163 Evatt to Hodgson

Cablegram E21 WASHINGTON, 22 April 1943, 3 a.m.

IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET HODGSON FOR SIR KEITH MURDOCH [1] ALONE

1. I am somewhat concerned at reported Melbourne Sun leading article endorsing the view of Elmer Davis regarding Australia's peril and paper's comment thereon. [2] I have never referred to Australia's peril in an exaggerated way and I cannot help wondering whether this has been made clear. I have tried my utmost to keep this matter on the rails and present the case in a judicial manner. Official quarters are satisfied that this has been done. I am sure that you will take care to understand my difficulties and not allow any one to increase them. Indeed the advice of Heymanson [3] here has been most helpful.

2. Regarding Wendell Willkie [4], as you know from Heymanson I am confident that the League's objective is attained. This is not an easy matter because Wendell Willkie does not wish to receive official rebuke, therefore prefers a waiting game. [5]

The President is away and will not be back for some little time. I am sure you will agree that it will be happier for all concerned if the matter can be arranged by me without the possibility of recrimination. Please tell me your views.

3. Both messages are personal to yourself. Best wishes. [6]

EVATT

1 Chairman of Directors of Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, which published the Melbourne Sun.

2 See the Sun, 20 April 1943, p. 4. The article read in part: 'It is to be hoped that remarks by Mr. Elmer Davis, Director of the United States Office of War Information, regarding "exaggerated stories that come from the South-West Pacific" will not fail of effect in the quarters to which they were directed. While making the welcome announcement that this area will receive more planes, Mr. Davis bluntly suggested that nothing is gained by clamour and public questioning of overall strategy, and pointed out that "Appeals from Allied leaders for air reinforcement of the Australian area have lost a good deal of effect through overstatement".

The plain fact is that the legitimate needs of the Pacific area are in danger of being obscured through woeful mishandling of a perfectly good case. Inexperience, a parochial outlook upon global strategy and an inability to realise that highly-trained administrators and service chiefs are not impressed by methods of the tub-thumper have all contributed to this. Both Washington and London have been irritated by the nagging tactics pursued by Canberra.' 3 S. R. Heymanson, Editor, Australian Newspapers Service, New York.

4 Republican candidate at the 1940 U.S. presidential election.

5 This sentence may refer to the possibility of a goodwill visit to Australia by Willkie.

6 Murdoch replied on 29 April: 'Bad impression created here by Brisbane-Canberra statements scoldings [sic] particularly Prime Minister's analysis of past Pacific campaigns. In my opinion damage has been done by long series of Brisbane overstatements and by wrongful protections of Censorship ... Your statements thus far well reported and well received but some [of] your colleagues making position difficult.' See cablegram PW65 on file AA:A4764.

[AA:A4764, 4]