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

255 — Letter from the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom (Wellington) to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

Letter from the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom (Wellington) to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

10 November 1940

My Dear Prime Minister,

With reference to the message in the Governor-General's telegram to the Secretary of State of 11 October2 about the concentration of the New Zealand Division, I have been asked by the Secretary of State to convey to you the great appreciation of His Majesty's page 196 Government in the United Kingdom of the co-operation of His Majesty's Government in New Zealand in this question.

Full weight will of course be given by the Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, to the considerations referred to in the above telegram,1 viz., that the degree of training and the scale of equipment of any troops selected for the duty in question will be adequate to enable them to discharge their tasks.

The importance which His Majesty's Government in New Zealand attach to the reconstitution of the New Zealand Division is fully appreciated and it is still the intention that this should be accomplished at the earliest possible moment. For this purpose any New Zealand contingents which may be sent to Crete will be replaced there by other troops as soon as this is practicable in the light of the general situation.2 It will, however, be realised that in existing circumstances it is not possible to give a definite assurance that this can be done.

A similar message is being sent to the Prime Minister of Australia and the substance is being repeated by the War Office to the Commander-in-Chief, Middle East.

Yours, &c.,

H. F. Batter Bee

1 This reference is obviously to telegram No. 254 and not to the telegram mentioned in the first paragraph, No. 199.

2 Events in NOrth Africa and later the demands of the campaign in Greece prevented this plan from being put into operation.