99 Garnett to Strahan

Letter CANBERRA, 20 February 1946

SECRET

With reference to the letter from this office of even date regarding defence science research and development I am directed by the Acting High Commissioner [1] to say that the United Kingdom authorities have had under consideration the question of the location of testing and research facilities for the full scale development and testing of guided and propelled missiles and projectiles (see paragraph 3(i) of the letter under reference).

2. In the view of the United Kingdom authorities the need for a large area in which trials with guided weapons can be carried out is becoming increasingly apparent. The ideal requirements are that the area should be:-

(a) in size approximately 1,000 miles long by about 200 miles in width at the target end.

(b) well protected from a security point of view.

(c) easily accessible by road and rail to the firing point.

(d) easily surveyed for observation of fall of shot and recovery.

(e) be situated in a district with a suitable climate all the year round without an extremely low temperature.

(f) be within reach of an industrial background capable of manufacturing the various components under good security conditions.

(g) be within reach of facilities for a permanent research organisation.

3. Suggestions have been received that a suitable site and facilities might be made available in Australia. The United Kingdom authorities suggest that in the first instance it might be well if a Mission could be sent from the United Kingdom to Australia to discuss the above requirements and what arrangements might be made between the authorities concerned in the United Kingdom and Australia.

4. For this purpose the United Kingdom authorities would like to send a small Mission to Australia as soon as can conveniently be arranged and in any case in time if possible for a report to be made to the responsible authorities before the informal Conference on Defence Science which will probably be held from the 3rd to the 17th June.

5. The Acting High Commissioner has been asked to ascertain whether the Commonwealth authorities would be prepared to receive a Mission on the lines proposed.

W. GARNETT

1 W. C. Hankinson.

[AA:A461, K337/1/11, i]