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

452 — The acting Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

The acting Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

23 May 1945

Thank you for your messages.2 We have considered the position very fully and carefully. The offer made by the Yugoslav Government3 appears to open the way to a settlement of the dispute. Accepting the spirit of the words of this message, the New Zealand Government anticipate that an agreement will be reached that will avoid armed conflict and will give the Yugoslav Government and its forces the opportunity to work in harmony with the Allied forces in the area and in accord with the principles that you and President Truman have enunciated.

The progress already made since the receipt of your own and President Truman's messages is so great, and the principles for which we have fought so near to realisation, that we feel sure that a continuance of the negotiations in the spirit of the offer made by Tito will result in complete agreement and the attainment of your objective.

I am repeating this message to Mr. Fraser at San Francisco and to General Freyberg.

2 No. 450. Another message from Mr. Churchill dated 14 May, enclosing the texts of President Truman's message to him and his reply (see page 415, note 1) has not been reproduced.

3 The New Zealand Government was advised of this offer in a telegram on 21 May from the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, which read as follows:

The following note has today, 21 May, been received from the Yugoslav Government:

The Yugoslav Government agree to the establishment of the Allied Military Government, under the authority of the Allied Supreme Commander in the Mediterranean, in the Slovene littoral area on the basis of the demarcation line proposed by Field-Marshal Alexander, subject to certain minor modifications to be suggested later by the Yugoslav Government. At the same time, the Yugoslav Government in accepting in principle such a solution consider indispensable:


That representatives of the Yugoslav Army should be included in the military administration of this area.


That units of the Yugoslav Army should remain in that area (being of course under the command of the Supreme Allied Commander in the Mediterranean).


That, as it has been already stated in the proposals of Field-Marshal Alexander, the Allied Military Administration should act through the civil authorities which are already set up in that area.

The Yugoslav Government propose that the Governments of Great Britain and the United States start immediate negotiations with the Yugoslav Government in order to settle all questions in this connection.