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

445 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand (San Francisco) to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

page 417

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

14 May 1945

I am personally in entire agreement with the proposed action of the United Kingdom and the United States to halt aggression on the part of Yugoslavia, and consider that it is our duty to assist by making our Division available to Field-Marshal Alexander for that purpose. The proposed action by the United Kingdom and the United States, however, must only be taken after it has been demonstrated clearly and beyond dispute to the world that every effort to arrange a fair and reasonable agreement on the important matters in dispute, in strict accord with the principles for which the United Nations have fought and are still fighting, has failed through the obstinate and definitely aggressive attitude of the Government of Yugoslavia.

I feel with you that if action is not taken, after every effort to reach an agreement has failed, all that we have won during five and a half years' fighting will be lost. I am, of course, particularly interested in the Trieste area, where the New Zealand Division is stationed at present.

I have placed my view of the matter plainly and definitely before my colleagues of the New Zealand Government and War Cabinet.

I would be glad if you would enable me to give an assurance to the New Zealand Government in line with New Zealand's policy—although personally I take it for granted—that the British and United States proposed action will be strictly confined to the resistance of aggression and will not involve interference in any way with the purely internal affairs of Yugoslavia, such as the restoration of the monarchy, and that our troops will not be used for that or similar purposes.

I would be obliged if you could please let me have this assurance immediately so that it can be conveyed at once to New Zealand.1 Kind regards.