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

Cablegram 103 CANBERRA, 22 January 1942


1. There is great resentment here at speech of Knox and it is satisfactory to note his reassurance that there will be no slackening of American effort in relation to Pacific war. [1]

2. Knox can give an earnest by getting rid of Hart. [2] From all reports we have received he is quite unsuitable for job because of his age and defeatist outlook.

3. Does President [3] know that contribution of United States to Anzac area will be only one unit out of seventeen? I can hardly believe he would approve of so insignificant a contribution.

4. Admiral Colvin's [4] comment on Anzac area is as follows:

Quote: It is as if a British admiral were to exercise command of the United States fleet from his flagship in an American port and to be responsible not to the United States Government but to a British commander-in-chief. Only a properly staffed admiralty or navy office can control the many-sided activities of naval operations. Unquote. Further, he feels that most serious consideration is required before placing our war-tested ships under a command not tried in war.

5. I feel that the root of the cause of the unsatisfactory disposition is the fact that Australia has not been accorded equal representation on the supreme joint body and that if this is not agreed to by private negotiation public discussion and public criticism will force the issue both in the United Kingdom and the United States.

6. I hope that Bailey [5] is seized with the importance of these matters. He must not be surprised that there is a great dissatisfaction here at the functioning of the Information Department in the United States.


1 The Sydney Morning Herald had reported on 14 January (P. 9) that the U.S. Secretary of the Navy had told an American audience that 'the battle of the Atlantic ... was still the most important struggle of the war' and warned them not to expect 'favourable, dramatic developments of triumphant American full-scale naval engagements in the Pacific in the near future'.

2 Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet.

3 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

4 Chief of the Naval Staff until July 1941 and later naval adviser to S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom.

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