Chifley to MacArthur

Message CAB302 CANBERRA, 31 August 1945


I thank you for your message CX.10599 of 28th August [1], embodying copy of General Headquarters General Orders No. 41, from which it is noted that, as from 1200 hours, 2nd September, 1945, the Southwest Pacific Command will be dissolved, and the portion of the Southwest Pacific Area defined in the Order will be transferred to British and Australian Command.

2. The Government has approved that the control of the combat sections of the Australian Defence Forces, which was assigned to you as Commander-in-Chief, Southwest Pacific Area, on 18th April, 1942, shall revert, as from 2nd September, to the authorities in whom it was vested before that date, namely:-

Royal Australian Navy - Naval Board.

Australian Military Forces - Commander-in-Chief, Australian Military Forces.

Royal Australian Air Force - Air Board.

3. It is noted from paragraph 1 (a) of General Orders No. 41 that Admiralty Islands, which are part of the Australian Mandate, remain outside the area to be transferred to British Commonwealth Control and will be under United States control. You will be aware from my letters of 14th June [2] and 27th July [3], communicating the Government’s views on the Australian war effort and the future set-up in the Southwest Pacific Area, that it is the desire of the Government that control of Australian Mandated Territories should revert to it upon the dissolution of the Southwest Pacific [Area].

The Commonwealth Government assumes that this arrangement is for purely military purposes, will be strictly limited in duration, and is without prejudice to our ultimate arrangements for the establishment of civil control. [4]


1 On file AA : A6494 T1, SPTS/1/3.

2 In AA : A5954, box 2313. This letter confirmed cablegrams exchanged between Chifley and MacArthur on 18 and 20 May (published as Documents 88, 89 and 90), and drew attention to matters covered in Document 97.

3 In the file cited in note 2. It included a paraphrase of Document 138.

4 MacArthur replied in Message BXC131, dispatched 6 September, that the Australian Govt’s position regarding Mandated Territories had been transmitted to Washington where, it was assumed, it would be handled on the highest level. In AA : A5954, box 569.


[AA : A6494 T1, SPTS/1/3]