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

360 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand (Canberra) to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

The Prime Minister of New Zealand (Canberra) to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

19 January 1944

I am delighted to learn of your return home and trust that you are now recovering speedily and completely. I hesitate to make page 331 calls upon your time and energy so soon after your arrival, but I was on the point of requesting the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to ascertain when it would be possible for Mr. Nash, who is now back in Washington, to discuss with you and obtain your advice on the disposition of New Zealand's armed forces overseas. The whole question of our overseas commitments has now to be reviewed, in view of the fact that New Zealand has reached the end of its resources of manpower not engaged in essential industry and fit and available for service in the armed forces. The new Parliament meets next month, and from the Government's point of view it is imperative that it should be in a position to place its policy before the House and obtain approval, in particular, on the question of the disposition of the two overseas divisions.

I would be most grateful therefore if Mr. Nash could discuss the matter with you at the earliest possible opportunity and obtain your views. He could, if convenient to you, leave Washington for London at short notice within the next fortnight. I would be very glad to have your decision on this request in Canberra as I expect to be here for another eight or nine days.