Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III
252 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs3
The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs3
With reference to my telegram of 8 November.
The representatives which His Majesty's Government in New Zealand sent to Suva recently have now returned, having completed during their stay there an Agreement with the Governor of Fiji and the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific regarding the respective responsibilities for defence in these territories. Copies of this Agreement are being sent to the Secretary of State for the Colonies by the Governor of Fiji.
2. Fiji and Tonga will always remain as advance bases of this Dominion, and it may therefore be necessary to consider the need for continuing this arrangement after the cessation of hostilities. His Majesty's Government in New Zealand would therefore propose that this question be left open for further consideration when hostilities end. Express reference is made to this in paragraph 2 (a) of the Agreement.4page 285
3. Paragraph 2 of your telegram of 14 October [No. 250] limits the arrangement to Fiji and Tonga, but it has been agreed that the defence responsibility of His Majesty's Government in New Zealand is not limited to these territories but extends generally to the remaining British territories in the High Commission within the boundaries of the New Zealand Naval station.
4. The Agreement provides for the formation of a Local Joint Defence Committee to consist of the Commander, Fiji Defences, the Officer Commanding RNZAF and the Naval Officer-in-Charge, Fiji. This Committee will be convened normally by the Officer Commanding Fiji Defences, but by the Governor when matters raising political issues or affecting civil administration are under consideration. Paragraph 2 (e) defines the procedure which will be followed for keeping the Governor or High Commissioner informed of proposed defence measures, and sub-paragraph (f) the arrangements which will apply if the exigencies of the military situation make it impossible to follow the ordinary procedure.
5. It has been agreed that local forces raised or to be raised will conform to the requirements of His Majesty's Government in New Zealand in respect of:
Organisation, training and employment.
Period of enlistment.
Scale of equipment.
Selection, appointment and promotion of officers, including Commanding Officers, of local forces (these to be made by the Governor on the recommendation of the Commander, Fiji Defences, or the Naval Officer-in-Charge, Fiji, as the case may be).
Pay, rations and conditions of service otherwise of local forces will be matters for the decision of the Governor, but His Majesty's Government in New Zealand will have the right in any case to make representations.
6. His Majesty's Government in New Zealand will be responsible for keeping His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom informed on all questions of defence, and any messages which may be sent will be repeated to Suva. Similarly, any official communications which originate in Suva and are addressed to the Secretary of State for the Colonies will be repeated to His Majesty's Government in New Zealand.
7. His Majesty's Government in New Zealand feel that this arrangement will operate to the mutual benefit of Fiji, the High Commission page 286 territories in which they are concerned and New Zealand, and they are most grateful for the spirit of willing co-operation which has been shown by the Governor of Fiji and the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific.
4 Not published.