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Thursday, 17 September 1942

Mr RANKIN (BENDIGO, VICTORIA) - Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the following statement by the Archbishop of Brisbane, the Most Reverend J. W. C. Wand, D.D.:-

It has been affirmed in the press (so far without contradiction ) that the British Government was fully alive to the impossibility of holding that, island once the Japanese had made obvious their capacity to advance upon it down the Malayan Peninsula, and they were anxious to evacuate the troops while they were still certain of being able to get the vast bulk of them away in safety. ri hey only altered their decision, and ordered the troops to remain al their post, in deference to the desperate wish of Canberra to make an effort to maintain Singapore whatever the decision might cost. [ ask the Prime Minister whether that statement is correct? If it is, why has not the Government been generous enough to accept its share of the blame, instead of leaving the British Government to bear the whole of the blame? If the statement is not correct, why has not the Government denied it?

Mr CURTIN - I have not read the statement by the Archbishop of Brisbane ; and I have not even read any reference to the book. I do not regard the Archbishop as a qualified military authority, and I see no reason to engage in controversies as the result of what anybody may write. The relationships between ibis Goverment and allied governments depend upon what they say to one another, and not upon what controversialists say about them.

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