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To Greece

1 Australian Corps to go to Greece

1 Australian Corps to go to Greece

The Government in Australia had more detailed information than the Government of New Zealand. On 25 February Mr Menzies sent a cable to Mr Fadden, the acting Prime Minister, with a summary of the plan and the note that most people were in favour of it, the argument being that Wavell and Dill were ‘able and cautious’ men whose advice must be respected.5 Churchill had also said that if Japan attacked them ‘adequate naval reinforcements would at once be dispatched to Australian waters.’6 This was a statement which Menzies was inclined to discount. The risks were very apparent and a forced evacuation was quite possible, but his final opinion was that Australia should agree to the expedition.

The War Cabinet in Australia, though worried about the size of the expedition and the problem of supplies, eventually agreed that 6 and 7 Divisions should go to Greece. But it made one interesting proviso—its consent was ‘conditional on plans having been page 105 completed beforehand to ensure that evacuation, if necessitated, will be successfully undertaken and that shipping and other essential services will be available for this purpose if required.’1

6 Ibid.

1 See Documents, Vol. I, p. 243, note 1, cable of 28 February sent to the British Government, repeated to the New Zealand Government.