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Cablegram: Curtin/Roosevelt - In the Shadow of Leaves
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Cablegram: Curtin/Roosevelt
Telegram from Prime Minister Curtin to President Roosevelt

After the attack on Pearl Harbour (7/12/1942), Japanese forces swept swiftly down through Asia/South-East Asia. In February 1942, the Air Force (or perhaps the air arm of the Japanese Navy) bombed targets in northern Australia. The city which took the worst of this was Darwin. It suffered numerous raids over several months. This encrypted telegram was sent in this most fearful time. (From state archives of World War II papers.)
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SENT: 22 February 1942

The Australian Minister,
No 40. Most immediate. Most secret
Your 330. For President from Prime Minister

Dear Mr President,
It is heartening to us to have your message.
We have known always in any crisis of this nature that the
United States of America would stand with us in the way your
message so eloquently indicated.

     2. On our part and we hope without
presumption we too have pledged ourselves to the common cause,
and, as you know, our forces have fought in many distant
theatres with a gallantry the world has been good enough to

      3. We are now, with a small population in
the only white man's territory south of the equator, beset
grievously. Because we have added to our contribution in
manpower so much of our resources and materials, we now lack
adequacy for the forces of our homeland in the defence of
our own soil.

      4. You have indicated an appreciation of the
gravity of our responsibililties in reaching a decision on the
matter referred to in your message. It has affected us
profoundly. As we see the whole problem, our vital centres
are in immediate danger. This is the reason and the only
reason for the reply we have sent to Mr. Churchill, which we
now quote in full for your information.

(here follows cablegram to Dominion
Office -- No 136)


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