481 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Sir Geoffrey Whiskard, U.K. High Commissioner in Australia

Cablegram 280 LONDON, 4 June 1941, 12.35 a.m.


My telegram No. 237 of 17th May. [1] Please inform the Prime Minister [2] that, in accordance with the recommendations of the Washington Staff Conversations, we have now established a nucleus military mission in Washington and that a nucleus United States military mission is being established in London.

2. The object of establishing these missions now is to ensure that the necessary machinery of collaboration is ready whenever the United States may come into the war and that all details are completed in respect of the broad plans agreed in Washington.

3. Admiral Sir Charles Little, Lt.-General H. B. C. Wemyss and Air Marshal A. T. Harris will take up their appointments as heads of the mission representing the chiefs of staff of the United Kingdom about the middle of this month. Meanwhile other officers are representing them and the mission is in operation.

4. It is assumed that in accordance with annex 1 para. 5 (f) of the report on the conversations (A.B.C.1) [3] the Commonwealth Government will wish to be represented on the mission in Washington by their service attaches and that they will issue instructions accordingly. [4]

5. Neither our mission in Washington nor the United States mission in London can be recognized openly as staff missions until the United States come into the war. Both missions therefore are operating under cover, the former as 'necessary advisers of the British Supply Council in North America' and the latter as 'the United States Special Observer Group'.

1 Document 460.

2 R. G. Menzies.

3 See Document 455,note 5.

4 On 13 June the Commonwealth Govt informed Cranborne (cablegram 369 on file AA: A816, 37/301/88) and R.G.Casey, Minister to the United States (cablegram 63 on file AA: A1608, Y27/1/1), that arrangements were being made for Commander D. H. Harries, Naval Attache at the Legation in Washington, to represent Australia on the British Military Mission in Washington.

[AA: A1608, Y27/1/1]