265 Churchill to Evatt

Cablegram 235 [1] LONDON, 26 August 1943, 7.50 p.m.

IMPORTANT MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL

Many thanks to you and W.S. [2] for your most kind messages which I have conveyed to all addressees. [3]

2. I asked Mr Curtin to show you my telegram to him about my liaison with General MacArthur [4] which I regard as important in view of my being drawn increasingly into the war against Japan.

There will be no difficulty from the Americans.

3. The following is the result of my lengthy discussions with the Secretary of State for Air.

Begins.

(a) We propose to send you the air echelons for two R.A.F.

squadrons of Spitfires. Forty aircraft will be despatched from the United Kingdom during November followed by seven aircraft per month as wastage from December 1943 onwards in addition to the fifteen per month already being despatched. Fifty pilots will be sent to arrive with the forty aircraft. Thereafter should you so wish we are prepared to send three pilots a month as replacement for each of the three British squadrons that is in Australia actively engaged in operations.

(b) I am sorry to say that acute shortage of manpower will prevent our sending ground personnel with these squadrons. I am told however that you are not likely to have great difficulty in providing them from your resources and it seems appropriate that just as your squadrons here are operated with R.A.F. ground personnel so these two British squadrons in Australia will have R.A.A.F. ground personnel.

Ends.

I hope this will be satisfactory to you.

1 Sent through the U.K. Dominions Office.

2 W. S. Robinson.

3 Not found. Evatt sent many messages of good wishes, congratulation and exhortation to members of what he termed the 'Old Timers' Club', an informal group of Australian, U.K. and U.S.

ministers and officials with whom he believed he had particularly close rapport. The group, which was first mentioned during Evatt's 1942 overseas mission, included J. A. Beasley, W. S. Robinson, A.

S. V. Smith, Churchill, Brendan Bracken and John D. Hickerson and Robert B. Stewart of the U.S. State Department. Copies of some of the messages have survived on official files, but others were probably conveyed verbally or through unofficial channels.

4 Document 264.

[FA:A3195, 1943, BOX, MOST SECRET INWARDS MASTER SHEETS FROM SECDO, 1.35719]