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

Cablegram 165 WASHINGTON, 27 January 1942, 10.36 p.m.

Prime Minister's telegram No. 16 [1] arrived while combined American-British Chiefs of Staff were in long conference. I managed to get communication to them based on Prime Minister's No.

16, and asked that the bomber matter might be considered at once by reason of its urgency. This was done and as a result Chiefs of Staff are endeavouring to bring about that Wavell [2] either takes active responsibility for defence of New Guinea area or, alternatively, that part of the American air reinforcements now presumably in Australia be made available to Australia for Australian (including New Guinea) defence.

I would be grateful if above be not quoted at the request of American Chiefs of Staff.

1 Cablegram 16 of 27 January (on file AA:A3300, 219) repeated to Casey a cablegram dispatched the same day to Winston Churchill (Johcu 22) emphasising the parlous state of the air defences of Australia and New Guinea. Casey was instructed to request that U.S. aircraft in, or likely to soon arrive in, Australia should be made available to the R.A.A.F.

2 Allied Supreme Commander of the A.B.D.A. Area.