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

248 — Letter from the Prime Minister of New Zealand to President Roosevelt

page 221

Letter from the Prime Minister of New Zealand to President Roosevelt

14 July 1943

Dear President Roosevelt


I wish to acknowledge and thank you for your very kind personal letter of 9 June, in which you refer to the decision of Parliament that the 2nd New Zealand Division should remain in the Mediterranean theatre.

This decision was arrived at only after long and anxious consideration of the rival claims of the two regions—Pacific and European— and of the advice and opinions of those concerned, including Mr. Churchill and yourself and the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and of the growing manpower difficulties under which we are now labouring in the fourth year of war.

Having decided the matter, it is our intention to continue to maintain the 2nd Division for future operations in the European theatre as long as our resources and the needs of the situation permit. It is also our intention to maintain the 3rd Division in the Pacific as a two-brigade force for immediate service with Admiral Halsey's forces, up till such time as our remaining manpower resources will not permit of its reinforcement.

Our Pacific air and naval commitments will, of course, have first priority, and we will continue to devote our full productive effort towards the sustenance of your forces and our own in the South Pacific Area.

I was delighted to learn that you were hoping that Mrs. Roosevelt could visit this part of the world, and I can assure you we join with you in that regard and would assure her of a most enthusiastic and warm-hearted welcome.

I regret that it will not be possible for Mr. Nash to return to Washington before our General Election is held. This should take place, I anticipate, in the latter half of September, and naturally Mr. Nash's future movements will depend upon its outcome.

Kind regards,
Yours sincerely


P. Fraser