Department of the Army Files: Telegram

No. 1287
The War Shipping Administrator (Land) and the Director of the Division of Ship Requirements, War Shipping Administration (Bissell) to the Acting War Shipping Administrator (Conway)

Victory 233. To Conway from Land and Bissell reference your War 34607 of 19 July.1

Have discussed with British use of their ships in the Pacific. They are assuming substantial commitments there in connection with developments in military plans and will also assist with redeployment sailings. Following arrangements agreed.
In connection with separation of Australia, New Guinea, and N. E. I. from MacArthur’s Theater and placing of these areas under British military command2 M. W. T. have agreed to assume responsibility for retentions in British area as well as maintenance from U. S. and U. K. Estimate this will involve about 30 M. W. T. retentions and corresponding relief to MacArthur.
3 to 5 British divisions expected to take part in Pacific operations under MacArthur’s command replacing equivalent number of U. S. divisions.3 M. W. T. have agreed to provide all shipping required for organizational equipment and maintenance these forces. If U. S. Army undertakes supply responsibility, M. W. T. will put number of vessels required for support of British divisions into W. S. A. Pacific pool. British Army estimates total shipping required to support 5 divisions including retentions and long voyages would be 80 to 100 vessels employed for 3 months smaller number permanently employed thereafter.
In addition to commitments paras 2 and 3 M. W. T. is providing 100 military retentions in S. E. A. C.
M. W. T. has agreed to provide minimum of 25 sailings for ammo cargoes from E. T. O. to Pacific. Up to 20 can be provided in August thereby covering most or all of August requirements. Total of 25 may be increased sufficiently to cover most of September requirement as well.
We have agreed that provision British shipping for military purposes in Pacific as described above is more important than blowup of 18 Sam ships to carry troops and we expect to drop request for conversions.
If you have any comments or recommendations please cable soonest to Bissell London. Otherwise will assume you authorize Monroe to arrange for use of M. W. T. vessels on above basis for August loadings in U. K.
  1. Not printed.
  2. See document No. 1381, paragraph]13.
  3. See document No. 1284.