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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I

60 — The Hon. P. Fraser to the Prime Minister — [Extract]

The Hon. P. Fraser to the Prime Minister

29 November 1939

I regret that I am unable to confer with the United Kingdom Government or Casey in time for your Cabinet meeting tomorrow, but the War Office who have already had under consideration the co-ordination of transport of the Australian and New Zealand forces state that the position is as follows: Owing to the desirability of Australian troops relieving British troops in Palestine by the end of January it is essential that the first Australian group should leave not later than the beginning of January. The Australian troops for early transport consist of three groups, and the New Zealand First Echelon one group. The shipping available for transport can carry two groups only and the remaining two groups must therefore be carried on the second voyage. The first two groups will probably leave on or about the end of December and the second two groups probably on or about the beginning of March. The First Echelon of New Zealand troops can proceed either with the first or second voyage, and the War Office would be grateful for the very early expression of your wishes….1

1 The text omitted requested an immediate reply to an earlier telegram and explained a delay in replying to points raised in other telegrams from the Prime Minister dated 28 and 29 Nov.