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

223 — The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Governor-General of New Zealand

The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Governor-General of New Zealand

30 July 1940

Reference your telegram of 28 July (No. 221). New Zealand's response has greatly encouraged His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. Since four British ships with a total capacity for 9500 men are available for US 4, plus Dutch ships to number six if required, with a total capacity for 9000, accommodation will not now represent a limiting factor. Of the above potential accommodation for over 18,000 troops, the Australian requirements for this convoy will not absorb more than about 6000 places. If, therefore, His Majesty's Government in New Zealand are prepared to send by this convoy the whole of the Third Echelon, in addition to the transportation and Army Troops units mentioned in my telegram of 26 July (No. 220), there is ample accommodation for these numbers and also for such reinforcements as the New Zealand Government may be able to spare, having regard to the above-quoted communication.

In view of the New Zealand Government's reply we are making every effort to provide at once the highest scale of equipment at present possible, and arrangements are being made for definite page 170 quantities to be allocated for the New Zealand forces to be sent in US 4, calculated on the basis of a contingent with fighting troops comprising one infantry brigade of three battalions, one field regiment of artillery, one anti-tank battery, and one field company; included in the equipment which will be made available for the New Zealand troops sailing by US 4 are the following among the major items: 80 Bren guns, 40 anti-tank rifles, nine 2-inch mortars, three 3-inch mortars, eight field guns, two anti-tank guns, six wireless sets, number of … wireless sets, and a number of … Bren carriers.1 This equipment should reach Egypt by the middle of September, with the exception of the Bren carriers which would follow very shortly afterwards.

The New Zealand Government's anxiety to be in a position to make the necessary detailed arrangements is appreciated, and it is hoped that the foregoing will enable them to do so. In order that shipping accommodation can be adjusted accordingly and the necessary detailed supply arrangements made, we should be grateful for early information of the New Zealand Government's decision.

1 The text here is uncertain.