307 Churchill to Curtin

Cablegram 313 [1] LONDON, 21 October 1943, 11.55 a.m.

SECRET AND PERSONAL IMMEDIATE

Your telegram No. 240, 14th September. [2]

Since Attlee's telegram of 8th September D.633 [3] as to projected meeting of Prime Ministers in November, I have as you know had to arrange for the meeting with Roosevelt and Stalin, which makes the November date impracticable for me. December would however be convenient and Smuts, who has to be back for the opening of his new Parliament early in January, has agreed to stay on here to be available for a meeting in December. I propose therefore that we should try to arrange for a meeting to begin on the 7th December and am telegraphing Mackenzie King and Fraser. As I said in the House recently, we have now been hoping for over two years to bring about a meeting of Prime Ministers. I feel that we have reached a stage at which it is essential that there should be a full discussion between the Heads of Empire Governments on question of immediate and more distant future. All manner of issues are coming up for decision which vitally affect the members of the British Commonwealth as well as their relations to the outside world in the post war set up, and the most practicable way of reaching agreement among all concerned is to get round a table together.

I do not underrate the difficulties which you set out in your telegram and understand the grounds on which you would prefer the meeting to be deferred until April. I trust, however, that what I have said above may convince you as to the need for a meeting at the earliest possible date and that you will be able to make it possible to come in December if the others are also able to do so.

1 Sent through the U.K. Dominions Office.

2 Document 277.

3 Document 275.

4 i.e. the Tehran Conference.

[FA:A3195, 1943, BOX, MOST SECRET INWARDS MASTER SHEET FROM SECDO, 1.43146]