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

449 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand (San Francisco) to the acting Prime Minister — [Extract]

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

16 May 1945

Thank you for your telegram of 16 May.1 You will have received earlier today the pledge which Mr. Churchill has sent me that the proposed operations will not be concerned in any way with the internal affairs of Yugoslavia, in which none of the Allies desires to interfere.2

The immediate question, as I see it, is that of stopping aggression which, if unchecked, will inevitably extend in the instance of Yugoslavia beyond Italian territories to those of Austria, Hungary, and Greece, and the peace conference will be quite unable to compose the resulting situations which may lead to further wars. In other words, the present crisis calls not only for a stand on the immediate issue but on the future of a lasting peace.

1 Not published. In this telegram Mr. Nash repeated to the Prime Minister the views of individual members of War Cabinet.

page 422

In my view, unless the President and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom are backed up now, it is not only the peace but the war appears to have been lost….1 We cannot, in my view, countenance on the part of Yugoslavia, or any other of our allies, a repetition of the smash and grab policy against which we went to war.

1 A personal reference has been omitted.