182 Commonwealth Government to Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 794 [1] CANBERRA, 11 December 1941

IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

For the Prime Minister [2]:

War Cabinet and Advisory War Council have had under review the question of the creation of a supreme authority for the higher direction and coordinated control of allied activities and strategy in the war in the Pacific. [3]

2. We feel that there is a need for a supreme authority of this nature and we think that this body should be established in the Far East, preferably at Singapore where the Commanders-in-Chief are located. It is appreciated, however, that there are difficulties in the way of setting up such an authority immediately, but it seems to us that some steps should ultimately be taken to ensure closer collaboration between the allied countries in the higher direction of the war.

3. During his visit to Australia, Mr. Duff Cooper outlined the proposals which he had submitted to the United Kingdom Government for the creation of a War Council at Singapore, but we are not aware of the results of your consideration of these proposals.

As an initial step towards the evolution of appropriate machinery, we think it essential to arrange for closer Australian association with the direction of the war in the Pacific, and we have in mind the appointment of a representative of the Commonwealth Government to work in close touch with Mr. Duff Cooper at Singapore.

4. We would be glad to have an expression of your views on this matter as soon as possible. [4]

1 Repeated to the U.K. Minister of State for Far Eastern Affairs resident in Singapore, Alfred Duff Cooper.

2 Winston Churchill.

3 See AA : A2673, vol. 9, minute 1566 and AA : A2682, vol. 3, minute 586.

4 Cranborne advised on 12 December (cablegram 822) that this cablegram had crossed his own cablegram M453 of the same date which announced Duff Cooper's appointment to the position cited in note 1 and his establishment of the Singapore War Council. Both cablegrams are on file AA : A1(508, G33/1/2. See also Document 75, note 1.

[AA : A981, WAR 49, i]