20 MARCH 1942, Page 1

Mr. Curtin's Appeal to America

The broadcast to " the people of America" by Mr. Curtin, the Australian Prime Minister, was a spirited statement of the Position in which Australia finds herself on the eve of Japanese invasion, and of the reasons why she looks to the United States as " the paramount factor on the democracies' side in the Pacific." This is a sensible and, indeed, the only realistic view of the Immediate means of defeating Japanese aggression. The people of Great Britain will at once agree that his statement is " no belittling of the old country." It is just because Mr. Curtin realises our preoccupations and commitments in defending Britain, pursuing the battle of the Atlantic, helping Russia, and, it should be added, fighting in Libya and in Burma, and holding the Middle East, that he knows that it is impossible for us at this stage to provide the means of defeating Japan in the Pacific. Indeed, from the first moment when Japan, a fully pre- pared, highly equipped first-class Power, entered the war, it became obvious that, apart from what Australia and the Nether- lands East Indies themselves could do, the principal part in the struggle against Japan in the Pacific must be taken by the United States, which had not the same immense military preoccupations as Great Britain. Australia rightly looks to America for the powerful support which she needs immediately. British forces cannot at this stage play the major part in the Pacific, being stretched to the full in other zones. That is why Australia has asked that the Pacific War Council should be located at Washington—a request which is perfectly intelligible. The appointment of General MacArthur, the brilliant defender of the Bataan peninsula in the Philippines, to the supreme command of the Allied forces east of Singapore is a recognition not only of his great abilities, but also of the paramount importance of the coming American effort in the Pacific Ocean.