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

446 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand (San Francisco) to General Freyberg

The Prime Minister of New Zealand (San Francisco) to General Freyberg

16 May 1945

The whole question of the implications of Tito's action in occupying Trieste and other territories has been raised with us by the United Kingdom Government.

page 418

It is clear that this situation may have the gravest possible consequences for the future, and the dangers of permitting unilateral encroachments on the part of Tito or any other of our allies are so great as to necessitate our taking the most serious view of the present situation.

I myself feel that everything for which we have fought and are still fighting will be nullified, and that our whole attempt through this war to prevent aggression will have been in vain. In the event of an outbreak of hostilities Field-Marshal Alexander has asked what part of his present forces will be at his disposal. I do not see how we can do otherwise than authorise the use of our Division, which happens to be at the very point at which the trouble has occurred. The wider issue seems clear, and this decision is based on the belief that a firm stand in this particular instance will not only deter Tito from taking similar action in neighbouring areas but will serve to quell an extension of such situations which can be met only by further disastrous concessions on our part or with another war.

My views have been placed before the New Zealand Government with the request that they be considered immediately and a decision conveyed to the United Kingdom Government. I wish to keep you apprised of my view of this turn of events, and would like an early appreciation of your own views on the present situation and of its current developments. Please repeat your reply both to me here in San Francisco and to New Zealand.