Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I
50 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
With reference to the offer made by His Majesty's Government in New Zealand to His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, which was contained in my most secret telegram of 13 September,2 and following upon discussions between the Hon. P. Fraser and Ministers and officials of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, I understand that the international situation is sufficiently clear to warrant the despatch of the First Echelon of the New Zealand [Expeditionary Force] and that Egypt is the most suitable point to which it can be trans-shipped. I have to inform you that, in these circumstances, the despatch of the First Echelon overseas has been decided upon by His Majesty's Government in New Zealand. It is understood that the troops will proceed to Egypt for the completion of their training and there await the arrival of the Second and Third Echelons. It is also understood that all arrangements for the move will be made in the first instance by the War Office in collaboration with the Admiralty and the Ministry of Shipping.
The First Echelon's three months' training and final leave will be completed by 20 January, and, to ensure the completion of arrangements, your early advice as to the availability of ships and escort would be appreciated. The New Zealand General Staff have already informed the War Office concerning the numbers and units composing this force.
His Majesty's Government in New Zealand desire to make this decision public within the next day or so, but as a number of related matters have not yet been completed the exact time and date of this statement cannot at present be determined. They would be glad if you will defer any publicity in the United Kingdom until you are page 42 advised of the exact time of announcement here. The destination and approximate time of sailing will of course be kept secret.
His Majesty's Government in New Zealand desire to re-affirm the determination of the people of this Dominion to sustain to the fullest extent of their resources the war effort upon which they have now engaged. They desire also to re-affirm their pledge of wholehearted support for the British Commonwealth of Nations and France in the struggle for international security and for democratic freedom. It is the solemn hope and heartfelt wish of the people of New Zealand that the aims for which they have engaged in this struggle will result in that new world order, solidly based on principles of peace and security for individuals and nations alike, without which the enjoyment of living would not be possible.