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

Cablegram S16 WASHINGTON, 19 March 1942, 4.19 a.m.


Following is a most personal and secret message for the Prime Minister from Mr. Casey.

Reference to S.W.16. [1]

I have discussed matter of Churchill's proposal with Dr. Evatt [2] in the light of all facts and circumstances and he agrees that on the whole I should accept the proposal.

If I thought that Australia's interests would suffer, I would not consider the proposal but I believe that our Australian cause is now so bound up with the American cause (particularly with the appointments of MacArthur [3] and Brett [4]) that our interests are their interests and MacArthur's representations as to our Australian needs will be a much stronger voice in all matters of importance.

Dr. Evatt does not believe that the matter of adequate Australian representation here presents great difficulty in today's circumstances and he believes that the presence of an Australian in the appointment suggested by Churchill must be advantageous.

I have, therefore, asked Churchill to let me have adequate time here with Dr. Evatt and that subject to this I will accept the appointment.

This has not been an easy decision to make for reasons that you will appreciate. I can only hope that it is the right one in the general interest.

The work to which I will go will be far from easy.

I am most grateful to you for your consideration to me under all circumstances in which we have been associated.

1 Document 416.

2 Minister for External Affairs.

3 Allied Supreme Commander in the South-West Pacific Area.

4 Commander, U.S. Army Forces in Australia.