151 Curtin to Evatt

Letter CANBERRA, 1 April 1943

MOST SECRET

MISSION TO UNITED STATES AND UNITED KINGDOM

With further reference to my letter of 29th March [1] and Section 2 of the statement prepared for you [2], I desire to inform you that I am in receipt of most secret advice from General MacArthur that the following additional planes will be made available to the South-West Pacific Area:

524 combat type 336 non-combat type.

General MacArthur also stated that, in addition, two divisions of ground troops will be provided, but the whole of this assistance is conditional upon the availability of shipping. I have asked General MacArthur to advise whether we are correct in assuming that the above figures are additional to the 654 aircraft to be supplied to the R.A.A.F. by 31st December, 1943, under the 45 squadron plan. You might also clear this point for yourself, in Brisbane.

2. General MacArthur has suggested that you should aim at obtaining aircraft to the R.A.A.F. programme of 72 squadrons.

This, as you are aware, was cut down to the provision of 45 squadrons by the end of 1943. General MacArthur suggests that the aircraft for the further expansion of the R.A.A.F. should come from the allotment made to the United Kingdom from the United States, and he urges that you should press this point of view with Mr. Churchill, while at the same time unceasingly reiterating the general argument that has been put forward by the Australian Government and the Commander-in-Chief.

3. General MacArthur has stated that he will be glad to go over the situation with you while you are in Brisbane, and adds that he expects Lieutenant-General Kenney and Major-General Sutherland to be back in Brisbane next week. [3]

JOHN CURTIN

1 On file AA:MP1217, box 474, visit abroad of Dr H. V. Evatt . . .

1943.

2 On the file cited in note 1. Section 2 dealt with earlier representations for the allocation of additional aircraft to the South-West Pacific Area and included copies of the cablegrams published as Documents 105, 139 and 143.

3 See Document 138, note 3.

[AA:MP1217, BOX 474, VISIT ABROAD OF DR H. V. EVATT . . . 1943]