- Hobden, D.T.
- History - WW2
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Canberra I
- September 1996 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
The following correspondence is self-evident and highlights the warm relationship between the USN and the RAN during WWII.
Dated September 1, 1942
Recd 9:43 a.m., 2nd
Secretary of State, Washington.
380, September 1, Midnight
It has occurred to me that, if at all feasible and considered by our Government to be desirable, it might prove a profitable gesture if we were to give the name “Canberra” to a cruiser yet to be built. The fact that the Australian cruiser of that name was lost in joint action with our navy suggests that a gesture of this kind might have immediate favourable repercussion and create a lasting tie between the two countries.
If this suggestion favorably received it would be advisable to consult Australian Government before publicity.
(American Ambassador to Australia).
THE WHITE HOUSE
September 6, 1942
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY;
Have you seen the enclosed confidential and unparaphrased telegram to the State Department? Personally I think it would be a good idea to give the name “Canberra” to one of the new cruisers, but I would like you to talk it over with the Secretary of State first. Please return for our files.
September 22. 1942
My dear Mr. President:
Several days ago, you wrote me a memorandum suggesting the possibility of naming one of our cruisers after the CANBERRA, which was sunk in the Southwest Pacific.
In accordance with your directions, I have talked the matter over with the Secretary of State and he gave it his prompt approval. I also asked Admiral Jacobs to assign the first available unnamed cruiser the name of CANBERRA and this has been done. The ship is being built at the Bethlehem Steel Company and the predicted launching date is November 1, 1944. If this postpones the ceremony too long, we can make a change which will bring the ceremony earlier by naming some other ship the CANBERRA.
Please let me know if the present arrangement is satisfactory to you.
September 14, 1942
MEMORANDUM FOR: REAR ADMIRAL RANDALL JACOBS
Please read the copy of the attached telegram to the Secretary of State from our Minister to Australia. I have already discussed this matter with the Secretary of State, who approves of the suggestion as does the President. Will you let me know how soon we would have available a cruiser as yet unnamed to which we could give the name “CANBERRA”.
(Secretary of the Navy (U.S.N.)).
THE WHITE HOUSE
October 9, 1942
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
The President desires that the CA 70 be christened USS CANBERRA, and that the name “Pittsburgh” be reassigned.
The President further stated that it was his intention to ask Lady Dixon, the wife of Sir Owen Dixon the Australian Minister, to act as sponsor for CA 70 and that he would extend the invitation as the Commander-in-Chief.
JOHN L. McCREA
Captain, U.S. Navy
Naval Aide to the President.
Released by the Secretary of the Navy. Oct. 12, 1942
SUPERVISOR OF SHIPBUILDING
BETHLEHEM STEEL COMPANY SHIPBUILDING DIVISION
IN ACCORDANCE WITH REQUEST OF PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES NAME USS PITTSBURGH IS HEREBY CHANGED TO CANBERRA PRESIDENT IS EXTENDING INVITATION TO LADY DIXON WIFE OF RIGHT HONORABLE SIR OWEN DIXON AUSTRALIAN MINISTER 3120 CLEVELAND AVENUE WASHINGTON DC TO CHRISTEN CANBERRA SCHEDULED TO BE LAUNCHED JANUARY 1, 1943. MRS SCULLY WIFE OF MAYOR OF PITTSBURGH HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THIS CHANGE.
15th October, 1942.
Dear Mr. President:
I feel very proud indeed that you should have so greatly honored me, and my country, Australia, by asking me to sponsor the new U.S.S. CANBERRA on the date, and at the place you mentioned.
I have always regarded the launching of a ship as one of the most interesting and romantic ceremonies there are. Never did I dream that I should be asked actually to christen one.
H.M.A.S. CANBERRA has always been of great interest to me. I have here, before me, an enlarged photograph I took of her with the Sydney Bridge as a background. Your CANBERRA will feel she has a worthy ship to follow. May her lot be to follow the seas into less turbulent times.
With much pleasure and many thanks,
ALICE C. DIXON