Churchill to Chifley

Cablegram 260 LONDON, 26 July 1945, 1.45 p.m.


1. Your telegram No. 197 [1] reached me here [2] just as the Combined Chiefs of Staff had agreed in principle that a Commonwealth Land Force and assault shipping and if possible a small tactical air force should take part in the main operations against Japan subject to the satisfactory resolution of operational and other problems. They had also agreed that in order to resolve these problems appropriate British Commanders and staff should visit Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur and draw up with them a plan for submission to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

2. We have all had in mind the practical difficulties to which you refer. We hope, however, that the appointed British Commanders in consultation with General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz will be able to formulate a practical and acceptable plan. The United States Chiefs of Staff are anxious that the British Commanders should reach General MacArthur at a very early date. The Chiefs of Staff will proceed with the appointment of Force Commanders as early as possible and in order that Australia’s views may be fully represented at the consultations with General MacArthur I suggest that you should appoint an Australian Officer to join the British Commanders at General MacArthur’s Headquarters. This Officer would then be able to return to Australia to explain in full detail all the arrangements proposed. I hope and believe that you will then find it possible to join with us in this enterprise. The time and details of the visit of the British Commanders will of course be notified to you as soon as possible.

3. I have noted the various problems and difficulties which would in your view arise from the organisation of command suggested in my telegram No. 219 [3] and I fully accept that the Australian Government must be the sole arbiter of the extent of their own war effort and allocation of manpower and material resources. I believe, however, that a satisfactory solution of the command arrangement and a proper distribution of effort in the present South-West Pacific Area and in South-East Asia Command could be achieved by consultation between us.

4. Admiral Mountbatten is due to visit us in London in the near future and will undertake discussions with the Chiefs of Staff on future operations in South-East Asia Command and on the possible extensions of his Command. I suggest that it would be most helpful if you could appoint a Representative to take part in these discussions, represent your views and keep you fully informed. No final decision will of course, be taken without your concurrence.

5. I agree that we are under obligation to bring the Dutch Government into this question and I suggest the proper course would be to approach them when we have reached agreement.

6. I have not received the answer from the New Zealand Government.

7. I therefore propose- (A) That you should appoint an Australian Officer to be ready to meet British Force Commanders for discussions at General MacArthur’s Headquarters.

(B) That you should appoint a Representative to take part in London in discussions with the Chiefs of Staff and Admiral Mountbatten on the question of the re-organisation of the South- West Pacific Area. These discussions should start on about 1st August.


1 Document 138.

2 This cablegram was dispatched through the Dominions Office in London, but was headed ‘From the Prime Minister at Berlin’. On 25 July Churchill left Potsdam for London where the results of the general election were to be announced the following day.

3 Document 126.


[AA : A3195, 1945, FOLDER, MOST SECRET, INWARDS FROM SECRETARY OF STATE, D1157-3/7/45 to D2033-2/11/45, I.24173/172]