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184 Curtin to Evatt

Cablegram SW22 CANBERRA, 10 May 1943


For your guidance in thinking about the European problem in the highest consultations which the presence of certain leaders in Washington [1] makes possible, I give you a summary of my views:


1. The vital immediate policy must be directed towards any agreement between Germany and Russia. This makes necessary the directing of diplomacy towards building up the greatest goodwill and friendliness between Russia and Great Britain and, notwithstanding the difficulties, America as well.

2. A solution of the Russian-Polish dispute is vital to No. 1.

3. The basis should be capitalising the twenty year Russian-U.K.

alliance and not allowing the Polish incident to undo or undermine the alliance.

4. The three great powers on our side must accept responsibility for winning the war and winning the peace. Unless this is done the smaller powers in Europe will regard the future as a hopeless conflict in which if Germany wins they will be submerged by Nazism or if Germany loses they will be overwhelmed by Bolshevism. The result of this would be either a prolonged war or a negative peace, more likely the former, thus exposing Australia in view of our global strategy to total exhaustion in the Pacific war.

5. Russia is still the key to the complete defeat of Germany.

Should Russia negotiate a compromise peace with Germany, the fire and homogeneity of the United Nations for war to a finish against Germany and Japan would die out. In Australia our internal strength would be dissipated in internecine disputation.

6. Therefore, a gesture on the part of Australia in the Russian- Polish dispute in the absence of action by the U.K. and the U.S.A.

appeared to me not only sound and proper but would also increase our status and influence. I feel that in the face of the Russian- Japanese pact that Australia now at war with Japan must keep Russia solid in the European war otherwise Japan need never fear Russia which is a present restraint upon her and while the fear persists lessens the strength the Japanese can project in her southern perimeter. [2]

1 Churchill and Roosevelt.

2 This cablegram was repeated to Bruce as no. SL9 (on file AA:A989, 43-44/715/5/2/2), with the preface: 'Your telegrams about Poland, which I have carefully examined, are best dealt with by saying that I knew that somebody had slipped through your fingers and that it would be appropriate to wait on discussions which I appreciated were to take place in Washington.'

[AA:A989, 43-44/715/5/2/2]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History