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Wednesday, 16 September 1942

Mr FORDE - Major-General Gordon Bennett submitted a report on his return from Malaya and it received the closest consideration of the Commander-in-Chief and the Chiefs of Staff. A booklet based on suggestions made by Major-General Gordon Bennett and others was prepared and made available for the troops. The transfer of Major-General Gordon Bennett from his present position to a position in New Guinea has not yet been considered because such a step has not been thought necessary. We ' have as Corps Commander in New Guinea one of the outstanding military officers of

Australia. The Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Land Forces, General Sir Thomas Blamey, has recently paid a special visit to Port Moresby to see for himself the conditions that obtain there. He has now returned to Australia and will be discussing the New Guinea campaign with the War Cabinet and the Advisory War Council in the next few days.

Mr.ROSEVEAR. - Will the Minister for the Army inform me how long General Sir Thomas Blainey was in New Guinea?

Mr FORDE -I cannot say. He visited New Guinea in order to confer with the commanding officers there. I am sure that he was in New Guinea long enough to discuss all questions relating to the strategy of the defence of New Guinea and Australia. He will report to the War Cabinet to-morrow.

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