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Memorandum for the Honorable Sir Owen Dixon
September 9, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Mr. Minister:
I think in our personal conversation the other day I covered most of the points raised in the memorandum of August 28th which you handed me at that time.1 However to confirm what I said to you orally I submit the following.
With relation to the Spitfire squadrons, the Combined Chiefs of Staff in considering all-over strategic requirements arrived at a total of 30 squadrons for the R.A.A.F. in addition to the U.S. Army commitments in that theater. The three Spitfire squadrons were considered as part of the 30. There was no intention of vitiating the Prime Minister’s commitment regarding these three squadrons. It might have been better if we had said 27 new squadrons and the 3 Spitfire squadrons.
With regard to your second point, that of manning U.S. aircraft units now in Australia by R.A.A.F. personnel, as I told you, that proposal was based entirely on the proposition that we wished to avoid any implication of seeming to dictate to the Australian Government the size of their Air Force. However, as we could not provide planes beyond the 27 squadrons—plus the Spitfires indicated—the only method of making possible the increase in the number of squadrons proposed by the Australian Government was to reduce the number of U.S. units by turning over the planes and equipment to Australian troops.
The third matter, concerning transport squadrons, is still under consideration. Any adjustments of available transport aircraft should be arranged through direct discussion with General MacArthur. Additional transport aircraft will not be available prior to April, 1943.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Dixon, the Australian minister at Washington since mid-June 1942, was on leave from his position as a justice of the High Court of Australia. He had visited Marshall in his office on August 31 and had presented a “Memorandum Concerning Allocation of Aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force” dated August 28. The document protested the “small number” of aircraft allocated by the Combined Chiefs of Staff to Australia. It also expressed dissatisfaction with the inclusion of three squadrons of British Spitfires, which Prime Minister Churchill had previously promised under a separate arrangement, in the thirty squadrons allocated. Furthermore, the Australian government believed that the suggestion that certain aircraft currently manned by United States forces in Australia be turned over to the R.A.A.F. and the personnel withdrawn “would not contribute to the air strength in the area” and “would create a bad impression.” Finally, the reinforcement plans made no provision for maintaining Australia’s air transport squadrons. (This memorandum, its attachments, and associated documents are in NA/RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 2, Item 1i].)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 352-353.