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

262 — General Freyberg to the Prime Minister

General Freyberg to the Prime Minister

22 May 1943

Your telegram of 22 May. I know everybody here will welcome the decision of Parliament, and it will be realised that the New Zealand Government has again taken a far-sighted view in this difficult matter.

We are preparing the scheme for the return of personnel, and there are two points on which I would like guidance urgently.

First, on the question of the size of the draft. Previously we visualised replacements arriving in the Middle East before sending men back from here. If we now return 6000 on 14 June with reliefs arriving on 4 August, as suggested, the Division could not take the field before 1 October. If 4000 are sent back we could with difficulty take the field on 1 September. Could you let me know what your arrangements are with the United Kingdom Government regarding the future employment of the Division? I suggest it page 237 would be better for us to send 4000 and be prepared for an operational role by 1 September.

Second, the question of Maoris. If we sent all the Maoris from the Second and Third Echelons it would put the battalion out of action for some months. I suggest that the Maoris be treated on exactly the same basis for both officers and men as other units.