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

277 — The High Commissioner for New Zealand (Canberra) to the Prime Minister

page 251

The High Commissioner for New Zealand (Canberra) to the Prime Minister

15 July 1943

General Freyberg left early on Wednesday morning after a most successful visit on which I am reporting by mail.

The Hon. Mr. Jones and Sherwood1 are in Canberra; both are well; they are leaving Sydney on Saturday.

The following message is from General Freyberg for the Prime Minister:

Reference your telegram of 10 July, I shall cable you further after seeing the Chief of the Imperial General Staff. In the meantime I would point out that the drafts which are leaving New Zealand at present were framed on the assumption that the Engineer personnel of the 18th and 19th Army Troops Companies would be available as Engineer reinforcements. An alteration in policy would mean that the Divisional Engineers would be under strength and without reinforcements. Further, the figures submitted to War Cabinet in my memorandum2 were based on the same assumption. If the 18th and 19th Army Troops, Railway Construction, and Railway Operating Companies are not available we shall require over 2000 Grade I men over and above those already agreed to. In the circumstances, it is felt that unless 2000 Grade I men can be made available at once, the original decision to absorb non-divisional units either into industry or into the New Zealand Division should stand.

1 F. M. Sherwood, CBE, Secretary to the Minister of Defence.