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

Cablegram 64 WASHINGTON, 12 January 1942, 12.21 a.m.


(1) Reference my telegram 53. [1] 1 flew south afternoon January 10th, boarded Churchill's train that night and had some hours with him, returning in his train to Washington January 11th.

(2) I repeated and returned to principal points in your telegram 37 [2] over course of several hours and made every possible endeavour to bring about what is wanted. From notes that I made immediately afterwards I reproduce hereunder in paragraphs (3) to (6) inclusive the general lines of Churchill's reply and arguments.

(3) Churchill believes that it is impossible to End any other workable arrangement for the higher direction of the Wavell [3] campaign than that put forward by the President [4] and himself Wavell has his instructions and the freer he is left to do his job the better. Apart from reporting his situation and how he proposes to meet it Wavell's principal reference to higher authority will be for reinforcements and his needs in this connection will be anticipated as far as their availability and means of getting them to him allow. Advantage of a single command would be nullified if he was required to seek authority for every move.

(4) Wavell's campaign is not a self-[contained] [5] and separate campaign with no relation to the rest of the war. The higher authority or authorities to which Wavell reports have to be same higher authority or authorities that are responsible for the rest of the campaign as a whole if only by reason of necessity of allocating reinforcements of men and weapons and transport shipping from a pool which is large but by no means inexhaustible.

(5) Churchill states it is difficult enough to have to rely on co- relation of views between the 'London end' and 'Washington end' by use of existing machinery (Chiefs of Staff advising War Cabinet or its equivalent) at these places but situation would become bogged down if it were to become necessary to set up a third major consultative body (containing British, Americans, Australians and Dutch in Australia). This is what he interprets your telegram as [wanting]. At least London and Washington have before them the hour to hour situation of the war as a whole (as well as knowledge of forces and munitions available and likely to become available) and are also in constant consultation regarding plans for the future in the existing and potential theatres of war.

Considerations of security and pressure [on] communications mean that all of this vast mass of most secret information cannot be made available to another centre (Australia) [in the] necessary detail to enable Wavell's campaign to be seen in perspective in relation to the war as a whole.

(6) Germans and Japanese have single commands and can act quickly in consequence. We have to so arrange ourselves that we can get as close as we can to very great advantage that they have in this respect whilst having due regard to views, intentions and needs of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and [the] Dutch as well as those of Russia and China.

(7) As regards 'blue area' or 'Anzac triangle' Churchill is agreeable to making a British aircraft carrier available for its defence and hopes today or tomorrow to get the Americans to agree to some United States naval forces being made available also. I emphasized importance of time in this connection and also in respect of reinforcement of New Caledonia.

Please do not quote above as Churchill wishes to tell you himself of all the proposed reinforcements of the 'blue area'.


1 See Document 265, note 3 2 Document 260.

3 See Document 252, note 4.

4 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

5 Words in square brackets have been corrected/inserted from the Washington copy on file AA:A3300, 219.

[AA:A981, WAR 54]