378 Mr A. W. Fadden, Acting Prime Minister, to Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 206 [2 April 1941] [1],

MOST SECRET

My telegram No. 187 of 27th March [2] paragraph s. The Commonwealth Government's views as to the scope of and points for discussion at the proposed conference at Singapore are as follows:-

2. The suggested scope of the conference is:-

(a) To formulate coordinated naval plans for the East Indies, China, Australia and New Zealand Stations, including the Netherlands East Indies Naval Forces;

(b) To establish a broad outline of policy with American co- operation.

3. Suggested points for discussion under paragraph 2(a) are as follows:-

(a) Plans. Two separate plans are required:-

(i) When naval forces available are as given in paragraph 12 of the Anglo-Dutch-Australian Conference. [3]

(ii) When naval reinforcements are sent. In this case the plan for reinforcement east of Suez, on a progressive basis, which has been the subject of discussion between the Australian Prime Minister [4] and the Admiralty, should be taken into account.

Plans should include action to be taken in the event of Japan concentrating an attack on our shipping in the hope of reduction or dispersal of our naval strength prior to, or at the same time, launching an attack on Singapore or Netherlands East Indies.

(b) Convoys. A further examination of the provision of escorts for troop convoys in the Indian Ocean (Anglo-Dutch-Australian Conference paragraph i i), also of escort for Australian personnel proceeding to Koepang and Ambon (Anglo-Dutch-Australian conference paragraphs 7 and 8) and naval measures required for their maintenance. The possibility of basing naval forces at Darwin for this purpose and in support of Netherlands East Indies naval forces operating in Eastern Archipelago.

(c) Essential Supplies. Method of maintaining essential supplies:-

(i) To Singapore, Netherlands East Indies, Near and Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

(ii) To the United Kingdom via Panama.

(d) Strategical Command. Any adjustments required in the Strategical Command consequent upon recent discussion in Washington. The position with regard to Netherlands East Indies in this respect needs clarification.

(e) Recent Washington Discussions and Anglo-Dutch-Australian Report. Area for strategical direction discussed in Washington to be brought into alignment with spheres of operational control mentioned in Anglo-Dutch-Australian Conference paragraph 19.

(f) Tactical Command. Tactical Command and other problems when Allied Forces are co-operating.

4. Points for discussion under paragraph 2(b) are:-

How U.S.A. naval aid in the Far East to the extent agreed on at Washington could best be dovetailed into the plans to be formulated above.

COMMANDERS-IN-CHIEF TO CONFER 5. The need is stressed for the fullest representation possible of Commanders-in-Chief at the Conference. [5]

FADDEN

1 The date has been inserted from the copy received in London. See PRO-FO 371/27774.

2 Document 366.

3 For the report of this conference See AA: A2671, 109/1941, Annexe C.

4 R. G. Menzies. See Document 343.

5 This cablegram was also sent to the N.Z. Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, as no. ii i; to the U.K. Commander-in-Chief in the Far East, Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham; and to the U.K.

Commander-in-Chief in China, Vice Admiral Sir Geoffrey Layton.

[AA: A3196,1941, 0.4068]