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

334 — The Prime Minister to General Freyberg

The Prime Minister to General Freyberg

18 November 1940

We are largely agreed with the views in your telegram of 15 November (No. 333) concerning the transfer of New Zealand forces to industry, but in view of the importance of munitions we are reluctant to refuse the request entirely and accordingly would consider limited assistance in the special circumstances of the United Kingdom.3 Therefore the following message has been sent to the High Commissioner, London:

Your telegram of 12 November, regarding the withdrawal of troops for industry.4 We do not wish the New Zealand Expeditionary Force to be seriously depleted, but are prepared to consider the voluntary transfer of a limited number of highly-skilled personnel from the Forces. Would you please indicate the number contemplated and all details of the proposals, including conditions of transfer and employment, and consult Hargest.

Your views regarding the formation of additional units are fully appreciated. We have no present intention of agreeing to additional units, and in any case will consult you before committing ourselves further.

3 No munition workers were, in fact, provided from the New Zealand Military Forces.

4 See telegram in No. 332.