Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III
330 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs — [Extract]
The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
… 3. In regard to Fanning Island, the responsibility for the defence of this was assumed by His Majesty's Government in New Zealand prior to the outbreak of war in 1939, and the garrison which was sent there has since been increased and now comprises 5 officers, 108 other ranks, with rifles, two MMGs, eight MGs, one 3-inch mortar, 250 grenades, 145,000 rounds SAA, one 6-inch QFC gun with 150 rounds. With the entry of Japan into the war and her initial successes, the scale of attack against which preparations must be made has increased considerably, and His Majesty's Government in New Zealand are in no position to provide adequate forces or equipment for the defence of this island. As the only trans-Pacific cable now available passes through Fanning Island, it is a major concern of the United Nations that the island be adequately protected. Moreover, because of the distance of Fanning Island from New Zealand, it is extremely difficult to supply the forces on this island from New Zealand.
4. For the foregoing reasons, and as it seems essential that His Majesty's Government in New Zealand should, in view of their responsibilities in the Anzac area, contain their strength there so that it might be more effective, they would propose that the defence of Fanning Island be assumed by the United States Government, and they would be glad, provided His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom see no objection, if arrangements could be made for this proposal to be considered by the Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington….1