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

282 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs3

The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs3

8 November 1943

Transportation arrangements for some 3000 New Zealand troops from the Middle East to New Zealand have been the subject of communications between the Director of Sea Transport4 and the New Zealand Naval Board.5 The troops largely comprise that portion of the New Zealand furlough draft due to leave the Middle East on the return of the first party from New Zealand. Arrangements for the transport of the earlier draft were made at the instance of Mr. Churchill in May last.

His Majesty's Government in New Zealand most earnestly desire that the Director of Sea Transport's proposal that the second draft be transhipped at Bombay into United States transports, thereby delaying a large proportion of the men in India for several weeks, should be avoided. As an alternative, therefore, it is requested that consideration be given to using the Mooltan6 for this purpose after the disembarkation of the New Zealand troops returning to the Middle East approximately in mid-January. It is now expected page 255 that by that date there will be 3500 to 4000 troops to return. It is also requested that escort be provided for the voyage from Suez to New Zealand.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could give this matter your personal consideration.

3 The Rt. Hon. Viscount Cranborne had again become Dominions Secretary on 28 Sep 1943.

4 Sir William G. Hynard, Kt, CB, CBE; Director of Sea Transport, 1939–42; Assistant Director-General, Ministry of War Transport, 1942–44; representative of the Ministry of War Transport in Canada, 1944–46.

5 Not published. In this telegram the Director of Sea Transport suggested that the most economical use of shipping would be to transport the troops from the Middle East to Bombay in a British troopship and tranship them there to a United States troopship proceeding via the South-West Pacific to New Zealand.

6 SS Mooltan, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company 20,952 tons.