Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III
376 — Lieutenant-General Puttick to the Governor of Fiji1
Your telegram of 2 July [No. 374].
I had discussed your telegram [No. 373] with the Prime Minister and advised him that there was no option but to abandon the proposal to employ Fijian troops with 3rd Division as comsopac would not agree to more than one battalion leaving Fiji while you required the whole brigade to go. I appreciate your difficulties. You could I think justify the formation of the brigade on the grounds of local defence and preparedness for overseas operations, while the despatch of part of the brigade is explained by the fact that the balance is required in Fiji by comsopac, who is responsible for the defence of Fiji. As regards the use of one battalion, it was intended to employ it as an integral part of 3rd Division, much like a divisional reconnaissance regiment for protection, scouting and raids as part of the operations of the division. Interpreters would be necessary at various points such as ambulances, hospital and base, but the unit would generally remain concentrated and work as a unit.
Our manpower situation here is so difficult that we have been compelled to reduce 3rd Division to a two-brigade division and would now be unable to complete the necessary services and other arms for the page 398 Fijian brigade even if it were available. We are also reducing very drastically here and probably in Norfolk and possibly in Tonga, and any economies in New Zealand personnel in Fiji would be appreciated. I regret we will not have the valuable services of Fijian troops with 3rd Division. I have shown your telegram to the Prime Minister and repeated it to the War Office as requested.