249 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 9 WASHINGTON, 2 January 1942, 3.01 a.m.

Churchill (in Ottawa) and British Chiefs of Staffs (in Washington) received Prime Minister's telegrams No. 166 [1] and 167 on December 30th and contents of 169 and 171 [2] on December 31st.

Churchill and Chiefs of Staff conferred on abovementioned telegrams today and are continuing tomorrow. Reference paragraphs 5 and 6 of my telegram 1240 [3] and Prime Minister's telegram 24, I saw United States Secretary of Navy [5] and United States Chief of Naval Operations [6] and British Chiefs [of Staff] [7] on this matter, and have asked to see Churchill tomorrow.

Admiral King was made Commander-in-Chief of United States Fleet in all oceans on December 30th and it is generally hoped and believed here that he will produce more forceful naval leadership. As I have advised you before, United States Navy since December 7th until now has been defensive and non-belligerent to the dismay of United States Army and the British. United States Army in particular has keenest interest in maintaining air reinforcement and sea transport route to Australia, and I am playing this card hard.

Prime Minister's telegram 2 will be tremendously useful and I will pursue actively.

CASEY

1 Document 237.

2 See Document 237, notes 5 and 6.

3 Document 243.

4 See Document 247, note 3.

5 Colonel Franklin Knox.

6 Admiral Harold R. Stark.

7 Inserted from the Washington copy on file AA:A3300, 219.

[AA:A981, WAR 54]