Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume II
357 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the High Commissioner for New Zealand (London)
The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the High Commissioner for New Zealand (London)
I would like you to accept my thanks for the close personal attention you gave to my telegram of 27 November (No. 354). Owing to my second period in hospital this acknowledgment has been delayed. However, I am back at work again, although just getting into second gear.
You will not be surprised to learn from me that I do not consider the explanations of the Leros collapse by the Secretary of State for the Dominions to be satisfactory. I do not wish to drag out the discussion of the matter, but at your convenience you can indicate this fact to both Lord Cranborne and Mr. Attlee.page 327
With reference to the statement in the message of the Secretary of State for the Dominions that ‘It is impossible to conduct a war without taking risks’, I have to state in reply that I agree, but in my opinion the position at Leros, which should have been apparent to anyone with a knowledge of what happened in Greece and Crete, was not that a reasonable risk was taken but that the men concerned were sent to certain defeat—they were foredoomed. Corsica and Sardinia cannot be accepted as parallel instances. In my opinion, the falling back on Leros without adequate air cover, because Rhodes was a disappointment, showed unrealistic and inefficient thinking and planning.