371 Forde to Cranborne

Cablegram 330 CANBERRA, 12 December 1944

IMMEDIATE TOP SECRET

Your telegram No. 330 of 18th November. [1] Basing of British Pacific Fleet on Australia.

2. The Committee referred to in my Cablegram No. 269 of 16th October [2] has completed its main report [3], which has been considered by War Cabinet in relation to our other commitments and the decisions taken by the Government to place our war effort in a state of balance.

3. The Commonwealth Government has now approved of the recommendations made by the Committee subject to all Royal Navy requirements, whether supplies or services, being processed through the same departmental machinery as operates in the case of corresponding Australian Service projects and to subsequent recoupment by the United Kingdom Government of expenditure incurred in meeting these requirements.

4. Twenty copies of the Committee's report have been forwarded to the Deputy Secretary (Military) United Kingdom War Cabinet, but you will no doubt wish to have advance advice of the more important features of the report. These are therefore summarised in the succeeding paragraph.

5. (a) In terms of value the contribution from Australian resources, as recommended by the Committee, to the end of 1945 totals 22,150,000 (including 1,000,000 to cover errors in estimation and minor variations). This total is only approximate and is incomplete in that it includes many items such as the use of existing Service and civil facilities, the value of which cannot be estimated even roughly.

(b) No contribution of repair personnel can be made towards the requirement of 5,000 for new Royal Navy installations.

Note: You were advised in my Telegram No. 298 [4] that at June, 1945, there would be a deficiency of at least 1,700 repair personnel on Australian requirements alone and that there was little likelihood of this position being remedied. It is noted from paragraph 3 of your Cablegram No. 330 of 18th November that about 1,700 can be made available from the United Kingdom during the second half of 1945.

Admiral Daniel [5] has advised that these will be uniformed personnel and that they will be employed in a separate R.N. repair establishment and will not work in association with Australian civilian personnel.

(c) The estimated cost of total Royal Navy works requirements is 7,625,000. Urgent works projects totalling 3,843,000 can be undertaken. The extent to which further new construction will be necessary is dependent on what facilities can be released in time by the United States Forces and this will be considered again and further advice sent you when firm details of such releases are available. Materials are in short supply and it may be necessary to request you to supplement Australian supplies.

(d) Except for a few minor items that are not physically available in Australia, food requirements to end of 1945 to the value of 10,657,000 will be met.

(e) Stores that can be supplied include Medical 250,000; Dental 12,000; Naval Store Items 771,000; Clothing 250,000; and N.A.F.F.I. (non food) 410,000.

(f) Supply establishment personnel requirements are stated in your Telegram No. 301 of 30th October [6] to be 4,875 by mid 1945. Of these, approximately 3,600 including all clerical personnel can be provided, but difficulty will be experienced in meeting requirements in certain categories of industrial and marine labour. The balance of approximately 1,200 would need to be supplied from the United Kingdom in categories to be determined by Navy in consultation with our manpower authorities.

Note: It is confirmed, as requested in your Cablegram No. 330 of 18th November, that arrangements will be made to discharge, unpack and stow stores shipped or about to be shipped to Australia.

(g) Satisfactory arrangements can be made for required hospital accommodation.

(h) Machinery, plant and machine tools to an approximate value of 216,000 can be provided.

(j) Small marine craft can be provided to the value of 684,000, exclusive of engines, which would need to be provided by R.N. The possibility of giving further assistance is being examined.

(k) Vehicles and automotive equipment requirements to an approximate value of 870,000 can be met.

(l) Satisfactory arrangements can be made in regard to communications on the mainland.

6. In accordance with your earlier telegrams all urgent requirements for works and supply items have already been put in hand and on receipt of requisitions from the responsible Royal Navy authority in Australia action will be taken by the Departments concerned to process the balance of the fleet's requirements covered by the Committee's recommendations as being within Australia's capacity to provide.

FORDE

1 In AA:A3195, 1944, Folder, Inwards Most Secret and Top Secret Master Sheets, from Secdomin (largely D Series and Australian Series), May-December, 1.41188.

2 On file AA:A5954, box 590.

3 See Document 363, note 5.

4 Dispatched 9 November. On the file cited in note 2.

5 Vice-Admiral, Administration, British Pacific Fleet.

6 Cablegram 1.38749 in the folder cited in note 1.

[AA:A5954, BOX 592]