 4 were answered in my
telegram No. 59 [4] which crossed your No. 56.

1 Sent through the U.K. Dominions Secretary.

2 Document 64.

3 Code name for the Cairo Conference of November-December 1943.

4 Document 63.

[AA:A816, 31/301/336]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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