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

46 — The Hon. P. Fraser (London) to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

The Hon. P. Fraser (London) to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

7 November 1939

I have discussed with the Secretary of State for War, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff,2 and the War Office Staff the movements of the New Zealand Military Forces.3 The general opinion is that while the matter is for the New Zealand Government to judge, the international situation vis-è-vis Japan is sufficiently clear to warrant the despatch at any rate of the First Echelon. The unanimous opinion is that Egypt is most suitable from the point of view of both training facilities and strategical position. Inquiries are now under way as to dates, and it seems probable that the First Echelon could be moved to Egypt on the conclusion of their three months' training, which we assume (and please confirm by telegraph) will be towards the end of January, although the actual date must, of course, depend on the Admiralty's provision of ships. If you desire an immediate and firm decision in order to take in the men of the Second Echelon, please telegraph your views on this matter.

2 General Sir William Ironside.

3 See Appendix 1, Agreed Conclusions of Discussions held at the War Office on 2 Nov 1939, and Appendix 2, Note of a Meeting held at the War Office on 6 Nov 1939.