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

253 — The Hon. F. Jones (London) to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

The Hon. F. Jones (London) to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

17 April 1943

Yesterday, after lunching with Mr. Churchill, I had a long talk with him on the question of our Division in North Africa. I was shown the cable he sent you regarding its proposed future employment1 and he expressed the hope that your reply would be favourable.

I asked him whether, in the event of our being able to send additional troops as replacements with the next batch of reinforcements, it would be possible to release gradually for return to the Dominion those troops who had seen much combatant service. He was quite favourable to the idea provided arrangements could be made accordingly. He immediately sent for General Ismay,2 with whom we both discussed the matter, and that officer has been directed to investigate and report to Mr. Churchill, who will then advise me. If the idea should be found practicable and be approved, kindly let me know how many additional troops could be sent with the next draft of reinforcements which I understand may be leaving shortly.

With reference to your cable of 3 April,3 I raised the matter several days ago with Sir James Grigg and again yesterday with Mr. Churchill. The latter is looking into the prospect of granting General Freyberg a senior command and, at the same time, of meeting your wishes that he continue to be associated with the New Zealand Forces.

2 General Lord Ismay, GCB, CH, DSO; at time of reference Lieutenant-General Sir Hastings Ismay; Chief of Staff to Minister of Defence, 1940–46; Deputy Secretary (Military) to United Kingdom War Cabinet, 1940–45; Additional Secretary (Military) to Cabinet, 1945–46; Chief of Staff to Viceroy of India, 1947.

3 Not published. See page 192, note 3.