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

339 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

19 September 1943

I have just been advised that the New Zealand Squadron of the Long Range Desert Group and other British troops have been landed on a Greek island without opposition. The new Chief of the General Staff1 now realises that the practice is to refer the matter to the New Zealand Government before committing any New Zealand troops to a theatre of war, and that the principle has been infringed in this case. The reason was that after discussion with War Cabinet in New Zealand I had informed [General Headquarters] Middle East that the New Zealand Government agreed in principle to the employment of the LRDG in Greece, and this was taken as authority. The mistake is regretted.

1 Lieutenant-General Sir Ronald MacKenzie Scobie, KBE, CB, MC (then Lt-Gen R. M. Scobie); GOC Tobruk Fortress, 1941; GOC Malta, 1942; Chief of the General Staff, Middle East, 1943; GOC Greece, 1944–46.