162 Note by Shedden of Conversation with Grigg

Extract [LONDON, 22(?) May 1944] [1]

In regard to the British effort in the Pacific, Grigg said that all the Chiefs of Staff favoured a decision basing the U.K. Forces on Australia. Grigg also favoured it. He said that the U.K. Govt.

had been so busy selling out the administration of India to the Indians, it would be impossible to base large forces on India.

They could not handle the problems involved.

Mr Churchill though pressed to reach a decision had not done so &

all planning was, in consequence, held up.

It might be that Overlord [2] was such an anxiety that he could not reach a clear judgment in the matter. Also the South East Asia command & Mountbatten's appointment had been his particular fancy.

There was no doubt that he was anxious to make a show in this area, and was reluctant to face the fact that it might have to be by-passed in the general Pacific strategy. U.K. opinion was disturbed at the thought of receiving back Burma & Malaya as a result of action by the U.S. Forces. Finally there was no doubt that the action by the Australian Govt. in refusing to divert the A.I.F. to Burma still rankles with Mr Churchill. I pointed out to Sir James Grigg what would have happened to the East coast of Australia, if the A.I.F. had not returned & he quite agreed with our decision & the views submitted by me.

[matter omitted]

1 Shedden was in London for the Prime Ministers' meeting which opened on 1 May. He departed London on 29 May. This conversation probably took place on 22 May, when he lunched with Grigg. See Shedden's list of engagements in London on file AA:A5954, box 645.

2 Code name for the Allied liberation of north-west Europe.

[AA:A5954, BOX 16]