Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume II
289 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
Your telegram of 10 December (No. 286). His Majesty's Government in New Zealand much appreciate the attention given by you to the questions relating to the transport of New Zealand troops to and from the Middle East. The arrangements now proposed for the transhipment of the second furlough draft and its escort to New Zealand are fully acceptable.
His Majesty's Government in New Zealand regret, however, that they feel unable to depart from the principle, to which they have rigidly adhered throughout the war, that any large body of New Zealand troops should not be permitted to sail unescorted. While they appreciate the comparative safety of the southerly route for a fast ship such as the Nieuw Amsterdam, they consider that there is an element of risk in such an arrangement which they cannot accept. Although the number involved is only approximately 1000, their loss to a small country like New Zealand would have a most damaging effect upon the war effort of this Dominion.page 261
1 An alternative arrangement for the transport of these troops in an escorted ship was submitted by the Dominions Secretary to the Prime Minister on 17 Dec. The size of the draft was increased (General Freyberg's request for an additional 1000 was approved by the Government), and it sailed from Wellington on 31 Mar 1944 as the 2nd section, 11th Reinforcements.