Cablegram 311  LONDON, 8 November 1944, 5 p.m.
Following from the Prime Minister for Mr. Curtin.
I wish to let you know what arrangements we have in mind for the
command, deployment and administration of the fleet which is being
sent to the Pacific in accordance with the decisions of the Quebec
Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser now Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern
fleet is being appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British Pacific
fleet. He hopes to arrive in Australia with some of his staff in
the near future to meet you and your Ministers and to discuss the
arrangements for the maintenance of his fleet. He will be letting
you know in due course the exact date of his arrival. After
discussions in Australia it is intended that he should proceed to
Pearl Harbour for talks with Admiral Nimitz under whose control
the fleet will operate.
It is our intention that the fleet should arrive in Australia
towards the end of December and should, to begin with, consist of.
2 fast Battleships
4 Fleet Carriers
6 Cruisers including a R.N.Z.N.
and a number of escorts. Its strength will be built up as rapidly
as possible and by July, 1945, the fleet should consist of.-
4 fast Battleships
6 Fleet Carriers
4 light Fleet Carriers
16 Cruisers, including 2 R.N.Z.N. and 1 R.C.N.
40 Fleet Destroyers and about 90 escorts including R.C.N. The
fleet will be supported by a fleet train of repair, maintenance
and supply ships under the command of a Rear Admiral.
In order to provide for the administrative requirements of the
fleet it is necessary that a Vice-Admiral, Administration, should
be stationed at Melbourne as the permanent representative in
Australia of the Commander-in-Chief, British Pacific fleet. In
this capacity, the Vice-Admiral would act on behalf of the
Commander-in-Chief and of the Admiralty with the Commonwealth
authorities. He and his staff would work in close association with
the Australian Commonwealth Navy Board and would make arrangements
with them for the fleet's requirements to be met, communicating
with the Commonwealth Government through the Minister of the Navy
when necessary. He would be the administrative authority for all
officers and men of the Royal Navy on shore in Australia and would
have under him a Flag Officer, naval air, and a Commodore in
charge of a Royal Naval depot (to be known as H.M.S. Golden Hind)
both of whom would be stationed in Sydney.
I should be happy to learn that the administrative arrangements
proposed accord with your views.