393 Sir Earle Page, Special Representative in the United Kingdom, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram P61 LONDON, 6 March 1942, 7.25 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET HIMSELF ALONE

Reference your telegram 160 to the Dominions Office [1] and my telegram P.60. [2] The British Chiefs of Staff are still examining the manner in which available shipping can be utilised in order to secure the quickest ultimate transfer of all Australian troops to Australia while taking advantage of your offer of two Australian brigades to augment the garrison of Ceylon temporarily. Churchill is asking the President [3] to make the maximum American forces available to Australia at the earliest moment.

2. In regard to your telegram 38 [4] I have had a long discussion with Churchill on the whole position. As I previously indicated, the combined Chiefs of Staff are examining the whole question of offensive strategy against Japan which, of course, envisages effective use of Australia as one of the main bases. Churchill has to-day specially asked the British Chiefs of Staff for an appreciation with regard to the defence of Australia and the Anzac area, and plans for [their] [5] reinforcement beyond your resources. He has promised me to send you within the next few days a telegram setting out fairly fully the prospects and dates of expected [recovery of] the United States and British Naval positions in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

3. He is sympathetic to the proposals set out in your telegram 166 to the Dominions Office. [6] Your proposal was transmitted immediately to the President without any comments to avoid any delay in his consideration, but the Chiefs of Staff here have been asked to examine and report as quickly as possible on the whole proposal. In this connection he is sending you a telegram he has received from Washington regarding possible repercussions [sic] of United States Naval Commander-in-Chief King to any redistribution of his authority. [7]

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1 Document 385.

2 Dispatched 3 March (AA:A3195, 1942, 1.9166).

3 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

4 Dispatched 4 March. On file AA:A2937, Far East position 1942.

5 Words in square brackets have been inserted from the London copy on the file cited in note 4.

6 Document 388.

7 The text of the cablegram regarding Admiral King was quoted in Churchill's cablegram 294 of 6 March (on file AA:A2937, A.B.D.A.

Strategic Area, 1941-1942). It conveyed a similar assessment of King to that set out in Document 392.

[AA:A3195, 1942, 1.9668]