257 Churchill to Curtin

Cablegram 219 [1] LONDON, 16 August 1943, 11.02 a.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL

Your numbers 208 and 209. [2]

I cannot give my sanction to the partial publication of most secret and personal telegrams interchanged with Dominion Governments about the conduct of the war. Such a practice would render impossible the full and free transmission of opinion between the mother country and the Dominions. If anything said in these secret messages is liable to be brought out at elections the whole character of our correspondence would be affected.

2. I suggest therefore that you confine your reply to the first three paragraphs of your number 209 and refuse to follow Mr.

Fadden's bad example. You would surely gain respect and sympathy by declaring yourself precluded by your undertaking to His Majesty's Government from quoting or discussing the most secret correspondence to which Mr. Fadden has so improperly referred. [3]

3. This action is all the more necessary because once publication starts the full correspondence may be dragged out. The first paragraph of my 608 of 31st August, 1941 [4], affects the United States and might give grave offence there. The President would also consider that a breach of confidence had been committed. My relations with him might be prejudicially affected and serious injury done to the common cause.

1 Sent through the U.K. Dominions Office.

2 Documents 255-6.

3 Curtin made a public statement on 18 August stating that, in compliance with Churchill's wishes, he was precluded from quoting or discussing secret and personal correspondence exchanged with Dominion Govts on the conduct of the war (see Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August, p. 9). Curtin dispatched a copy of his statement to Churchill the same day (see cablegram 217 in FA:A3196, 1943, folder, outwards Most Secret master sheets, 0.22567).

4 Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. V, Document 54.

[FA:A3195, 1943, BOX, MOST SECRET INWARDS MASTER SHEETS FROM SECDO, 1.34170]