84 Churchill to Curtin

Cablegram Winch 30 LONDON, 2 December 1942, 3.45 a.m.


Received 2 December 1942

Your Johcu 47. [1]

1. I and my professional advisers are very sorry that you Continue to press for the move of the 9th Australian Division which we do not consider is in accordance with the general strategic interests of the United Nations.

2. Nevertheless, in accordance with your wishes, I shall recommend to the President that the 9th Australian Division returns to Australia as soon as shipping can be provided. This will probably be early in the New Year. I may say that it will involve a loss to us in personnel shipping-lift of 10,000 men in the W.S. convoys [2] and 20,000 in the Trans-Atlantic build-up for the invasion of the Continent.

3. Reference your paragraph 8, we very much regret that we cannot arrange for the equipment of your division to be returned to Australia. We could not face the cost to our offensive operations of the cargo and motor transport shipping necessary for this movement.

4. You will like to know that in response to an urgent request by the Americans for naval help in the Pacific we are proposing to offer them the two modern armoured aircraft carriers VICTORIOUS and INDOMITABLE [3] under the command of a British Admiral for service under American orders in the Pacific. These are among the most vital units we possess. We have only four of this class. We are asking for RANGER from the Atlantic in exchange. I hope this movement will provide an additional and important re-insurance for the safety of Australia.

1 Document 83.

2 Code name for convoys travelling down the West Coast of Africa.

3 Churchill advised on 6 December that Indomitable should read Illustrious. See cablegram Winch 31 on file AA:A4763.