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

Route and Destination of Convoy and Escorts

Route and Destination of Convoy and Escorts

In the present circumstances it is noted that the diversion of convoys US 2 and US 3 is not considered necessary and, subject to later observations, we agree to the convoys adhering to their programmes. In reaching this decision the Commonwealth Government assume that, should war with Italy eventuate after either convoy has entered the Red Sea, the protection provided or readily available will be such as to reasonably ensure the security of the convoys against sea and air attacks whilst en route to their destination. It has been noted that the Chiefs of Staff do not anticipate any serious difficulty in meeting surface or submarine attacks, but consider it inadvisable to expose troop convoys to the risk of air attack from East Africa in the early stages of the war.

In regard to diversion, it is noted that the situation is being watched from day to day, that the Admiralty would issue orders for diversion if the situation should demand it at any time, and that diversion to the United Kingdom is recommended. As immediate action may be a vital factor in the safety of a convoy, we concur in action along these lines, but we desire that any such decision should be communicated forthwith for our information page 105 and concurrence and that we should be kept fully informed on the trend of the situation. In agreeing to diversion via the Cape, the Commonwealth Government again assume that the escort arrangements both to Capetown and thence onward will ensure the security of both [convoys?] in respect of surface craft and submarines.