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

Cablegram 343 WASHINGTON, 22 February 1942, 11.44 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

President asks me to transmit following message to the Prime Minister.

Begins-Thank you for yours of February 21st. [1]

I fully understand your position in spite of the fact that I cannot wholly agree as to immediate need of first returning division in [sic] Australia. I think that the principal threat as against the main bases of Australia and Burma, both of which must be held at all costs, is against Burma or the left flank, and that we can safely hold the Australian or right flank. Additional American fully equipped reinforcements are getting ready to leave for your area.

In view of all this and depending of course on developments of next few weeks I hope you will consider the possibility of diverting second returning division to some place in India or Burma to help hold that line so that it can become a fixed defence. Under any circumstances you can depend upon our fullest support. Roosevelt. Ends.

CASEY

1 Document 358, which was received in Washington on 21 February.

[AA:A981, WAR 33, ATTACHMENT B]