379 Churchill to Curtin

Cablegram 357 [1] LONDON, 19 December 1944, 12.42 a.m.

TOP SECRET AND PERSONAL

Following from the Prime Minister for Mr. Curtin.

In Dominions Office telegram No- 311 of 8th November [2] to the Australian Government, I informed you of the projected arrangements for the command and deployment of the British Pacific Fleet. I mentioned our intention that the fleet should arrive in Australian waters towards the end of December.

Although one battleship, two cruisers and a flotilla of destroyers will arrive in Sydney at the end of the year, it has now been approved, at the special request of Admiral Nimitz that the main carrier force should attack the Sumatran Oil Refineries before proceeding to Australia.

Also, General MacArthur has asked that the fleet should carry out diversionary operations during two periods in December.

These happenings will delay the arrival of the main body of the fleet in Australia by two or three weeks. Although we are reluctant to accept any such delay, these operations, requested by the two American Supreme Commanders, have been approved in the interests of furthering the close co-operation which is so essential to the later employment of the fleet.

SHEETS, FROM SECDOMIN (LARGELY D SERIES AND AUSTRALIAN SERIES), MAY-DECEMBER, 1.45051]

1 Sent through the U.K. Dominions Secretary.

2 Document 340.

[AA:A3195, 1944, FOLDER, INWARDS MOST SECRET AND TOP SECRET MASTER