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

3 — The Governor-General of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

The Governor-General of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

2 September 1939

Your telegram of 1 September (No. 1). The acting Prime Minister2 desires me to inform you that the precautionary stage has been adopted in New Zealand and that the Mandated Territory of Western Samoa and the Island Dependencies3 have been duly advised. In addition, examination services are being established forthwith, all Regular reservists and a proportion of the Special Reserve (Class 2)4 are being called out, coastal defences are being manned with skeleton crews, and guards are being placed at all vital points.

His Majesty's Government in New Zealand entirely concur with, and warmly endorse, the action taken by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, including that specified in your latest telegram (No. 2).

2 Hon. P. Fraser. Prior to becoming Prime Minister, Mr. Fraser had been Minister of Education, Health, and Marine and acting Prime Minister during Mr. Savage's illness.

3 New Zealand's island dependencies are the Cook Islands (thirteen islands in two groups), Niue, and the Tokelau or Union Group. The Chatham, Auckland, Campbell, and Kermadec Islands are included in the Dominion group proper for both administrative and statistical purposes.

4 The Territorial Force Special Reserve was formed in 1937. Single men between the ages of 18 and 25 years (later changed to 30 years) were eligible for enlistment and were given three months' continuous training in camp, during which facilities were provided for free vocational training. (In 1939 the period of training was increased to five months, half of this time being spent in vocational training.) At the end of the training period the men were given the opportunity to enlist in the Regular Force to fill vacancies, and assistance was given to others to obtain permanent civilian employment. The reservists were posted to Territorial units and undertook to attend a course of ten days' training once a year for a period of three years and to report for service in New Zealand in an emergency if required.