Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III
86 — The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Prime Minister of New Zealand
The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Prime Minister of New Zealand
Circular telegram. My telegram of 5 December [No. 83]. netherlands east indies
The following is the text of the Note handed to the Netherlands Minister1 today:
‘In my Note of 5 September2 I explained to Your Excellency the attitude of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom towards an attack on the Netherlands East Indies. The Note stated that His Majesty's Government considered themselves to have already assumed page 94 the duty of safeguarding and restoring the possessions and rights of the Netherlands to the best of their ability during the war and at the peace. It followed therefore that an attack upon the Netherlands East Indies would lead them to do the utmost in their power to this end, though His Majesty's Government must remain the sole judge of what action or military measures on their part were practicable and likely to achieve the common purpose.
‘2. His Majesty's Government have again reviewed the position in the light of recent developments, and they feel it is of urgent importance to provide the firmest basis for effective co-operation in meeting the present Japanese threat. They are accordingly, for their part, prepared to enter at once into a mutual understanding with the Netherlands Government whereby each party will undertake to co-operate immediately with the other to the fullest extent of its available resources in the event of the other party being forced to take military action to repel an attack upon any of its territories in the Far East.
‘3. His Majesty's Government have reason to believe that their views are shared by His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia and His Majesty's Government in New Zealand, and if the Netherlands Government are prepared to enter into such an understanding, His Majesty's Government will at once suggest to the Governments of the two Dominions that they should also participate.
‘4. The question of the form in which the understanding should be recorded and the further question of whether, and if so, at what moment, publicity should be [group omitted – given?] to it can be further discussed if the Netherlands Government accept the suggestion in principle.’