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17 Curtin to Bruce

Cablegram 7268 CANBERRA, 7 August 1942


1. Your cables 121[A] 122[A] and 123[A] [1] give two instances of the difficulties on the working out of Australian representation in the War Cabinet viz.

(i) Churchill's remark on the desire of the United Kingdom Government to sit alone in view of the impending arrival of the Indian Representative and Nash's presence, and (ii) the likelihood that you would be kept in the dark regarding the discussions with the American Representatives which apparently did not eventuate according to your cable 111[A]. [2] I therefore find it somewhat difficult to understand exactly what is meant by your statement that

'The major question of implementation of the arrangement with regard to our representation in the War Cabinet remains unsettled'.

2. From the Government's angle the position is briefly as follows- (a) In cable 68 [3] we asked that the Accredited Representative of the Australian Government should have the right to be heard in the War Cabinet in the formulation and direction of policy by War Cabinet.

(b) This was conceded in D.O. No. 93. [4]

(c) In No. 81 [5] we said that our request in cable No. 68 implied and meant full membership of the U.K. War Cabinet with all rights and privileges unless and until an Imperial War Cabinet is constituted. We were not conceded right of full membership because of certain constitutional points as to which we said that any views as to practice or procedure could be settled as we went along adding that there should be no problems which could not be got over with goodwill. [6]

3. I have no instructions for you other than to say that unless and until the principle in 2(a) is disregarded the Government cannot intervene. I would express agreement with your general desire to work out mutually satisfactory arrangements. I have every confidence that you will be able to do so in a manner that will preserve the good relations between the United Kingdom and Australian Governments and above all my own personal friendly relations with Churchill which my Cabinet regard as of crucial importance to our joint effort.


1 Documents 14-16.

2 Document 9.

3 Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. V, Document 289.

4 Dispatched 22 January. In AA:A2680, 14/1942.

5 Dispatched 27 January. In PRO: PREM 4/43A/14.

6 See Document 16 and note 10 thereto.

[AA:M100, AUGUST 1942]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History