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

Equipping and Re-concentration of Australian Imperial Force

Equipping and Re-concentration of Australian Imperial Force

With some concern the Commonwealth Government note the statement in your telegram of 30 April (No. 123) that if war with Italy were to break out subsequent to the arrival of the contingents in Egypt there might be considerable difficulty in equipping our troops as the necessary material has to come from United Kingdom sources.

It will be recalled that the High Commissioner, in accordance with cabled directions on 26 January,1 made representations on the situation in the Near East and the Middle East, the possibility of employment of Australian [troops?] on active operations, and the anticipated rate of provision of modern weapons and equipment. In view of the statement quoted we would urge that the utmost expediency be used in fully equipping our troops, the present forecast of which is given as the middle of September.

Should diversion of the convoys to the United Kingdom become necessary the Commonwealth Government stress the importance of re-constituting the whole expeditionary force at the earliest possible moment and note your assurance that this will be done.