420 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram 48[A] LONDON, 18 March 1942, 10 p.m.


Without prejudging the wide issues raised in Dominions telegram 319 [1] it is, in my view, clear that final decisions will provide for control of the Pacific area in Washington.

Whether that control will be exercised as visualised in paragraphs 7, 8 and 9 or not the United States Chiefs of Staff must obviously play a considerable part. [2] America, however, has had no experience of war and the machinery for strategic and operational control will in great measure have to be created. I suggest that the importance cannot be exaggerated of our sending to Washington the best Staff Officers we have available. The influence of outstanding men of war experience, personality and ability in face of America's lack of war experience may be tremendous even if their defined functions are only those indicated in paragraph 9.

I would also suggest that you should urge New Zealand to do so as well, borrowing, as would probably be necessary in their case, suitable individuals from United Kingdom services.


1 Dispatched 17 March. On file AA:A2937, Far East position 1942.

2 Paragraphs 7 and 8 dealt with the Pacific area and the proposal that the U.S. Govt should appoint a Supreme Commander who would be responsible to the U.S. Chiefs of Staff and to the President.

Paragraph 9 suggested that Staff Officers from Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and China should be available in Washington to advise the U.S. military staffs and the members of the Pacific War Council.

[AA:A3195, 1942, 1.11269]