197 Beavis to Shedden

Teleprinter Message LM577 [MELBOURNE], 30 May 1947 Received 30 May 1947


General Evetts called to see me yesterday. He has had several demi-official letters from officers of Guided Weapons Staff in Ministry of Supply which indicate a probable deceleration of the existing programme of tests which Evetts had received officially from the Ministry of Supply. A copy of the programme was given by him to you and me at the conference in his flat. This demi- official information coincides with that in Lieut.-General Sturdee's signal [1] so I showed Evetts a copy. The information in these demi-official messages is not in line with requests in recent cables on the highest levels and the programme of tests previously received. The question is whether the setting up of facilities should continue at the planned rate. Evetts presumes that the Policy proposals will not be changed due to possible slowing up of availability of prototypes for tests and asked me to communicate with you. I expressed the view in agreement with Evetts that the present programme of action should not be varied pending official notification of change in the instructions received, except that commitments for major items of equipment likely to be affected, e.g. transport aircraft, should not be made until the visit of Mr. Gardner, Ministry of Supply, in July, or until the position is clear.

2. As you had passed to Evetts a copy of Cable Noma to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and in view of its relationship to the demi-official messages, I showed Evetts a copy of Cable No.102 from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom which he was very pleased to see, particularly in view of the policy of accelerating the programme as far as possible. It is clear, however, that the best possible estimates of the times when facilities are required for testing the various types of equipment should be furnished by the Ministry of Supply so that the provision of facilities can proceed efficiently and economically. Apparently progress in development is slower than previously anticipated.

3. Would you please advise whether a copy of Cable No.102 may be passed to Evetts. [2]

Message ends.

1 On 26 May Sturdee had reported his impression of a divergence of views between Britain and Australia on the rate of development of the testing program, and that little other than high attitude bombing would be tested on the range for a considerable period.

2 Shedden, who was in Canberra, sent Evetts a copy of cablegram 102 and agreed that the program should not be varied.

[AA : A5954/1, 1910/2]