280 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, to Mr V. G. Bowden, Official Representative in Singapore

Cablegram 27 CANBERRA, 18 January 1942

MOST IMMEDIATE PERSONAL FOR BOWDEN

You will take immediate steps to procure full daily or more frequent reports of activities of A.I.F. in Malaya. If necessary you will obtain information from Fitchett [1] or other sources and you will communicate it to myself for the information of the Prime Minister. [2] You will pay particular attention to the amount of air support and mechanised support which is made available to Australian forces. Any comments that are based on the facts may be of value to us.

2. I have just seen your telegram No. 46 [3] re rubber. You do not quote authority for your dogmatic statement that unless we agree as stated in your sixth sentence, we will lose shipment altogether.

I presume you are speaking on someone's behalf in making such statement and also statement in third sentence. On whose behalf is it that you are speaking? I am not directly interested in the problem of supply, but I must insist that you do everything possible for the benefit of Australia. Our Minister for Supply [4] is struggling night and day to increase supplies for Australia and it is your primary duty to go to all lengths to help him.

3. Your comments on the earlier stages of the war were of value to us and I want you to appreciate that we are having a great struggle to see that the Japanese war is given its proper place in the scheme of defence reinforcement and supply.

EVATT

1 Official war correspondent attached to the 8th Division.

2 John Curtin.

3 Dispatched 17 January (AA:A3830, 1942, 273). It stated that movement of rubber by convoy ships was possible, but that rubber made available to Australia would be shipped by the first available vessel, regardless of which Australian port the vessel was bound for.

4 J. A. Beasley.

[AA:A981, WAR 42]