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

191 — The Minister of Defence to General Freyberg

The Minister of Defence to General Freyberg

4 July 1940

Many thanks for the information contained in your telegram of 4 July (No. 190), which is greatly appreciated. However, we are in some doubt concerning the last sentence, in view of the fact that we advised His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom through official channels on 15 June (No. 178) that we were in general agreement with the point of view expressed in the Secretary of State's telegram of 12 June (No. 172)—a copy of which was telegraphed to you on 14 June—and that we approved of New Zealand troops being used if necessary for home defence in the United Kingdom, subject, however, to the prior condition that they were previously equipped with fighting equipment suitable for the purpose, even should a less modern type of equipment only be available, and to certain conditions as to command. These were both your own suggestions and a copy of our communication to the British Government was telegraphed on 15 June to you at Cairo (No. 180). It occurs to us that probably this telegram failed to reach you (in which case you should see the Governor-General's telegrams to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs Nos. 178 and 179 of 15 June) and that my telegram of 29 June, which was intended merely to give you all necessary authority for that purpose, has accordingly been misunderstood. Please telegraph, however, if there is anything more you think we could or should do.2

2 General Freyberg replied on 10 Jul that ‘the situation as regards the command of the New Zealand Forces in England and their employment is quite satisfactory’.