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

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

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

12 August 1940

The information contained in your telegram of 9 August (No. 227) is greatly appreciated by His Majesty's Government in New Zealand. On receipt of this information they have been considering the arrangements proposed for the escort of convoy US 4, and in this connection they have the following comments to make:

They are of the opinion that between New Zealand and Bass Strait it would be desirable, for the purposes of security, that the escort should consist of HMS Achilles and HMAS Perth, and they would be grateful if arrangements could be made to that effect.

They are still not without apprehension that for the voyage between Australia and Colombo the escort proposed—HMAS Canberra—may be inadequate. It is understood that a raider is believed to be operating in the Indian Ocean and if, as they understand might be the case, this raider should prove to be a submarine, they would not regard a cruiser as adequate protection. In this connection they would be most grateful for the comments of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, and for an intimation whether it is proposed to provide any anti-submarine protection, if necessary, and if so for what portion of the voyage and in what strength.

For the onward voyage from Colombo they would be grateful for detailed information as to the proposals for escort at the earliest possible date. As they have repeatedly pointed out, they feel that they cannot divest themselves of their share of the responsibility for the safe passage of their troops, and before these troops sail they would like to feel satisfied with the arrangements contemplated throughout the whole voyage.