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

207 — The Prime Minister of Australia to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

The Prime Minister of Australia to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

22 January 1941

My immediately preceding telegram (No. 206). The following is the text of the telegram sent to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs:

The message of the United Kingdom Government contained in your telegram of 14 January1 is much appreciated by the Commonwealth Government, and they would wish to publish it at the appropriate time. It is noted from your telegram of 14 January to the High Commissioner2 that for security reasons the message should not be published before 25 January. The Commonwealth Government consider it inadvisable that any public announcement should be made until the arrival in the Middle East of the second convoy, which completes the movement of troops from the United Kingdom. It is understood that the second convoy left the United Kingdom early this month, and on the basis of the time taken for the movement of the first convoy it would not arrive at the destination until late in February. The Commonwealth Government suggest an arrangement for the release of the news similar to that which operated in connection with the announcement of the arrival of the first contingents of page 153 Australian and New Zealand troops in the Middle East, statements being made in Canberra and Wellington simultaneously upon receipt of a code word from the Middle East. We would appreciate the immediate observations of the United Kingdom Government on the proposal, also information as to the anticipated date of the second convoy's arrival in the Middle East.

The Commonwealth Government has been informed by the New Zealand Government of their view that the announcement should be withheld until the troops have actually arrived at their destination. This telegram has been repeated to the New Zealand Government and we have asked them to withhold for the present any announcement.

1 Not published.

2 Not published.