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

155 — The High Commissioner for New Zealand (London) to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

page 169

The High Commissioner for New Zealand (London) to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

10 March 1942

1. The dissolution of ABDA [group mutilated–command?] and the Japanese capture of the Malay barrier necessitate re-examination of strategic boundaries in the Far East.

2. We are now presented with two main theatres:


The Indian Ocean theatre, including Burma, naturally falling under the British sphere of influence and receiving reinforcements and supplies of equipment from the west.


The Pacific Ocean theatre, including Australia and New Zealand, naturally lying within the United States sphere and drawing forces and supplies of equipment from the United States.

3. Under the agreement on Staff [group mutilated–representation?] with the United States Chiefs of Staff and after consultation with Planning Liaison Officers in London, the following dividing line between the above spheres of strategic responsibility is proposed. From Singapore south to north coast of Sumatra, thence round the east coast of Sumatra (leaving the Sunda Straits to eastwards of the dividing line) to a point on the coast of Sumatra, longitude 104 degrees east. Thence south to latitude 8 degrees south, thence to Onslow in Australia, thence south along the coast of Australia to longitude 117 degrees, thence due south.

4. This division will in no way change any subdivision within the main theatre that the Governments concerned may decide to adopt, nor is it intended that forces assigned to one area shall rigidly be excluded from operating in the other.

5. As the Pacific War Council is invited to approve of the adoption of the line dividing the two main theatres as set out in paragraph 3 above, I would appreciate your comments by Tuesday, 5 p.m.