MacArthur to Chifley


MANILA], 20 May 1945


Reference your CAB.210. [1]

The Borneo Campaign in all its phases has been ordered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff who are charged by the Combined Chiefs of Staff with the responsibility for strategy in the Pacific. I am responsible for execution of their directives employing such troops as have been made available to me by the Governments participating in the Allied Agreement. Pursuant to the directive of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and under authority vested in me as Supreme Commander, Southwest Pacific Area, I have ordered the 7th Division to proceed to a forward concentration area and, on a specific date, to execute one phase of the Borneo Campaign.

Australian authorities have been kept fully advised of my operational plans. The concentration is in progress and it is not now possible to substitute another Division and execute the operation as scheduled. The attack will be made as projected unless the Australian Government withdraws the 7th Division from assignment to the Southwest Pacific Area. I am loath to believe that your Government contemplates such action at this time when the preliminary phases of the operation have been initiated and when withdrawal would disorganize completely not only the immediate campaign but also the strategic plan of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If the Australian Government, however, does contemplate action along this line, I request that I be informed immediately in order that I may be able to make the necessary representations to Washington and London. With reference to General Blarney’s fears regarding additional garrison commitments, I have been informed that the Australian Government has agreed to undertake to equip and train a number of Dutch Battalions. I had anticipated that those elements when available would garrison Dutch Territory.

There are no specific plans so far as I know for employment of Australian troops after the Borneo Campaign. The subject of operations in the Pacific is now under intense consideration in Washington and London. I do not know whether Australian troops are contemplated for use to the north. Consideration is being given by the Combined Chiefs of Staff to a proposal to turn over to Great Britain full responsibility for that part of the Southwest Pacific Area which lies south of the Philippines. In that event undoubtedly all Australian formations would come under British Command for ensuing operations to the south. Your manpower problems are appreciated in this.


1 Document 88.


[AA : A5954, BOX 2313]