147 Dixon to Curtin and Evatt

Cablegram S61 WASHINGTON, 29 March 1943, 3.13 a.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

Reference Prime Minister's Department telegram 49. [1] Following reply to the Prime Minister's message has just been received from the White House:-

Begins: Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I have your message regarding additional aircraft for the South West Pacific which was submitted to me by Sir Owen Dixon on March 18th.

Within the last few days General MacArthur has been informed of the aircraft to be allocated to the South West Pacific theatre in 1943. [2] They represent the maximum that could be made after weighing the needs of all theatres in which our forces are employed. Actually there has recently been an upward revision of the number of aircraft allocated to the South West Pacific over what had previously been considered possible. A very considerable increase has been made in number of transport planes.

In your message you point out the Japanese capability of massing 1,500 to 2,000 aircraft in the South West Pacific theatre. I feel the United Nations have even greater capabilities. Past experience has indicated the feasibility of the South-West Pacific and South Pacific Areas being mutually supporting in the use of their available aircraft. For some months past we have held the initiative. This forces the Japanese to meet our concentrations and reduces the likelihood of their being able to create sizable concentrations of their own. The strategical importance of the gallant battle the forces of our two countries are waging in the South West Pacific is fully appreciated by me and every effort will be made to provide the necessary aircraft. However, the necessity of balancing our resources throughout all theatres, in line with our strategy and limitations imposed by a shortage of shipping, prevents our allocating to any one theatre the total force we should like it to have. Roosevelt.

Ends.

DIXON

1 See Document 139, note 1.

2 The allocations provided for the dispatch of a further 715 aircraft to the South-West Pacific Area by 1 October. This would bring the Area's allocation to 144 heavy bombers, 171 medium bombers, 171 light bombers, 375 single-seat fighters, 50 multi- seat fighters, 84 Army cooperation aircraft, 234 transport aircraft and 48 photographic reconnaissance aircraft. No increase was made in the R.A.A.F.'s allocation, since it was considered it would be difficult enough for the R.A.A.F. to man the 45 squadrons already scheduled for development in 1943. See Dixon's cablegram S69 of 4 April on file AA:A3300, 258.

[DEFENCE: SPECIAL COLLECTION II, BUNDLE 5, STRATEGICAL POLICY-SWPA, FILE No. 4, 9/1943]