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

358 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Hon. W. Nash, New Zealand Minister at Washington — [Extract]

page 328

The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Hon. W. Nash, New Zealand Minister at Washington

12 January 1944

Before my departure for Australia1 there are a number of important matters concerning which the need for decisions is becoming urgent….2

There is also the question of manpower. Obviously the situation cannot be allowed to drift any longer. I feel that we have no alternative but to decide to withdraw one division for the replacement and reinforcement of the other, and I would be very glad if you would make an early approach to President Roosevelt on this matter, acquaint him with the difficulties with which we are confronted, and seek his advice as to the choice which should be made. The previous suggestion put forward that both divisions should be allowed gradually to diminish in size3 is to my mind insupportable, and I feel that we cannot make to Parliament or to the people a recommendation of that nature.

I feel also that it will be necessary for you to discuss this matter personally with Mr. Churchill and, for this and the other reasons indicated above, would therefore suggest that you should go to London almost immediately, and in the case of the manpower question let me have the results of your discussion in time for the meeting of Parliament on 22 February.

1 Mr. Fraser left Auckland on 13 Jan for discussions in Canberra between representatives of the Commonwealth and New Zealand Governments. He returned to New Zealand at the end of January.

2 The text omitted dealt with overseas trade matters which the Prime Minister considered should be discussed with the United Kingdom Government.