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The Home Front Volume I

CHAPTER 14 — The American Invasion

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The American Invasion

FROM the start of the war New Zealand’s government had looked to America as the bulwark against Japan, though some American diplomacy had scarcely encouraged this attitude. The public, less well informed, generally believed that Japanese aggression would be met and held by American might. Both the public and the best informed circles were astounded by the boldness and disaster of Pearl Harbour, dismayed by the blitzkreig that followed and further dismayed by the slowness of America’s response.1 At the end of January 1942, when there was news of American forces in Ireland, the Press approved this both as attention to a notable danger-spot and evidence of far-flung strength,2 but the New Zealand Herald fumed that America, having provoked the Japanese war, was leaving the Pacific peoples to stew in it.3

On 12 February, under such headings as ‘Americans in New Zealand—US Naval Force at Wellington’ and ‘Vanguard Arrives— US Sailors in Wellington’, newspapers gave prominence to a London paper’s feature despatch from a press correspondent with an American naval force that had come to Wellington. This correspondent had been with the aircraft-carriers that had attacked Japanese installations in the Marshall and Gilbert islands, then in mid-Pacific had transferred to another naval unit which had landed thousands of men at various islands, ‘nailed down hard’ outposts of defence and communication, and ‘had already won the battle of access to the south-west Pacific’. Men who landed at Wellington from a United States destroyer, the article went on, found it difficult to spend money: hotels gave free meals and everywhere they went they were invited into homes, while great relief was expressed that an American force had arrived at the Antipodes to strengthen the Allied left wing in the Pacific.4

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This ship, however, was but a lone visitor. On 17 February, with Singapore lost, the Prime Minister cabled to Britain, for transmission to Roosevelt, strong strategic arguments for strengthening New Zealand and Fiji:

If Fiji falls then New Zealand becomes even more essential. If they both fall, the prospect of adequately conducting from the United States effective operations in the Mid- and South-West Pacific areas seems to us to become exceedingly thin…. We are definitely of the opinion that it is essential for the successful prosecution of the war in the Pacific that New Zealand must become a main base area and must be equipped and defended as such.5

The obvious difficulty of bringing the New Zealand Division back, plus standing acceptance of its task in the Middle East, checked pressure for its return at both government and public levels. Churchill was very anxious to keep the New Zealanders, and accordingly on 5 March asked Roosevelt to send a division to New Zealand, on condition that the NZEF remained in Egypt.6 On 10 March Fraser learned that this plea had been successful and that the United States, besides sending two divisions to Australia, would send one to New Zealand, leaving in the next two months, a move more thrifty both in time and shipping than returning New Zealand’s own men.7 This was warmly welcomed, though Fraser expressed some fear lest such help be too little and too late, also that there was both at home and in the Division a growing sense that their place was now in the Pacific, a feeling which would increase when it became known that Australia had retrieved many of its troops.8 Roosevelt cabled on 24 March that ‘we are straining every effort’ to send the forces at the earliest possible moment and efforts would be made to increase both men and equipment.9

All this of course was completely hidden from the New Zealand public, but known events and information built up awareness of America’s limitations. Acceptance of the situation was summarised by the Press on 11 March: ‘In spite of American mass production and mass mobilisation, the United Nations have not enough men, aeroplanes and munitions to stage war-winning offensives east and west at once. The decision to concentrate on Germany and Italy was not capricious or short-sighted but inevitable.’ At the same time a page 623 less patient attitude towards American slowness was displayed by a cartoon in the Auckland Star. ‘Living Statuary, or Straining at the Leash’ showed a statue of two tortoises hitched to a chariot and tightly reined in by Roosevelt in classic ungarb as a charioteer; the plinth bore the words, ‘American aid to the Pacific’.10 Beside it appeared an account of horrors at Hong Kong.

At the end of April, the cabled report of a broadcast by Nash in Washington was misinterpreted by Auckland papers to produce, under the caption ‘the Yanks are Coming’, news that American aircraft, equipment and reinforcements were heading for New Zealand.11 During May, strange uniforms began gradually to appear in hotels and streets at Auckland and Wellington, and anyone connected with defence construction or the building trade knew that heavy concentrations of men and equipment were preparing new camps around Auckland and up the coast from Wellington, work that in one phase or another would continue for months. Apart from cookhouses, ablution blocks, mess rooms, recreation halls, staff and administration buildings and assorted huts, basic amenities were needed: roads, paths, sewers, water and electricity supplies, and vehicle parks. Most of the men lived in tents brought from the United States but local carpenters put in wooden floors and railings to which the ropes were fastened.12

In the Wellington area, on open coast land near Paekakariki, now Queen Elizabeth Park, a large camp was rushed up in about six weeks, and there was another at Pahautahanui. Between them these could hold nearly 21 700 men, and there were smaller camps housing 4860 at the Hutt Racecourse, Kaiwharawhara Park, Anderson and Central Parks. At Auckland, a scatter of camps at Mechanics Bay, at Victoria, Cambria and Waikaraka parks, at Tamaki, Mangere Crossing and Western Springs, would accommodate 29 500 in all. At Masterton, the only provincial centre that became a garrison town, 2400 Marines from the Solomons would come to recuperate. Hospitals were built, 19 in all, to take 9400 patients. In Auckland at Cornwall Park a large military hospital appeared; at Avondale and at Hobson Park there were naval mobile hospitals; at Silverstream, Wellington, a New Zealand Army convalescent home became a major hospital.13

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Towards the end of May 1942, Vice-Admiral Ghormley’s Headquarters South Pacific were set up in Auckland, and the first substantial batch of American troops arrived there, to be quartered at Papakura.14 On 14 June USS Wakefield brought several thousand Marines to Wellington (an event of course not mentioned in the press), and this came to be regarded locally as the beginning of the ‘invasion’. In his diary G. H. Scholefield had already, since 24 May, noted increasing numbers of Americans, precursors of this arrival. He also speculated about the impact they would have on social life in such areas as feminine company, Sunday entertainment and a foreign law being operated within New Zealand through the visitors’ military police. The Listener also, on 29 May, had reflected that New Zealand would accommodate thousands of overseas troops and that soldiers always lead unnatural lives, passing violently from excitement to boredom, seldom escaping some friction with civilians. Some friction could be expected in New Zealand.

… eighty per cent of the soldiers, sailors and airmen quartered among us were, until the other day, civilians themselves. They are ourselves, socially, whether they come from Canterbury, N.Z., or from Colorado, U.S.A…. they are still interested in most of the things that we ourselves are interested in, and do not wish to be regarded either as toughs or as innocents abroad. They are not mercenaries or brigands, but patriot companies of ordinary citizens called to the defence of their normal way of life.15

When the Listener canvassed views on Americanising Sunday entertainment, some thought that democratic Americans would be unwilling to interfere with the customs of a host country, others advised the provision of many activities—sports, concerts, lectures and discussions besides mere entertainment—to make the visitors really at home and to learn from them.16 On 12 and 19 June the Listener printed interviews with American nurses and other material which made it clear that Americans were already frequenting Service clubs and private homes. For these June issues prosecution was contemplated but not pursued,17 and the Listener ceased to mention Americans, though recipes for lemon and pumpkin pies, waffles and doughnuts appeared on 2 July.

Since April the Pacific Command had insisted that no mention of American forces in New Zealand or the Pacific be published18 and this ban was officially, if not effectively, upheld for five months page 625 after the June arrivals. But though no announcements or welcomes could be published, Americans were immediately noticed, with varied feelings in which curiosity, enthusiasm and excitement were widespread. Many New Zealanders did not envisage New Zealand being attacked by Japan and to them the American presence was not so much a direct protective measure as part of Pacific strategy. Many were merely unconcerned, and some, seeing a lot more troops about, and foreign at that, felt a vague alarm. Others felt relief: people anxiously aware of Japan’s momentum were comforted that New Zealand was considered a base worth defending; they felt more important, almost cherished. ‘The Americans are here’ were words to ease the minds of parents, of old ladies, of anyone burdened with imagination or information. The war was going badly: Sevastopol was falling, so was Tobruk, with Rommel driving on to Egypt; Burma was lost, the Japanese were working south through Papua, and Sydney harbour had been raided at the beginning of June. Happier news was emerging on the extent of American success in the Coral Sea during May and at Midway, just fought, news which brightened the aura of the young men in green khaki.

The first public parade, though quite unadvertised, drew massive crowds. America’s own flag-honouring day, 14 June, had by various extensions become in 1942 ‘United Nations Day’, to be celebrated with prayers and parades throughout Allied countries.19 Auckland’s parade was a few days late, on 18 June. Vice-Admiral Ghormley took the salute, a large group of Americans headed the march and crowds in Queen Street were, it was said, larger than ever before ‘not excepting the last three visits of Royalty.’20 There can be little doubt what the thousands who streamed in by tram and bus and train had come to see, though American troops were not mentioned in the papers.

The young men had cheerful smiles (improved by good teeth), their manners were courteous, some were ready to chat with men and matrons as well as girls, and they were disarmingly ignorant. Giving information often induces a disposition to give more, and a polite street inquiry opened many a door, though a few nervous ladies felt that an advance had been made if a Marine asked the way to Karangahape Road or Courtenay Place.

The visitors could not be left standing in the streets, even if they could not be mentioned in the newspapers. Enthusiasm, gratitude, page 626 curiosity, friendliness, sex-hunger and lion-hunting impulses, guided in part by the Friendship Group of the British and American Cooperation Society (founded in 1939), swept the first comers into a surge of home hospitality.21 The Service clubs already operating gave hearty welcomes—many extending their premises and activities. Wellington’s ANA (Army, Navy, Air Force) club, for instance, decided in mid-June to move its weekend dances to the Town Hall where girls would grace the occasion with long dresses in place of the short ones usual at soldiers’ dances.22 New clubs also appeared. The British and American Co-operation Society in Wellington, in conjunction with patriotic authorities, had by mid-July transformed a large restaurant23 into the Allied Services Club. It welcomed all Services, but was specially directed towards Americans, with its cafeteria stressing grills, salads, ice-cream, doughnuts and coffee. It ran an information and home hospitality bureau which, besides providing local and travel information, invited the visitors to register, listing their interests, and tried to match these against the offers of hospitality that came in from near and far. Many did not need formal hospitality: they could find their own way, readily making dates with girls whom they met in milk bars, restaurants, shops, the clubs and through friendship chains.

Few New Zealanders knew much about America except what they had acquired through films and magazines such as Life and Look, a view neither precise nor balanced. In more earnest readers this was augmented, mainly by Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis, perhaps H. L. Mencken, by Saroyan, Dos Passos, Steinbeck and Thomas Wolfe. Americans knew even less about New Zealand; many thought it an off-shore piece of Australia, full of grass-skirted natives, sheep and geysers, and governed by Churchill. Some anxious to mend their ignorance, asked their hosts embarrassing questions: what was the population of Auckland or Wellington or Palmerston North, how many sheep, how many cattle? How much timber was milled, how much meat and butter exported? To make for ease and interest all round, in September 1942 the Internal Affairs Department produced 50 000 copies of Meet New Zealand, a cheerful, 36-page booklet, informal and informative,24 in which Yearbook statistics and the ethos of New Zealand were related to things American; the mysteries of tea, scones, money, drinking hours and customs, Maoris, Sundays, page 627 Social Security, some slang, horse racing and road rules were briefly revealed. For the more curious there was a booklist. Also, copies of a current centennial publication, Making New Zealand, a well-produced pictorial series surveying many aspects of the past hundred years, were sent to all United States camps.25

The press silence was broken, or rather punctured, when Fraser, broadcasting from Washington on 31 August, spoke of courteous and well disciplined American forces in New Zealand solidifying the already strong bonds between the two countries.26 Fraser’s words were followed on 3 September by a British official wireless message that in New Zealand big camps had been specially built for American troops and two big base hospitals were being established. The cat seeming to be out of the bag, newspapers began to print welcoming articles,27 but from Honolulu early in September came directions to Admiral Ghormley that no information on American forces should be released by cable, mail or press before being passed by Pearl Harbour28 and silence closed in again. The New Zealand Herald on 3 October explained the situation: ‘It is still not permitted to make any reference in overseas letters to the presence in New Zealand of visiting forces. When in Washington the Prime Minister, Mr Fraser, referred to the presence of certain forces in New Zealand and this was also referred to in a British official wireless message. The prohibition on references in letters still exists, however, representations to this effect having been made by other authorities subsequent to the two announcements mentioned.’

The very next day the New Zealand Herald had an article on how the flower-giving habit of visiting American servicemen was improving the trade of florists, while explanations of American insignia appeared on 10 October. To newsmen the suppression must have seemed even more pointless as they printed the statement of H. L. Stimson,29 the American Secretary for War, at a press conference in page 628 mid-October, that American forces were in New Zealand.30 At last, on 20 November, the United States naval authorities advised the Director of Publicity that information on the presence of their troops could be published subject to censorship by the Chief Naval Censor at Auckland.31 This release was first given to the papers at Auckland, where on the 21st one paper described an early disembarkation, and the other had a column of folksy appreciation, plus photographs of the earlier parade. Further south the papers took their new liberty more coolly: accounts of Thanksgiving celebrations at the end of November were their first use of it. Early December brought forth several descriptive articles and interviews.32

In general, all the early publicity approved quiet-spoken young men, modest, inquiring, generous, lovers of home and peace, but roused now to defend freedom and see the job through. They liked almost everything about New Zealand, it appeared, except the coffee and the shortage of night-life and of ‘Scotch’; they were confused by ‘teas’ and licensing laws but the people were ‘nice folks’. Their views on Sundays, eating-houses and mutton were not mentioned.

Naturally this publicity widened desire to welcome the visitors and to meet them. From many towns, some in the South Island, invitations were forwarded through local government and patriotic committees to the hospitality bureaus: Silverstream hospital made notable use of these offers, nearly 400 patients visiting private homes over Christmas in 1942 and about 3000 during 1943.33 Some Americans travelled far, as private guests, guests of local patriotic committees and as plain travellers. Christchurch received its first party early in January; in June, Dunedin’s first group, 25 convalescent Marines, were reported overwhelmed with southern hospitality and more were to follow.34 Rotorua was popular, and mountain resorts drew some visitors. Parties went to the Maori settlement at Ngaruawahia run by Te Puea Herangi, who combined hospitality with firm and skilful handling of race relations.35 In holiday places and in small towns, American uniforms and voices attracted curious and willing attention. But relatively few moved from their North Island stations.

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The American Red Cross was much concerned with entertainment. Each camp had its hostess to arrange dances, bringing in parties of girls, carefully recruited, as partners. Red Cross officials, mainly women, organised five American Red Cross clubs: two in Auckland, one being for officers on rest leave, the other for United States servicemen in general, in part of the Auckland Hotel; one at Warkworth, one at Masterton, and one in the Hotel Cecil near Wellington’s railway station which, because its premises were large, received New Zealanders as well. These clubs offered lounges, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, sleeping billets, showers, and pressing and mending facilities. They were open for long hours, they had space for games as well as the ubiquitous dances, and the food was Americanised. Their permanent staffs were helped by volunteer groups of women enlisted through all kinds of organisations; for instance the Hotel Cecil, open from 7 am till midnight, had 1872 women on its rosters, for domestic work and canteen and dance duty.36

In spite of the information bureaus and hospitality offered through them, the main channels for acquaintance with civilians, apart from street and shop encounters, were the dances. In all the clubs, teams of girls drawn in through all sorts of patriotic, cultural, sporting and business associations, but always supposedly the ‘right type’, were organised in groups as partners. It was a general rule that a girl should not refuse any serviceman one dance—after one dance, if she didn’t like him, she could make excuses.37 It was expected that chosen strangers would be taken home to meet parents and friends, leading to home hospitality, persisting friendships and decorous happiness all round.

At Auckland, American numbers fluctuated in a stream of arrivals and departures,38 which heightened the troop-town atmosphere, whereas many Marines were stationed near Wellington for several months. Many of the latter found local friends, thus solving the problem of what to do with liberty, others became drearily familiar with the city’s resources, or lack of them. The earthquakes of June and August 1942 made things worse, putting several thousand cinema seats out of use for months, while the Town Hall was not restored till the end of 1943. For those who did not like dancing there was little to do; one such man told a reporter there had been no new films for weeks, he could not get a beer after 6 o’clock, there was no vaudeville, no tepid baths and the only gymnasium page 630 was hopelessly overcrowded.39 When the bars closed, apart from getting a meal, going to the pictures or sitting around in a Service club, there was, for the non-dancing man without local friends, whether he came from Illinois or the King Country, nothing but walking the streets. The need for a sizeable night-time sports centre, attracting spectators as well as activists, New Zealanders as well as Americans, was obvious and was discussed,40 but not till mid-1943, in Wellington, was a start made towards converting an old Wakefield Street building, crammed with stores, into a miniature, all-Services sports stadium seating about 500, for basketball, boxing, badminton, etc. This did not open till November, but next door to it an old skating rink, re-floored, opened in September and proved very popular.41

The American invasion made at least a passing dint in the New Zealand Sunday. Early in 1942 it could be said that, while only a small number of New Zealanders spent much of Sunday in prayer and many prayed not at all, there were very few counter-attractions. There were no public sports, bars and restaurants were closed and only an occasional milk-bar or grill-room offered any food; libraries were closed, there were no films, and petrol restrictions cut back outings and picnics. Churches and local councils, unmoved by the boredom of New Zealand soldiers, had stood firmly against any erosion of the righteous inactivity of Sunday, but during April reports came from Australia of pressure for some relaxation, for a few films and dance halls.42 Allum, Mayor of Auckland, led the way on 13 May: the probable arrival of American soldiers and sailors some time in the future made it necessary to overhaul existing arrangements for Sunday entertainment of the armed forces; opportunities for healthy recreation would be provided on Sunday afternoons and picture theatres would be open in the evening, outside church hours, to servicemen.43 One by one, the towns near camps arranged for more grill-rooms and milk-bars to be open, and in the evenings one or two cinemas to which each serviceman might take one civilian companion. They were generally well filled and it was noticed that even on a fine Sunday evening there were now few troops on their page 631 seemingly endless and aimless promenade of the streets.44 Wellington soon had matinees as well, catering for those whose leave ended early in the evening,45 but not till May 1943 did Auckland follow suit.46 As time passed, some demobilised soldiers facing dreary Sundays felt aggrieved: why, asked ‘Middle East’ in April 1943, were only current servicemen admitted to Sunday pictures?47 Some non-service activities were affected by the change in the sabbath climate: several Hamilton bowling clubs decided to open their greens on Sunday afternoons,48 and at Dunedin, students could play tennis on the university courts.49

To the newcomers, prices were confusing and so was money: a dollar was worth 6s 1d; 41 cents exchanged for half a crown, 16 cents for a shilling. They were used to tipping and many were in a spend-easy mood. Their ignorance and affluence reinforced the view that a fool and his money are soon parted and deserve to be. Probably most traders were honest, but among liquor vendors, taxi drivers, restaurateurs and shopkeepers there were many who sought more than their due, ranging from heavy ‘takes’ for after-hours or adulterated liquor to a few cents on a pair of socks or changing a dollar at the rate of 6s, less the penny. There were prosecutions for overcharging and shortchanging, but much would not be detected.

Some children set out to make what they could from the strangers. Shoe-shining was unknown, but at the enquiries of Marines and sailors, some barbers offered 6d shines in their chairs. Then, although shoe polish was scarce, a crop of boys, mainly primary school age, appeared on the streets, plying brushes and hoping for tips, ‘with all the energy and cheekiness of modern youth.’50 At first there was approval of this youthful enterprise,51 but it soon appeared less industrious than predatory, described as ‘glorified cadging and a real racket’ by the police who sometimes confiscated the gear, which would later be returned to parents on the understanding that there would be no more shoe-shining. Shortly before Christmas 1942, the Wellington City Council decreed that the bootblacks must keep off the public streets but could make arrangements in shops or on other page 632 private property.52 Some youngsters did not make even the pretence of offering a service but pestered Americans outright for money, ‘souvenirs’, and some, hunting in groups, were cheeky and persistent.53 Begging by adults, usually alcoholics, was firmly discouraged by two or three months in prison.54

Many taxi drivers, as well as accepting tips, found it only too easy to overcharge Americans who were ignorant, fuddled or exuberant. After their first month Scholefield wrote: ‘At last a taxi driver has been punished for shameless stin[g]ing of the American marines. He charged £2 10s for a 16s drive. He was fined £10 and now has his license cancelled by the City Council to the general public satisfaction.’55 There were other prosecutions, and it may be assumed that the abuse was widespread. To conserve petrol there were zoning rules but for sufficient money these could be broken: in Auckland, drivers taking servicemen to Warkworth charged £2 for the trip there, £2 for the return, and £2 in case they were fined for going outside their zoning area.56 New Zealanders frequently complained that with Americans around they themselves had no chance of getting a taxi. On the other hand taxi men occasionally complained that they were sometimes threatened and robbed by American fares, some of whom, if refused, would dint a door, smash a window or bash the driver.57

Americans in their quest for liquor were sold various brews at high prices, or in some cases were defrauded with vinegar, water or tea. All aspects of the sly grog trade—such as illicit distilling, overpriced after-hours sales of normal liquor by publicans, over-priced drinking in unlicensed places, and furtive sales, by various means, of dubious wines and spirits—were greatly increased by the American presence. The business of grubby apartment houses, with rooms let by the hour, also increased, though checked by the attentions of vice squads and military police.58

The American presence added to the accommodation problem. In both Auckland and Wellington several hotels were taken over as residential quarters for military and naval staff, and other hotels were page 633 more heavily booked than usual. Some officers, posted for weeks or months, acquired flats, often used only at weekends, paying rents that were beyond the means of New Zealanders, both civilians and soldiers. This sharpened the housing shortage a little and anti-American feeling rather more.59

American demands created or stimulated various enterprises. Laundry and dry-cleaning services, with while-you-wait pressing, multiplied. Trinket jewellery sold as fast as it could be produced, along with souvenirs using paua shell, native woods and so-called Maori decorations.60 More eating-places appeared, some attempting the visitors’ style of coffee; popcorn, formerly sold only at fairs and amusement parks, became common, making up for the disappearance of other sweets.61 The practice of giving flowers caused a florists’ boom and rising prices: roses were especially favoured62 and nurserymen reported a big increase in rose cultivation.63 Advertisers applied the word ‘American’ liberally to cosmetics, jackets, coats, shoes, neck-wear and other items, mainly for women: ‘New York’ and ‘California’ were also popular terms.

In all, during two years about 100 000 Americans were in New Zealand,64 mostly centred on Auckland and Wellington, some for a few days or weeks, some for several months. It was too long and too many for the first enthusiasm to last. As with any troops, not all were unassuming and decorous. Inevitably they had the arrogance of a big nation towards a smaller, less sophisticated one. That arrogance was increased by their having more money to spend than had most New Zealanders and their belief that they were saving New Zealand from the Japanese. Feeling was not sweetened on the one hand by those New Zealanders who seized any chance to make a quick dollar, nor on the other by the sight of (and talk about) girls, some already wives or fiancees, at the beck and call of the intruders.

Many New Zealanders found it difficult to stomach the idea that America had saved them from the Japanese. They held that there was only one war, and Britain and New Zealand and the rest of the Commonwealth had been fighting it for two years previously; that America came into the war when attacked by Japan and used page 634 New Zealand as a base because this suited American strategy. Further, there need have been no talk of saving New Zealand if its own Division had been brought back, as Australia’s three divisions were, to defend the homeland,65 but both Roosevelt and Churchill wanted it kept in a theatre where it had done extremely well.

When Nash late in February 1943 was reported to have said in Washington that New Zealand was willing to grant the United States permanent use of air and naval bases in New Zealand as part of a mutual defence system in the Pacific, there was some indignation: New Zealand should have heard about this decision, which affected every living and future New Zealander, before it was announced by Nash from the States, said the Auckland Star. Was the British government content that New Zealand should look to the United States rather than Britain for defence? Such arrangements would mean that New Zealand forces would be complementary to American rather than British forces, and would have to be reorganised accordingly.66

A spate of letters followed. One read: ‘… when I went overseas …our object was to keep New Zealand for the New Zealanders’, but Nash would fend off one set of foreign powers only to admit in peace another foreign power to what would inevitably be suzerainty over our external policy and, by the inexorable march of necessity, over our internal affairs as well.67 Another was surprised that a good neighbour who came to help in an emergency should move in permanently.68 Another was sharper: ‘It seems that whatever America wants in the Pacific is hers for the taking—and that before she has delivered the goods, for we still have the Japanese menace alarmingly entrenched after a year’s fighting…. their part in “saving New Zealand” is only incidental to United States defence and development aims in this area.’69 One thought Nash too indiscreet to be trusted to represent New Zealand abroad;70 another wrote that many American politicians saw in the war opportunity to spread their country’s influence, even at the expense of their allies, and with indecent haste were urging their government to acquire permanent page 635 bases. ‘My brother… died so that we may remain British. All our boys overseas are fighting for the same reason.’71

Another commended the Star for affording discussion ‘when in other quarters all criticism is being suppressed’, and believed that most New Zealanders and especially soldiers would welcome the proposal. In fairness to those American guests whose behaviour and modesty had commended them to us as friends, as well as to our own forces and our kinsmen in Great Britain, ‘we cannot allow the notion to be spread about that we feel ourselves to be urgently in need of “protection” and that for this purpose we desire, or are even willing, to accept a foreign suzerainty over our affairs.’ New Zealand felt committed to assisting America in the event of its becoming embroiled in war with Japan and to this end had supplied large quantities of food, labour and building materials, suspending its own urgent building programme, yet the impression seemed current that indebtedness to America was increasing daily. It would be no less than honest ‘if we demand to know what is going on and where we stand today.’72

There were voices on the other side. One declared that ‘thousands of dinkum New Zealanders’ would welcome a permanent United States naval base:… we are only a tiny people against Japan’s teeming millions… Thank God for a friendly and powerful Uncle Sam…. Without him we should be part of the “Co-prosperity Sphere” today—no doubt about that.’73 ‘Gratitude’ wrote: ‘In our dire need we appealed to America for help, to which she most nobly responded, by sending loads of equipment and many thousands of her gallant sons, many of whom have paid the supreme sacrifice. Where is our Christian spirit, our brotherhood of man, our gratitude, if after the war we begrudge a home to the men who have so valiantly protected us. We cry out that our country needs a larger population. Who are more entitled to live with us in New Zealand than those who have saved us?’74 Another held that it would be to our benefit to have some Americans always with us: ‘I say “Thank you America, and God bless you”’75 ‘Travelled Britisher’ was ashamed of local narrow-mindedness: ‘Many who really love New Zealand would welcome here those whose slogan is progress, and who would raise the standard of living in this very backward country, and teach us lessons in real freedom, efficiency, organisation, loyalty and in manners, personal fastidiousness and culture.’76

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In the House on 8 March 1943, F. W. Doidge drew attention to recent reports of an American senator saying that aerodromes in New Zealand had been built using lend-lease funds and that the United States should not relinquish them after the war. He pointed out that many powerful American papers did not like New Zealand and constantly attacked Britain, naming the Hearst press, Time and Fortune, and the Chicago Tribune which had lately said that after the war another star, representing New Zealand, would be added to the Stars and Stripes. Although New Zealand had great regard for the United States people and their President, and great appreciation of their assistance and was very glad to have America as an ally, people must remember that ‘that country came into the war because she had to when she was attacked.’ Britain would always be the Motherland, and ‘we will never for one moment agree that on New Zealand soil any flag shall fly other than our own and the Union Jack.’77 Sir Apirana Ngata also pressed the question of post-war use of Pacific bases and Fraser assured the House that no such proposals had been made by the United States government.78 On 10 March Fraser referred to statements by Sumner Welles79 and Cordell Hull, published and broadcast that day, concerning belief that means of international security should be adopted in future so that the Pacific would be kept safe for all law-abiding and peaceful nations. But Fraser said that there had been no conversations between the United States and New Zealand about military or naval bases in the Pacific. He believed that the President of the United States was incapable of a mean action, or of fostering any arbitrary, unjust or tyrannical policy. There had been in the American press certain remarks that would have been better unsaid, notably by the ‘atrocious’ Chicago Tribune, but these had been effectively answered in America. Nash, questioned in the United States by newspapers about post-war bases, had said that New Zealand would be quite prepared to discuss any matter of that kind on a reciprocal basis. ‘But the idea of coming into New Zealand for the purpose of establishing a base here has never crossed the minds of the American Government or people.’80 A month later, on returning from America, Nash in an interview made it clear that no statement by him had committed page 637 New Zealand to granting the permanent use of any of its bases to the United States or any other power.81

Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt’s week-long visit at the end of August 1943, when American troop numbers here were near their peak, gave a timely boost to their morale. It also warmed New Zealand feeling generally towards the great ally. Her plain, straightforward bearing, her interest and warmth and her well-expressed regard for New Zealand induced cordiality even in the disenchanted. She was not a political power, her stress was always on the women’s area, but she was the President’s Lady and a strong personality.

As New Zealand became an American base, administration grew and material poured in as well as men. This meant taking over offices and storage space, and building a great deal more of the latter, mainly on the outskirts of Auckland and Wellington. It also required labour, principally in Auckland, which was the main base. The Americans offered higher pay, and jobs were keenly sought by typists and office girls and women drivers on whom ‘working for the Americans’ conferred prestige as well as cash, and by watersiders, drivers, storemen and labourers to whom the pay, with massive overtime at mounting rates, was remarkable, let alone the chance of acquiring a few goods as bounty.

At Auckland, waterside work for the Americans increased so much that

it represented one-third of the rest of New Zealand, including civilian vessels at Auckland. The shortage of labour at that port was mainly overcome by the registration of non-union labour through the Man-power authorities and the employment of Civil Servants and other forty-hour-week workers during week-ends and night shifts. The difficulty was further accentuated at that port due to the requirements of labour for stores off the wharf controlled by the United States authorities. It was quite frequent for over 2000 non-unionists to be employed each day in addition to approximately 1800 unionists…. At other ports the shortage of labour was not so acute….82

To make sure of enough labour whenever it was needed, the American Army Transport Service, through direct negotiations with the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Waterside Workers Union, made an agreement, effective from 9 November 1942, to pay men working on Army and Navy vessels an extra shilling an hour above page 638 the normal rates. This applied only at Auckland83 and only to those vessels, not to others under the control of the United States War Shipping Administration.84 This bonus subsumed various award concessions such as 2d or 3d an hour more for handling explosives, dirt money or work in freezers, and it provided that work should continue in rain.85

Cargo and stores work at ports, done in shifts, was better paid than similar unskilled work elsewhere, especially for night shifts and at weekends. Whereas an ordinary day on the wharves, 8 am to 5 pm at 3s 2d an hour, would earn 25s 4d, a week-day night shift, 11 pm to 7 am at 6s an hour, was worth 48s plus a hot meal, and all work from 6 pm on Saturday night to 7 am on Monday morning was at 7s 4d an hour.86 From the wharf, goods were trucked to stores, maybe miles away, and held there till needed, often in a hurry, at various camps or hospitals, or on an island-bound ship. All this meant much sorting and re-handling.

Regular members of the waterfront union were not involved as much as were casuals in overlong hours, sometimes 20 hours on end. Men in all kinds of jobs (for there were no able-bodied unemployed by June 1942) who at the outset volunteered to lend a helping, albeit well-paid, hand to the war effort with extra work soon found that they were on to a very good thing. When they could not induce Manpower officers to release them full time, many simply ignored Manpower directions; others contrived to do night shifts preceding days off or half days; others turned up at their normal jobs so tired as to be useless. The New Zealand Herald reported that these men included tramways employees, civil servants, freezing workers, office staffs and men in practically all trades.

Police constables have formed a large section of the spare-time workers in American stores. Action was taken by the police authorities with a view to preventing the constables from sharing in the wages paid by the Americans, but the men have continued. This indicates that the inducement offered for men in regular employment to work for the Americans is strong enough to overshadow preventive action by employers. Representations have been made to official quarters to have the position rectified.87

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Employers complained that ‘working for the Americans’ produced widespread industrial troubles, ranging from absenteeism to restlessness and discontent.88

The number of casual workers involved increased as 1943 wore on, while officials worried over the effect both on stabilisation and production. Dismay was heightened in June, when study of the small print in the Lend-Lease Agreement signed 10 months earlier revealed that, except for administrative personnel, these unruly wages were not a hand-out from America’s cornucopia but were, under reverse lend-lease, paid by New Zealand. The Secretary of Labour wrote in July: ‘… had it been made known to the late Mr Coates and myself when we visited Auckland last November that wage costs were a charge against lease-lend, we would, I think, have been in a different position and could have requested closer control over the wages paid.’89 With an election in a few months, there was no wish to draw general attention to this confusion. Not till January 1944, when the American withdrawal was beginning, was it made public ‘in a reprint of a speech by Mr Nash’ that ‘instead of being the bounty of a wealthy “Uncle Sam”, the payments have had the effect of raising New Zealand war costs and are a burden on all classes of the community.’90

The history of the Waterfront Control Commission comments that the watersiders and most New Zealanders felt that Americans were fools to pay so much. It was thought that the American ships were a good thing and that as they would not last long the men ought to get as much as possible out of them. The growth of this attitude was due in the main to the actions of the Americans themselves. The lavish way in which money was squandered on unnecessary labour, top wages paid to sinecure holders, the employment of incompetent men in responsible positions, was most unwise. Some unreliable men were employed as foremen and any man sacked by the Waterfront Control Commission could at once be employed at higher pay; ‘In two cases men dismissed for drunkenness on the job were taken over by the Americans.’ In such circumstances, slack work was common, as was belief that all wharf workers were getting tremendous wages all the time.91

In October 1943 there was a conference of the unions concerned, the Federation of Labour, the Waterfront Control Commission and page 640 the Labour Department, with the American authorities;92 as the Dominion noted three months later, no official statement was made.93 Baker states that, after negotiations, ‘some improvement followed, but the position was never completely satisfactory. The damage had been done—existing employees were receiving the higher rates of pay. Dissatisfaction somewhere was inevitable.’94 For casual labour, negotiations achieved some cut-back in the application of overtime rates. In April 1944 an Auckland Star article, amended by the American censor in consultation with the Labour Department, claimed that the present policy of the United States authorities was to comply with the rates and conditions of awards, and that the old days when unskilled labourers could amass well over £20 a week were now a memory, though work in capacities not covered by awards was paid at agreed rates, accepted by New Zealand officials.95

Some aspects of the situation were shown in an article written for the New Zealand Herald on 3 March 1944 and suppressed by the American censor, the Secretary of Labour and the Director of Publicity, in concert, as likely to affect industrial relations and impede the war effort. By an agreement between the Labour Department, the relevant unions, and the Americans on 2 February, effective from 25 February, workers called for casual night-time store jobs were to be paid at ordinary shift rates, 3s 2d an hour, plus 3s bonus for the night shift, not overtime rates at 6s 4d an hour. This was not understood by 300 men who answered a night call for stores work at Sylvia Park. They arrived in trucks, found they were to receive about half of what they expected, refused to work and were trucked back to town; but on the next two nights the required number turned up. An official of the Auckland Builders and General Labourers Union said that the government’s intention to stop day workers in essential industry also doing night work for the Americans at overtime rates while permanent labourers were on lower rates had much to commend it. He added that ‘many office workers report for work after hours at Sylvia Park, including some prominent manpower officials who prosecute workers for absenteeism during the daytime whilst at the same time endeavouring to conserve their energy for another night’s work at remunerative pay for the Americans….’96

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Shipbuilding was a field in which New Zealanders worked notably for Americans without attracting the public attention given to unskilled casual labour on wharves, or even to well-paid typists. Regulations, amended as needed, provided for the overtime and pay rates of defence workers; Manpower decisions and transfers governed who did what. This work is discussed among the other achievements of the war-extended shipbuilding industry;97 for security reasons it had little publicity until late in 1944. Repairs to American vehicles and machinery were other labours that were not publicised. In workshops among the buildings that sprawled over several acres on the west bank of the Tamaki, Auckland, near the railway line, skilled New Zealanders turned out a stream of renovated jeeps, trucks, tanks, bulldozers, heavy and light machinery. Their work won the approval of American technicians, stood the test of further Pacific service, and saved much material.98

Not all Americans were courteous and inquiring. Some were so simply sure that they were the top nation saving New Zealand that it was easy to expect girls to welcome them with homage as heroes; many girls unconcerned with strategy, for whom men were the mainspring of life, were ready to comply. American public relations authorities gave tactful but vague advice in a General Order posted on all United States bulletin boards and published by many newspapers early in December 1942:


When organisations arrive in New Zealand they will find themselves in a friendly and interesting country where preceding units have established an enviable record for good conduct and military bearing, which must be continued by all officers and men.


You will find the country depleted of its young men. They are absent on military duty in the New Zealand Army, which has proven itself on the field of battle in this and the first world war as one of the “fightingest” organisations in the world. In Greece, Crete, and in Egypt they fought and are fighting our battles in our war, and not only as soldiers but as individuals they and their people merit our highest respect and affection.


To the end that we may grow to understand better these admirable and generous-hearted people in this pleasing wholesome little country, I ask that the officers and men under my command endeavour to maintain in their relationship with New Zealanders the highest and best traditions of our country and the Corps we page 642 represent. Let us not be laggard in meeting and returning the open-hearted hospitality tended to us on all sides, and resolve to keep to the high standards which we in decency and honour are expected to maintain.99

Late in 1942 any young woman would have agreed that New Zealand was depleted of its young men. The last large ballot of single men had been taken in August 1941, and 21-year-olds were regularly drained towards overseas service. Thousands of Grade II and III men were in home service camps, plus the 18–20-year-olds; while among the Air Force volunteers many under 21 were, with their parents’ consent, leaving to finish their training overseas. After March 1942 ballots sifted through married men with children, reaching the 40-year-olds by November. Between October 1942 and the following March about 20 000 men in the Army alone left New Zealand for the Middle East and the Pacific.

There were thousands of young girls without boy-friends, young wives and fiancées whose men had been away for two years or even three. There were many others attached, some firmly, some lightly, to men tucked away in New Zealand camps, or relegated to industry, perhaps working long hours and lacking the glamour of uniform. At all levels, girls with well-appointed homes and indulgent parents, girls earning £2 a week, were feeling the pinch: the lack of fun, admiration, excitement and sex, let alone the yearning to love and be loved. They were, especially the younger ones, in varying degrees vulnerable.

On this man-denuded scene, made more grey by petrol and travel restrictions, blackouts and shortages, came the well-garbed Americans in their thousands. ‘There were so many of them,’ sighed an 18-year-old redhead of 1942, 30 years later, recalling the sudden wealth of escorts, the burst of warmth and vitality that flowed out from Service clubs and street encounters into the suburbs. There was immediate appreciation of American manners: they rose to their feet as if on springs when a woman approached; hats were doffed, even in lifts; seats were offered in trams, or skilfully pushed in at tables; elbows were held protectively as streets were crossed. In talk they were cheerful and easy; their agile ‘ma’ams’ and ‘sirs’ gratified the elders, girls found them wittier and less serious than New Zealanders. The American habit of hyperbole helped the effect; troops away from home often have a dash and verve that would surprise their own folk, and even stock-in-trade conversation, if from Chicago or Seattle or St Louis, seemed brighter for being unfamiliar.

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These charms were augmented by money. American pay rates were higher than New Zealanders’,100 and many coming from the islands and due to return there had substantial amounts of back pay and every intention of spending it. For a ‘date’, a posy of flowers might be sent, the young man might bring sweets or chocolates, he would certainly be lavish with cigarettes; a sheaf of roses or other flowers might arrive a day or so after a pleasant evening or as a ‘thank-you’ to a hostess. There were meals at hotels, and rooms for private entertainment; liquor was somehow acquired, there were taxis, one went places. It was fun to dress up and be admired, fun to talk with the girls at work about one’s American and his buddies, fun to flourish cigarettes and gum, perhaps parade a slight accent. It was exciting to be squired by men from far away, whose place back home would lose nothing and possibly gain much in the telling. With such largesse suddenly replacing Saturday nights at the pictures with the girl-friends, it was small wonder that some young women were swept off their feet. The routine question ‘May I see you home?’ was offered on the slightest pretext or none at all. Some accepted brush-offs with cheerful nonchalance, others were persistent or resentful.

Americans were responsible for a good many broken engagements and understandings, and not a few marriages likewise. It was easy, in the climate of war, for a girl intending merely casual friendship to find herself in deep water emotionally, with the distant fiancé seeming remote and unreal. Many a New Zealander in Italy or Egypt or Canada or Waiouru waited for letters, then read the one that told him all was over, or else heard obliquely that his girl was going out with a Yank. Such news wounded and angered not only the man himself, but his friends, and there was enough of it to cause padres and officers some concern: it was bad for morale. On 14 June 1943 the heads of churches, on ‘official information’, made a united appeal to wives and fiancées: if life was difficult for them, it was still harder for their men, and getting bad news while powerless to intervene could cause many a nervous collapse; women had the power, by their faithful courage, to send their men into battle gallant and high-hearted or to break their morale by callous forgetfulness; campaigns were being lost or won not only in the Middle East or the Pacific but in New Zealand and in our own souls.101 A student page 644 newspaper, writing about returning New Zealanders who found allied servicemen cozily ensconced, was severe: ‘Any married or engaged woman who cannot wait till a man returns from overseas to settle her emotional problems has about as much stability as a prostitute.’102

Americans of course were not the only ones taking over the girls at home; civilians reserved in essential industry had their share. Both roused the ire of the long-service men who returned on furlough in July 1943, some to meet coldness or requests for divorce, others to be amazed at conduct that had grown commonplace. A weekly paper that in March had remarked, ‘Daylight lovemaking in side-streets is now a common spectacle in Auckland and Wellington’,103 was less urbane in August:

Men returned to Auckland and Wellington have had their eyes opened to sights they thought they had left behind in Cairo— girls peddling their bodies from darkened doorways and cheap dance halls; so-called “socialites” dining and drinking at fashionable hotels with visiting servicemen and displaying an unrefined technique veering from Dick Turpin banditry to Du Barry harlotry.104

It would probably not be wrong to say that if some girls were tarty little dollar-diggers, many more were recklessly enchanted into uncritical acceptance of the lads from the big, rich, go-ahead nation; most were in nowise affected. There were, of course, deep and enduring attachments: 1396 women married Americans in New Zealand,105 let alone the unknown others who in due course followed fiancés to the States; though a proportion of these marriages foundered early, they were not alone in this. Often there was no question of marriage, but there was pleasure, sincerity and compassion in knowing men lonely in heart and futureless in war. Despite all the ardour of words and youth, many a girl, as the grey ships slid away, knew that whether he lived or died she would never see that man again. From the end of 1943 New Zealanders were beginning to return from overseas and more were being released from home service. But there are probably many mothers and grandmothers of New Zealanders who still have a place in their hearts for Brad or Joe from California or Illinois, fathers and grandfathers of Americans who remember a girl gay or lovely at Wellington or Auckland or Whangarei, memories to balance those of crowded leave trains and grey coffee.

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Inevitably there were fights. The troops of two nations, on leave, were jammed into towns, overcrowding pubs, eating-houses and all public places. There were genuine likings and friendships between Yanks and Kiwis, there was cheerful badinage in bars, there were no persisting feuds, as of gangs. Military police in various uniforms constantly patrolled, alert to catch trouble in the bud; but confrontations could arise in a moment when small incidents touched off deeper irritations.

The visitors were troops, numerous and transitory, looking for pleasure and excitement between spells of boredom and danger, but there was very little entertainment or activity for them. Apart from the Australians in their corner, it was obvious that the Pacific war was the Americans’ affair: it was easy for them to forget that New Zealand’s Division was pulling its weight elsewhere and had done so for three years, easy for New Zealanders to think that their Division was worth more than a great many big-mouthed Americans. New Zealanders were irked by American affluence; the girls ‘crazy’ over Americans were far more conspicuous than the many whose interest was friendly but decorous,106 or the many who were not involved at all; and ‘nigger’, uttered by a Southerner to or about a Maori, could be a fighting word.

All these irritations were exacerbated by boredom and booze, especially by bad booze. Turned from the bars at 6 o’clock, those Americans and New Zealanders not absorbed by Service clubs, the homes of friends, dance halls or the pictures, took to the streets armed with assorted liquors and next morning the streets would be littered with broken glass, ‘It is strong, fightable stuff, provocative of trouble, and has caused trouble,’ stated the Evening Post.107

This was saying as much as could be said of such trouble, for, although there were reports from Australia of brawls between Australian and United States servicemen,108 New Zealand censorship suppressed such local reports as subversive statements likely to prejudice relations between His Majesty’s subjects and those of a friendly foreign state. Offences by New Zealand servicemen in which civilians were not concerned were usually handled by military police and courts, and on 8 April 1943 regulations granted American authorities exclusive jurisdiction in criminal charges against members of the American armed forces, although any offences against civilians would, except for security reasons, be tried in open court.109 Presumably page 646 through an early censorship slip, the Press on 27 November 1942 revealed an Auckland coroner’s report that an American soldier, felled by an unknown Maori in a drunken street brawl on 15 October, died later of a fractured skull. On some other occasions reports of trials of civilians involved in such clashes might briefly mention ‘a disturbance’, ‘an affray’ or ‘a skirmish’ between New Zealanders and visiting servicemen. An article in a weekly paper during February 1943 was not repeated by other papers. This ‘Shots in Shortland Street’ stated that in the early hours of 10 February an altercation in Auckland between New Zealand and American servicemen over women flared into bottle throwing and ‘several scarcely playful bouts of fisticuffs’, subsided for a few moments while reinforcements were whistled up, then ‘according to an onlooker’ pistols were drawn and it appeared that two men were wounded though on which side was not clear.110

The most celebrated incident of this sort was Wellington’s ‘Battle of Manners Street’ on Saturday 3 April 1943. It apparently began with a confrontation between Southern Marines and Maoris, a crowd gathered, largely from nearby Service clubs, and a general fracas developed. Reports were that several men had been killed and more sent to hospital.111 This was denied by an Evening Post article on 8 April—‘no man is in hospital and none in worse condition’ —and by the police next day. ‘There was certainly a bit of a skirmish’, stated the Commissioner. It had started in a lane and was quickly handled by the police and provosts from various Services. The crowd was dispersed, but another gathered again and was in turn dispersed. Later in the evening, a further little group started an argument and was yet again dispersed. One New Zealand civilian was arrested and dealt with by the court,112 one New Zealand serviceman was arrested and dealt with by his own officers, no United States serviceman was arrested or charged.

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‘There was not a single person injured, much less taken to hospital or killed, as rumour has it’, said the Police Commissioner, reproving rumour-mongers. He warned that in future civilians who incited servicemen to fight would be treated very firmly by the police, regardless of age or sex, while similar firm action would be taken by the Services against any of their own men concerned.113

The New Zealand Herald remarked that official suppression of facts had bred grotesque rumours. If the eventual plain and straightforward account of what had actually happened had been made public at the time there would have been no scope for the distorted version. The Commissioner was probably not responsible for the original suppression, for as an experienced police officer he would realise the sterilising effect of plain truth and the contrary result of denying publicity to facts which could not possibly affect national security.114 The New Zealand Observer on 14 April also disapproved of ‘futile secrecy’.

Police at the time were concerned to keep the peace and, by playing down excitement, avoid vendetta repetition. In post-war calm a police sergeant remembers the ‘action’ as fierce: provost corps from all Services turned out, together with the civil police. United States Marine provosts had wagons into which they tossed anyone who had been coshed. But the action was short and sharp: the police made no reports and laid no charges; persons taken into custody were servicemen and were delivered directly to the appropriate Service. He remembered the cause of the trouble as a fracas between reinforcements for the Maori Battalion and Marines who had befriended some Maori girls.115

Several less publicised mělées were referred to in court reports. For instance, on the afternoon of 26 April 1943 at a boxing tourney in the Basin Reserve, Wellington, two New Zealand soldiers and others started a general disturbance, stated the police. ‘The trouble seemed to start with a little bit of jealousy between these men and overseas servicemen.’ A general fight took place in which a policeman was knocked down and kicked, and plain clothes men helped the constables. The two local soldiers were convicted of obstructing the police.116

There was a ‘serious affray’ in an amusement park in Auckland’s Queen Street on the evening of 3 May 1943 between Maoris and American sailors, in which a Maori and a Negro were both stabbed, the latter seriously; a Maori who had incited others to fight was sent page 648 to prison for two weeks.117 On 21 June at Wellington in two separate incidents, large crowds collected about two civilians who challenged passing Americans, calling on everyone to ‘come and fight the Yanks’. Both men were fined, the magistrate warning of future gaol sentences for an offence that was becoming far too common.118 In Auckland a few months later, a reputable man with a deep-seated matrimonial grudge against Americans was fined for similar action.119 A report in Truth on 13 October 1943, headlined ‘Battle Royal with Police’, sounded like mere skylarking by a few American sailors at Napier, but the next week’s issue told of four Marines ‘running amok’ and breaking windows in Otaki before being overpowered by Maoris. Presumably there were other such incidents which did not reach the press.

Jury verdicts early in 1944 were further signs that the welcome was cooling. Two Auckland killings in which Americans were involved were dismissed as justifiable homicides: a 19-year-old New Zealand soldier shot an American soldier with whom he had been drinking and who had made a homosexual suggestion to him,120 and a man killed his wife with a hammer after she told him that she loved an American and would go away with him.121 These unusual verdicts prompted several newspaper comments, some questioning the jury system,122 another claiming that many people in discussing the second case found the verdict ‘a just and proper one’.123

Considering how many Americans there were, newspaper references were scanty, for over them brooded the anxious, many-angled censorship. To begin with, on 24 June 1942 Admiral Ghormley proposed that all press copy, photographs and films on allied nations’ military activities in the South Pacific, including New Zealand, should be censored at American Naval Headquarters, Auckland, adding that this would not affect the general New Zealand censorship already established at Wellington.124 This was an unacceptable intrusion on sovereignty.125 The Director of Publicity, J. T. Paul, answered that Wellington was the chief centre of activity, that the censor in Wellington was the ‘final arbiter’, and that as the ‘closest page 649 liaison’ was necessary between him and the American Naval Command’s censorship, it would be valuable to have a representative of the latter in Wellington.126

As stated earlier,127 the official press situation was maintained somewhat imperfectly till 20 November 1942. On 17 October of that year Paul summarised events in a memorandum:

Leaving aside the announcement which came from America many months ago that the vanguard of an American force had arrived in New Zealand, which in plain fact was the visit of an American Cruiser [in February 1942],128 the most definite reference to United States forces in New Zealand was contained in a broadcast from the United States by the Prime Minister of New Zealand.129

This was made with the full concurrence of the Office of Public Relations United States Navy, and a copy of the following communication was addressed to the Publicity Officer, New Zealand Legation, on August 28:—

This is to verify that there is no objection to the mention of the fact that United States sailors and marines are present in New Zealand, as this is a matter of common knowledge. The United States Army Authorities on the other hand wish no reference to be made to the presence of their troops.

It was then emphasised that there should be no publication beyond general terms and no published reference to numbers of troops, ships, units, or personnel.

Prior to Mr Fraser’s broadcast several published references had been made in the American press to the presence of United States troops in New Zealand. Many more have since been made, the latest being yesterday when Mr Stimson, Secretary for War, announced130 that American forces are now stationed in New Zealand. In addition to this Mr Stimson said that substantial United States Army forces were now in the New Hebrides, Fiji, and other points where their presence was undisclosed previously …. In view of this, the task of preventing press publication in New Zealand is not only impossible, but it borders on the absurd.

For a period of almost six months I have endeavoured … to have the position in New Zealand clarified. I have urged that the page 650 established and tested principles relating to publicity covering our own troops should be applied in all material particulars to United States troop movements. I have suggested that there should be no published references whatever to the movements of United States troops, to the numbers, to any ships, units, or to personnel, without the concurrence of the United States Public Relations Officer and Censor in Auckland. The invariable reply has been that no authority for release can be given in New Zealand and that everything has to be released on authority from Pearl Harbour. This reply was again reiterated yesterday by Lieutenant-Commander Gifford, Acting Public Relations Officer in Auckland, following the receipt of Mr Stimson’s references.

In view of these latest references, including the second cable in the press this morning relating to the publication of a United States edition of the booklet ‘Meet New Zealand’, it appears to me unwise, unnecessary, and certainly most confusing, if not indeed worse, to continue the endeavour to limit safe published references within New Zealand. I therefore urge that with proper safeguards the question of publishing general references to the presence of American servicemen in New Zealand, including photographs, should now be permitted.

Paul referred to articles in the Washington Star of 22 August and in Newsweek of 31 August, describing New Zealand hospitality and the building of camps for Americans, and concluded:

I most strongly urge that in view of the above facts the present position cannot be allowed to continue. The press of New Zealand should not be expected to accept an arrangement which prohibits publication of events occurring within New Zealand and allows newspapers outside the country full liberty of publication…. common sense demands an immediate reversal of the present unsatisfactory and untenable position.131

The United States Naval Censor at Auckland worried over transgressions and himself reproved some newspapers that had referred to individuals of the forces in their social columns. These papers asked the Director of Publicity if there were one or two censorships in New Zealand, and the Director asked the Naval Censor to refer evasions to him.132 After 20 November, when information on United States forces could be published, subject to United States naval censorship, the appointment of an assistant naval censor at Wellington was completed, to speed up the release of domestic copy, but material page 651 for overseas had to be cleared at Auckland and some had to be referred to Pearl Harbour.133

Basically, the American view was that all domestic copy mentioning Americans must be submitted to American censorship, each case to be judged on its own merits. For many routine references this seemed to newspaper men an irksome intrusion on their trade. To an extent the Director of Publicity agreed with them, and he tried continually to establish with the Americans a code of what might and might not be released, with areas of editorial responsibility, conniving meanwhile at uncensored publication of obviously innocent references, while such terms as ‘Allied’ or ‘visiting’ servicemen evaded the issue and were fully understood by readers. There could, of course, be no mention of numbers, units, high ranking officers, camp locations, arrivals or departures, equipment or training.

On 11 June 1943, South Pacific Command instructed that, due to progress in the campaign and the increasing security of New Zealand, censorship could be more liberal with a view to promoting the interest and co-operation of the New Zealand public. As the presence here of Marines was by then well known, they need no longer be merely ‘US servicemen’, while photographs and news items of the activities usually associated with the training of troops and of general interest might appear, subject to the usual security limitation and ‘subject, of course, to censorship to prevent writers from failing to observe proper security instructions.’134

This liberalisation had in fact been anticipated. Even the Chief Naval Censor at Auckland realised the impracticability, especially after victory was assured at Guadalcanal, of pretending that thousands of interesting and visible visitors did not exist. In the New Zealand Herald, not a rebellious paper, photographs and accounts of Americans eating Thanksgiving dinners, inspecting Maori carvings at Rotorua and entertaining orphans had appeared before New Year.135 There had been descriptions of the streamlined efficiency of naval barracks on 10 December 1942, of an Army camp two days later, of a naval hospital on the 29th; on 30 December, of the recent Spartan experiences of a combat unit from the US Marine Corps on an intensive training course, firing live ammunition over the rugged country beyond New Zealand’s largest inland camp, sleeping in bivouac tents thirty inches high, ‘small enough to be heated with a candle’, and eating two meals a day. One suspects that this was page 652 the sort of thing that South Pacific Command had in mind on 11 June 1943.

The Chief Naval Censor expected more publicity but still wanted all copy mentioning United States troops in any way to be submitted for censorship. Some newsmen dutifully complied, others, sure that they themselves could avoid security pitfalls, did not proffer routine minor references. Paul, a former journalist, saw the practical difficulties and in announcing the liberalisation of 11 June he had written: ‘In large measure the principle of editorial censorship within the regulations and these directions will operate.’136 Frequently, complaints of papers encroaching on and usurping United States authority were made by the Chief Naval Censor to Paul, who with one hand soothed the irate American and with the other shook a cautioning finger at the careless editor, saying that security was not the only consideration, it was also necessary to preserve good relations; but very rarely did he find that these complaints justified a restraining order obliging an editor to submit all such references to censorship. It would, he explained to the Solicitor-General, ‘be impossible for newspapers to conduct their business and give the necessary publicity to United States troops in New Zealand if every item, social and other, was to be submitted to United States censorship and later released by my office.’137 With this attitude the Naval Attaché in Wellington agreed.138

Occasionally outright mistakes occurred, as when the arrival of an American major-general (in company with Lieutenant-General Freyberg) was published in the New Zealand Herald,139 or when Marines included their rank and units in lost property advertisements.140 But security as such was not the only angle. New Zealand’s censorship concerning Americans was also dominated by a 1942 addition to the definition of a subversive statement: one intended or likely to prejudice the relations between His Majesty’s subjects and a friendly foreign state or the subjects of any such state.141 The zeal of J. T. Paul in administering this elastic-sided clause was heavily reinforced by the Chief Naval Censor at Auckland, whose authority was guided by occasional directives from South Pacific Command, and whose perception of his responsibility, both for security and for publicity policy, was very wide. In the latter area, page 653 there were clashes when United States servicemen, involved indirectly in court cases, were mentioned unfavourably. Newspapers held that they had a right to publish what was said in open court, that such publicity was part of the newspaper service and of the system of justice. A few instances show the clash of values. Several of these occurred before the liberalisation of June 1943, but already some newspapers, and to some extent the Director of Publicity, had taken the line that non-military references need not be referred to American censors.

In March 1943 in a case of petty theft, it was stated that New Zealanders working at a Marine Corps store had been given goods and that Marines took goods away. The magistrate, J. H. Luxford, referring to the allegedly loose system at these stores, said that he would like to hear a sworn statement on it by a responsible officer of the Corps, adding, ‘I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that so many Auckland homes are using United States goods. It is a sort of Uncle Sam’s largesse.’142 The Auckland Star’s chief reporter, when taxed by the Naval Censor with this impropriety, said that his paper would continue to print court proceedings unless expressly forbidden by the Director of Publicity. The Chief Naval Censor then asked Paul that all references to American forces, in court or elsewhere, be submitted to censorship, New Zealand or American.143 Paul replied that in practice he allowed co-operative newspapers to use discretion: United States troops were in so many parts of New Zealand from time to time that it would not be possible to have every news mention of them censored before publication. He added that it would be preferable to decide on definite directives to be observed with mutual co-operation.144 In June, reporting two suits for matrimonial damages in which Marines were involved, Truth gave prominence to a judge’s comment that no one could excuse a man who took advantage of a serviceman’s absence to start a relationship with his wife and commit adultery with her.145 The Chief Naval Censor complained of ‘very flagrant violation’ in not submitting such stories for censorship.

While it is not contended that such publicity should at present be totally suppressed, the dictates of good judgement as well as good taste demand that the prominence of such copy be minimized. This newspaper had no right whatever to mention the names of Marines, the fact that the one in Auckland was a Shore Patrol officer, or any of the sordid details which were apparently page 654 published for the express purpose of creating ill will between our peoples…. it is earnestly requested that the matter be severely and summarily dealt with.146

Paul replied with both firmness and sense: ‘I do not agree that the names of Marines appearing in our Courts should be suppressed unless there exists an ample security reason in any particular case …. Personally I think the articles should have been submitted, but if the result of such submission would have been to delete what is described as “sordid details”, then I am afraid both the United States censorship and the New Zealand censorship is [sic] heading for trouble.’ Deletion by censorship of the judge’s comment ‘could not be justified’. The only effective treatment would be suppression of any reference to the case, but that again could not be contemplated.

The plain fact is that censorship of Supreme Court proceedings, unless imperative for security reasons, would be highly improper and contrary to public interest.

Looking at the whole question dispassionately, it is inconceivable that episodes of this character should not occur. Given similar circumstances in any country, and with any troops—our own, of course, included—irregularities of this character are unavoidable. If this position were reversed and New Zealand troops were in America, the general standard of conduct of those troops and American women would be very similar. This must also be said— if two similar cases, arising out of the circumstances described, occurred in America, a certain class of American newspaper would make much more of them than has been made by “N.Z. Truth”.147

The Naval Censor replied that Paul’s views on Supreme Court censorship were most interesting and that in the main he agreed: ‘We must always consider, however, that the demands of wartime censorship might conceivably be of greater importance to the war effort, and therefore to the welfare of the United Nations and their peoples, even than the statement of a Supreme Court Justice, if such a statement either compromised the security or jeopardized the amicable relations of our allies and ourselves. To such extremes, even one wearing the robes of judicial privilege should not be permitted to go.’148

The Censor’s anxious protection of America in all fields was further shown in his response to some cultural evaluations, headed ‘Nation or Colony?’, in the New Zealand Observer. After briefly page 655 reporting a lecture in which a literary American officer had discussed the need to develop a specifically New Zealand culture the editor, R. B. Bell,149 while agreeing, added that the problem was complex and needed time. America faced the same difficulties and, though older and much larger, ‘has not yet produced a writer, musician or artist of the very first rank…. It has, of course, produced a number of very good writers, musicians and artists. I mean simply that, in the great hierarchy of the world’s imaginative geniuses, America does not exist. Nor could anything else be expected.’150

The Observer’s editor regularly failed to submit copy for censorship. He had now added insult to injury, and the Naval Censor was indignant: ‘As pointed out previously … Mr Bell is actually usurping the prerogative of American censorship, which is contrary to your regulations and to ours.’ Further, the article ‘contains statements regarding American culture which appear to be both untrue and uncalled for. After viewing with pride the bust of the poet Longfellow in Westminster Abbey, I could not help but feel pride in the fact that England had recognised the attainments of a truly great American poet. It was with equal pride that numerous pictures by American artists were viewed in the National Gallery and Tate’s Gallery in London. Courses in American literature are given at Oxford, all of which seems to negative the statements of R.D.B. [sic]’151

Although a restraining order had already been placed on this editor obliging him to submit all copy concerning Americans to the American censors, it was decided to take no action in this instance. Later, in December, to the Chief Naval Censor’s great satisfaction, he was convicted and fined for a breach of censorship in a brief oracular statement on 27 October that an Auckland pilot might soon bring the first Mosquito from England to New Zealand.152 On 24 December the Chief Naval Censor noted with satisfaction that the Observer was now adopting a friendly policy.153

Various issues continued, mainly over small matters. The Americans had long been reluctant to define what could or could not be page 656 published but at length, with their agreement, the Director of Publicity on 3 November 1943 issued a list of topics which could not be mentioned without clearance by the Director of Publicity or the United States Censors acting on his behalf. Besides the obvious military silences—names, rank, movements of senior officers, strengths, movements of units, equipment, casualties, malarial control—these included letters or interviews with any United States serviceman; proceedings before any United States courts or boards in New Zealand; local court proceedings in which United States servicemen were witnesses or parties, if evidence given by or concerning them was reported or United States military matters mentioned. ‘The important topic of right relationships’ was left to editorial judgment, guided by public safety regulations, especially that of a subversive statement being one intended or likely to prejudice relations between New Zealanders and Americans; editors were earnestly requested to submit any doubtful items to censorship.154

The restriction on New Zealand court reporting drew protest from A. G. Henderson,155 editor of the Christchurch Star–Sun, as unwarranted interference with the established rights of the press, representing the public. ‘I do not believe’, he wrote, ‘that relations between New Zealanders and Americans are prejudiced by publication of evidence in the courts, but I am certain that relations are prejudiced by the widespread belief that American offenders escape virtually without punishment. As you know, a story that gets into circulation by word of mouth loses nothing in the telling and the only counter to exaggeration is the publication of the truth.’156

An Observer editorial remarked that some topics discussed overseas did not appear in New Zealand, which apparently ‘allows itself to be a convenient doormat for any autocratic jackboot that may come along’, hinted at fresh restrictions, and concluded: ‘Why mention the presence of United States forces at all? Now you see them, now you don’t. It’s dangerous to talk. And the public isn’t nearly as interested as it was.’157 This caused the Chief Naval Censor to wonder on 21 November whether censorship itself should not have been among the prohibited subjects.

Predictably, Truth strongly objected to the court curbings. ‘Since we are neither a subject people nor an enemy occupied country, and we are not [are we not] entitled to expect that our American allies will not invoke the power of censorship as a substitute for decent page 657 democratic measures of discipline and control of their servicemen and the inculcation of courtesy and consideration of our way of life’158 In December, when a magistrate dismissed two women who, after misconduct with Americans, sought separation and maintenance orders against their husbands, Truth’s headlines and details yielded little to the November restrictions: ‘Sick soldier returns to find wife gone crazy with American servicemen’ and ‘No help from this Court—Wives who “kick up heels” with US servicemen’, etc.159

Apart from protest and prosecution, the Chief Naval Censor was armed with ability to release news in favour of docile papers, a weapon probably more telling in the long run. Thus the Auckland Star, which had challenged censorship, complained that news was consistently given first to the New Zealand Herald.160 It may have been this pressure which induced the Star to become ‘friendly and co-operative’ so that the year closed with gift giving and high cordiality.161

As the war moved north, and as from early 1944 the American tide ebbed in New Zealand, censorship tensions relaxed. An incident in March measured the gentler mood. The production of a play, ‘A Yank in Remuera’ by Professor Sewell of Auckland University, was amiably postponed after tactful suggestions (stemming from the Solicitor-General through Paul, who both remained in the background) that if this play, presenting loose and irresponsible behaviour by American soldiers, reached the States, it would distress many parents who had lately lost sons at Tarawa and other places.162

While American authorities in New Zealand were perturbed by reports on the less admirable though quite inevitable aspects of their troops, and editors were irked by censorship with its blunting excisions and delays, New Zealand war correspondents and the Director of Publicity joined the editors in frustration over the limitations and delays that American security imposed on news about New Zealanders in the Pacific. In May 1944 the United States Command, in refusing to employ the Royal New Zealand Air Force north of the equator, spelled out clearly that New Zealand was not to acquire a claim to any say in the Marshall and Caroline islands after the page 658 war,163 but some flattening of New Zealand’s fighting role was discerned a good deal earlier. Doubtless this was caused by military expediency no less than political foresight: New Zealand’s forces were too small on their own for anything but limited actions, and it was awkward to fit them in with other units. In July 1942 Ghormley had decided that as America had sufficient amphibious troops of its own, New Zealanders would garrison places already held or captured.164 The government did not desire this sheltered role165 and the public, unaware of Ghormley’s decision, waited between fear and hope for the Third Division to ‘get cracking’. It remained safe and silent in New Caledonia and Tonga and Norfolk Island till the latter part of 1943, and then was assigned only minor operations.

Meanwhile a more active part was being taken by the RNZAF, but correspondents had to clear their stories with American headquarters, and there was no gratifying harvest of quick-fire publicity. Much of the earlier work was by bomber-reconnaissance aircraft, scouting for ships and submarines, whose routine, monotonous, necessary vigilance was effectively described from time to time.166 There were tributes to hard-working ground-crews, alert in both dust and mud, and praise from Americans for reliability and navigation: occasionally these aircraft were attacked by the Japanese, and occasionally they bombed a submarine, but there was little to mention in communiqués and the chief enemy was boredom. Nor was it very exciting when the Minister of Defence on 16 December 1942 announced: ‘This is an historical occasion…. I am at liberty to disclose that the R.N.Z.A.F. has taken a further forward step in the operational zone … and has recently been engaged in active operations against the Japanese.’167 New Zealand fighters and fighter bombers were active in the Solomons and shared for months in the page 659 regular attacks that wore down the great base Rabaul between mid-June 1943 and February 1944, destroying in all 99 Japanese aircraft.168 Their ‘bag’, always important in air-war publicity, was given in sundry encounters, under such headings as ‘Furious Dog-fights’ or ‘Rabaul Pounded’, but these releases were isolated and, despite issues of praise by American admirals, New Zealanders had little general vision of the contribution some 15 000 of their total 55 000 airmen were making in the Pacific.169

Similarly, although New Zealand corvettes and minesweepers were active on patrol and convoy duty, and though there were reports on both their strikes and losses, their work was in the main silently accepted, and most of the public would have been surprised to hear that there were 5000 New Zealand navy men in the Pacific.170

In June 1943, New Zealand fighter aircraft claimed their first Zeros in several actions, on which some fairly meagre publicity was released, with comments from the Prime Minister, on 17 June. But a more detailed article and an interview, plus photograph, with four of these pilots on their return soon after to New Zealand, published in the Auckland Star of 22 and 24 June, which were not submitted to American censorship, brought severe rebuke171 to the Director of Publicity. While admitting error, Paul pleaded almost wistfully that it was excellent publicity and that it was necessary to emphasise the exploits of our airmen, not omitting the glamour and thrills, in order to attract potential pilots to the Air Force, where recruits were all volunteers.172 He also gave several instances where reports of New Zealand activities in the South Pacific had emerged from headquarters censoring up to three months late and out of date.173 It transpired that as the operational story behind the interview had already been passed by Censorship in Noumea further American censoring in New Zealand was not called for.174

The Observer hinted at newspaper gossip about this time in its attack on ‘saw-dust Caesars whose morbid pleasure is to pollute the Well of Truth, by arbitrarily and unnecessarily prohibiting the publication of facts…. the prohibitions imposed by both American and New Zealand censors go beyond endurable limits. A case in point page 660 is the current ham-stringing of the war correspondents in the South Pacific’, who were said to be gnawing their nails.175

New Zealand’s first ground action in the Pacific was cloaked in a lengthy news delay. At the end of August 1943 most of 3 NZ Division moved from New Caledonia to Guadalcanal, then on in mid-September to mopping-up work on Vella Lavella which American forces, by-passing heavily defended Kolombangara, had found lightly defended and had attacked successfully on 15 August. Vella Lavella was officially declared secure on 9 October, and the Japanese had evacuated Kolombangara by 6 October. Not till 13 October did a communiqué from Admiral Halsey authorise release of news ‘that New Zealand forces in Vella Lavella have been in contact with the enemy and have played a major role in the taking of this island.’176

The Dominion’s editorial on 12 October had hoped that an adequate official news service from the headquarters of New Zealand’s Pacific Division would not be long delayed, pointing out that the Prime Minister on 28 September had announced that New Zealand troops had moved to a ‘forward area’, but the move to the Solomons had already been told in letters home. ‘It seemed extraordinary that the official announcement had to be delayed so long that private letters were ahead of it.’ On 8 October, the Minister of Defence had made it known that New Zealand troops had been in action against the Japanese, suffering certain casualties, after which the ‘blanket descended again, and, up to the moment of writing, no further information is to hand. All that has been allowed to come direct to the public from Guadalcanal are a few descriptive accounts, most of them written some time ago, of special training for the move, together with details of the landing operations and complimentary references to our troops by Allied commanders. The public will expect much more than this, and, within reasonable considerations of security, much more should be given—and with much greater celerity. Australia is receiving a splendid official news service from New Guinea, a service which undoubtedly has stirred and inspired the public. The people of this country will look for similar enlightenment, and will not be satisfied with a series of colourless ministerial announcements, which by their brevity and ambiguity, are calculated to cause speculation and rumour.’177

Next day Nash hinted that this reticence was imposed by America: while the government was willing and anxious to let everyone know what our men were doing, the wishes of those in charge of page 661 the operations must be considered.178 Later on the same day the Prime Minister announced Halsey’s communiqué. The two subsequent actions by New Zealanders, in the Treasury Islands beginning on 27 October and in the Green Islands on 15 February 1944, were each announced within two or three days.

After the first month or so of 1944 it was clear to the man in the pub, the woman in the street, that the Americans were leaving. The retreat began from Wellington. Buildings were quickly diverted to other purposes, easing some acute pressures. Silverstream Hospital, vacated in April, received many of Wellington’s long-term patients, who had been rusticated in Otaki’s health camp.179 The naval hospital at Avondale, whose architects had envisaged its future use as a school, was snatched for this use amid Auckland’s mounting school population.180 A rest camp at Western Springs became a transit housing settlement, desperately needed.181 Six Rotorua guest houses reverted to normal use.182 Camps and stores, said the Commissioner of Defence Construction James Fletcher, were a reservoir of building materials for the houses demanded by queues of ex-servicemen and others. Camps were systematically demolished, beginning with Paekakariki, to provide quantities of re-planed seasoned timber, doors, plumbing fitments, roofing, piping and electrical wiring. Small huts could go to farmers, helping the production drive; large ones were moved to become warehouses, school halls and classrooms.183 Some are still in service after 35 years.

Hotels, florists, milk bars, restaurants, jewellers and curio shops found business slack; the overtime bonanza ended; the sly grog trade and its associated evils declined;184 civilians found cinema seats and taxis available. Many girls said, in effect, ‘That was fun, but New Zealand boys are for real’, though some would remember the golden years with the nostalgia of the long-gone; some treasured photographs, wrote letters, waited for mail. The 1396 brides waited for transport to the States, and some waited in vain. Most of the men were gone by mid-year, and the administration thinned out. Finally on 26 October 1944 over the last bastion, the naval base at Auckland, the American flag was lowered. The invasion was over.

page 662

v. r. ward, government printer, wellington, new zealand—1986

2 Press, 30 Jan 42

3 NZ Herald, 29 Jan 42; See p. 334ff

4 Press, 12 Feb 42, p. 5

5 Documents Relating to New Zealand’s Participation in the Second World War (hereinafter Documents), vol III, pp. 226–7

6 Wood, p. 225

7 Documents, vol III, p. 235

8 Ibid., pp. 242–5. This last factor was lessened by a press censorship direction on 8 April to treat the Australian return quietly. Wood, p. 225

9 Documents, vol III, p. 249

10 Auckland Star, 11 Mar 42, by J. C. H.

11 Ibid., 28 Apr 42, p. 3; WHN, ‘Censorship of the Press’, chap 7, pp. 6–7

12 Evening Post, 5 May 43, p. 4

13 War History Narrative, ‘Americans in New Zealand’, p. 5

14 Wood, p. 243; Documents, vol III, pp. 261–2

15 NZ Listener, 29 May 42, p. 4

16 Ibid.

17 WHN, ‘Censorship of the Press’, chap VII, p. 5

18 Ibid., p. 1

19 NZ Herald, 13 Jun 42, p. 6

20 Ibid., 19 Jun 42, p. 4; Auckland Star, 8 Sep 42, p. 4

21 Evening Post, 9 Sep 42, p. 4; Dominion, 22 Jun 42, p. 2

22 Evening Post, 19 Jun 42, p. 6

23 The Waldorf, then closed because of labour and other shortages, on the site of the present Manners Street post office.

24 It was drafted by Dr J. C. Beaglehole, at that time Historical Adviser to the Department of Internal Affairs.

25 WHN, ‘Americans in New Zealand’, p. 8. Stemming from Meet New Zealand, Internal Affairs produced a more ambitious, well-illustrated book, Introduction to New Zealand, directed towards middle-brow Americans in general rather than the GI. Many chapters were contributed by experts, the whole edited by Dr Beaglehole and decorated with drawings by the artists Mervyn Taylor and George Woods. It was drafted during 1943, but as printing staff was severely depleted it was not finally issued till 1945. Meanwhile in 1944 F. L. W. Wood’s Understanding New Zealand, a lively discussion angled towards American enlightenment, had been published in New York.

26 The Auckland Star on 1 Sep remarked that when our political leaders were abroad their published utterances were often more informative and interesting than when they were at home.

27 Dominion, 7 Sep 42, p. 4; Auckland Star, 8 Sep 42, p. 4; NZ Herald, 9 Sep 42, p. 5; Evening Post, 7, 9, 11 Sep 42, pp. 4, 4, 4

28 WHN, ‘Censorship of the Press’, chap VII, p. 7

29 Stimson, Henry Lewis (1867–1950): US Sec War 1911–13, 1940–5; Sec State 1929–33

30 See p. 649

31 WHN, ‘Censorship of the Press’, chap VII, pp. 10–11

32 NZ Herald, 2 Dec 42, pp. 2, 4; Press, 5 Dec 42, p. 4

33 WHN, ‘Americans in New Zealand’, pp. 9–10

34 Star–Sun, 8 Jan 43, p. 4; Evening Star, 21 Jun 43, p. 2; Otago Daily Times, 16 Jul 43, p. 2

35 King, Michael, Te Puea, a biography, pp. 212–14

36 Truth, 26 May 43, p. 17; NZ Herald, 16 Nov, 2, 5, 19 Dec 42, pp. 2, 2, 8, 6; Observer, 20 Jan 43, p. 15; Dominion, 6 Mar 43, p. 6; Evening Post, 4 Mar 43, p. 3

37 NZ Listener, 19 Jun 42, p. 9

38 WHN, ‘Americans in New Zealand’, p. 4

39 Auckland Star, 25 May 43, p. 2

40 Evening Post, 11 May, 5 Jun 43, pp. 3, 4

41 Dominion, 11, 16, 23, 27 Sep, 22 Oct 43, pp. 6, 4, 6, 4, 4

42 NZ Herald, 18, 29 Apr 42, pp. 7, 2

43 Ibid., 14, 26 May 42, pp. 6, 2

44 Ibid., 20 Jul 42, p. 2

45 Ibid., 7 Nov 42, p. 6

46 Ibid., 17 May 43, p. 2

47 Auckland Star, 21 Apr 43, p. 2

48 NZ Herald, 3 Jun 42, p. 2

49 Ibid., 9 Dec 42, p. 4

50 Dominion, 19 Jan 43, p. 4; Evening Post, 23 Dec 42, p. 3

51 Ibid., 12 Oct 42, p. 4

52 Evening Post, 25 Feb 43, p. 4

53 Auckland Star, 20 Aug 42, p. 4; Dominion, 10 Dec 42, p. 6; NZ Herald, 14 Dec 42, p. 2; Norman B. Harvey’s story Any Old Dollars, Mister tells of Yank-hunting by tough but still likeable 1 1-year-olds.

54 Evening Post, 20 May 43, p. 6

55 Scholefield, Diary, 14 Jul 42; NZ Herald, 17 Dec 42, p. 2; Evening Post, 8, 11 Sep 42, pp. 4, 3

56 Auckland Star, 5 Jul 44, p. 4

57 Evening Post, 9, 10, 11 Aug 43, pp. 3, 3, 3; NZ Observer, 18 Aug 43, p. 9; Dominion, 22 Oct 43, p. 4

58 See pp. 1035, 1049

59 Auckland Star, 26 Oct 43, p. 2

60 Ibid., 9 Oct 43, p. 4; NZ Herald, 16 Jul 43, p. 2

61 Dominion, 15 Jan 43, p. 4

62 The song ‘Give me one dozen roses, Put my heart in beside them…’ was current.

63 Auckland Star, 8 Aug 44, p. 6

64 WHN, ‘Americans in New Zealand’, p. 4

65 For example, Hon J. Cumming MLC (1941–52) on 25 February 1943: ‘A lot of our people do not seem to “cotton on” to the American servicemen here; they think that we should have our own soldiers back here and that the other fellows should be sent over to take their place. We know that at the present moment that cannot be done.’ NZPD, vol 262, p. 22

66 Auckland Star, 26 Feb 43

67 Ibid., p. 2

68 Ibid., 27 Feb 43, p. 4

69 Ibid., 1 Mar 43, p. 2

70 Ibid.

71 Ibid., 3 Mar 43, p. 2

72 Ibid.

73 Ibid., 2 Mar 43, p. 2

74 Ibid.

75 Ibid., 3 Mar 43, p. 2

76 Ibid.

77 NZPD, vol 262, pp. 221–2

78 Ibid., p. 235

79 Welles, Sumner (1892–1961): Sec US Embassy Tokyo 1915–17; other diplomatic posts to 1933; Asst Sec State 1933–7, Under-Sec State 1937–43; special rep President to report on conditions Europe 1940; State Dept rep American Red Cross 1941; accompanied Roosevelt Atlantic Charter meeting 1941

80 NZPD, vol 262, pp. 321–3

81 Evening Post, 7 Apr 43, p. 3

82 A to J1945, H-45, p. 6 (Report of Waterfront Control Commission); See p. 442ff

83 At Wellington for more than a year American Marines loaded and discharged American ships. The main body of Marines left late in 1943 and from early 1944 United States vessels were worked smoothly by civilians. A to J 1945, H-45, p. 8

84 WHN, ‘The Waterfront’, pp. 200–1, 206–7

85 Ibid., pp. 206–7; Standard, 21 Oct 43, p. 6; Dominion, 2 Apr 43, p. 6, 11 Jan 44, p. 4

86 Standard, 21 Oct 43, p. 6; see also p. 437

87 NZ Herald, 15 Oct 43, p. 4

88 Dominion, 14 Oct 43, p. 4; Auckland Star, 14 Oct 43, p. 6; NZ Herald, 15 Oct 43, p. 4

89 Baker, p. 478

90 Dominion, 11 Jan 44, p. 4

91 WHN, ‘Waterfront Control Commission’, pp. 208–10

92 Auckland Star, 15 Oct 43, p. 6; Dominion, 14 Oct 43, p. 4; NZ Herald, 15, 18 Oct 43, pp. 4, 4

93 Dominion, 11 Jan 44, p. 4

94 Baker, p. 478

95 Auckland Star, 17 Apr 44, p. 5; Naval Censor to Dir Publicity, 15 Apr 44, PM 25/2/3

96 Article dated 3 Mar 44 and related correspondence, PM 25/2/3

97 See p. 737

98 Auckland Star, 20 Aug 45, p. 4

99 Evening Post, 8 Dec 42, p. 3

100 The Marine private’s basic pay was $50 a month, increased by 20% on foreign service, so in New Zealand it was $60, ie £18 5s, whereas a New Zealand private, at 7s 6d a day, drew £10 10s in four weeks. The American system of badges and bonuses for merit in training courses considerably improved the pay of the more expert. Evening Post, 5 May 43, p. 5

101 Evening Post, 14 Jun 43, p. 4

102 Craccum, 28 Jul 43

103 NZ Observer, 17 Mar 43, p. 4

104 Ibid., 4 Aug 43, p. 9

105 Yearbook, 1947–49, p. 56

106 Planters Peanuts and Camel cigarettes sent in some Middle East parcels were often enjoyed without qualm.

107 Evening Post, 10 Apr 43, p. 4; cf p. 1014

108 NZ Herald, 11 Dec 42, p. 4

109 Evening Post, 9 Apr 43, p. 3

110 NZ Observer, 17 Feb 43, p. 12

111 eg, An Encyclopedia of New Zealand, A. H. McLintock (ed), vol III, p. 87, gives an eye witness account of ‘the ugliest riot in New Zealand history’, a battle lasting four hours with more than 1000 US and local troops plus civilians involved, two Americans killed and many injured, all starting from Southern Marines refusing to let Maori servicemen drink at the Allied Services club. It should be noted that Service clubs did not serve liquor. Moreover, a more recent account, based on Army records in the National Archives, denies Maori involvement. A few merchant seamen, drunk and bent on ‘cleaning up’ visiting servicemen, began a series of fights in which American marines and sailors, local servicemen and seamen tangled, without deaths or serious injuries. Evening Post, 31 Dec 83, p. 6

112 A young man was fined £2 for being drunk and disorderly; he had incited a crowd in Cuba Street about 11.20 pm on Saturday 3 April ‘when a large crowd had congregated and there was trouble with members of the armed forces.’ Ibid., 5 Apr 43, p. 3. This was obviously after the main ‘action’.

113 ibid., 10 Apr 43, p. 3. This report appeared in most papers.

114 NZ Herald, 10 Apr 42

115 Author’s note of interview with Sergeant Franklyn, PRO Police HQ, 7 Sep 73

116 Evening Post, 27 Apr 43, p. 3

117 Ibid., 5 May 43, p. 3

118 Evening Post, 22 Jun 43, p. 3

119 Auckland Star, 2 Nov 43, p. 4

120 Ibid., 11 May 44, p. 6

121 Ibid., 18 May 44, p. 6

122 Ibid., 29 May, 2, 3 Jun 44, pp. 4, 4, 4

123 Ibid., 26 May 44, p. 4

124 WHN, ‘Censorship of the Press’, chap 7, p. 2, quoting Ghormley’s memorandum

125 As the Solicitor-General later reminded the Director of Publicity ‘The United States censor has no status as such in New Zealand. You can, if you choose, appoint him or nominate him as a person acting on your behalf.’ Solicitor-Gen to Dir Publicity, 29 Oct 43, PM 25/2/2

126 WHN, ‘Censorship of the Press’, chap VII, p. 4, quoting Dir Publicity to US Naval Attaché, 26 Jun 42

128 See pp. 6212

131 Paul Papers, Box 413

132 WHN, ‘Censorship of the Press’, chap VII, pp. 8–9

133 Ibid., p. 11. A year later, in November 1943, another assistant naval censor was appointed, at Dunedin.

134 Commander South Pacific to CO Naval Operations Base, Auckland, 11 Jun 43, PM 25/2/2

135 NZ Herald, 27 Nov, 5, 26 Dec 42, pp. 5, 4, 7

136 Dir Publicity, memo to editors, 21 Jun 43, PM 25/2/2

137 Dir Publicity to Solicitor-Gen, 6 Jul 43, ibid.

138 US Naval Attaché to CO Naval Operations Base, Auck, 28 Jun 43, ibid.

139 NZ Herald, 21 Jun 43, pp. 2, 4

140 Auckland Star, 18 Jun 43, p. 1

141 This clause was in the original public safety regulations of 1939, omitted in the revised version of February 1940 (1940/26) and reinstated on 4 March 1942 (1942/53)

142 Auckland Star, 9 Mar 43, p. 4

143 Chief Naval Censor to Dir Publicity, 10 Mar 43, PM 25/2/2

144 Dir Publicity to Chief Naval Censor, 24 Mar 43, ibid.

145 Truth, 2 Jun 43, p. 2

146 Chief Naval Censor to Dir Publicity, 7 Jun 43, PM 25/2/2

147 Dir Publicity to US Naval Attaché, 11 Jun 43, ibid.

148 Chief Naval Censor to Dir Publicity, 19 Jun 43, ibid.

149 Bell, Robert Brown (1888–1969): 50 years’ newspaper work including parliamentary press gallery, advertising mngr Dominion, Managing Dir Ashburton Guardian, Timaru Post, Editor/Managing Dir New Zealand Observer, delegate to 4th Imperial Press Conf, London 1930, exec member NZ Newspaper Proprietors’ Assn 1927–30; exec member NZRSA 1919–25, Canty provincial Pres 1922–5; Pres Sth Canty Chamber Commerce 1926–7

150 NZ Observer, 2 Jun 43, p. 5

151 Chief Naval Censor to Dir Publicity, 10 Jun 43, PM 25/2/2

152 NZ Herald, 9, 16 Dec 43, pp. 2, 7; NZ Observer, 27 Oct 43, p. 4

153 Chief Naval Censor to J. T. Paul, 24 Dec 43, PM 25/2/3

154 Dir Publicity, memo to editors, 3 Nov 43, PM 25/2/3

155 Henderson, Alexander Gunn (1875–1960): journalist/editor: chmn NZPA 1929–30; Editor Christchurch Star–Sun 1935–45

156 Editor, Star–Sun to Dir Publicity, 4 Nov 43 (copy), PM 25/2/3

157 NZ Observer, 17 Nov 43, p. 4

158 Editor, Truth to Dir Publicity (copy), 30 Nov 43, PM 25/2/3

159 Truth, 8, 22 Dec 43, pp. 13, 5

160 Dir Publicity, note for record, 5 May 43, PM 25/2/2

161 Naval Censor to Dir Publicity, 8 Dec 43, Chief Reporter, Auckland Star to Naval Censor, 24 Dec 43, PM 25/2/3

162 Dir Publicity to Naval Censor, 28 Mar, and reply 1 Apr 44, ibid.

163 Lissington, P. M., New Zealand and the United States 1840–1944, p. 69

164 Documents, vol III, p. 351

165 ‘… it would be neither wise nor proper to allow the offensive against the Japanese in the South Pacific to be conducted entirely by Americans without substantial British collaboration,’ wrote Fraser on 4 December 1942 (ibid., vol II, p. 148), and on 7 May 1943, ‘I believe it to be of the greatest political importance that when the time comes to start offensive operations against Japan, the British elements in the United Nations’ forces in the Pacific should be as strong as possible.’ (ibid., p. 196) Again, on 18 March 1943 he told Parliament: ‘It is important that our voice will carry weight both now and in the future as far as the Pacific is concerned, and that we should win the right to be heard with respect. We cannot do that if we scuttle out of our responsibilities in the Pacific.’ NZPD, vol 262, p. 496

166 eg, NZ Herald, 7 Dec 42, p. 2, 12 Jan 43, p. 5; Wanganui Herald, 9 Dec 42, p. 5; Star–Sun, 14 Apr 43, p.-5; Evening Post, 8 May 43, p. 6; Dominion, 5 Feb 44, p. 6. These reports have been noticed in several papers at about these dates

167 Evening Post, 17 Dec 42, p. 5

168 Kay, Chronology, p. 96

169 Ross, Squadron-Leader J. M. S., Royal New Zealand Air Force, p. vii

170 Gillespie, O. A., The Pacific, p. 110

171 Chief Naval Censor to Dir Publicity, 24 Jun 43, CO US Naval Base, Auck, to Dir Publicity, 27 Jun 43, PM 25/2/3

172 Dir Publicity to Chief Naval Censor, 25 Jun 43, ibid.

173 Dir Publicity to CO US Naval Base, Auck, 7 Jul 43, ibid.

174 Memo, Lt F. E. Taplin to Naval Attaché, Wellington, 6 Jul 43, ibid.

175 NZ Observer, 7 Jul 43, p. 5

176 Evening Post, 13 Oct 43, p. 6

177 Dominion, 12 Oct 43

178 Ibid., 13 Oct 43, p. 4

179 Ibid., 17 Apr 44, p. 4

180 Auckland Star, 8 Jun 44, p. 4

181 Ibid., 26 Jun 44, p. 6

182 Ibid., 20 Jun 44, p. 6

183 Ibid., 27 May, 2, 26 Jun 44, pp. 6, 6, 2

184 NZ Herald, 17 Apr 44, p. 2