163 Beasley to Shedden

Letter LONDON, 2 April 1946


No doubt you have seen the correspondence between London and Canberra on the United Kingdom Mission on Guided Missiles and are fully aware of the scope and intention behind General Evetts' Mission. The party is going out as a result of the instructions given to Coulson after the discussion by the Defence Committee when he was in Australia last year. On his return to this country he put our views, as recorded in your letter to Brodribb [1] of November 9th, before the appropriate people here and they have now accepted our assurances that Australia is both capable and willing to provide the facilities geographically and industrially required for the furtherance of their developmental work on long range guided missiles and pilotless aircraft.

As a result of their acceptance of our assurances the U.K. are sending a team, led by Lt.-General Evetts and consisting of Wing Commander Harman, Royal Air Force, Messrs. Coles, Yarrow and Clemmow from the Ministry of Supply and Mr. Calpine from the Admiralty, to confirm what we here in London have so strongly advocated, that is, that we have in Australia most of the things they need. The Mission is going in a most receptive frame of mind, they are, in fact, sold on the idea before leaving London, but it is necessary, as we have so often insisted, that the U.K.

authorities verify for themselves that Australia has all that we have said she has.

In a cablegram despatched to you to-day, I have outlined their movement from the U.K. to Australia and have told you, as you were probably already aware, that I have suggested that the Prime Minister should see General Evetts immediately he arrives and discuss with him the terms and scope of his instructions. I have not yet heard whether the Prime Minister has agreed to this suggestion but very much hope that he sees Evetts, as I feel that this Mission is of such tremendous importance to Australia that it is worthy of the most cordial and friendly reception at the highest level.

There is little doubt that the Mission on its return will furnish a Report which will recommend the U.K. authorities to transfer to Australia the whole of the developmental work on long range guided missiles. This project is so large in scope and covers such a wide range of associated problems that it virtually means the transference to Australia of a not inconsiderable part of the Armament Research Organisation of this country, together with considerable numbers of research workers and the establishment in Australia of numerous small but extremely important undertakings for the supply of the materials required for the construction, guiding and propulsion of the weapons. Some of this is already in the country and merely needs amplification and extension, but quite a bit of it is unknown in Australia and means the establishment of new industries. It is not clear yet how much of this will be the province of private industry, but whether developed in Government owned or controlled factories or in annexes to established private business, it will undoubtedly be an extremely important development in the industrial life of our country. Later it is envisaged that Australia will become the supply source for the whole Empire, which illustrates the importance which the U.K. Government are attaching to both the Mission and the project.

A detailed itinerary is not possible until after the Mission has reached Australia and discussed plans with you, but in general they would like to visit the proposed site as early as possible so that they can confirm that the geographical requirements are available. After that there will be discussions with the various Service Chiefs, Supply and Research Organisations, particularly at Maribyrnong, the Radio-Physics Laboratories of C.S.I.R. in Sydney, and the Aeronautical Research Laboratories at Fishermans Bend, and a look at armament, electrical and chemical industry.

I believe this Mission to be of such importance that no effort should be spared to have available all the people they would like to interview and to provide them with every possible facility for rapid transport. You will recall that at the Meeting held at Victoria Barracks on the 16th October, Air Vice Marshal Jones, on behalf of the R.A.A.F. promised full support from his organisation in providing facilities for air transport should a Mission such as the one now led by General Evetts visit Australia. I would strongly urge that you do your best to keep them up to this as the Mission is very limited for time and it is important that they make a thorough aerial survey of the area proposed for the Range.

I had hoped that the Mission would have visited Australia whilst you yourself were available to look after them and see they had everything they wanted. This, of course, is not to be, as you will be leaving Australia soon after the Mission arrives.

I have said enough to convince you of my own views on the importance of this matter and will finish by urging that you strongly impress upon whoever you are leaving to look after the Mission that they must be taken care of in every possible way. I have assured them here in London that Australia will offer them every facility to see everything and everyone and I depend on you not to let me down in this.

I am looking forward to seeing you here in London in a very short time from now and sincerely hope that you have a pleasant trip and happy landings.

1 N. K. S. Brodribb, Controller-General of Munitions Supply.

[AA:A5954, BOX 1910]