256 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs

Cablegram unnumbered WASHINGTON, 4 January 1942, 3.48 a.m.


Reference paragraphs 1 and 2 of your personal telegram No. 4. [1]

(1) I can entirely appreciate your point of view regarding the method in which negotiations have been carried on. During the past few weeks I have left no shadow of doubt in the minds of Roosevelt, Churchill and the others concerned of the Commonwealth Government's firm view that it should be independently represented at all important discussions.

(2) The reaction has invariably been that if I were brought into active discussions it would be impossible to refuse the same thing to other British Dominion Representatives as well as the Dutch and probably Chinese and Russian representatives, which would militate against free discussion and quick decision, and that the existence of such a relatively large body would make more than ever necessary private meetings between the President and Mr.

Churchill. Whether this is valid argument or not, it has been strongly held and there are limits beyond which I believe I cannot go in advancing arguments to the British Prime Minister without impairing my future ability to approach him and his Chiefs of Staff freely which (I believe alone of all other representatives here) I now have.

(3) Churchill lives and works in the White House and discusses military, air, naval and supply matters in connection with all theatres of war with the President at all hours of the day and night. The British Ambassador [2] and the Secretary of State [3] are not in on the discussions. The American and British Chiefs of Staff are in constant session day and night, broken only when they meet for discussion with the President and/or Churchill. I see the American and British Chiefs of Staff individually as often as possible, usually early in the morning or late at night. I have good entree to them all and I have no difficulty in seeing them other than that of their constant staff conferences.

(4) Reference your paragraph (3). The declaration was dealt with partly by the State Department and partly by the White House and there was no official information available apart from the first draft and final draft. Intermediate information that I sent you was what I managed to get from individuals concerned at one or other places. A great many amendments were submitted by the various Governments including several by the British Government ('in set grouping', 'high contracting parties' and 'free French as the original signatory' and several others) which found no place in the final text. The question of India was decided towards the end between the President and Churchill alone. The President was much opposed to the strict alphabetical listing (my telegram 1228 [4] and my telegram 1242 [5]) by reason of his belief that it would offend China and Russia.

(5) Your paragraph (4) mutilated. Please confirm agreeable or not.

(6) Reference your paragraph (5) I have read with astonishment of the almost 'daily reports of interviews' with me in the Press.

Like other representatives here, I am of course approached every day by the Press for information but I have always been scrupulously careful to speak only in brief general and non- political terms on current matters and to avoid comment, and have most certainly expressed no opinions which could in any way be regarded as contrary to the opinions of the Government. I have never advocated abandonment of the Philippines and would much appreciate information as to any such remarks attributed to me together with the date and name of the paper so that I can take up the matter immediately at this end for my own future protection.

Bailey [6] has kept in close touch with this Legation in recent weeks and is fully aware of the Government's policy. He is impressed with the necessity for ensuring complete identity between the policy of the Government and the work of the Information Bureau.

(7) Reference your paragraph (6). Enquiry today shows that the only material received by the Bureau from Australia was A.A.P.

messages, short-wave wireless news and the Prime Minister's [7] proposed statement on Unity of Command forwarded to Bailey by the Department of Information en clair on 31st December. In accordance with instructions, the Prime Minister's statement was not released until today immediately after the White House had issued the statement on Unity of Command. No releases were issued by the Bureau on the Prime Minister's statement referred to by you nor did the Bureau in any way inspire comment on the statement which appeared in some sections of the American Press. The Sydney Morning Herald however cabled from Australia to its representative in the United States long extracts from their editorials which were highly critical of the statement. Although these were available to Bailey, he did not of course use them in any way and strongly advised against their release in America in any form.

(8) Your paragraph (7). I compiled my telegram 1220 [8] (sent on 26th December) replying to your telegram 164 [9] (received 26th December) after long discussions with the British Chief of the Air Staff [10] and others, and it represented all relevant replies and information that could be supplied from British sources here.

(9) I hope that I need not assure you of my constant day and night concern with what are obviously vital Australian interests particularly at this time. On most occasions I am able to see Churchill himself about the Prime Minister's and your messages although on some detailed naval, military and air matters it is sometimes more useful to see the appropriate members of his Chiefs of Staff. Even then they have not always got complete information on which to give specific replies on all matters.

And additionally I would say that I have not, in these recent weeks, addressed myself entirely to the British. I have constantly represented the south-west Pacific situation to the Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Army, Navy and Army-Air. I believe I am right in saying that these representations have not been without their influence on the volume and speed of U.S. air and other reinforcements that are on their way.


1 Document 250.

2 Lord Halifax.

3 Cordell Hull.

4 Document 236.

5 See Document 246, note 1.

6 Director, Australian News and Information Bureau, New York.

7 John Curtin.

8 Document 230.

9 Document 226.

10 Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal.

[AA:A3195, 1942, 1.513]