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

230 — The Governor-General of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

The Governor-General of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

12 August 1940

His Majesty's Government in New Zealand have now had an opportunity of perusing the information contained in your telegram of 11 August2 to the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom, and they are bound to say it increases their apprehension as to the scale of equipment to be provided for the New Zealand troops in the Middle East. As they have indicated in my telegram of 3 August (No. 224), they are far from satisfied that the equipment that will be available for the Third Echelon, or indeed for the First, is adequate to enable the New Zealand troops to play a proper part in fighting if it develops on a scale that might be expected from the concentrations of enemy troops referred to in the above-mentioned telegram. They feel that they must ask His Majesty's page 177 Government in the United Kingdom at once whether it is not possible not only to provide a more adequate scale of equipment but also to advise them in detail of the equipment to be provided and its expected time of arrival in the Middle East.

2 Not published. A statement of the Allied and enemy forces then in the Middle East was given in this telegram. Under the heading North Africa the following forces were listed:

British in Egypt: One armoured division (less one brigade); one infantry division; one infantry brigade; one New Zealand infantry brigade; one Indian infantry division (less one brigade).

Egyptian: The equivalent of two divisions.

Italian: In Libya—16 divisions (8½ facing Egypt and 7½ facing Tunis).

French: Six divisions and internal security troops.