159 Evatt to Hodgson

Cablegram E11 WASHINGTON, 19 April 1943, 4.30 a.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET & PERSONAL TO HODGSON FOR CURTIN,

As instructed I am concentrating on the objective of additional squadrons for the R.A.A.F. [1] The opposition to this has come and will come from several quarters but I am pursuing the lines that should be fruitful. I have already told you that the President's general approach was more sympathetic to the Pacific activities.

[2] I think the same remark applies to the United States Chiefs of Staff with all of whom I have had lengthy conferences. While there is some criticism of public statements from Australia the net effect will be to the good.

The British Mission here is temporarily out of the picture owing to severe illness of Dill. The President will not return to Washington until late in the month. His present health seems unsatisfactory.

Any increase in Australian squadrons will require additional allocations of aircraft and an absolute assurance to me from the Prime Minister and MacArthur that the Australian organisation will permit of manning squadrons if programme of expansion is accepted.

This assurance I propose to give at the right moment.

I do not wish to overstate the prospect of success because it is tremendously difficult to revise decisions made and formerly [sic] communicated by the President. It will take time to succeed particularly as Churchill's endorsement is necessary and can hardly be obtained before I see him. I am also taking up the question of shipping in relation to the two extra divisions.

EVATT

1 See Document 151.

2 See Document 156.

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