Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III
359 — Memorandum from Lieutenant-General Puttick to the Prime Minister — 3rd Division—Employment of Fijian Units
Memorandum from Lieutenant-General Puttick to the Prime Minister
3rd Division—Employment of Fijian Units
1. If the Fijian units are to join 3rd Division, it is very important that they should do so with the least possible delay, so that they may carry out advanced training and be thoroughly incorporated in the Division. There is a great deal to do in this connection.
2. In a personal note,3 Rear-Admiral Wilkinson, United States Navy,4 informs me that in accordance with my suggestion, he has informed Admiral Halsey, General Harmon, and General Peck5 of the general page 386 situation in New Zealand and of the proposal to use Fijian troops. They are therefore informed on the matter and in accordance with my suggestion have expressed no opinion pending an official approach.
3. So far as United States Command is concerned, there seem to be only two points for consideration:
Whether, having regard to the security of Fiji, the units can be released.
Assuming they can be released, whether employment with the 3rd New Zealand Division is the best role in the interests of the Pacific war.
4. There is no difficulty in presenting this question to Admiral Halsey by telegram, more especially as Admiral Wilkinson, General Barrowclough, and Colonel Salmon1 are all familiar with the proposal.
5. On approval being received, it is urgently necessary that General Barrowclough should visit Fiji and see the units, whose organisation may require some alteration to fit 3rd Division, and whose training pending transfer from Fiji should be in accordance with 3rd Division directives.
6. I suggest, therefore, that in accordance with the procedure proposed by the Governor of Fiji, Army Headquarters should approach Admiral Halsey forthwith and, if his approval is forthcoming, that the Governor be then informed. If it is still desired to despatch a mission to comsopac Headquarters, that could quite appropriately follow at any convenient time.
7. Draft telegram is attached.2
(Sgd) E. Puttick,
commanding new zealand military forces
3 Not published.
4 Vice-Admiral T. S. Wilkinson, USN; Deputy Commander, South Pacific, Jan–Jun 1943; commanded 3rd Amphibious Force, Jul 1943–Nov 1945. Admiral Wilkinson visited Wellington at the end of May for discussions with War Cabinet.
5 Maj-Gen De Witt Peck, US Marine Corps; served with South Pacific Force, 1942–43; commanded 1st Division, Northern China, 1945.