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

Cablegram 48 CANBERRA, 24 March 1942, 9.25 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

1. The first five paragraphs of your P. 74 [1] miss the point of my No. 47 [2] which was as follows:

(a) Paragraph 2 shows that according to your P. 64 [3] the suggestion for the retention of the 9th Division originated from the President. [4]

(b) Paragraph 3 shows that according to Dominions Office No. 311 [5] the President's message agreed to the proposal that had been put to him.

(c) Paragraph 4 draws your attention to this difference and indicates in view of the decisions already taken by the Australian Government that the disposition of the A.I.F. is not a matter for bilateral discussion between the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom [6] and the President. It is one for the Pacific Council.

This is an illustration of our viewpoint on a Pacific Council in Washington where we would have a direct contact with the President. As indicated in my No. 47 no decision has been reached, the matter having been referred to Evatt [7] for discussion with the President.

2. I do not understand your references to Churchill and concealment of his discussion with the President. No one made any such suggestion. [8]

CURTIN

1 Document 436.

2 Document 429.

3 Document 402.

4 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

5 See Document 428, note 1.

6 Winston Churchill.

7 See Document 435, note 5.

8 On 28 March Page entered hospital in London suffering from bronchial pneumonia and on 30 March S. M. Bruce took over the functions of Accredited Representative in the United Kingdom pending Evatt's arrival in London.

After recovering from a long illness Page left London on 25 June and returned to Australia, where he resumed duty as Country Party M.H.R. for Cowper. He was co-opted to the Advisory War Council on 26 August.

[AA:A2937, FAR EAST POSITION 1942]