358 Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister, to Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States

Cablegram 40 CANBERRA, 22 February 1942

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

Your 330. [1] For President [2] from Prime Minister:-

Dear Mr. President, It is heartening to us to have your message. We have known always in any crisis of this nature that the United States of America would stand with us in the way your message so eloquently indicates.

2. On our part and we hope without presumption we too have pledged ourselves to the common cause, and, as you know, our forces have fought in many distant theatres with a gallantry the world has been good enough to admire.

3. We are now, with a small population in the only white man's territory south of the equator, beset grievously. Because we have added to our contribution in manpower so much of our resources and materials we now lack adequacy for the forces of our homeland in the defence of our own soil.

4. You have indicated an appreciation of the gravity of out responsibilities in reaching a decision on the matter referred to in your message. It has affected us profoundly. As we see the whole problem, our vital centres are in immediate danger. This is the reason and the only reason for the reply we have sent to Mr.

Churchill, which we now quote in full for your information:-

(Here follows cablegram to Dominions Office-No. 136. [3])

CURTIN

1 Document 355.

2 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

3 Published as Document 357 It was repeated to Casey as no 41. See the copy in Franklin D. Roosevelt Library: President's Secretary's file. Australia diplomatic.

[AA:A3196, 1942, 0.5404]