DISSOLUTION OF THE SUPREME COMMAND
Successful as was our raid in Badoeng Strait, it did not alter the fact that the Japanese were now in Bali as well as in Sumatra. It was generally believed in informed quarters that General Wavell had become convinced of the futility of the further defence of Java, particularly in view of the virtual exhaustion of our fighter planes. On the 23d he received orders from London to leave Java forthwith and to set up his headquarters elsewhere at his discretion. This he did secretly on the 25th, departing with his immediate staff on the British sloop Kedah, escorted for a distance by the American destroyer Pillsbury. He understood, of course, that the Dutch would continue their resistance, and several thousand
Empire troops were left on the island. But the ABDA Supreme Command had ceased to exist. Dutch officers took over the defense of Java, with the coordinating command nominally resting with the Governor General, Mr. van Mook.
The subsidiary commands also threatened to collapse. It had been evident that the United States Army Air Force Command would not remain longer than the British. General Brereton in fact had left by plane on the 22d. It appeared too that Rear Admiral Palliser would leave with General Wavell, but on the 24th he received orders from London to remain in Java as Commander of the British Naval Forces. He was to withdraw them when in his judgment further resistance would serve no useful purpose, and was to attempt to persuade the Dutch to preserve their naval forces by withdrawing them in time. He was retained as Chief of Staff by Admiral Helfrich.
Admiral Glassford received orders from the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, to report for duty to Vice Admiral Helfrich. This he did, and the latter expressed his profound gratitude for our "ever loyal" assistance.